If thallium is the Rolls-Royce Corniche of poisons, what are some other classes of chemical measures of excellence that we may be true interested in?
Well, how about cleaning? What is the single best cleaning chemical ever placed on this earth? Is there a naturally occurring chemical that is as good at cleaning things as thallium is at killing things?
Yes – there is!
I refer to sodium carbonate, which goes by the industrial names “soda ash” and “washing soda.”
The name washing soda should be a clue to us. This chemical was widely used in the home well before synthetic detergents had ever been thought of. But like brass doorknobs, we thought we all knew better, and it has fallen by the wayside. Mostly these days it is used in washing powders and automatic dishwasher detergents, for both of which it is the principal ingredient.
Well, no more! This remarkable chemical has many uses around the home and it’s about time it was revived, right here on Dr Chemical’s website.
Chemically, it is the big brother of the much more widely known sodium bicarbonate. For some reason bicarb is known as a good home cleaning chemical, but the bottom line is that whatever bicarb will do, the carbonate will do better. The reason simply is that it is more alkaline, and for cleaning around the home, where much of what you want to clean is animal or vegetable fat based, alkalinity is what you want.
1. In the kitchen.
Put some in a small tub near the sink when you wash the dishes. Use a damp sponge to dip into it, thereby picking up some of the soda. Simply then use this to scrub your dishes or whatever it is you are trying to clean. The grains will act as a scourer, but you also get the cleaning effect of the chemical itself
It doesn’t foam, but foaming has nothing to do with cleaning anyway (I’ll say more about this in a later post)
2. In the automatic dishwasher.
Used by itself, it will do almost as good a job as a commercial detergent. The only thing you might notice is that there may be a white dusting on glassware. This is easily removed with vinegar.
3. In the laundry.
It will do a basic job of cleaning clothes, when all you want to do is remove general grime and body odour. It doesn’t contain any fluorescing agents, or enzymes, or builders, or antiredeposition agents, or bleaches, or any of the other additives that separate a premium laundry detergent from a cheap one. So you can use it for old T-shirts, workclothes, socks and undies, and so on.
4. As a floor cleaner
It’s a pretty decent floor cleaner as well. Sprinkle some on the floor or put some in a bucket and it will do a decent job, mainly because most of the sticky stuff on a tiled floor is animal fat from your feet or from food. But once again it will leave a white residue behind. This is easily removed with dilute vinegar.
it’s an excellent barbecue cleaner. It rips through the grease like you wouldn’t believe. Sprinkle some on, wet it down, rub it in with a brush and then hose it off. You won’t believe the results.
it’s best to wear gloves while using it, although it’s not strictly necessary, as repeated use without gloves will strip the fats from your skin and dry it out. Also, as mentioned above, it will often leave a white residue behind. This is simply left over soda ash. It is easily and quickly removed with dilute vinegar.
Also, this website has some good recipes