Ammonia is super cheap and great to use as a homemade household cleaner by itself or mixed with other on-hand products. It leaves a streak-free shine making it great for cleaning glass, stainless steel, and porcelain. It's also wonderful at removing baked on grease and grime.
20 Uses for Ammonia
1. Clean your oven
For electric ovens, turn the oven on, let it warm to 150°F, and then turn it off. Place a small bowl with ½ cup ammonia on the top shelf and a large pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Close the oven door, and let it sit overnight. The next morning, remove both bowls, and let the oven air out. Then wipe clean using the ammonia and a few drops of dish washing liquid diluted in a quart of warm water. Even old burned-on grease should wipe right off. DO NOT USE WITH A GAS OVEN UNLESS THE PILOT LIGHTS ARE OUT AND THE MAIN GAS LINES ARE SHUT OFF.
Tested: I should mention first that our oven is old, probably 30 years old, and wasn’t left to us in the best condition so it was in a pretty bad state. During my testing I found that the ammonia did make scrubbing down the oven slightly less back-breaking than the baking soda/vinegar method I tried previously and worked a whole lot better. I emptied two large black, soapy water bowls to finish the job and had to use a razor blade for some of the thicker mess but all in all I’m pretty pleased with the results. I would wear a mask next time, as breathing in the ammonia did burn my throat a little and left a smell in my nose for a while after.
2. Clean oven racks
Get the cooked-on grime off your oven racks by laying them out on an old towel in a large washtub or bathtub. Fill the tub with warm water and add ½ cup ammonia. Let the racks soak for at least 15 minutes, then remove, rinse off, and wipe clean.
Tested: I soaked our racks in the bath tub because we don't have a utility sink yet, it's on my to-do list. They were super easy to wipe clean after soaking. Definitely an easy task that was well worth it in the end.
3. Make crystal sparkle
Bring back the luster in your good crystal by mixing several drops of ammonia in 2 cups water and applying with a soft cloth or brush. Rinse it off with clean water, then dry with a soft dry cloth.
4. Repel moths
Wash drawers, pantry shelves, or cupboards with ½ cup ammonia diluted in 1 quart water. Leave drawers and cabinets open to thoroughly air-dry.
5. Eliminate paint odors
Absorb fresh pain odors by placing small dishes of ammonia in each room that’s been painted. If the small persists after several days, replenish the dishes.
6. Clean fireplace doors
Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 quart warm water in a spray bottle. Spray on some of the solution; let it sit for several seconds, then wipe off with an absorbent cloth. Repeat if necessary.
7. Clean gold and silver jewelry
Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking then for 10 minutes in a solution of ½ cup clean ammonia mixed in 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry. DO NOT USE ON JEWELRY CONTAINING PEARLS, AS IT COULD DULL OR DAMAGE THEM.
8. Remove tarnish from brass or silver
Gently scrub items with a soft brush dipped in a bit of ammonia. Wipe off any remaining liquid with a soft cloth – or preferably chamois.
9. Remove grease and soap scum
To get rid of ugly grease and soap-scum buildups in a porcelain enamel sink or tub, scrub it with a solution of 1 tablespoon ammonia in 1 gallon hot water. Rinse thoroughly when done.
10. Restore white shoes
Brighten up dingy white shoes by rubbing them with a cloth dipped in half-strength ammonia – that’s half water half ammonia.
11. Remove stains from clothing
- Rub out perspiration, blood, and urine stains on clothing by dabbing the area with a half-strength solution of ammonia and water before laundering.
- Remove most non-oily stains by making a mixture of equal parts ammonia, water, and dishwashing liquid. Put in an empty spray bottle, shake well, and apply directly to stain. Let it set for two or three minutes, and then rinse out.
- To erase pencil marks from clothing, use a few drops of undiluted ammonia and then rinse. If that doesn’t work, put a little laundry detergent on the stain and rinse again.
- Remove washed-in paint stains from clothes by saturating them several times with a half-ammonia, half-turpentine solution, and then tossing them in the wash.
12. Clean carpets and upholstery
Lift stains from carpeting and upholstery by sponging them with 1 cup clear ammonia in ½ gallon warm water. Let dry thoroughly, and repeat if needed.
13. Brighten up windows
Just wipe dirty, grimy windows with a soft cloth dampened with a solution of 1 cup clear ammonia in 3 cups water.
14. Strip wax from resilient flooring
Wax buildup on resilient flooring causes it to yellow in time. Remove old wax layers and freshen up your floor by washing it with a mixture of 1 cup ammonia in ½ gallon water. Let the solution sit for three to five minutes, then scrub away with a nylon or plastic scouring pad to remove the old wax. Wipe away leftover residue with a clean cloth or sponge, then give the floor a thorough rinsing.
Tested: We have a 30 year old black and white checkered linoleum floor in our kitchen that I actually like, however it is really dirty looking all the time. I tried this out and was very pleased with the results. Before I give it another go though I will get a better scouring pad as I tried to use a mop I had on hand that resulted in more back and arm work than it probably should have.
15. Clean bathroom tiles
Kill mildew and bring back the sparkle of your tile by sponging them with ¼ cup ammonia in 1 gallon water.
16. Use as plant food
Give alkaline-loving flowering plants and vegetables in your garden (clematis, lilac, hydrangea, cucumbers, etc.) an occasional special treat with a shower of ¼ cup ammonia diluted in 1 gallon water.
17. Stop mosquito bites from itching
Stop the itching instantly by applying a drop or two of ammonia directly to your bites. Don’t use ammonia on a bite you’ve already scratched open though, it will sting then.
18. Keep stray animals out of your trash
Spray the outside and lids of your garbage cans with half-strength ammonia or by spraying the bags inside.
19. Remove stains from concrete
Get rid of discolorations on your concrete by scrubbing them with 1 cup ammonia diluted in 1 gallon water. Hose it down well when done.
20. Fight mildew
Clean mildew off unfinished and painted wooden patio furniture and picnic tables with a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 gallon water. Rinse off thoroughly and use an old terry cloth towel to absorb excess moisture.
21. Get Rid of Yucky Odors
From burnt food to smelly shoes, ammonia is tough on odor. Place a small container half full with clear ammonia in a well-ventilated area near the yucky odor and you'll soon be relieved from any nasty smell.
22. Keep Unwanted Pests Away
Ammonia's strong scent is a great way to deter unwanted pests. Fill a small saucer with clear ammonia and place it in an area that attracts pests. You can also saturate a rag or cotton balls and place it near cracks where mice might enter or near outside trash cans, just be sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets.
23. Remove Sweat Stains
Easily remove sweat stains from clothing by dabbing the stain with ammonia before throwing it into the wash.
24. Clean Hairbrushes
Hairbrushes are full of hair, dust and other particles so you can keep them clean by soaking your brush into a mixture of 1/4 cup of ammonia and one cup water.
25. Soften Your Towels
When your towels start feeling a bit rough, it's often due to hard water residue. Ammonia can loosen the fibers from mineral build-up by dissolving the deposits. Add a cup of ammonia to your laundry cycle along with your detergent and your towels will be feeling softer than before.
26. Eliminate Grease Stains on Clothing
If grease happens to splatter on your favorite shirt, not to worry. Dab the area with the grease stain with equal parts of your laundry detergent, a grease-fighting detergent and ammonia to lift the stain completely.
27. Clean Wood Floors and Furniture
Diluted ammonia with water is a great household cleaner for wood floors and furniture. On the other hand, it can also be used to strip wood and remove polish or paint from furniture so it's important to dilute the ammonia with water so it doesn't remove any paint or finish on your wood floors and furniture.
28. Loosen Food Particles in the Microwave
Ammonia works great to loosen food particles in microwaves. The steam helps loosen the cooked on food to make it easier to wipe right off when cleaning.
29. Unclog Sinks
Sinks are prone to clogs no matter where they are located in the house. Kitchen sinks may be clogged with food or grease while bathroom sinks are likely to get clogged with soap buildup and hair. Ammonia can help loosen the clogs. To do this, heat a quart of water on high to reach a boil and then add a cup of ammonia into the boiling water. Dump the mixture slowly into the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Fill the sink with a few inches of lukewarm water and plunge the sink rapidly to force air through to break up the clog. Rinse afterwards with cold water to remove traces of the ammonia.
30. Clean the Inside of Your Slow Cooker
We always clean the pot of our crock pot, but we don't always notice the inside. To clean the inside of your slow cooker, fill a small bowl with ammonia and set it on the bottom of your slow cooker. Make sure you don't pour the ammonia inside or it will leak all over your counter-tops. Place the lid onto your crock pot and the fumes will do the work. You can let it sit for a few hours or for best results let it set overnight. The burnt on stains will wipe right off.