Clean your oven
Here’s a practically effortless way to clean an electric oven: First, turn the oven on, let it warm to 150°F (65°C), and then turn it off. Place a small 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 it sit overnight. The next morning, remove the dish and pan, and let the oven air out awhile. Then wipe it clean using the ammonia and a few drops of dishwashing liquid diluted in a quart of warm water — even old burned-on grease should wipe right off. Warning: Do not use this cleaning method with a gas oven unless the pilot lights are out and the main gas lines are shut off.
Clean oven racks
Get the cooked-on grime off your oven racks by laying them out on an old towel in a large washtub. You can also use your bathtub, though you might need to clean it afterward. Fill the tub with warm water and add 1/2 cup ammonia. Let the racks soak for at least 15 minutes, then remove, rinse off, and wipe clean.
Make crystal sparkle
Has the twinkle gone out of your good crystal? Bring back its lost luster by mixing several drops of ammonia in 2 cups water and applying with a soft cloth or brush. Rinse it off with clean water, then dry with a soft, dry cloth.
Pesky kitchen moths seem to come out of nowhere! Send them back to wherever they came from by washing your drawers, pantry shelves, or cupboards with 1/2 cup ammonia diluted in 1 quart (1 liter) water. Leave drawers and cabinets open to thoroughly air-dry.
Eliminate paint odors
Your freshly painted home interior sure looks great, but that paint smell is driving you up the wall! There’s no need to prolong your suffering, though. Absorb the odor by placing small dishes of ammonia in each room that’s been painted. If the smell persists after several days, replenish the dishes. Vinegar or onion slices will also work.
Clean fireplace doors
Think you’ll need a blowtorch to remove that blackened-on soot from your glass fireplace doors? Before you get out the goggles, try mixing 1 tablespoon ammonia, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 quart (1 liter) warm water in a spray bottle. Spray on some of the solution; let it sit for several seconds, then wipe off with an absorbent cloth. Repeat if necessary — it’s worth the extra effort.
Clean gold and silver jewelry
Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed in 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry. Note: Do not do this with jewelry containing pearls, because it could dull or damage their delicate surface.
Remove tarnish from brass or silver
How can you put that sunny shine back in your tarnished silver or lacquered brass? Gently scrub it with a soft brush dipped in a bit of ammonia. Wipe off any remaining liquid with a soft cloth — or preferably chamois.
Remove grease and soap scum
To get rid of those ugly grease and soap-scum buildups in your porcelain enamel sink or tub, scrub it with a solution of 1 tablespoon ammonia in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) hot water. Rinse thoroughly when done.
Restore white shoes
Brighten up your dingy white shoes or tennis sneakers by rubbing them with a cloth dipped in half-strength ammonia — that is, a solution made of half ammonia and half water.
Remove stains from clothing
Ammonia is great for cleaning clothes. Here are some ways you can use it to remove a variety of stains. Be sure to dilute ammonia with at least 50 percent water before applying it to silk, wool, or spandex.
- Rub out perspiration, blood, and urine stains on clothing by dabbing the area with a half-strength solution of ammonia and water before laundering.
- Remove most non-oily stains by making a mixture of equal parts ammonia, water, and dishwashing liquid. Put it in an empty spray bottle, shake well, and apply directly to the stain. Let it set for two or three minutes, and then rinse out.
- To erase pencil marks from clothing, use a few drops of undiluted ammonia and then rinse. If that doesn’t work, put a little laundry detergent on the stain and rinse again.
- You can even remove washed-in paint stains from clothes by saturating them several times with a half-ammonia, half-turpentine solution, and then tossing them into the wash.
Clean carpets and upholstery
Lift out stains from carpeting and upholstery by sponging them with 1 cup clear ammonia in 1/2 gallon (2 liters) warm water. Let dry thoroughly, and repeat if needed.
Brighten up windows
Dirty, grimy windows can make any house look dingy. But it’s easy to wipe away the dirt, fingerprints, soot, and dust covering your windows. Just wipe them down with a soft cloth dampened with a solution of 1 cup clear ammonia in 3 cups water. Your windows will not only be crystal-clear, but streak-free to boot.
Strip wax from resilient flooring
Wax buildup on resilient flooring causes it to yellow in time. Remove old wax layers and freshen up your floor by washing it with a mixture of 1 cup ammonia in 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Let the solution sit for three to five minutes, then scrub with a nylon or plastic scouring pad to remove the old wax. Wipe away leftover residue with a clean cloth or sponge, then give the floor a thorough rinsing.
Clean bathroom tiles
Make bathroom tiles sparkle again — and kill mildew on them — by sponging them with 1/4 cup ammonia in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water.
Use as plant food
Give the alkaline-loving flowering plants and vegetables in your garden — such as clematis, lilac, hydrangea, and cucumbers — an occasional special treat with a shower of 1/4 cup ammonia diluted in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. They’ll especially appreciate the boost in nitrogen.
Keep stray animals out of your trash
Few things can be quite as startling as a raccoon leaping out of your garbage pail just as you’re about to make your nightly trash deposit. Keep away those masked scavengers and other strays by spraying the outside and lids of your garbage bins with half-strength ammonia or by spraying the bags inside.
Remove stains from concrete