The household cleaner you’d NEVER expect

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cleaningBet you didn’t guess this– it’s soda! Carbonated soda has been proven to be an excellent household cleaner, used from clearing sinks to eliminating grease stains.

Here are a few of the things soda can do:

1. Clean drains: If your sink drain is sluggish, try pouring some carbonated soda down it before reaching for chemical drain cleaners. The carbonation attacks grease and can clear away some clogs.

2. Erase grease marks: Use soda on grease stains. Pour it directly onto greasy work clothes or spills in the kitchen or garage. To reduce stickiness, use diet. The aspartame (and other chemical artificial flavors) are less sticky than natural sugar.

3. Loosen rusty screws and bolts: Pour it directly onto the problem bolt, wait a moment and the screw or bolt should be more manageable. Also, try using soda and a scrubbing pad to remove rust from metal surfaces.

4. Remove stains in toilet bowls: Pour a can of soda into your toilet bowl. Wait half an hour and stubborn stains should be easier to remove. Diet sodas are better for this, due to the chemical sweeteners.

5.  If you have any objects made from silver or plated with silver, you know that the bright, shiny surface of silver gradually darkens and becomes less shiny. This happens because silver undergoes a chemical reaction with sulfur-containing substances in the air. You can use chemistry to reverse the tarnishing reaction, and make the silver shiny again.

For this experiment you will need:

  • a tarnished piece of silver
  • a pan or dish large enough to completely immerse the silver in
  • aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the pan
  • enough water to fill the pan
  • a vessel in which to heat the water
  • hot pads or kitchen mitts with which to handle the heated water vessel
  • baking soda, about 1 cup per gallon of water

Line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil. Set the silver object on top of the aluminum foil. Make sure the silver touches the aluminum.

Heat the water to boiling. Remove it from the heat and place it in a sink. To the hot water, add about one cup of baking soda for each gallon of water. (If you need only half a gallon of water, use half a cup of baking soda.) The mixture will froth a bit and may spill over; this is why you put it in the sink.

Pour the hot baking soda and water mixture into the pan, and completely cover the silver.

Almost immediately, the tarnish will begin to disappear. If the silver is only lightly tarnished, all of the tarnish will disappear within several minutes. If the silver is badly tarnished, you may need to reheat the baking soda and water mixture, and give the silver several treatments to remove all of the tarnish.