A peroxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen molecule bonded with another oxygen molecule. The most common one that many people know about is hydrogen peroxide, which is used primarily as a disinfectant and a bleaching agent. Most peroxide compound, in fact, are used as bleaching agents because of their whitening effect on organic substances. Peroxides will often be used in products such as hair dyes and laundry detergents, as well as in bleaching textile materials, such as paper.
Because of the reactive nature of peroxide bonds, the compound is found in numerous cleaning materials as well. Since peroxides are also extremely reactive with most substances, they are rarely found in nature. Special substances called peroxide salts are known to release oxygen when they come in contact with CO2, making them cheap and efficient ways to provide oxygen for people in tight quarters, such as submarines.