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Hydrogen peroxide is nature’s own antimicrobial agent, produced by human cells to fight invasive bacteria, and naturally occurring in honey as a preservative. Consumers are familiar with hydrogen peroxide as a color-safe bleaching agent and stain fighter for laundering applications. Hydrogen peroxide functions by destroying the cell membrane as well as internal cell structures, thereby killing the microbe and inhibiting the growth of microbial colonies. Chemically, hydrogen peroxide is simply water with an extra oxygen molecule H2O2, making it into a highly effective antimicrobial agent. Very low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are effective against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses, and spores.

Hydrogen Peroxide Proven Effective vs. Problematic Microbes*

Gram-Positive Bacteria

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Corynebacterium diptheriae
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Streptococci
  • Micrococcus luteus
  • MRSA
  • Enterococcus faecium (VRE)

Gram-Negative Bacteria

  • Escherichia coli
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Salmonella choleraesuis
  • Proteus vulgaris
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Proteus mirabilis

Fungi

  • Aspergillus niger
  • Cladosporium spp
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes
  • Candida albicans
  • Penicillium citrinum
  • Fusarium solani
  • Alternaria spp

Viruses

  • Influenza A (H1N1)
  • Rhinovirus
  • Herpes simplex (HSV-1)
  • Feline calicivirus

*Note: the above information on hydrogen peroxide is taken from published sources and has not been reviewed by EPA. Display of this information is not intended to be a public health claim.