Alka-SeltzerCredit: Wikimedia Commons

Alka-Seltzer - the miracle cure of minor ills the world over. Marketed under different brand names, the basic ingredients remain the same:  sodium bicarbonate, aspirin, and anhydrous citric acid.

Alka-Seltzer usually comes in either tablet or powder form and when added to water, creates an effervescent reaction used to neutralize stomach acids. However this effervescent effect, along with the ingredients can be utilized to help around the home in ways you never imagined! 

Cleaning Your Coffee Maker

Over time it is inevitable that your filter coffee machine will get pretty dirty in places that are hard to clean. The continuos flow of water can lead to the build-up of  minerals and encourage the growth of bacteria. 

Cleaning with Alka-Seltzer is simple - fill the water chamber of your filter machine with ordinary tap water, and add four Alka-Seltzer tablets. After they have been thoroughly dissolved, turn the machine on and allow it to go through a full cycle. Rinse out the water chamber a couple of times, and then repeat the process with clean water. Scaling should be removed and your coffee filter should look and smell almost new! 

Cleaning of Vases

Narrow-necked glass vaseCredit: Morguefile Vases are another one of those household items that are continually exposed to water, and over time scaling can build up. Not only that, but the narrow  neck of the vase can sometimes limit your ability to get in and clean dead plant residue out effectively. 

Three-quarter fill the vase with water, add at least two Alka-Seltzer tablets depending on the size of the vase. Allow the water to fizz for a few minutes, swirl the vase around if necessary.  Once the fizzing has subsided rinse out the vase, and get ready to enjoy a sparkling clean centrepiece. 


Clean Glass Cookware

Cooking of stews, casseroles and roasts can often leave you with glassware that has grime and sediment firmly attached to your dish. Scrubbing with steel wool might do the job of cleaning the glassware, but this often leaves scratches that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. 

After cooking remove all solid matter from the dish and wipe away as much of the sediment as possible with kitchen towel. Rinse the container off a few times under hot water to help dissolve away the grease, and then fill to the brim with cold water. Depending on the amount of residue, you can add up to 6 Alka-Seltzer tablets to the water and allow it to soak for at least an hour - preferably overnight. 

After a good soaking rinse out the dirty water, softly scrub wipe down with a kitchen sponge. The grime and residue should easily come away and if there are odd patches that remain stubbornly steadfast, repeat the process. Although it might take longer than the traditional elbow-grease method, this way will definitely increase the longevity of your kitchenware. 

Cleaning Your Toilet

The combination of the citric-acid and the fizzing action in Alka-Seltzer creates an effective toilet bowl clean. Flush the toilet, and once the bowl has settled down, add in a few Alka-Seltzer tablets. Allow to fizz itself out, stand for about 20-30 minutes and then brush down the sides of the bowl with a toilet brush. 

This will not only clean, but add shine to your toilet bowl. However, I would still suggest that you utilize a thick bleach-based substance to clean under the rim to dispose of bacteria there. Do NOT add this at the same time as the Alka-Seltzer. Mixing chemicals is never a good idea when you are not an expert. 

Unblocking a Drain

Drains get blocked for many reasons, including the build-up of hair (in bathrooms) and grease residue (mostly in the kitchen). Not only do blocked drains cause unpleasant odours, but they also increase the risk of flooding and water damage. 

Drop 4-5 Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of ordinary white household vinegar. Allow the 2 substances to mix for a few minutes, then turn the hot tap on full and allow it to flush the pipes out.

What I find works nicely in sinks and basins is to plug the sink up after the 2 substances have been mixed, and fill the sink up my boiling water. After a few minutes I release the plug and the hot water completely fills the pipes. However, be sensible. Hot water burns, and putting your hands into it is not a clever idea! Rather ensure the plug has some sort of chain on it, which you will just need to yank out when you are ready.  

Clean Your Jewellery

Cleaning jewelleryCredit:

Jewellery is constantly exposed to your skin surface, and the resultant by-products that your body produces -  such as sweat and dead skin cells. Additional man-made substances like perfumes and creams also coat your jewellery, and over time they lose with their lustre and sparkle. 

Drop one Alka-Seltzer tablet into a glass of water and drop your jewellery in whilst it is still fizzing. Leave it in for a couple of minutes, remove and buff with a dry cloth. Your sparklies should be living up to their name now!

Attracting Fish Whilst Fishing

If fishing is your hobby, and you consider yourself an avid angler, you will know that fish are attracted to bubbles. If you are using a hollow plastic tube jig on your line, just break off a piece of Alka-Seltzer and slip it into the tube. As the jig sinks it will produce an enticing stream of bubbles that the fish just can't resist. 

Soothing Insect Bites

Often paired with fishing is the inevitable insect bite! However whether you are at home or away, Alka-Seltzer can produce a soothing salve to dab on those bites, and help reduce the itch. 

Dissolve 2 tablets in a half glass of water, and when the effervescent effect has finished, dip a cotton ball into the solution. Use this to dab on the bite and in no time at all the worst of the itch should be gone. 

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