Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Wounds?

Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Wounds?


If you know any kids — or remember being
one yourself — you might know that they can be… an active bunch. They tend to do a lot of running around, bouncing
off of walls, and just generally trying to get places without always looking where they’re
going. Which can mean a lot of scraped knees and
elbows. And sometimes, hydrogen peroxide. A lot of people use hydrogen peroxide to clean
wounds, and it isn’t exactly pleasant: in addition to making the scrape hurt even more
by activating the receptors that make you feel pain, the wound gets all weird and bubbly. But the reason it bubbles is also the reason
you probably shouldn’t be using it to clean wounds — even though hydrogen peroxide is
really, really good at killing bacteria. If anything, it’s too good. Peroxide kills bacteria by attracting the
electrons from their cellular membranes, breaking the membranes open. That fizzing you see? That’s mostly the
peroxide reacting with an enzyme inside the bacteria, called catalase, forming water and
oxygen gas. Problem is, hydrogen peroxide is such a great
antiseptic because it doesn’t care what kinds of cells it destroys. So, peroxide will kill your cells, too! It
rips through their membranes like they were just run-of-the-mill, scrape-knee bacteria. And it’ll also make your cells fizz, because
your cells also have catalase in them. Why? Because your body actually makes hydrogen
peroxide on its own! Your cells produce it as waste when they process
sugar. So your cells are stocked with catalase to
help turn that hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen before it can do any harm. But, when peroxide comes at your cells from
the outside, the catalase can’t protect them. So, when you pour peroxide on a cut, and it
starts to fizz, it’s not only killing bacteria — it’s also killing some of your healthy
cells. Like the cells that were gonna help heal the
wound. So what should you do if you or your kid skins
a knee? Well, first of all, if it’s anything major
or you’re concerned for any reason, I’m obligated to tell you to call your doctor. But for scrapes you’re treating at home,
most doctors and researchers wouldn’t recommend using an antiseptic at all — cold water,
and maybe some soap, is enough to clean it. Thank you to Kelsey one of our patrons on
patreon for asking this question, and thanks to all our patrons, who keep these answers
coming. If you’d like to submit a question to be answered, you go to patreon.com/scishow.
And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe!

100 Replies to “Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Wounds?”

  1. As a nurse, we generally don't use hydrogen peroxide on wounds (even though I grew up using it all the time!). When I rarely use hydrogen peroxide for things at work, I usually dilute it with normal saline.

    Simple wounds, I tell my patients normal saline (which I give them) or soap and water.

  2. I use it to stop wounds from getting infected. Works great, clean it, keep neosporin on it with a bandaid until it heels. If it's in a spot that isn't great for a bandaid, I rub salt in it before bed. Yes salt, by morning the cut is looking a lot better.

  3. just burn it off with a blowtorch hi the blowtorch burning your skin for about 15 minutes straight you have a small chance of getting a 6th degree burn but it kills the bacteria

  4. if peroxide doesn't care what cells it kills,then could hydrogen peroxide be used to cure cancer because it could kill all the excessive cells

  5. The reason you shouldn't use it is because it further damages you. It impedes the healing process instead of aiding it.

  6. This guy has no idea what he's talking about. I've used hydrogen peroxide on cuts and wounds and even an infected toe, it works great, no pain what so ever and heals much quicker than nothing at all.

  7. I am a real man, I clean my wounds with fire and molten iron as the Gods of Metal intended!
    So if you may excuse me, I'm drinking my dayly dose of gasoline now.

  8. It is good to use hydrogen peroxide on some wounds. Like cat bites. Cats can carry bacteria that is dangerous to humans. The needle like teeth that cats have cause thin, deep wounds that heal over quickly, trapping the bacteria inside. Using hydrogen peroxide to clean it out gets rid of most of the bacteria and causes your body to heal a bit slower, so that whatever is left doesn't get trapped inside.

  9. I cut my knee riding my bike when I was younger. I poured this stuff on the cut every friday for 2 months. I ended up with REALLY bad staph infection. I had to get surgery 3 months later

  10. Hydrogen Peroxide is used as a debridling agent in wound care and oral health. Essentially you use it to break down foreign materials in a wound. Its extremely good at removing dirt from wounds compared to alcohol and allows the aid to see the remaining particles unlike Iodine. Soap is still better because of its ability to capture oils which most pathogens and bacteria enjoy floating in.

  11. I'm 16 and I skin my knee all the time because I run and my left ankle always folds up, it ain't child exclusive!

  12. you really don't want to use water to clean cuts, considering what they put in water.
    alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are not only good at killing bacteria , but they both damage nerve receptors creating heat to warm up the dermis layers so that skin can fully regenerate.

  13. Yeah I was putting it on a wound daily because after a shower the scab would slide off. I have a half an inch diameter scar that was larger than the actual wound. (Shot with a pellet gun in chest shirtless)

  14. (Through experience) some wounds do benefit from the short use of the peroxide. As in, don't leave it on the wound for more than 30 seconds. In one instance, I had a canker sore on the inside of my lip for over a week. A white-ish scab had formed over it, apparently preventing/prolonging the healing process. I applied a small amount (so small that I used a Q-tip to dry it up after) and let it sit until the scab was gone. The sore was gone in 2 days. I'm not recommending this if you don't trust yourself, as ingesting this stuff can cause some really, really serious problems- so just be very careful if you do chose to do this. As for any other wounds, as the video stated, if it's serious please see a doctor, and if it's not don't worry about it because it'll be gone shortly.

  15. I remember I had a pretty nasty cut on my knee and my mom insisted on using hydrogen peroxide. It burned like hell, and it fizzed… Finally I can prove what I've been saying all along…

  16. In my country we use iodopovidone whenever you cut yourself or something like that, and when I went to live to the use I found it so weird that people used hydrogen peroxide xD idk why

  17. I usually just use superglue. It works like a charm, and seals the wound in the process, as long as you wipe off the blood first. Otherwise you get a long string of solid blood instead, and the wound stays open. I used to do a lot of flintknapping with obsidian, and so my hands used to be covered in tiny cuts, and since obsidian is so sharp, even a tiny cut is enough to leak quite a bit of blood. And hands slippery or sticky with blood make holding onto the stone really hard. So superglue fixes the problem real quick. Other than that, I have used pine resin that I collect and purify for making varnish. a small chunk of warmed up resin tends to cover a wound rather well, and its antibacterial on top of that. I have heard honey also works.

  18. There's a crime scene cleanup outfit who uses lots of peroxide to dilute blood before sucking it up with a vacuum cleaner. They prefer peroxide over bleach.

  19. i never clean my cuts.. or use bandaids or anything. never had one get infected before. your immune system will never learn to kill bacteria if you never let it. one time i was working on a 40 year old engine.. coated in old nasty grease and dirt.. my hands were caked in it, and i accidently took a chunk out of my thumb.. i wrapped it in my shirt and kept working.. when it wouldn't stop bleeding i wrapped it in toilet paper and electrical tape and never bothered to wash it out. took the tape off the next day and let it heal. didn't even get all the nasty old dirt and grease out till like a week later.

  20. However, in the case that you worry about flesh-eating bacteria infection, it may be wise to treat the wound with H2O2 before bandaging it. A little pain from the bubbles may save a lot of worrying or worse.

  21. This is medicaly wrong, hydrogen is good for small wounds and scratches. It kills bacteria, especially anaerobic ones, and also washes out all the dirt with bubbles(which are created in reaction with proteins). Also it does not hurt, unless the wound contaminated witj bactera or if the wound is deep (in witch case you should not even touch it, just get a doctor).

  22. My mom has been lying to me… well if anything I'll just use it when I get the wound very recently just to kill any other bacteria. Then just use water and soap.

  23. It always depends on what kind of wound you are having… There's no hydrogen peroxide that could heal the wound of a painful past. 💔💔💔

  24. I just used it to deep clean a worsening wound. And I had to scrap out green and pus. At the end of the day, a clean wound is better than leaving it to fester.

  25. Got it. I have a wound and its already healing then I put HydrogenPeroxide after washing the wound and it become fresh again.

  26. I mostly use hydrogen peroxide to clean out scratches from my cats. Those aren't crazy dangerous by themselves, and the scab up very fast, but the claws themselves often have some nasty bacteria on them. (Cat scratch fever, anyone?) So I figure overkill isn't the worst thing in the world in that scenario.

  27. My dog has a large tuor on her leg and its bleeding from her chewing on it., if the HP kills all cells, then if I put it on her tumor, it should kill off some of the caner too ?

  28. There's pseudoscience on this being a cure all; currently facepalming cause guy thinks oxidants increase levels of antioxidants, not knowing any real aveince does that statement look like it makes sense?

  29. No but for real H2O2 is great for pink eye and sunburn specifically the 35% food grade one but I usually just use it on Halloween when I wanna get why are you serious on they ass and joke myself into a really shitty disclaimer… Disclaimer it's a joker joke DO NOT TRY IT LOL

  30. It's also great for job interviews you just pour food grade 35 % on your face and wait to turn white, I always get hired then.

  31. hydrogen peroxide is useless against catalase bacteria such as staphylococcal types (one of the most common of skin infections)

  32. isn't using soup on a wound even worse than something you actually "know" how it works (Hydrogen Peroxide) ?

    suggesting to use soup on a wound is basically the same as suggesting to pour random chemicals onto it.. <_<
    (and whatever else the soup might contain)

  33. Not sure why this guy's opinion is even considered important. Is he a a biologist? Does he understand the redox reactions? Does he understand what a signaling agent is? Of course no, he just made a video with a few words found on wikipedia.

  34. I do know that HP won't help athlete's foot. Brother tried it and wasted a ton of HP I could have used to disinfect/disintegrate rocks.

  35. I use hydrogen peroxide every time I've ever had it cut and I use it on my kids even and none of them have ever said it hurts or stings that's alcohol not hydrogen peroxide

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