Monday, March 30, 2009

Surprising Household Cleaners

Baking Soda as Silver-Polisher
Original purpose: Making cakes rise.
Aha! use: Polishing silver. Wash items, then place on aluminum foil in the bottom of a pot. Add a baking-soda solution (1/4 cup soda, a few teaspoons salt, 1 quart boiling water) to cover for a few seconds.
Reward: A chemical reaction that gets the black off the gravy boat.

Original purpose:
Adding zing to soups or salad dressings.
Aha! use: Removing tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Reward: A house that smells like a lemon grove rather than chemicals .

Mesh Vegetable Bag
Original purpose:
Toting home potatoes, onions, and tomatoes on the vine.

Aha! use: Scrubbing up after dinner. Cut ends open, scrunch, and add soap and water.
Reward: After a gooey mac-and-cheese cleanup, you can throw this freebie sponge away guilt-free.

Lemonade Kool-Aid
Original purpose:
Quenching your thirst.
Aha! use: Cleaning lime deposits and iron stains inside the dishwasher. Pour a packet of lemonade Kool-Aid (the only flavor that works) into the detergent cup and run the (empty) dishwasher.
Reward: Citric acid in the mix wipes out stains; you don't have to.

Cooking Oil
Original purpose:
A hot bath for fried foods.Aha! use: Removing adhesive from glasses. Apply cooking oil to the sticker using a paper towel or a soft cloth, rub firmly, then rinse with warm, soapy water. (If the adhesive is stubborn, use a dab of toothpaste along with the oil.)
Reward: Goo Gone be gone―one less cleaning product to buy.

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