Hydrogen peroxide (oxydol or dihydrogen dioxide) belongs to a class of inorganic compounds known as homogenous non-metal compounds. It is a colourless liquid at room temperature and has a bitter taste. The chemical formula for the compound is H2O2. It is usually produced in aqueous solutions of various strengths. The chemical has a slightly pungent, irritating odour. It is also highly soluble in water.
Food grade hydrogen peroxide is often sold as 35% concentration. It may also be found at 12%, although this is quite uncommon. Even at these concentration levels, food-grade hydrogen peroxide is still not safe for consumption. The technical grade of hydrogen peroxide is also often found as a 50% concentration.
Some of the applications of hydrogen peroxide include:
- It is used in wastewater treatment for the removal of organic compounds.
- It is used as a bleaching or deodorizing agent in textiles, foods, and personal care items.
- A form of it, normally at 90%, is used in rocket propulsion.
- It is used in making wine as a neutralizing agent during wine distillation.
- It is used as a seed disinfectant.
- It is used to control fungi and bacteria after harvesting some indoor and outdoor crops.
- It is used in the manufacture of acetone, antiseptics, disinfectants, antichlor and pharmaceuticals just to mention a few.
- It is used as an oxygen source in respiratory protective equipment.
- It is used in the refining and cleaning of metals.
- It is used in the manufacture of glycerol.
- It is applied in underground mining as an in-situ leach.
- It is used in the detoxification of effluents containing formaldehyde, cyanide, or phenols.
- It is used as a plating agent.
- It is used as a cleaning agent in the semiconductor industry.
- It is used as a preservative during food packaging.
- It is used for water sanitation in swimming pools and hot tubs.