Hydrogen Peroxide, or H2O2 is a substance that is found in many household products. As such, you may be wondering whether it is completely safe to have in your home.
Our homes are our safe spaces, and you will never want to bring something inside that could be possibly flammable, explosive or dangerous.
Luckily, we are here to tell you whether Hydrogen Peroxide is a fire hazard, and how you can ensure that the way you use it is safe.
With our guide, you can find out exactly what Hydrogen Peroxide is, whether it is flammable, and whether it is explosive. So, what exactly is Hydrogen Peroxide, and where can it be found?
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
We use Hydrogen Peroxide in a range of applications in our everyday lives. For instance, you may be surprised how many household items will have hydrogen peroxide in.
You can find this chemical in your hair dyes, in your bathroom cleaners or even as a whitening agent in your toothpaste!
Hydrogen Peroxide is a colorless chemical, and is used in a range of personal care products such as bleaches, hair dyes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, along with cleaning products such as stain removers, bathroom bleaches and cleaners.
Whilst this ingredient is apparent in a wide range of items in our homes, you should exercise caution when using it. Although it is not classed as flammable in most cases...it can be dangerous in large quantities and concentrations.
Although Hydrogen Peroxide is not fuel for a fire, it can make a fire worse, or intensify the flames as it provides oxygen. A fire is created with three key elements. These are fuel, oxygen and heat. Without all three, a fire will not ignite or continue to burn, and will go out.
This is how we extinguish fires, by removing one of the key elements. For instance, when pouring water on a fire, you are cooling and removing the heat, and when you pour sand on a fire, you are starving the fuel of oxygen and actively smothering the fire, putting it out.
Whilst Hydrogen Peroxide is not a flammable substance, it does create oxygen, which can intensify and increase a fire under the right conditions.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Flammable?
No, Hydrogen Peroxide by itself is not flammable, and will not burn. However, it can still be a risk as it acts as an oxidizer.
This means that it adds oxygen into other elements. As fires need oxygen to burn, they will thrive off an oxidizer. Oxidizers can intensify and increase fires in some cases, and can even lead substances to explode.
What this means is that, by itself, Hydrogen Peroxide is not a flammable substance, but it can still be a fire risk as it mixes with other substances, and can increase the oxygen.
This can in turn increase the severity of a fire, or make a fire more likely to spark and ignite due to the amount of oxygen.
All Hydrogen Peroxide needs is the right fuel and heat, and a fire can start easily, as it increases the severity of a fire, or the chance of something burning.
Therefore, although it is not considered flammable, you should be careful with products that contain Hydrogen Peroxide, and only use them as instructed.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Explosive?
What we do know is that depending on the amount of Hydrogen Peroxide, and the concentration, it can react with different substances differently. Whether Hydrogen Peroxide is a hazard or not depends on its concentration.
For instance, the concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide in hair bleach, contact lens solution and other over the counter products is less than 8%, which is not dangerous or explosive.
On the other hand, swimming pool shock treatments containing Hydrogen Peroxide have a concentration of between 8% and 28%. This can have a slightly increased burning rate than lower concentrations, but it is still considered safe for the most part.
As concentration increases, and is more than 28% to 52%, its burning rate increases from slight to moderate. These sorts of substances would typically be Industrial Strength Hydrogen Peroxide which will need to be used with some caution.
Speciality chemicals can have a Hydrogen Peroxide concentration of about 52% to 91%, which can cause a severe increase in the burning rate, and can sometimes be capable of exploding or detonating.
Finally, you have Hydrogen Peroxide concentrations in more than 91%, which can be used as rocket propellant, and is therefore highly explosive, and can spontaneously ignite without a source.
Therefore, in very high concentrations, Hydrogen Peroxide can be explosive and dangerous, as it can ignite spontaneously and quickly.
However, most commercial uses of Hydrogen Peroxide have very low concentrations of 8% or less, which makes it perfectly safe for home use and everyday use.
To summarize, for the most part, Hydrogen Peroxide is not flammable or an explosive. However, it can become a fire hazard when used in higher quantities and concentrations, so you should exercise caution in these cases.