Sanitary water may be found in closed containers (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Hydrogen Peroxide to Purify or Sterilize Drinking Water for Emergency Use

  • HYDROGEN PEROXIDE for WATER DISINFECTION - CONTENTS: how to use HYDROGEN PEROXIDE to treat, purify, or sterilize drinking water in an emergency. What concentration of H2O2 hydrogen peroxide to use for drinking water disinfection? Health warning about drinking hydrogen peroxide
  • VINEGAR as a disinfectant - Use of vinegar as a vegetable or fruit wash;
    • Compare emergency water treatment methods: bleach, boiling, chlorine, distillation, filters, hydrogen peroxide, iodine tablets, or iodine liquid to purify drinking water; Use of vinegar as a vegetable disinfection wash
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about using hydrogen peroxide H202 for emergency drinking water disinfection & use of vinegar as a fruit & vegetable wash
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Hydrogen peroxide for water treatment

This article explains how to use hydrogen peroxide as a drinking water disinfectant. We discuss the limits of hydrogen peroxide for treating drinking water. The article includes research citations on the use of hydrogen peroxide for disinfection of drinking water as well as for treating wastewater and includes research on the combined effects of hydrogen peroxide with UV or ozone systems. Citations include research on the toxicity of hydrogen peroxide in the environment.

This article series outlines methods to purify or sanitize drinking water in an emergency following a disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or hurricane. Separately at WATER DISINFECTANT QUANTITY we review the amount of bleach or other disinfectants needed to effectively disinfect drinking water in daily use or in an emergency water supply situation.

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Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide for Water Sterilization or Disinfection

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) sold as a topical disinfectant to reduce the chance of infection in minor scrapes, cuts, and burns, may also be used to purify water, and its odor will dissipate rapidly. Our page top photo shows typical drugstore hydrogen peroxide topical solution sold for home use as a disinfectant for cuts and abrasions. This hydrogen peroxide solution is found at 3% concentration.

How much hydrogen peroxide to add to drinking water? We have not yet found an authoritative source that provides guidance on the concentration needed to disinfect drinking water. One of our readers spoke to a company that sells food grade 32 percent hydrogen peroxide. They recommend 1/8 of a cup per gallon but we do not know how they have determined this advice.

More on uses of hydrogen peroxide and warnings about this substance are provided just below.

According to Dr. Omar Amin, of the Tempe AZ Parasitology Center, who corresponded with one of our readers who asked him about using hydrogen peroxide as a drinking water disinfectant: "You can use hydrogen peroxide if you want to but we do not have a track record of percentage dilution". Dr. Amin has done research for the US military and for the CDC.

H2O2 has been combined with UV light to sterilize water quickly, and this substance is used in medical sterilization equipment.

H2O2 breaks down into water vapor and oxygen; if your H2O2 supply is quite old, it may have deteriorated and be ineffective for any use as a disinfectant, including in its intended application as a topical or skin/cut/abrasion disinfectant. In that case don't use it - it's ineffective.

Warning about Drinking Hydrogen Peroxide

In July, 2006, the FDA issued a warning about the high strength hydrogen peroxides, saying they could lead to serious health risks and even death.

A warning from the BC Cancer Agency in Canada said that over a three year period 6 children were seriously poisoned and one died from drinking the high strength hydrogen peroxide. They report one near-fatal case of an adult ingesting high strength hydrogen peroxide. This article cites a 2003 entry in Journal of Food and Science on using Hydrogen peroxide to sterilize vegetables, referring to E.coli - NOT to Giardia.

Hydrogen peroxide vegetable soak

Some websites describe use of 35% food grade H202 but without citing authoritative sources. "Vegetable Soak: (CLOROX substitute): Add 1/4 cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide into a gallon of Cold Water. Soak light Vegetables (Lettuce, etc.) 20 minutes, thicker skinned Vegetables (like Cucumbers) for 30 minutes. Drain and dry, (they keep LONGER too). If time is a Problem, you can spray the Vegetables with straight 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, let stand for a couple of minutes, rinse and dry." But is this treatment effective for just for Ecoli or also for Giardia?

Katadyne Micropur chlorine dioxide kit Cryptosporidium cysts might survive a typical chlorine disinfection process (such as at a municipal water treatment plant).

[Click to enlarge any image]

For this reason some municipalities where Cryptosporidium cysts are a concern add a water treatment step using chlorine dioxide. Others may use a combination of UV light and chlorine in the water treatment procedure. This treatment is also available to hikers, travelers, and for emergency water supply use.

Aquamira™ and Katadyn™ (Micropur) provide portable or field-use water treatment kits using chlorine dioxide.

The best procedures for washing fruits and vegetables are found at VEGETABLE DISINFECTION along with supporting research.

Use of Vinegar as a Water Sterilizer?

We moved this discussion. See VINEGAR for WATER DISINFECTION - for a description of the effectiveness of vinegar as a disinfectant, a water disinfectant, a food wash, and warnings about the limitations of vinegar for water disinfection to make drinking water potable or safe.

Question: Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Disinfecting our Well Water?

I just read an excellent article [cited below] about water well treatment with peroxide; something I've been looking in to for some time. - James G. by private email 2016/09/16

Reply: research on the effectveness of & hazards of hydrogen peroxide for drinking water treatment

Thank you for the question, James.The authors of the article you like do cite research on the health effects of drinking chlorinated water - a topic we've addressed as well at CHLORINE HAZARDS in WATER.

Chlorine residuals in drinking water are not or at least need not be a hazard in a properly designed treatment system. Typically chlorine treatment systems include also charcoal filtration as post processing to remove excess chlorine; Residual chlorine is very volatile too (as is hydrogen peroxide) which means that in an open water container it dissipates rapidly.

I would never select any water treatment method, including disinfection, before knowing what water contaminants are present and need to be addressed. For example not chlorine nor peroxide will adequately handle some cyst like contaminants such as giardia, and no disinfectant addresses chemical contaminants, nor do they do much for turbidity nor do the handle more than low levels of sulphur odor problems.

For hydrogen peroxide disinfection, the effectiveness also is affected by water temperature: lower effectiveness at lower temperatures. In the research you'll see the use of ozonation to improve the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide treatments of drinking water: you probably wouldn't use H202 alone. Hydrogen peroxide has only a weak microbiocidal activity in water disinfection when it is used alone. (Sommer 2004).

You might also look at the limitations of ozone treatment of water supplies as the limitations of the two methods are similar. See OZONE for WATER DISINFECTION.

Research on hydrogen peroxide water treatment for drinking water, well water, groundwater, & wastewater


Continue reading at IODINE for WATER DISINFECTION or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


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