Cream Of Tartar Uses: 13 Practical Tips

You can use cream of tartar for a variety cleaning tasks.

You might have a bottle of it in your cupboard, but you might not realize just how many cream of tartar uses can come in handy around the house! Cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate, makes a useful addition to cooking and baking recipes (angel food cake, anyone?), but its acidity also makes it an excellent cleaner.

In this post, you’ll learn 13 ways that cream of tartar makes an excellent household helper!

You probably have a bottle of cream of tartar in your pantry, and there are a lot of uses for cream of tartar!

Cream Of Tartar In Baking Recipes

Cream of tartar begins as tartaric acid, which is formed as a byproduct of the winemaking process. This acidic powder goes a long way in recipes — just a teaspoon of cream of tartar can help stabilize whipped mixtures that have a tendency to wilt, like meringues and soufflés. Cream of tartar is also used in snickerdoodle and sugar cookies to ensure fluffy, chewy results.

And if you add a small amount of cream of tartar to baking soda, you’ll have an excellent baking powder substitute! Baking soda plus an acidic ingredient like cream of tartar releases carbon dioxide, creating a leavening agent that makes baked goods rise.

As long as it’s stored in a cool, dry location like your pantry, cream of tartar keeps almost indefinitely. (When in doubt, use your eyes and nose—if it’s white and powdery and smells tangy or acidic, it should be fine to use!)

15 Practical Uses For Cream Of Tartar Around The House

Sprinkle cream of tartar to deter ants.

1. Ant Deterrent

Use cream of tartar to deter ants from gathering on your driveway or sidewalks. Just sprinkle a bit of the powder around the areas where they congregate.

You can use cream of tartar to remove stains on laundry and carpets.

2. Stain Remover For Clothing And Carpets

Add enough lemon juice to a small dish of cream of tartar to make a paste, then apply the paste to clothing or carpet stains. Let it sit for an hour or two, then launder the item or blot it clean with a damp cloth. (This works particularly well on ink stains!)

Use cream of tartar to clean your kitchen sink.

3. All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner

Make a paste of cream of tartar and white vinegar to make a great all-purpose kitchen cleaner. Use it to clean aluminum pots and pans, burner pans, grout lines, or your oven or sink. Store the mixture in a squeeze bottle for easy application.

Use cream of tartar to help get out ring around the collar.

4. Erase Collar Stains

Makeup, lotion, sunscreen, and other products often leave behind oily residues on shirt collars. To remove those oily stains, dampen the collar with water and sprinkle a bit of cream of tartar over the area. Scrub the powder into the stain with an old toothbrush, then launder the shirt as usual.

Use cream of tartar to scrub scratches off your dishes.

5. Restore Scratched Dishes

Make a paste of cream of tartar and water and use it to scrub away scratches or stains on your dishes. Simply apply the paste, scrub with your fingers or a sponge, and rinse with water.

You can use cream of tartar to clean coffee pots.

6. Coffee Pot Cleaner

Clean stains and old coffee residue out of your coffee pot by sprinkling cream of tartar inside. Add boiling water to fill the pot, let the water cool to room temperature, then drain the water and rinse well.

Add cream of tartar to baking soda to make baking powder.

7. Make Baking Powder

Making your own baking powder is as easy as mixing 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar. As an added bonus, the resulting baking powder will be fully gluten free, unlike some store-bought brands.

Cream of tartar makes an excellent stainless steel polish.

8. Shine Stainless Steel

Clean and shine your stainless steel appliances around the kitchen with cream of tartar. Add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of cream of tartar to a small bowl and mix well. Dip a sponge into the mixture, scrub your stainless steel, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Buff with a dry microfiber cloth until shiny.

Use cream of tartar to remove rust.

9. Remove Rust

You can remove rust from metal by mixing up 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, and just enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Apply the mixture to a rust spot, let it sit for 30 minutes, then wipe the surface clean.

Cream of tartar will polish your copper.

10. Clean Up Copper

Clean and brighten copper pots and pans with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Rub the mixture onto the copper surface, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

A traditional use for cream of tartar is to stabilize recipes with eggs to keep them from collapsing.

11. Egg White Stabilizer

When making meringue, add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar per every 2 egg whites in your recipe. The acid from the cream of tartar helps to stabilize the egg whites and preserve those all-important air bubbles.

You can use cream of tartar to brighten laundry.

12. Brighten White Clothes And Linens Bright

To keep your white clothes and linens bright, fill your sink with lukewarm water and add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar for each quart of water. Soak your whites in the solution for a half hour or so before laundering as usual.

You can even use cream of tartar to touch up your toilet bowl!

13. Toilet Touchups

Could your toilet bowl use a quick touchup? Sprinkle cream of tartar around the inside of the toilet bowl, then give it a quick scrub with your toilet brush. Flush to rinse.

Use cream of tartar in cooking water to keep your veggies bright and colorful.

14. Keep Cooked Veggies Colorful

Just a half teaspoon of cream of tartar in the cooking water will keep your steamed or boiled veggies bright and colorful. So much more appetizing!

Use cream of tartar with flour and salt to make homemade playdough.

15. Make Homemade Playdough

All you need is flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, food coloring, and some vegetable oil to make homemade play dough that will keep the kids amused for hours. Living Well Mom has a great recipe, and you can even add peppermint oil or other essential oils to make it smell wonderful too.

Some people who add cream of tartar to bath bomb recipes claim it makes them extra fizzy, but I haven’t personally tried it. If you give it a try, be sure to let me know how it goes!

Do you have any favorite uses for cream of tartar?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas