Does Hydrogen Peroxide Evaporate?


Most individuals are unaware that hydrogen peroxide is frequently found in their houses. It is a component in most cleaning products, bleach, hair dyes, and teeth whiteners. Due to its antimicrobial properties, it is broadly applied in the medical sector. But what happens when hydrogen peroxide is used on surfaces? Does hydrogen peroxide evaporate?

Whether hydrogen peroxide evaporates at room temperature, how long it takes to evaporate, and what happens after it dries are all explained in this article. Find out if hydrogen peroxide evaporates more quickly than water if it leaves a residue, if it breaks down on its own, and how fast it does so.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Evaporate at Room Temperature?

At room temperature, hydrogen peroxide evaporates. It is a colorless blue liquid with a bitter taste at room temperature. At room temperatures, which range at an average of 68°F(20°C), the peroxide is only stable for a short period before evaporating. Hydrogen and oxygen molecules combine to form the chemical compound hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).

Evaporation is when a liquid turns into a gas, releasing it into the air. The molecules’ kinetic energy or the environment’s high temperatures cause the process. The energy of the hydrogen peroxide molecules at the surface is greater than that of the molecules below. They then gather sufficient energy to separate their liquid makeup and transform it into gas.

The air contains trace levels of gaseous hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide quickly breaks into oxygen and water with heat release because it is unstable. It can evaporate into water and oxygen gas while the container is closed. The water will be left behind as the oxygen gas escapes.

How Long Does It Take for Hydrogen Peroxide to Evaporate?

Hydrogen peroxide evaporates over a span of 15 to 60 minutes in warm temperatures. The local humidity and temperature influence the evaporating peroxide rate. It will take 8 to 10 hours if the peroxide is kept in a cold, dry atmosphere. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide will also affect how quickly it evaporates.

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A highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide will take a shorter time to evaporate. 

What Happens to Hydrogen Peroxide When It Dries?

When hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with heat, the water molecules evaporate faster than peroxide. Dry hydrogen peroxide is a gas. It is slightly less concentrated even though aqueous hydrogen peroxide is a much weaker acid. The dry hydrogen peroxide works similarly to nitrogen and oxygen as they spread through the air.

Common effects of exposure to dry hydrogen peroxide are: 

  • Irritation of the throat, nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Coughing and shortness of breath. 
  • Headache,
  • Dizziness

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Evaporate Faster Than Water?

Water evaporates faster than hydrogen peroxide. Water and hydrogen peroxide have similar properties. However, hydrogen peroxide is 40% denser. Atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are present in water (H2O) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen peroxide, however, has an additional oxygen atom. Water will evaporate significantly more quickly than hydrogen peroxide since it has a lower boiling point.

Water often reaches its boiling point at 212°F (100°C). The hydrogen peroxide is a boiling point of 302 °F (150 °C) in temperature. Due to its stronger hydrogen bonding than water, hydrogen peroxide has a higher boiling point. Hydrogen peroxide contains two oxygen atoms, meaning each molecule has four hydrogen bonds. Per water molecule, there are only three hydrogen bonds.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Leave a Residue?

When hydrogen peroxide evaporates, there is no residue left behind. Because it is water-soluble, it is usually added to harsher chemical cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide has the chemical formula (H2O2), broken down into H2O and O2. The elements of water and oxygen can be found in nature and are not harmful.

Hydrogen peroxide is ideal for the food industry and water purification applications because it leaves no chemical residues. Our bodies’ catalase and peroxidase enzymes can neutralize hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations. Yet, higher concentrations might be dangerous since hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent.

Due to its ability to disinfect, it is also perfect for use in healthcare. Because hydrogen peroxide reacts so quickly and leaves no chemical residues behind, it is biodegradable. Peroxide is used to disinfect surfaces and hands as well as treat water. You can use its solutions to disinfect people directly.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Decompose on Its Own?

Hydrogen peroxide can decompose on its own. It is easy for hydrogen peroxide to break down naturally due to the instability of the peroxide bond. An oxygen-oxygen (peroxide bond) is present in hydrogen peroxide. The bond is unstable and weak. The hydrogen peroxide breaks into water and oxygen when the bond breaks. A catalyst can quicken the breakdown process, which can also happen naturally.

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Manufacturers are bound to provide an expiration date on items that contain hydrogen peroxide because of this property. Sunlight’s UV rays can speed up hydrogen peroxide’s breakdown into water and oxygen gas—one explanation for why most hydrogen peroxide-containing products come in dark plastic packaging.

Store your hydrogen peroxide in a refrigerator to increase its shelf life and stop natural decomposition. Put it in a dark container if that isn’t an option. If exposed to heat and light, do not use hydrogen peroxide. Use a clean spoon or dropper rather than your fingers to extract it from the container to prevent contamination.

How Fast Does Hydrogen Peroxide Break Down?

Whether the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide occurs naturally or with a catalyst will affect the period it takes. One of the catalysts that can hasten the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide is thought to be sunlight. The catalase enzyme in your body and every other living thing speeds up the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

Several catalysts will speed up the reaction in a chemical lab, as shown below:

  • Lead dioxide,
  • Catalase,
  • Potassium Iodide,
  • Manganese (IV) oxide,
  • Iron (III) chloride. 

Hydrogen peroxide decomposes into oxygen and water vapor when exposed to air. It undergoes chemical changes due to air exposure, which results in energy loss.

Hydrogen peroxides degrade into peroxides over time. Due to the peroxides’ high reactivity, tissue necrosis, inflammation, and irritation occur. The hydrogen peroxide container might begin to heat up or make a bubbling sound due to the reaction. You should never use hydrogen peroxide near ignition sources or open flames.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you mix hydrogen peroxide and salt water?

Should you mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar?

You shouldn’t. Peracetic acid is formed when you mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Acetic acid is a component of vinegar. Since vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are corrosive, using the two on surfaces could result in damage.

The mixture irritates the skin, eyes, and respiratory system when inhaled. To avoid coming into contact with their potentially harmful effects, use the two compounds separately if you intend to use them for cleaning.

What causes hydrogen peroxide to react?

One oxygen-oxygen bond makes up hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide will most likely decompose into water and oxygen due to the weak bond breaking. Free radicals are released during the reactions and are very reactive with other substances.

The extra oxygen atom in hydrogen peroxide is what gives it its high level of reactivity. Exothermic means that a lot of energy is released throughout the process. You can see such a process when you use some hydrogen peroxide on a cut.

You’ll notice a fizzling foam as a sign that the solution kills bacteria and healthy cells. When hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with blood, it begins to break down. Catalase is an enzyme that attacks hydrogen peroxide and breaks it down into water and oxygen. It is found in blood and most living cells.

Does hydrogen peroxide break down over time?

Over time, hydrogen peroxide loses more and more of its effectiveness. It starts breaking down as soon as it is packaged before being used. Hydrogen peroxide decomposes into oxygen and water in a closed container. Water remains after oxygen escapes through the container’s lid.

Hydrogen peroxide can keep for up to three years in a closed container. It only works for one to six months after you open the jar. The reduced period is because the air hastens the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.


Due to its instability, hydrogen peroxide, a colorless blue liquid, evaporates at room temperature. It breaks down into oxygen and water. Interestingly, water evaporates more faster than hydrogen peroxide. The main reason being hydrogen peroxide is 40% denser due to stronger hydrogen bonding and the extra oxygen atom.

Hydrogen peroxide is water soluble and does not leave any chemical residue it evaporates. Due mainly to the peroxide bond hydrogen peroxide can break down naturally. It simply takes a few hours for the hydrogen peroxide to start degrading.

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