I fear I am becoming like the dad from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You know, the guy who goes around spraying everything and everyone with Windex, and claims that it’s the cure for everything!
My dad believed in two things: that Greeks should educate non-Greeks about being Greek, and every ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex.
– Toula Portokalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding
While I may have the same enthusiasm as the Windex-loving dad from the movie, my preferred cleaner is of the homemade variety. The “miracle cleaner” that I’ll be sharing with you today is simply a combination of two natural cleaning ingredients – baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
Baking soda is a natural abrasive that’s great at whitening and deodorizing, and hydrogen peroxide is incredibly useful for disinfecting and sanitizing all sorts of things. Mix these two powerhouse ingredients together, and you’ve got one “miraculous” cleaner!
Related: The Countless Uses For Baking Soda
Kitchen & Bathroom “Miracle Cleaner”
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Small bowl
This isn’t really a recipe per se, so I’ll just describe how I usually do it. I start by sprinkling about 1/4 cup of baking soda in a small glass bowl or ramekin.
Next, I grab my trusty bottle of hydrogen peroxide and squirt some into the bowl. You just want to get the baking soda wet enough so that the mixture forms a nice paste.
Then I scoop up a bit of the paste and rub it onto the offending dirt, stain, or grease. I usually just use my fingers, but I’ve also applied it with the scrubby side of a sponge, too.
You may want to use gloves, but I don’t usually bother. As a matter of fact, the baking soda provides a nice exfoliating effect on my hands, so they usually feel softer after using this cleaner, which is a nice added bonus! 🙂
How To Use My “Miracle Cleaner”
This cleaner is incredibly versatile, and I’ve used it to clean all sorts of things in both my kitchen and my bathrooms. Here are a few of the ways I’ve used it recently.
Cookie Sheets and Grease Stains
What is it about those greasy stains on your cookie sheets (or baking sheets, or jelly roll pans, or whatever you happen to call them) that makes them so impossible to clean?
The reason for this is actually pretty interesting. The baked-on oil is made of the same stuff that makes a well-seasoned cast iron pan smooth and nonstick. When heated, oil adheres to the porous surface of the pan (which is why it’s fine to use dish soap when you wash your cast iron, because that stuff doesn’t budge under regular cleaning). This process is called “polymerization”. The fat molecules in the oils bond together and create that smooth, seasoned surface we know and love.
But what is beautiful and desirable in one kitchen tool isn’t quite as desirable on another. While the dried oil on your cookie sheets won’t hurt you, it’s unsightly and most people want to get rid of it.
I swear, before I tried my “miracle cleaner” on them, I had probably tried every store-bought cleaner in the cleaning aisle at least once. But those stains simply wouldn’t budge!
I scoured the internet for a homemade cleaner or hack that would help me defeat the grease stains, which were quickly becoming my nemesis. Lemon juice, white vinegar, Castile soap, and even soaking it in warm water and dish soap. (I knew that wouldn’t work, but I had to sleep at some point!)
I even tried toothpaste, thinking that if whitening toothpaste can get rid of coffee stains, surely it can do something about this! (Spoiler Alert: It couldn’t.)
How Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Works
Baking soda and baking powder are both used as leavening agents in baking, helping to make your cookies and biscuits light and fluffy.
But while one can also be used for cleaning and deodorizing, the other cannot. Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) is a base. When combined with water, it creates an alkaline or base solution with a pH level of about 8.3.
Add an acid like hydrogen peroxide to it, and you get a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide. It’s this reaction that helps to break apart the molecular bonds that make up the stubborn stains on our cookie sheets!
But I eventually put my trusty baking soda paste to the test, and as they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words!
As you can see, the greasy stain is almost completely gone. There is a bit of remaining discoloration on the pan, but that’s not a problem for me. It just looks like I use it regularly, which I do! I don’t mind having my pots and pans look used, as long as they’re clean, you know?
If there’s one common struggle that every Utahn deals with, it’s our hard water. Our water here is high in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and other minerals, which isn’t inherently a bad thing. It can create problems however, like hard water stains on dishes and laundry, and mineral buildup around sinks and faucets.
Before I started adding vinegar to each load of dishes to help combat our hard water, nearly all of our dishes had unsightly hard water stains (especially my plastic cooking utensils!) Now that I know about the vinegar trick, I don’t usually have to worry about it, but sometimes I forget and the hard water stains come back in a flash.
It occurred to me a couple of years ago to give my “miracle cleaner” a try, and it worked better than I could have hoped for! I scooped the paste onto the utensils, gave them a good rubdown, and rinsed. The white buildup melted away, and my utensils came out looking like new!
Bathroom Faucet & Sink
So while I was thoroughly convinced of my cleaner’s power in the kitchen, I hadn’t thought to use it elsewhere in my house. Until, that is, I needed to address my bathroom sink.
Even though I clean my bathroom sink on a fairly regular basis, makeup and hairspray seem to combine over time to form an almost impenetrable film on the faucet, in the basin, and around the sink itself. My trusty cleaner came to mind, and I decided to give it a try.
And at this point, I wasn’t terribly surprised that it worked like a charm! That gunky film of makeup and hairspray didn’t stand a chance.
And those pesky mineral deposits around the faucet and sink were just as easy to tackle! I used a toothbrush to get the cleaner right into the nooks and crannies of the sink, and it turned out looking cleaner than I remember it looking in a long time! So sparkly. 🙂
One place that’s easy to forget when it comes to hard water stains is the toilet. But they can be a real problem, even (and especially) for a porcelain surface that is constantly coated with water.
Hard water stains on a toilet are pretty easy to spot, even when you can’t see the telltale white outline of every water spot.
Hard water stains on toilets are characterized by a grey, rust, yellow, or brown colored ring around the toilet drain. Unlike traditional water stains, which consist mostly of the minerals found in your water, toilet bowl stains create a rough surface for more minerals and other types of deposits to hold onto. And because of the porcelain surface, you don’t want to use steel wool or other harsh abrasive cleaners that may damage the surface, because that will only make the problem worse overall.
The oxidation process of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is gentle enough to keep your toilet fresh and clean without scratching it. If you give your toilet a good once-over at least once a week, those hard water stains shouldn’t be too tough to remove. But if you already have major hard water stains in your toilet bowl, it’s time to do a deep cleaning.
Turn off the water supply to your toilet, then empty the bowl by dumping a large bucket of water down it. (Don’t flush, because that will only release the water from the tank into the bowl, and you want to save that for a good rinse later on.) Put on your rubber gloves and start working the “miracle cleaner” into the stains with a toilet brush. Just like the cookie sheets, the stain will be gone in no time.
And if you are dealing with an unsightly rust stain around each of the water jets in your toilet, (which is likely if you have hard water), head over to this post and learn how to eliminate them with an overnight vinegar soak.
I haven’t tried out this cleaner on every surface of my house, but I’m sure there are nearly limitless different ways you could use it. Let me know if you’ve used this cleaner in other areas around your house, and how it went! Or if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a try and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂