Could certain foods take the place of chemical cleaning agents?

2nd of September 2014
Could certain foods take the place of chemical cleaning agents?

Potatoes, banana skins, Brazil nuts, vinegar and mayonnaise are among the common foodstuffs that are said to work well as cleaning agents.

This is the claim of Alex Depledge, chief executive of cleaning website Hassle.com. She says Brazil nuts are effective at polishing wood surfaces while tomato ketchup is good for cleaning brass, copper and silver.

"Tarnishing mainly occurs due to sulphur compounds in the air," she said. "When ketchup is applied to metal, the natural acid in the tomatoes reacts with the oxidisation of the tarnished silver, brass or copper."

Even the weakest levels of acid can dissolve and loosen the hydrated iron oxides found in rust, she claims, which means vinegar is another good rust-remover.

"Potatoes and baking soda are also effective at tackling rust because the oxalic acid in the potato mixes with the baking soda to help to dissolve the rust," said Depledge.

Hassle.com enables UK businesses and householders to book a self-employed cleaner on line. According to Depledge, phosphoric acid in cola drinks and citric acid in lemon juice also make good cleaning agents.

"Banana skins are often used to buff leather, too, followed by a damp cloth," she said. "This is effective because the potassium in bananas is absorbed and slowly works to plump up the scratches."

She says potassium is often found in shoe polishes for this reason. And she adds that mayonnaise is Ideal for use on wood. "Mayonnaise contains oils and proteins that gently diminish scratches and marks on wood," she said. "These oils react and cause the wood to swell, which tightens any cracks in the surface."

 

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