Q:

Is hydrogen peroxide an acid or a base?

A:

Quick Answer

Hydrogen peroxide is slightly acidic pH of 6.2 and is, therefore, similar to milk or rain water. That is the pH of hydrogen peroxide at full concentration; all hydrogen peroxide solutions sold commercially are diluted and are more acidic because they actually have a lower pH.

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Is hydrogen peroxide an acid or a base?
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Full Answer

The hydrogen peroxide used to bleach hair is a solution containing between 6 and 10 percent hydrogen peroxide. At that level of concentration, the solution has a pH of around 5.3, making it as acidic as black coffee. The most acidic hydrogen peroxide solutions are those whose concentrations are between 50 and 70 percent. These have a pH of 4.5. The process for commercially manufacturing hydrogen peroxide solutions also leaves behind acidic byproducts which can lower the pH by two to four points; this makes these solutions significantly more acidic. The extent of this decrease in pH depends on the subsequent method of purification. The stabilizers added to commercial solutions also tend to be acids, though some are bases or neutral. Sometimes phosphoric or nitric acids are added as additional stabilizers because hydrogen peroxide decomposes less readily at lower pH.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Is hydrogen peroxide an electrolyte?

    A:

    Hydrogen peroxide is an electrolyte. It is similar to water in its weak electrolyte profile and electrical conductivity. Hydrogen peroxide is typically found in low concentrations in the environment as a gas and in water.

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  • Q:

    Does hydrogen peroxide expire?

    A:

    Hydrogen peroxide, which is a weak acid, does expire. If the container remains sealed, it retains its full strength for about one year. However, once the container has been opened, hydrogen peroxide lasts for only 30 to 45 days.

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  • Q:

    What reacts with hydrogen peroxide?

    A:

    Hydrogen peroxide can act as an oxidizing or reducing agent at different pH values, enabling its reaction with both metals and nonmetals, such as iron and fluorine respectively. Hydrogen peroxide is highly oxidizing in acidic solutions, outranking halogens and halogen compounds, such as fluorine and chlorine dioxide, in oxidation potential.

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  • Q:

    Where does hydrogen peroxide come from?

    A:

    Hydrogen peroxide can be manufactured in a number of different ways, but the most common methods involve the reaction of oxygen with isopropyl alcohol and anthraquinone. Some of the uses of hydrogen peroxide include as a bleaching agent and in the manufacture of other chemicals.

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