July 27, 2009

Baking Soda, Not Just For Baking

Most of us know about putting a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to deodorize it and sprinkling it in the carpet eliminates pet smells.

Did you know you can also clean your silver with it? Moisture in the air causes silver to tarnish, the more humidity the faster this process. Silver loves to be handled, the oils in our skin keeps it from turning that yucky dark color that over time will deteriorate your pieces like rust.

Silver does not like rubber so do not wear rubber gloves to polish your silver. Either do it barehanded or while wearing cotton. Other enemies of this metal are salt, vinegar, fruit juices and eggs.

If you put flowers in a silver vase make sure to put a glass or plastic liner in first because as the flowers start to decay they will damage your silver.

Now that you know what to keep away from your silver, here’s how to clean it. You will need aluminum foil, baking soda, boiling water and salt. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a sink (I don’t advice doing this in a stainless steel sink), add enough boiling water to cover pieces, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt. Add silver pieces, making sure the water covers the pieces. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth. This method cleans the design and crevices. Great for etched ware you have a hard time cleaning.

You can use this method for jewelry too. You won’t need a full sink full unless you have let your entire collection go bad. A glass bowl or baking dish works great for this.

If you have a small piece that needs cleaning, you can make a paste of baking soda and water, rub the piece down, rinse and dry. It should be clean and shiny.

For sinks and counter tops that shouldn’t be cleaned with scouring powder you can use baking soda the same way. I don’t even buy Comet anymore. I took an empty clean Parmesan cheese container and keep baking soda in it for cleaning. You can use it on your dishes too.

If you have a grease fire on the stove sprinkle baking soda on the fire to put it out. Pouring water on it is a bad idea. It kind of explodes.

Ran out of toothpaste? Sprinkle some baking soda on your toothbrush bristles and brush as usual. It’s a bit salty tasting but not bad.

It also works as a deodorant. Just rub a little under your arms, like you would powder and you will be good to go. The active ingredient in most deodorants is bicarbonate.

You know that bubbly stuff you drink for heartburn and indigestion? Alka Seltzer I believe it is called. The active ingredient is, you guessed it, baking soda. Add half a teaspoon to half a glass of water and drink.

So what do you use baking soda for?

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