The images of empty shelves and signs detailing limits on cleaning products have left many wondering about alternatives to traditional cleaning products and have some looking to a product that you might remember from first aid kits-past: hydrogen peroxide. The compound is used to kill germs and bacteria in wounds, which has led some to ask, can hydrogen peroxide be used to kill germs and bacteria in your house?

Wait, what is hydrogen peroxide again?

If you ever fell down and scraped your leg growing up, its likely that you had an encounter with hydrogen peroxide shortly after. The mild antiseptic been a staple of first aid kits for generations and has long been used to clean cuts and burns.

Still, many medical professionals don’t recommend just pouring it directly over wounds anymore. “Hydrogen peroxide is very effective as a skin disinfectant but can inhibit wound healing,” says Dr. Andrew Alexis, MD, chair of Mount Sinai’s department of dermatology. “We typically dilute it 50-50 with sterile water and use the diluted solution as a soak with gauze which is applied to wounds.”

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Clean Your House?

In theory, you can. Rutgers University says hydrogen peroxide is typically sold in concentrations of about 3 percent, which is effective at killing germs in the home. You can use it straight from the bottle, or you can dilute it to 0.5% concentration and leave it on surfaces for one minute before wiping it off.

Worth noting: Hydrogen peroxide can cause discoloration so maybe don’t use it on your white countertops.

Dr. Alexis also notes that while hydrogen peroxide is germicidal and can kill a wide range of bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores, it may not be effective against some organisms.

When it comes to the coronavirus, he turns to the experts over at the CDC and recommends following their recommendation of using a diluted bleach solution (1/3rd cup bleach per gallon of water) for disinfecting your home.