10 Surprising Ways to Use Ammonia Around the House

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated September 21, 2021
Mother and daughter cleaning the kitchen with ammonia
Tom Merton/Caia Image - stock.adobe.com

Household ammonia can repel moths, clean jewelry, and even remove stubborn stains on concrete

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Ammonia for household use can be a powerful cleaner that cuts through even the toughest stains. It’s also capable of cleaning precious items, like jewelry, and even repelling some pests. Grab your gloves, open a window, grab some ammonia, and check out these surprising household uses for ammonia.

1. Help Jewelry Sparkle Again

If your metal or diamond jewelry looks dull, ammonia may be able to help. Never use ammonia to clean pearls, and check with your jeweler to ensure it’s safe for your specific pieces before giving them the dunk.

  • Fill a container (one you don’t use for food) with six parts warm water to one part clear ammonia in a well-ventilated space.

  • Let the jewelry soak in the diluted ammonia for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • While wearing gloves, pull out each piece of jewelry and scrub it gently with a soft, small cleaning brush or new toothbrush. Scrub very gently to avoid loosening any diamonds.

  • Place the jewelry back in the container to soak for 5 to 10 more minutes.

  • Rinse with warm water.

  • Dry and polish with a soft cloth.

2. Scrub Away Concrete Stains

You can use ammonia to clean stains on your concrete driveway. Conduct a spot test in an inconspicuous spot before dousing on your floors to ensure it doesn’t harm any sealants. Diluted ammonia will work for concrete driveways, but don’t use an ammonia solution for polished or stamped concrete driveways or floors.

  • Grab a cleaning bucket and fill it with 1 cup of ammonia and 1 gallon of warm water.

  • Scrub the ammonia mixture into the stains with a mop or sponge. If you are using a sponge, wear gloves.

  • Let the ammonia soak into the concrete stains for 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Scrub the stain with a tough bristle brush.

  • Thoroughly hose down the area to rinse away the ammonia.

3. Cut Through Electric Oven Grease

Ammonia is incredibly tough on grease. Note that you should only use ammonia to clean electric ovens. Avoid using ammonia to clean a gas oven. Make sure you open all windows and turn on vent fans before using ammonia to clean an electric oven.

  • Preheat the oven to 150°F.

  • Meanwhile, start boiling a small, oven-safe pot of water.

  • Turn the oven off.

  • Place an oven-safe bowl with 0.5 cups of ammonia on the top rack of the oven.

  • Place the pot of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven.

  • Close the oven and let it sit overnight or for at least 8 hours.

  • Remove the ammonia and pot of water (rinse both down the sink while running hot water), and leave the oven door open for about an hour to air out the oven.

  • Use soap and warm water with a sponge or cleaning cloth to thoroughly wipe down the inside of the oven. Stubborn grease will be loose and easy to clean.

4. Remove Soap Scum From Tiles and Tubs

Soap scum can make bathroom tiles look dull and dirty, but it’s easier to remove with the help of ammonia. As always, make sure you can thoroughly ventilate the bathroom area before cleaning with ammonia.

  • For tile: Dilute 1/4 cup of ammonia with 1 gallon of water in a cleaning bucket.

  • For porcelain enamel tubs: Dilute 1 tablespoon of ammonia with 1 gallon of water in a cleaning bucket.

  • With gloved hands, use a sponge to apply the mixture to tiled areas.

  • Rinse thoroughly with water or go over the tile and tub areas with a sponge and warm water.

5. Repel Pests

Many pests can’t stand the smell of ammonia, so even just a small amount can prevent unwanted creatures from sniffing around your garbage bins. You can use a spray bottle with one part ammonia to one part water to spray the inside of your garbage, recycling, and compost bins to prevent raccoons or other pests from getting into your trash.

6. Brighten Dingy White Sneakers

White sneakers are a staple in any wardrobe, but even a few specks of dirt can make them look worn out. Restore white sneakers or tennis shoes to their best by using ammonia to brighten them. Diluted ammonia will work for white athletic shoes and canvas, but don’t use it for leather shoes.

  • Fill a container, not used for food purposes, with one part ammonia and one part water.

  • Using a gloved hand, soak a cleaning cloth in the ammonia mixture.

  • Scrub the white shoes with the cleaning cloth.

  • Rinse the shoes with warm water and let them fully dry.

7. Clean Stains on Carpets, Curtains, and Furniture

Stubborn stains on your sofa, curtains, or carpets are no match for ammonia. Ammonia can help keep carpet and upholstery looking brand new. Ammonia will work for cotton, nylon, and polyester, but never use ammonia for wool or silk fabrics. Be sure to test a small, discreet area of fabric first before applying ammonia all over your belongings, and always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.

  • Mix 1 cup of ammonia and 0.5 gallons of warm water.

  • Sponge the stained areas with the ammonia mixture.

  • Let the stain soak up the mixture for 10 minutes.

  • Cover the stain with a clean towel.

  • Use an iron or steamer to steam the towel over the stain for 20 seconds.

  • Repeat the sponging, resting, and steaming until the stain has fully lifted.

  • Allow the area to dry thoroughly.

8. Get Streak-Free Shine on Windows

Many commercial window and glass cleaners contain ammonia. For streak-free windows that sparkle, you can use at-home materials, including diluted ammonia and a lint-free cloth.

  • Fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon ammonia and 2 cups of warm water.

  • Spray windows with the mixture. You can also use this spray for mirrors.

  • Wipe down with a clean cloth.

9. Get Relief from Mosquito Bites

For fresh mosquito bites, get nearly instant relief with just one small drop of ammonia on the bite. The basic ammonia (ammonia has a pH of 11.6) breaks down compounds in the mosquito saliva that make you itch. Don’t add ammonia to bites that have been scratched open, though, or it will hurt. Use no more than one drop of ammonia for a mosquito bite.

10. Feed Your Plants

Ammonia consists of nitrogen and hydrogen, and it’s used for many fertilizers. You can use diluted ammonia as occasional plant food for both indoor and outdoor plants. Be sure to use clear ammonia, not sudsy ammonia (which contains soap), for plants. And before you put it on your plants, check the care instructions for your specific plants to be sure it’s safe.

  • Outdoor Plants: Dilute 0.25 cup of ammonia with one gallon of water for fertilizing the garden.

  • Indoor Plants: You can use ammonia to help care for indoor plants. Houseplants will thrive with a little bit of ammonia about once a month. Add just a few drops of ammonia to one quart of water for indoor plants. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.