With the onset of winter and very cold mornings, I don’t care to wait while my car warms up so I can defrost my windshield and I hate scraping off the ice. Take a spray bottle and mix about 1/3 cold water and 2/3 rubbing alcohol. Simply spray it on your windshield and within moments it will remove the ice and you will be on your way. If your fire locks are frozen you can spray it on there as well. This works because of the low freezing point of isopropyl alcohol which causes the ice to melt. We will be learning about this in more detail in class after the new year.
Does your coffee taste bitter? Sprinkle a few grains of salt to make it taste better. As salt dissolves it releases sodium ions which blocks your taste receptors from detecting bitter notes. If you are using a french press, avoid using boiling water as it increases the production of molecules that taste bitter.
If you picked up a bunch of green bananas and you don't want to wait a few days for them to ripen you can speed up the process using chemistry. Place them in a paper bag with an apple or ripe tomato then close the bag. The apple or tomato give off the chemical compound ethylene, which is a natural fruit ripening chemical. On the flip side if you don't want your bananas ripening too quickly, don't place them in a bowl with other ripe fruit.
If you have any objects made from silver or plated with silver, you know that the bright, shiny surface of silver gradually darkens and becomes less shiny. When silver tarnishes, it combines with sulfur and forms silver sulfide. Silver sulfide is black. When a thin coating of silver sulfide forms on the surface of silver, it darkens the silver. The silver can be returned to its former luster by removing the silver sulfide coating from the surface. You can do this by rubbing it off (polishing) which can be tiring and you are rubbing off some silver or you can do it electrochemically which is to reverse the chemical reaction and turn silver sulfide back into silver and save some energy in the process :)
Here are the steps: Line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil. Set the silver object on top of the aluminum foil. Make sure the silver touches the aluminum.
Heat the water to boiling. Remove it from the heat and place it in a sink. To the hot water, add about one cup of baking soda for each gallon of water. (If you need only half a gallon of water, use half a cup of baking soda.) The mixture will froth a bit and may spill over; this is why you put it in the sink.
Pour the hot baking soda and water mixture into the pan, and completely cover the silver.
Almost immediately, the tarnish will begin to disappear. If the silver is only lightly tarnished, all of the tarnish will disappear within several minutes. If the silver is badly tarnished, you may need to reheat the baking soda and water mixture, and give the silver several treatments to remove all of the tarnish.
Tired of crying when cutting onions? Place your onions in the refrigerator. When you cut onions you are breaking open individual onion cells which release volatile compounds that can irritate your eyes. The cooler temps in the refrigerator will slow down the chemical reactions so it will take longer for the acidic compounds (specifically Syn-propanethial-S-oxide) to form and less likely to diffuse up towards your eyes. You could also cut them submerged under water in a dish which will release the compounds into the water and not the air.
***credit Anne Helmenstein PhD.