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April 19, 2009–Today’s Way: You might have used cream of tartar to make a lemon meringue pie but I’ll bet you never thought of using it to clean rust stains from your tub.  A natural by-product of the wine industry, tartaric acid forms as a crystal coating on the inside of the barrels in which wine is aged, which are scraped and then the acid is purified and ground into a valuable powder.  If you have well water like I do, you know the inevitable rust stains that result in sinks, tubs and toilets can be an ongoing battle to remove.  Years ago, I discovered this wonderful little trick to effectively remove the stains without having to resort to the horrendously toxic chemical cleansers that seemed to be the only option.  To remove rust stains naturally, just spritz or wet the spot with hydrogen peroxide, then sprinkle cream of tartar powder onto the stain and allow to sit for an hour or so (I like to set a wet rag or sponge over the powder to help keep it moist).  You might need to use a little bit of elbow grease for tougher stains, but the cream of tartar powder works incredibly well to scour away the stains without harming the enamel finish. When the stain is removed, just rinse with water and let your enamel sparkle.

Cream of tartar can be expensive when purchased prepackaged from the grocery store, but it can be found much cheaper in bulk from places like Frontier Natural Foods Co-op, or from your local bulk food store.

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