You’ve heard of cream of tartar before, and you may even have a container of it in a cupboard somewhere alongside your baking supplies, but have you ever considered how many ways you can actually use it? Cream of tartar, which is actually a byproduct of the winemaking process, is an acidic powder that is typically used in baking to stabilize eggs and creams, as well as adding volume and thickness to the final product. But I recently discovered that baking is just the tip of the iceberg with this inconspicuous powder!
The acidic nature of cream of tartar also makes it an excellent non-toxic cleaning agent for all sorts of jobs around the house, and can even be used to ward off bugs and treat laundry stains! After finding all of these great ways to use cream of tartar, I promise I’ll never take that little can for granted again! :-)
If ants are gathering on your driveway or sidewalks, sprinkle some cream of tartar to deter them away from the area.
Tackle Tough Jobs
Add hydrogen peroxide to a small bowl of cream of tartar, just enough to make a paste. Rub the paste on tough stains like rings in the bathtub, tough spots in the kitchen, and spills in the fridge. Allow the paste to dry out before wiping, then rinse the surface with water.
Make a paste of cream of tartar mixed with lemon juice to lift stains on clothing and carpets. Let the paste sit for an hour or two, then either machine wash as usual, or blot with a damp cloth. This mixture works well on ink stains!
Make a paste of cream of tartar mixed with white vinegar to make a great all-purpose kitchen cleaner. Use it on burner pans, grout lines, ovens, sinks, and to clean up mold and mildew. Store in a squeeze bottle for easy application.
Apply cream of tartar directly to stains around shirt collars. Dampen the collar area with water, sprinkle with cream of tartar, then rub the powder into the stain. Launder as usual.
Make a paste of cream of tartar and water to scrub away scratches or stains on your dishes and mugs. Simply apply the paste, scrub with your fingers or a sponge, and rinse with water. (Barkeeper’s Friend would be more effective, but if you have cream of tartar on hand, it’s good in a pinch!)
Clean stains and residue out of your coffee pot by sprinkling cream of tartar inside. Add boiling water to fill the pot, let the pot cool to room temperature, and rinse well.
Make Baking Powder
Make your own baking powder by mixing one part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar. (The resulting baking powder is gluten free, unlike several brands you find in stores!)
Make homemade playdough by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1 cup water, 1 cup salt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon cream of tartar, and 3-5 drops of food dye (optional). Add more flour if the mixture is wet or sticky, or add more water if the mixture is too dry.
Shine Stainless Steel
Clean and shine your stainless steel appliances using a mixture of 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of cream of tartar. Dip a sponge into the mixture, scrub your stainless steel, then wipe clean with a clean, damp cloth. (Buff with a microfiber cloth for extra shine!)
Clean tarnished silver using cream of tartar and a damp magic eraser (one of my very favorite cleaning tools). This can be used on silver trays, dishes, and utensils.
Create a handy rust remover by mixing 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and add just enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Apply the paste to a rust spot, let it sit for 30 minutes, then wipe the surface clean.
Clean Up Copper
Clean up copper pots and pans using a mixture of 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Rub the mixture onto the copper surface and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Keep Veggies Colorful
Adding a 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar to a pot of boiling vegetables can help retain their vibrant color.
Add an 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for each 2 egg whites in your meringue. The acid from the cream of tartar will stabilize the egg whites and add volume to your finished product.
Clear Clogged Drains
To clear built up hair and gunk from your drains, mix together 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of salt, and 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar. Pour the mixture into the drain and add 1 cup of water. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes or so, then run hot water through the drain.
Sweep Away Soot
A sooty fireplace can be cleaned up using a mixture of cream of tartar and water. Dip a cloth or sponge into the mixture, wipe away the soot, then follow with a clean, damp cloth.
Keep your whites extra bright by pretreating them with a cream of tartar soak. Add a teaspoon of cream of tartar to a quart of water, and soak your whites before laundering.
Keep your toilet looking clean between regular cleanings by sprinkling cream of tartar into the bowl and giving it a quick scrub with your toilet brush.