How to Clean with Cream of Tartar

Think cream of tartar is something you only put on a fish sandwich? Guess again! This baking essential can also be used for a variety of cleaning tasks around your home.

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #109


  • Cleaning old silver pieces:  Silver trays, dishes, and utensils are beautiful…unless they’re tarnished. Then, not so much. There are plenty of silver polishes on the market but they're smelly and require a good bit of scrubbing. Try using cream of tartar and a damp Magic Eraser.  I got great results in just a few minutes when using this easy method of cleaning silver.


    • Cleaning aluminum cookware:  Aluminum pots and pans can get a dingy, greyish look after a while. To brighten up your cookware, mix 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to your pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. This should clean the dingy inside. To shine the outside, sprinkle some cream of tartar on a sponge or Magic Eraser, dampen the sponge with water and scour. It will shine brightly when you’re done.

    • Making copper gleam:  A paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar makes faded copper shine like new. Use a damp cloth or soft sponge to apply the paste and then rinse with warm water. Buff with a dry, soft cloth, and your copper will be reborn.

    • Removing carpet stains:  Getting rid of a nasty carpet stain can be a big headache.  Are you still struggling with that red wine stain from last year’s party?  Is there an unsightly spot from the cat’s hairball on your new bedroom rug?  Did little Tommy decide to add some artwork to the family room floor? Try this surefire cream of tartar mixture to get rid of carpet stains: create a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Dab this paste directly on the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Using a damp cloth, gently blot the paste until you have removed it completely. Rinse with a clean damp cloth. If the stain isn’t completely removed, repeat this process.

    • Removing stains in laundry:  If you’re looking for a more natural laundry stain remover, cream of tartar is your answer. To get rid of a tough stain on a tablecloth or a spot on your favorite shirt, mix 2 tablespoons cream of tartar with 2 drops of either peppermint or lemon essential oil. Add enough water to make a thick paste. Spread this on the stain and allow it to dry before running it through a regular cycle in your washing machine.  (For more tips on using essential oils to clean your home, check out the episode How to Use Essential Oils in Your Home).

    • Eliminating ring around the collar: This tip is super simple. Sprinkle cream of tartar on the dirty ring stain on a shirt collar. Rub it in and then launder as usual. The stain will disappear.

    • Removing ink stains:  Got a shirt with an ink stain? Here’s an easy and organic way to get rid of the stain. Mix a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply this to the ink stain and let it dry. Once dry, wash like normal.

    In a good portion of these cleaning tips I have shared with you, you are instructed to make a paste. Unless there are specific measurements recommended, just use equal parts of cream of tartar and the liquid and stir. If this seems too thick, add more liquid; too thin, add more cream of tartar. Exact measurements are not essential for the paste to work well.

    Cream of tartar can be purchased in the dried herb and spice section of the grocery store. So, the next time you enjoy a glass of wine, think about the amazing by-product that comes from it.

    Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home! Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more easy tips and tricks for making your house feel like a home.

    Tartar sauce image courtesy of Shutterstock.