Does Hydrogen Peroxide expire? How to test it at home? 

does hydrogen peroxide expire
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Amid COVID-19, cleanliness and 100% hygiene has become one of the most triggering priorities among household owners and workplace cleanliness management. But, are you choosing the right product? Experts say products with hydrogen peroxide is a true-and-tried solution to disinfect households and other indoor areas. Or, one can directly use pure hydrogen peroxide to clean the house. It is a non-harmful product (until or unless consumed) like rubbing alcohol. Users out there have multiple questions about this element. For example, does hydrogen peroxide expire? Or does it damage skin? Or, does it smell or kill odour? 

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Today, in this reading, we present you with a complete guide on Hydrogen Peroxide along with a solution to subjects like 

  • Expiration of Hydrogen Peroxide 
  • Uses of hydrogen peroxide
  • How to use hydrogen peroxide
  • Harmful effects of Hydrogen peroxide
  • Precautions you must take
  • How to test hydrogen peroxide at home? 

But before we walk further, let’s take a glance at the definition of hydrogen peroxide and some noteworthy facts about it. 

What is Hydrogen Peroxide? 

To begin with, Hydrogen Peroxide or H2O2 is a chemical compound or an antiseptic element that is widely used to kill bacteria. For the most part, the chemical formula for Hydrogen Peroxide is pretty equivalent to water, which is H2O. However, Hydrogen Peroxide and Water do not share any list of mutual characteristics in the real universe. 

For example, the thickness of hydrogen peroxide is comparable to liquid soap or Dettol solution. On the other hand, water is thin and liquidized by the physique. In the same way, hydrogen peroxide shows multiple characteristics, which make it an antiseptic solution. To the reader’s surprise, it is widely used in the medical industry to remove or clean off bacteria from a womb. Or sanitization purposes. 

Thus, if you are wondering if hydrogen peroxide is safe to store at home? The answer is Yes. You can store this compound at home (with low chemical quality and quantity).

Here are some critical facts:
  • Storable hydrogen peroxide available with chemists or at pharmacies is only 3% to 7% qualitative. Meaning, 3% to 7% of the solution contains H2O2, and the rest is water. Likewise, rubbing alcohol. 
  • 100% hydrogen peroxide solution appears blue in colour and contains a strong odour like alcohol. 
  • The hydrogen peroxide solution is acidic in nature. Hence, pure H2O2 do not react positively when in contact with skin or other body parts. 
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  • Slightly low qualitative hydrogen peroxide remains useful for teeth whitening and hair bleaching purposes. Yet, it is not recommendable to proceed in the absence of a directioner or expert. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide is a 100% safe substitute for rubbing alcohol. In many cases, alcoholics or those who are adopting sobriety for life avoid seeing a dentist because rubbing alcohol is used for pain purposes. In this case, you can request your dentist to use H2O2 (0.1 to 6% qualitative only) instead. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide does not contain alcohol. 

Does Hydrogen Peroxide expire? 

According to chemical studies, low qualitative hydrogen peroxide (up to 7% hydrogen peroxide plus water) remains unstable. Thus, this solution starts to decompose quickly once it comes in contact with air or room temperature open surrounding. 

So, for example, if you have a sealed container with hydrogen peroxide solution stored and you have not unsealed it. It means that the hydrogen peroxide solution will remain unexpired or suitable for the next three years (see the manufacturing date on the sealed container). 

On the other hand, if you unseal the container, the solution will slowly break down. In this case, the H2O2 solution will expire within six months (or early, depending on the climatic situation or weather). 

How to save H2O2 from decomposing quickly?

In the event that you do not acknowledge facts related to “does hydrogen peroxide expire?” There are chances that you will not be careful enough and leave the H2O2 solution in an insecure place with non-suitable surroundings. Thus, here are some methods in which you can protect unsealed hydrogen peroxide from expiring or decomposing quickly: 

  • Always place or store the container in a cool place. For example, a cabinet. It is significant to note that hydrogen peroxide is acidic in nature. Thus, if it comes in contact with sunlight, it will start to decompose quickly because the acid decomposition phenomenon applies here. 
  • Make sure that you have tightly-rigidly sealed the container again and the air is not accessible.
  • Avoid replacing hydrogen peroxide solution from a brown bottle with another uncoloured or light-coloured bottle. The reason being, brown bottles are scientifically recommended to store hydrogen peroxide because the brown colour protects the solution from coming in direct contact with sunlight. And, also protects the container from hiked temperature due to climate. 
does hydrogen peroxide expire
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  • In many cases, it has been foreseen that while using H2O2 for medical purposes, non-medical experts directly dip cotton in the bottle. However, it is not a safe way. If the solution comes in direct touch with another non-acidic component like cotton, it will decompose quickly. 

How to dispose of when hydrogen peroxide expires? 

Does hydrogen peroxide expire? The answer is yes. Hydrogen peroxide expires after three years if it remains unsealed. On the other hand, if you unseal it, the solution may expire within 1 to 6 months. However, many readers question the post-expiration process. For example, how to dispose of expired hydrogen peroxide? Let’s take a glance:

To begin with, Hydrogen Peroxide (of low quality, 3% to 7% H2O2) is generally used as a cleaning disinfectant. Thus, to dispose of hydrogen peroxide, you can simply pour it down the drain or throw the bottle away in a leaching pit. 

On the other hand, if the Hydrogen Peroxide solution at your home contains more than 7% H2O2 concentration, it is recommendable to mix water into it before disposing of it. The solution may give rise to bubbles and fizz when poured into the drain. Please ensure that yours is made of metal or contains pipe. You do not want to spill Hydrogen Peroxide in the open, especially if there are children in the house. 

How to test if hydrogen peroxide expired or not? 

One of the best processes to test whether hydrogen peroxide at your home is expired or not is the following: 

  • Take the brown bottle (sealed or unsealed) hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Go to the kitchen sink (make sure there are no unwashed dishes in there).
  • Pour hydrogen peroxide into the sink. 
  • If it raises bubbles and fizzes, it is unexpired.
  • If not, it has expired. 

Note: it is recommendable to pour a small amount of H2O2 in the sink. You will get the out-turn within a few seconds only. 

Precautions: Does Hydrogen Peroxide expire? 

Expired or not expired, Hydrogen Peroxide can be a harmful component in some situations. Hence, here are some precautions that are “must” for those who store highly qualitative hydrogen peroxide at home (expired or unexpired):

  • Hydrogen Peroxide is not a good conductor when it comes to vinegar or bleach. Thus, it is highly recommendable to avoid mixing any other acidic component in Hydrogen Peroxide solution because it can lead to an explosion. 
  • Ensure that you wear latex gloves and a face mask while pouring or using hydrogen peroxide at home or outside. A highly qualitative (more than 7% H2O2) solution can burn one’s skin and internal organs if one comes in direct contact with the H2O2. 
hydrogen peroxide
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  • The use of H2O2 for antiseptic purposes is forbidden. This solution can leave a burning effect on human skin. Hence, ensure to replace hydrogen peroxide with rubbing alcohol. 
  • If you apply a low-qualitative hydrogen peroxide solution on a cut or a wound, you must clean the area beforehand. Do not bandage the area until the H2O2 has dried off. Do not use the solution on wounded areas more than three times a day. At last, please make sure that the hydrogen peroxide solution quality is no more than 3%. 

Rubbing Alcohol Vs. H2O2

More often than not, users debate which one is safe for disinfecting purposes: Rubbing alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide? What do you think? According to our research, Rubbing alcohol or ethanol remains a better option for the following differences that it poses: 

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Expire? The answer is yes. Hydrogen peroxide expires after three years of packaging. On the other hand, Rubbing alcohol does not expire as quickly. Indeed, if kept sealed for long, rubbing alcohol becomes stronger and stronger. 

Rubbing alcohol is a 100% safe solution for disinfecting a cut on the skin or a wound. On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide shows some harmful characteristics. For example, high-concentrated H2O2 can cause itchiness, burning, rashes, and pus. 

Rubbing alcohol does not affect lungs capacity. Whereas, Hydrogen peroxide does. 

According to the latest studies, both rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are good enough to kill the germs which trigger coronavirus. You can use any of the solutions to sanitize your home or workplace. However, precautions are significant to take because high-concentration of ethanol or h2O2 can harmfully affect one’s immune system. 


In the event that the Hydrogen peroxide solution at your home has expired, please dispose of it very carefully. It is recommendable to avoid throwing unsealed bottles in a place where children or pets can access them. The same precautions go for rubbing alcohol. For more information, bookmark us. Thank you for reading.