5 Surprising Uses for Seltzer

Written By John Richards on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | 5:52 AM

Seltzer (aka seltzer water and soda water) has been around since the 1700s when Joseph Priestly, a man who lived next to a bar in Germany, discovered that the gases released during beer fermentation made water bubbly. Not to be confused with club soda or tonic water, seltzer water is pure H2O infused with carbon dioxide. Since Priestly's discovery, the drink has become a popular beverage choice. But seltzer isn't just for sipping-this fizzy favorite has uses in cooking, cleaning and so much more. Read on to learn what else soda water can do.

Scrub Your Surfaces 
Just like vinegar, an eco-cleaning staple, unflavored seltzer's acidity breaks down dirt and bacteria, making it a good replacement for harsher chemical-based detergents. Apply it with a soft cloth (microfiber is best) or nonabrasive sponge to stainless steel, chrome and porcelain for a shiny finish. In order to avoid water spots, don't let it air-dry.

Fluff Up Your Recipes 
Sub seltzer for tap water or milk when you make pancakes, waffles or scrambled eggs. The carbonation gives the finished product a lighter, airier texture. 

Clean Your Car 
Parked under a tree? The gravel in bird droppings can scratch your car's surface if you just rub them off. Instead, do a mini power wash by removing the cap from a bottle of seltzer, shaking it up with your thumb over the opening and blasting off the scum.

Clarify Your Hair 
After a dip in the pool or ocean, give your hair a quick rinse with a bottle of seltzer. The fizziness will gently remove any chlorine or salt buildup. 

Mix a diet-friendly drink 
Splash it in with an unexpected juice combo-pineapple and pomegranate, orange and apple, cranberry and limeade-for an effervescent thirst quencher that contains fewer calories than soda or juice alone.