I need to increase the wetting of an $\ce{H2O2}$ solution on ceramic surfaces. Does anyone know of a common chemical I can use for this?

The properties it would ideally have are:

  • Increases wetting of $\ce{H2O2}$ - water mixture on ceramics (particularly glazed tiles and tile grout).
  • Does not react or reacts very slowly with $\ce{H2O2}$ (and water).
  • Non-toxic / low toxicity. Food safe would be ideal.
  • Reaction products are non-toxic / low toxicity.
  • Reaction products are all either soluble in water or evaporate under atmospheric conditions.
  • Commonly available and reasonably cheap.
  • Non-foaming or anti-foaming.

Thank you so much to anyone who has a suggestion.


Listerine/Total Care/Stain Remover/Anticavity Mouthwash (4 lines to name the product!) contains H2O2 and sodium lauryl sulfate (and 21.6% ethanol) in a purple plastic bottle. Both the ethanol and the sodium lauryl sulfate would lower the surface tension of the solution.

You might try this mouthwash on the ceramic as is - it is supposed to clean teeth...

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you this observation is absolutely perfect. In fact the idea to look at tooth whiteners is absolutely genius the requirements are almost the same as the ones for my application. I will certainly add ethanol. And maybe SLS too although it is foaming I believe that might not be a problem. In terms of using mouthwash directly I plan to use H2o2 at 12% concentration which is probably (!) a bit higher, although I could boost it with a top-up. $\endgroup$ – user183966 Sep 20 '18 at 13:52

You might consider chlorhexidine gluconate. It is a cationic surfactant used as a skin cleanser and disinfectant prior to surgery, and is an ingredient in certain mouthwash products, so it must have low toxicity. Drug stores sell scented and unscented solutions for hand washing -- choose the unscented.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for your suggestion. Just to confirm, since I saw on the wikipedia article that chlorhexidine is prone to precipitation with anions, do you know it won't react like this with the H2O2 peracid group (or in any other way)? The safety aspect is not quite as cast-iron as I would like, but on the other had in my application the disinfectant effect could be seen as an advantage. $\endgroup$ – user183966 Sep 18 '18 at 21:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.