Household Uses for Ammonia

ammonia-705810_FullI usually don’t think much about ammonia. I don’t use it, never have but my mother does occasionally. I know it’s an excellent cleaning agent, but also very powerful. It should not be used in closed spaces- I think that as a child, my mother may have impressed this point just a TAD more than I needed, and I grew a very small fear over it (I was really quite prone to over-reacting in this way as a child). So anyway, I’ve been wondering about it since Rick brought it up a few days ago. He is working on a plant project, and wanted some to feed them. The nitrogen content in ammonia is quite high, and that’s good for plants. It was at that point that I realized I really should re-visit the stuff. Most people keep it around their house, and I don’t, so todays post is very much for me to learn about the stuff as well as share it with you!!

Ammonia is a colorless gas, and actually has to be dissolved in water before we can use it for these household applications. Of course, it’s bottled and sold in the store ready to use. It’s powerful stuff, so if you plan to use it to clean, it’s not a bad idea to test a spot first. Put a drop of two on the item you wish to clean and use a white cloth to blot the area. If any of the color of the item comes off on the white cloth, DON’T use ammonia on that! lol

NEVER use ammonia with bleach or any other product containing chlorine! The fumes are HIGHLY toxic! Work in a well ventilated space and avoid breathing ammonia vapors. Wear rubber gloves and avoid skin contact. Store out of the reach of children.

Clean your oven. This is apparently an effortless way to clean your electric oven, and I wish I’d known about it before I used that LETHAL oven cleaning solution!! I burned the HELL out of my skin in a few places… this would have been much better! Warm your oven to 150 degrees and then turn it off. Place a bowl containing 1/2 cup ammonia on the top shelf and a large pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Close the oven door and let stand overnight. The next morning, remove the bowls and let the oven air out before wiping it clean with the ammonia and a few drops of dilluted dishwashing liquid diluted in a quart of warm water. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD ON A GAS OVEN!!

Clean oven racks. If you have cooked on grime on your oven racks, lay them out on a n old towel in a large washtub. If you use your bathtub, you’ll have to scrub it down afterwards! Fill the tub with warm water and 1/2 cup ammonia. Let the racks soak for at least 15 minutes then remove, wipe down and rinse.

Clean crystal. Bring back the sparkle by mixing a few drops of ammonia in 2 cups water and wiping with a cloth. Rinse in clear water and dry with a different soft cloth.

Eliminate paint odors. If you’ve freshly painted a room and hate the smell, place a small dish of ammonia in the room (out of the reach of children and pets!) and it will absorb the smell.

Clean the fireplace doors. Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia with 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 liter of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the doors and let it sit for a few seconds before wiping the crud off with a cloth. Repeat if necessary.

Clean gold and silver jewelry. Soak your items for 10 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed in 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean. DO NOT use this method on jewelry with pearls, it will destroy their luster!!

Remove tarnish from brass and silver. Gently scrub your items with a soft brush dipped in ammonia. Wipe off any remaining liquid with a very soft cloth or chamois (sham-wow works for this)

Restore white shoes. Rub singy white shoes with a cloth dipped in half strenght ammonia.

Remove stains from clothing. There are several methods. Silk, wool or spandex require a mix of half ammonia, half water:
Rub out perspiration, blood and urine stains by dabbing the area with the half-strength ammonia solution before tossing in the laundry.

Remove non oily stains using equal parts of ammoia, water and dishwashing liquid. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, shake well and apply directly to the stain. Let sit for a few minutes and then rinse out.

Remove paint from clothes by saturating the items several times with half ammonia, half turpentine solution, and then tossing them in the wash.

Clean carpets and upholstery. Sponge the stain with 1 cup clear ammonia in 1/2 gallon of warm water. Let dry thoroughly.

Brighten up windows. Wipe away dirt, fingerprints and doggie nose prints. Us a soft cloth dampened with a solution of 1 cup clear ammonia in 3 cups water. This is a streak free solution!

Clean bathroom tiles and kill mildew. Use 1/4 cup ammonia in 1 gallon of water and sponge down the tiles.

Use as plant food. Ammonia can be used on alkaline-loving flowering plants and vegetables like clematis, lilak, hydrangea and cucumbers. Occasionally treat your plants with a shower of 1/4 cup ammonia mixed with 1 gallon of water.

Stop mosquito bites from itching. If you have not yet scratched the bite open, put one drop of ammonia directly on the bite.

Keep stray animals out of your garbage. Spray the outside and lids of your outdoor garbage cans with half strength ammonia.

Fight mildew all over the house. Remember to use rubber gloves and do these things in a well ventilated area!

Clean the mildew off painted outdoor surfaces and unfinished wood by using 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 gallon of water. Rinse thoroghly and use a dry cloth to sop up the extra moisture on the wood.

To remove mildew from wicker furniture, wash down with a solution of 2 tablespoons ammonia in 1 gallon water. Use an old toothbrush to get into the hard to reach spots.


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