Archives for Eco

Polish Silver

No Fuss Method: Polish Silver

Sometimes eco is king. Usually in fact. Do you want to know how to polish silver the easy, eco-friendly way? Read on, because the chances are that you have everything you need, right there in your pantry cupboard. No need to hunt down expensive pastes and polishes at the supermarket. No need to go and finish that chemistry degree. No need in fact to go to much trouble at all. Just a no fuss way to polish silver.

It all boils down to one magic ingredient.

And yes, I’ve been banging on about this magic ingredient in several of my previous posts.

Baking Soda.

There, I said it. You can polish your silver, in next to no time, with baking soda.

And of course there’s a catch. No, actually, there is no catch. It will literally take you a few minutes to polish silver, and you don’t even need a polishing cloth.

I have been polishing silver now for… erm… quite a few years (the less said about that last part the better). In the early years it always involved sitting down with Super Gran, getting out the Silver Polish and the rags, and rubbing that paste stuff in until my eyes watered and my fingers cramped. Surprisingly, Super Gran did not give me this secret, easy, eco-friendly and cheap method… This little baby is the result of hours of research, lots of reading, and the sacrificial experimentation of a loved-one’s silver. So here it is. Do this:

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Fill a deep pan with water. The pan needs to be large enough to house your biggest silver piece – or at least half of it.
  2. Heat the water until it starts to simmer, and then add 1 tablespoon (1TB) of baking soda.
  3. Throw a loosely crumpled piece of aluminium foil into the water.
  4. Immerse your silver piece into the water (with tongs probably – safety first!), for about 30 to 45 seconds. You will notice that the silver starts to shine, and the aluminium foil starts to go black.
  5. As soon as your silver is nice and shiny, rinse it in some soapy water, and dry immediately.
  6. You can continue using your baking soda water to polish your silver – just replace the foil as it blackens. What it is doing is attracting all of that yukky oxidation from your silver and taking it for itself. Which is exceedingly nifty in this instance.


And there you have it. I really did stretch those steps out in order to make the step-by-step last, but you can see how short this method is. It is also a ridiculously cheap, eco-friendly and easy way to make your silver shine. Polishing your silver will no longer seem like an awful task that you put off as long as possible! Polish silver with joy.

Go on! Get that blackened silver out of your cupboard and give this method a crack. You know you want to. Then let me know how you go. If you have any questions for your resident Superhero in Disguise, please just ASK.

Do you have a better way to polish silver that does not involve store-bought or expensive products? Would you like to share with the group? Please leave a comment and let me know if it’s easier and more effective than this method.

Polish Silver Easily

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Oven Tray of Shame

Grime Fighting with Baking Soda

So for all of my reader (yes, I know there’s just one – thanks Mum), you will have realised that I have a deep and abiding commitment to fighting Grime. In all of its glorious forms. And I’m a big fan of Baking Soda. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s easy to use, and it’s cheap. Win.

Being a true blue Superhero (cleaner), I take a certain pride in maintaining a secret lair that is Grime-free.

Well, not entirely Grime-free it turns out… Look what has been hiding in my oven. I’d like to introduce you to my Oven Tray of Shame. I think it is supposed to be non-stick. And like almost every non-stick product in the world, some baked on crap clearly sticks. I was going to suggest that NASA go back and revisit that non-stick spaceship technology that they came up with, but upon investigation, have found that the technology was stumbled upon by Roy Plunkett of Dupont fame in 1938. Pity, the spaceship technology connection fits in much better with the whole Superhero thing…
Baking soda challengeSo, back to the story.

This oven tray has been doing my head in for months and months. I have tried scrubbing. A lot. My hands have suffered. But most importantly, my pride has suffered.

I have been doing a fair bit of experimentation with general household solutions that Super Gran used to use. Super Gran of course is the inspiration for all things heroic in this Superhero’s life. Super Gran could also best be described as a product of her generation. Accordingly, she raised six children on a budget of… well… not much. She had an amazingly effective and cheap or free solution for just about any household problem. I don’t ever remember seeing anything in her kitchen that could be described as non-stick, but I can happily report that everything was sparkly clean and organised.

Mainstay cleaning products for Super Gran = white vinegar, caustic soda, baking soda and soap.

She never shared her specific cleaning recipes, because I don’t think she even thought that there was anything interesting about what she was doing. However, I did trail around after her “helping” as a child and teenager (pre-Superhero) and I can remember quite a lot.

At the moment I am experimenting with the general principles that I saw her use, searching the internet for information, and potentially sacrificing my Oven Tray of Shame, in search of a truly eco-friendly, budget-friendly, muscle-friendly solution. I want to effect an inhuman transformation, with not much effort, and spending no money (ie, I want to use what I already have in my lair).

Plan A: So I start out with a general basic cleaning recipe – water, vinegar and baking soda. I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with baking soda, tip some white vinegar over it (mostly because the chemical reaction is so damn cool!), and then fill to the top with warm water. And I wait for about 30 minutes. I haven’t got all day after all! When I go back to the Oven Tray of Shame, I don’t see much difference actually. I’m a little disappointed. Super Gran had sparkly kitchen equipment – surely some of her pragmatic genes have rubbed off on me?! I give the tray a bit of a scrape with the back of a teaspoon. Nothing. So then I have a good ol’ “put a bit of elbow-grease into it” scrape with the back of the teaspoon. Wait! I see a light line, which surely indicates that oven-baked crap has come off? I am encouraged, and keep scraping for a couple of minutes, before remembering that actually the whole point of this exercise is to work out an EASY way to do this…

Back to the drawing board.

Plan B: I then try the oldest trick in the book. I fill the Oven Tray of Shame with warm water, spray a bit of dishwashing detergent in, and go to bed, hopeful that in the morning, there will be sparkles blinding me when I come into the kitchen.

I had a good sleep, thanks for asking :).

In the morning, however, same same. EXCEPT, that further vigorous spoon-scraping activity produces more results. Obviously some level of crap has been softened by the soaking. Still, the way to clean the Oven Tray of Shame is surely not to pop a shoulder scraping it with the back of a teaspoon!

Plan C: Back to old-fashioned methods. Again, mostly because I like the homemade volcano-like chemical reaction… I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with Baking Soda. I then cackle maniacally as I pour a quite small amount of white vinegar over it, and watch it fizz and puff up. Honestly, I’d clean just about anything with baking soda and vinegar – if it didn’t wreck stuff when used incorrectly that is.

When the fizzing and popping settles down, and is no longer interesting to watch, I wander off to do other more interesting things. Every few hours I half-heartedly do the old teaspoon scrape test. No difference. I leave it overnight again, and when I arise, rush to the kitchen, excited to discover the results. Hmmmm, there’s a hard white film of baking soda covering the Oven Tray of Shame, that I have to rinse off. And… No change.


One more try. Plan D: I repeat Plan C. Yes, I know it didn’t work. But that volcano thing is SO COOL!

4 hours later, some vigorous teaspoon scraping, and THIS is what my Oven Tray of Shame now looks like.


I’m off to the supermarket to buy some oven-cleaner, and I’m gonna nuke that little bugger. Eco FAIL. Please hold caller. Further experimentation results pending…

Do you have a tried and true baked-on-oven-crap solution that you can share? Feel free to leave a comment Mum!

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Make your own Eco Spray

So by now it should be obvious that your Superhero cleaner is into all things clean and green, including Eco spray. Over the years I have tried many many many cleaning products. In my hoarding youth days, the category of “cleaning products” was one of my problem areas in fact (along with VHS recordings of Dukes of Hazard, Shortland Street and Sunday Sob Movies, amongst other things). In this post I am going to tell you how to make your own Eco spray, using a tried and true, very effective recipe.

By and large, I find cleaning products to mostly do what they say will do – to varying degrees. Some are frustratingly “not quite there”, and others are so effective as to take your fingernail polish off. Sometimes the ingredients on the bottles kinda scare me, mostly because I have no idea what they are. Ignorance is fear! I prefer my own Eco spray.

One of my post-hoarding periods was the “Green Hippy Capitalist Revolution”, which may sound confusing to anyone reading this (and at this point, I’d be lucky to convince my Mother to follow this blog, so I might actually be talking to the future right now…). During this period I spoke to a lot of war-wives, greenies and people on low incomes. It turns out that the green alternative is often incredibly cost-effective as well. Go Green!

So I’m going to share with you my not-so-secret recipe for the Eco spray that I use for just about any cleaning job. Make your own. It works better than most spray cleaners that I have tried from supermarkets, and once you like the smell, it is strangely comfortingly associated with “clean”. It will cost you about 50c to make a 750ml batch of Eco spray, and you can make it from ingredients that are found in almost any kitchen.

Are you ready? Do you have your safety equipment on hand? Rubber gloves at the ready? Safety goggles poised? Are you expecting toxic fumes to envelop you at any minute? Don’t panic. Honestly, some people can be so dramatic…

To make your Eco spray, you will need:

* A spray bottle (you can clean out an old one that you have used before, as long as it didn’t contain anything toxic in the past)
* White vinegar (the homebrand stuff costs about $1 per litre from memory)
* Water
* Dishwashing liquid

Eco spray instructions:

* Fill your spray bottle to about a cm less than halfway with white vinegar.
* Put about the same amount of water in as well (ie, about the same amount of vinegar and water).
* Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid – this is mostly to disguise the vinegar smell, so how much you add depends on your preference.
* Give it a bit of a twirl to mix it, but I don’t recommend shaking – that can only lead to bubble mayhem.


Try your new Eco spray on your stainless steel stove top, your fridge or your scrubby cupboard doors – the results have got to impress you. Right there, you are looking at a Superhero Clean. Eco spray is also great in the bathroom, and while I would caution testing on a small area first, I also find it good on painted surfaces, such as the wall.

I hope you try this Eco spray, and love it. Whether you do or don’t, I would love to hear about your experiences, so please post a comment. If you have a secret recipe for your very own Eco spray, I’d love to try it, so let me know (if it’s not too secret).
Make your own Eco spray

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