Cream of Tartar: Cleaning School Clothes and Summer Kitchens!

cream of tartar cleaning

It looks like our kitchen is going to take a while to recover from summer. It’s had a busy few months of incredible traffic and everything getting used more than often–for snacks, lunches, breakfasts, etc. We’re particularly disappointed in how our beautiful appliances have suffered. They used to be bright and shiny like some ad from the 1950s. Now they’re smudged and smeared from children learning how to make their own toast and help us stir and–well, we did a lot this summer.

So we’re experimenting with a few tricks to try and get some of that old shine to return. We started with our toaster, and decided to invest in the much-loved Bar Keepers Friend. Yes, we know that we’re not breaking any new ground here. Word has gotten out over the past decade about this lifesaver. But we’ll add that we only went with Bar Keepers Friend after realizing that we’d run out of Cream of Tartar.

No, that’s not a fancy brand name. We mean literal cream of tartar, which is usually bought to make baking powder and add to cakes. It’s a great cleaning tool, too–even if it is a little more expensive than Bar Keepers Friend. We prefer the McCormick brand, but that may just be our old-fashioned ways. The important thing is that you can mix equal parts of vinegar and Cream of Tartar for a great cleanser that’s very non-abrasive. For stainless steel, you just add water to Cream of Tartar. That’s had our toasters shining very brightly in the past–and we also bring out the Cream of Tartar for the aluminum pots that have been through a busy summer. We add 2 tablespoons for every quart of water, and then leave the water boiling for ten minutes

You can combine equal parts of Cream of Tartar and vinegar to clean porcelain–especially porcelain sinks. We’ve also used it instead of bleach. Try making a heavier paste with less water to clean scratches from plates. (We think that’s how we ran out of the stuff.) We did some serious bleaching. Then we took some hydrogen peroxide out of the bathroom, put a drop of it into Cream of Tartar, and had a great solution for getting our poor pots and pans to sparkle. Then we combine Cream of Tartar with half as much lemon juice to clean the copper pots.

We also confess that we worry a lot more about clean clothes when we’re sending our children back to school. Other mothers gossip, you know. We use a mix of Cream of Tartar and glycerin–half as much glycerin–to remove stains. We add one teaspoon of the stuff with a quart of water, and use it to soak whites before washing. That’s one of the cheaper tricks that Cream of Tarter has to offer. And we know that it’s saved us money by removing ink stains in the school season. That’s just another mix of lemon juice. Make it a paste, and apply an hour before putting it into the laundry.

So that’s a cleaner kitchen and some cleaner clothes. We’ve been reminded of a few uses for the holiday season, as well. Expect more of that later–but for now, we’re going to admire our shiny copper pots and toaster.