When it comes to being prepared for a disaster, there are a few things on just about everybody's lists: clean drinking water, shelf-stable food, and maybe a firearm for security. There are some other things, however, that aren't as commonly considered essential, but ought to be--like hydrogen peroxide.
While your neighbors with a flair for the dramatic prepare for the zombie apocalypse instead of more looming potential threats like long-term power outages or natural disasters, leave the spike sharpening up to them and swing by the pharmacy section of your local retail store to stock up on those brown bottles of goodness… because when the shit hits the fan (as people in the prepping community are so fond of saying) it'll do you a lot more good than another stack of samurai swords.
Clean stuff like your scraped knee (with or without your mom’s help)
It's going to take more than some peroxide to bring this mannequin to life, boys.
(U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)
The obvious use for hydrogen peroxide is as a mild antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes. It works just like it did when your mom was nursing your skinned knee, bubbling up as it releases oxygen that can ferry dead skin and anything else that doesn't belong away from your cut. In fact, you can pretty effectively use hydrogen peroxide to clean just about anything outside your body as well, including clothing, eating utensils, and water carriers.
It's important to note, however, that hydrogen peroxide is not intended for cleaning deep wounds, so although it is an antiseptic, you'll need to find an alternative for cleaning out zombie bites or serious cuts.
Keep your grill intact
We're not all as manly as Ron Swanson
Depending on who you ask, hydrogen peroxide is either a solid tool for mouth care (even in a non-disaster situation) or a terrible idea, and that really boils down to one factor: you absolutely cannot swallow the stuff. As long as you're sure you can be trusted to remember that, that brown bottle can go far in keeping your mouth from becoming a magnet for infection once your bathroom sink stops working.
Swishing a bit of bubbly from the brown bottle mixed with water can help treat canker sores and other small mouth wounds that could be prone to infection in a bad situation, help ease the symptoms of a sore throat, and even keep your pearly whites white in the absence of toothpaste. Just mix 1 part standard 3% concentrate hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water, swish, spit, and rinse. And again, kiddies, don't swallow the stuff.
Use it as a fertilizer to grow some food
I wouldn't use two Nick Offerman gifs in a row if they weren't just so damn perfect.
This may be the most unusual use for hydrogen peroxide that you'll come across, but it actually works. If you find yourself in a long-term survival situation, cultivating your own food could become essential. Tending a garden can be tough enough, but it's tougher when your soil isn't up to the task of producing healthy plants.
That's where hydrogen peroxide comes in: simply mix that same 3% concentrate brown-bottle peroxide with water at a ratio of about one cup per gallon of water (or 1.5 teaspoons of peroxide per cup of water) and then use that to water your plants.
The hydrogen peroxide will help fertilize the soil and prevent fungus or mildew from developing on the plant itself. Keep that water-to-peroxide ratio in mind though, as too much will quickly kill your new tomato plant.
Use it to ditch the (fungal) itch
It's not just a concern for the ladies.
Some of the most pressing threats in a long term survival situation aren't the dramatic shootouts and bear attacks we often see in movies--the truth is, the slow and steady degradation of your health will keep making day to day tasks harder if you aren't careful about managing things like hygiene.
Fungal infections like Athlete's Foot are a nuisance in our comfortable American lives, but could quickly become a serious issue in the absence of modern amenities and treatment -- and as many unfortunate souls can attest to, fungal infections aren't relegated to the feet. Yeast infections, for instance, can become serious business, and can feel nearly debilitating even under normal conditions.
The hydrogen peroxide you get in the brown bottle (3% concentration) can safely be used as a douche for women suffering from yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, and while it won't work as quickly or effectively as specific treatments, it'll do a lot more than nothing. Don't dismiss this one, fellas - you're able to get yeast infections too.