Hydrogen Peroxide VS Rubbing Alcohol – A Comprehensive Guide

Hydrogen Peroxide VS Rubbing Alcohol – A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Hydroponics

You may have seen disinfectants on the market, but are they important for plant care and safe for general use? 

Plants grown in soil or hydroponic systems benefit from having a disinfectant implemented into the plant care routine. Within greenhouse or outdoor gardening practices using soil, it is beneficial to disinfect containers and surfaces where plant growth will be taking place. This ensures that plant matter and foreign debris does not contaminate the site. 

Within hydroponics systems, algae and other weed-like plants can interfere with plant growth by stripping nutrients from the circulation and directly competing with the plants for other resources including light and space for growth. In both cases disinfecting also aids in pest control. 

Without including the use of some form of disinfectant, volume and quality of yield could be compromised

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

One option you may want to explore is a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant. 

The chemical, with formula H2O2, is a light blue color, when pure. It is more viscous than water. Hydrogen peroxide is a common disinfectant that is also used during the process of cleaning tools, surfaces and even to bleach hair, fabrics and lighten wood. 

It is bought for public use in a weaker, diluted form whereas pure hydrogen peroxide is usually only dealt with in commercial manufacturing processes. Within plant growing practices, a solution of the chemical can be used to get rid of unwanted bacteria, fungi, and in its stronger
more concentrated forms, weeds.

As mentioned, the chemical can be used to bleach and disinfect. This is due to oxidation. This destroys essential parts of bacteria cells, lowering or diminishing entirely the presence of unwanted pathogens.

 Here’s a summary of things to consider if you want to utilize the benefits of hydrogen peroxide as a plant disinfectant: 


● A solution of hydrogen peroxide can be used as an antiseptic on wounds and injuries, making it completely safe to handle.

 ● Due to the addition of another oxygen atom to the molecule of water that makes up hydrogen peroxide, plant roots are aided in growing healthier and stronger. 

● If stored properly, the chemical can be kept in a functional condition for great lengths of time. It should be kept in a cooler,dark space. 

● Unlike many other disinfectant chemicals it has been shown to be effective against all microorganisms. Even bacteria that are usually more resistant. 

● It is one of few products that is at a low risk of causing a bacteria or fungal resistance so it can be used repeatedly.


● Disinfecting using hydrogen peroxide takes longer than its alternatives. It takes around 5 minutes to effectively kill the targeted virus or bacteria. 

● It is highly reactive and has the potential to react with other chemicals and compounds. This means it should always be used according to instructions.

 ● Has the potential to cause irritation if in contact with eyes and other sensitive areas. 

● The chemical decomposes into water and oxygen overtime so it must be kept in the correct conditions for continued use. It should be noted that the same process means that over time the solution will become less concentrated so its effectiveness may vary. 

What is rubbing alcohol?

Rubbing alcohol has similar uses to hydrogen peroxide. Its antiseptic properties means that it can commonly be found in first aid kits for cleaning small scrapes and cuts. The alcohol, also known as surgical spirit, disinfects through denaturation. 

This means that the proteins within germs are broken down to destroy them. Its chemical name is isopropyl alcohol. 

Its active ingredient is isopropanol. It is a colorless liquid with a strong chemical odor. 

How Hydrogen Peroxide And Rubbing Alcohol are different from each other?

Firstly, hydrogen peroxide determination by the process of oxidation. When an oxygen atom is separated from a water molecule over time, the bacteria and other pathogens are destroyed. Rubbing alcohol functions by denaturation where it destroys the proteins of the germs, ultimately killing them. 

Hydrogen peroxide takes longer to disinfect as the process of oxidation is slower. It takes up to 5 minutes for it to work. Rubbing alcohol’s effects work almost instantaneously, killing germs within 10 seconds. A fraction of the time! They each have a different range of bacteria, viruses and fungi that they are effective at destroying so should be used in accordance with the target pathogen. 

Although, both have a wide variety of applications. Rubbing alcohol is generally safer when coming into contact with skin. This, of course, depends on concentrations and uses. 

Hydrogen peroxide is not a dangerous substance when being handled at the correct concentration however it is harsher, whereas rubbing alcohol is a more gentle option. 

When used with textiles rubbing alcohol is a better option and hydrogen peroxide has discoloration and bleaching properties which could affect the color of your fabrics.

Uses of Hydrogen peroxide and Rubbing alcohol

There are many overlapping applications of these chemicals however they vary in industrial and home use due to their specific properties

Hydrogen Peroxide 

● Skin antiseptic: Used for small scrapes to prevent infection. 

● Clean tools: Used to disinfect beauty tools like nail clippers or even kitchenware. 

● Surface sanitation: used on counters or refrigerators to keep away harmful germs. 

● Hair bleach: bleaching properties are applied to hair lightening. 


Rubbing Alcohol 

● Skin antiseptic: Used for small scrapes to prevent infection. 

● Surface sanitation: used on counters or refrigerators to keep away harmful germs. 

● Piercing care: As it is a gentler surgical chemical it can be used to clean fresh piercings. 

● Fabric cleaning: As it is not a discoloring compound it can be used to remove stains and odors from textiles without damaging them

Safety Precautions

Although both are used commonly in homes and have many applications they are active chemicals that should always be handled with care. Both should be kept away from the eyes. They could cause irritation or even eye damage. 

In certain cases, it is advisable to wear eye protection. Rubbing alcohol is a highly flammable substance so should be kept away from fire at all times

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