# Can ethanol be oxidized by hydrogen peroxide?

Is it possible to oxidize ethanol to acetic acid with hydrogen peroxide and if yes then under what circumstances? I tried it in room temperature but either concentration was too small (of hydrogen peroxide(3%)) or I couldn't quite precisely read the the results of the universal indicator. I also tried heating it up, but it didn't change anything. The color stayed the same (of indicator). Can someone please explain me if the mistake was in my experiment (if the reaction can happen in room temperature) or the reaction needs some specific catalyst or other conditions. The reaction would be:

\begin{align} \ce{\underset{(ethanol)}{C2H6O} + H2O2 &-> \underset{(aldehyde)}{C2H4O} + 2H2O}\\ \ce{\underset{(aldehyde)}{C2H4O} + H2O2 &-> \underset{(acetic acid)}{C2H4O2} + H2O} \end{align}

Or the reaction without the middle part (since aldehyde will try to oxidize faster then ethanol) would be:

$$\ce{C2H6O + 2H2O2 -> C2H4O2 + 3H2O}$$

• What are you trying to oxidize it to? Ethanal? Acetic acid? Carbon dioxide? – Zhe Apr 19 '17 at 19:05
• Oxidizing ethanol to acetic acid with H2O2 is pretty much like throwing a lump of bubble-gum from the roof of a building in the hope that it would stick to the wall at the height of 3rd floor, no more, no less. With great chances, it would either stick at some other height, or fall all the way down to the ground. – Ivan Neretin Apr 19 '17 at 19:55
• Indeed, that doesn't seem good idea. At very least you'd need much more concentrated and probably acidified solution. – Mithoron Apr 19 '17 at 22:19