Ammonia inhalants, otherwise known as smelling salts, have long been an easy, over-the-counter treatment for sudden fainting spells. Be aware, however, that ammonia inhalants are not medical treatments – they only treat the symptoms. Seek medical attention should you have need of smelling salts on a regular basis.
Ammonia is one of the most highly produced inorganic chemicals, due to its many uses. It is produced by dozens of chemical plants worldwide. About 80% or more of the ammonia produced is used for fertilizing agricultural crops.
While there are many uses for ammonia (see list for 10 of them), handlers must be aware that poisoning may occur if too much is breathed in. Poisoning may also occur if products that contain very large amounts of ammonia are swallowed or touched.
NEVER mix ammonia with bleach as that causes the release of toxic chlorine gas, which can be deadly.
If you have an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Make bath towels extra fluffy
Who doesn’t love the feel of an extra fluffy bath towel after a long hot bath or shower? To ensure your towels are super soft, try adding 1/2 cup of ammonia to the rinse cycle of your washer (or to the detergent compartment of a front-loading machine) every few washes. The ammonia will dissolve the buildup of detergent, fabric softener and body oil that can cause towel fibers to become less absorbent and stiff.
Soothe a pet’s itchy bug bite
Your pet continues to gnaw at that lump on her foot. No matter what you do, she won’t quit, making you think it could be a spider bite. Dab a cotton ball soaked in ammonia on the spot, then rinse with water (do not forget to rinse). The alkaline-based ammonia will neutralize the acidic spider-bite toxins on contact. Repeat once per day until the irritation goes away.
Brighten canvas instantly
Canvas bags and canvas shoes are all the rage, but they can begin looking dingy in a hurry. To brighten, combine equal parts ammonia and water, then sponge the liquid over the fabric until the original color returns. Finish the job by blotting with a damp paper towel. (To ensure colorfastness, test on an inconspicuous spot first.)
Keep critters out of your trash
Perhaps the neighborhood raccoons have decided your trash bins are the place to congregate because you supply the best garbage around. To keep them moving on their way, spray the bins with a solution of equal parts ammonia and water. When animals detect the nitrogen content in ammonia’s fumes, they’ll believe the the bins are marked territory and stay away. Repeat once a month.
Renew an old hairbrush
With everyone trying to cut back on expenses, one may decide to deep clean an old hairbrush instead of having to buy a new one. Soak the styling tools in a mixture of 1/4 cup of ammonia and 1 cup of water for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water. The ammonia will gently cut through the sticky hairspray, gel residue and built-up grime, leaving you brushes almost as good as new.
keep houseplants green and glossy
Have yellow spots on what would otherwise be beautiful green plants? Water with 1/4 cup of ammonia diluted in 1 gallon of water once a week. The mixture will infuse the plant’s soil with nitrogen, a staple in potting soil due to its ability to encourage healthy plant growth.
Get precious jewelry sparkling
Diamonds are precious metals and their shine should reflect that. Remove grime by soaking it in a solution of 1/2 cup of ammonia, 1/2 teaspoon of dish detergent and 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes, then buffing with a cloth. This mixture is also safe for clear stones as well as gold, silver and platinum metals.
Immediately remove the smell of smoke
Dinner is in the oven and your daughter’s prospective in-laws will be arriving any minute, but burnt bits on the oven floor have left your home smelling smoky. The quickest fix is to fill three bowls with ammonia and set them around anywhere you detect the smell of smoke. The alkaline ammonia will neutralize the smoke – without leaving behind a harsh scent of its own.
Lift oil-based stains in a jiffy
Not again! Ketchup dropped off that hot dog onto his shirt or a bit of dressing dripped onto your blouse. To keep these spots from setting, blot it with a solution of two parts water and one part ammonia. The alkaline ammonia will neutralize and emulsify the stain’s fatty acids, so the mark will be gone in seconds. (As always, test on an inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure colorfastness.)
Give worn wicker a face-lift
Spring is here, making it time to pull out the wicker furniture. Unfortunately, it got a bit dingy while in storage and needs a face-lift. Mix 3/4 cup of ammonia and 1 gallon of water , add to a spray bottle, then spritz. The ionizing agents of the ammonia will slip between the weaves and dissolve hard-to-reach gunk.