2. Boil away drain clogs
Last year, I had a particularly nasty clog in a bathroom sink. My first line of attack was a pot of boiling water. It did nothing but, to be fair, drain chemicals and a hand auger also failed. I had to call in a local plumber. Since then, I have poured a monthly pot of boiling water down each drain to keep it clear. So far so good, but it’s hard to definitively say the boiling water is helping.
Some, including my plumber, recommend just using boiling water. Others say it should be followed by salt or sodium carbonate. Still others swear by a more complicated tincture: Thoroughly mix 1 part cream of tartar with four parts salt and four parts baking soda. Pour ¼-cup of the solution down the drain, then add one cup of boiling water. Watch it bubble, then flush with cold water.
For a slow or blocked drain, try pouring in one cup of salt and one cup of baking soda, then flush with a pot of boiling water.
3. Boil away pan stains
We mixed two tablespoons baking soda with ½-cup vinegar in a non-stick frying pan with stubborn stains and burn marks, then giggled as we watched it fizz. We added a cup of water and boiled the mixture for 10 minutes. The pan was still stained at the end of the test, but the range was dirtier. Cover the pot to avoid splattering little white spots all over the stovetop. To be fair, this mixture may work on other stains, but it didn’t take care of the black spots on our pan.
4. Boil kettles clean
To remove calcium and lime deposits from coffeepots, kettles, etc., boil equal parts water and vinegar, then let it work overnight. Rinse thoroughly and the item should look like new. This has long worked perfectly on our electric kettle.