Awesome Chemistry Life Hacks (Vol. 3)

This week Reactions is back with another episode of chemistry life hacks! Science will help you chill beverages quickly, get rid of fruit flies, cook the perfect burger and clean your sponge.

0:15 – Chill beverages quick
1:02 – Get rid of fruit flies
1:46 – Cook the perfect burger
2:39 – Clean your sponge

Chemistry Life Hacks is back with new tips that can change your life, or at least the temperature of your beer. In this episode, you’ll learn how to cool your brews quickly before the big game starts, get fruit flies out of your kitchen for good, how to cook the perfect patty on the grill and get a remedy for the dreaded “stinky sponge syndrome.”

Leave your chemistry questions in the comments and you might see it answered on a later episode! Thanks for watching.

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Creative Commons music:
Roberto Daglio – Bibossa
Mako Yama – A Starry Night

Sources of Life hack-y goodness:
“Cookwise” by Shirley Corriher:


42 thoughts on “Awesome Chemistry Life Hacks (Vol. 3)

  1. I tried the fruit fly trap. It worked like a charm. I used rice wine vinegar since I had no apple cider vinegar and since I did not see how that would change anything. I think the point is that acetic acid was the key to the chemotaxis. Using the soap as a surfactant to allow those little buggers to drown was perfect. Thumbs up!

  2. I'm never doing the fly one. Those flies are sentient beings too, and they don't deserve to be killed just because they're somewhere they aren't supposed to be. I catch them and release them outside.

  3. Stinky Sponge Life Hack: get your sponge soaking wet with hot water and place in the microwave (brillo-side up) for 3 minutes. The steam sterilizes the sponge and it comes out smelling as good as new.

  4. Need to start up the BBQ but forgot the charcoal at home? Sacrifice that bag of potato chips to the fire gods. On a chemical level, potatoes are very similar to wood. Combine this fact that potato chips are typically fried in oil to attain their delightful crispiness and they create an excellent fuel source for a cooking fire. DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF USING NACHO CHIPS THOUGH! The flavor dust from your generic nacho chip is chocked full of hydrocarbons, the same stuff that makes gasoline so flammable. If you use nachos, your fire might burn TOO hot. Some would suggest this life hack works best by using a combination of the two chips together at a ratio of 3 potato chips to every 1 nacho.

  5. Sugar reaction to make meat brown reminds me of pouring a bit of sugar when you are cooking chicken to get them looking brown and not white as the meat of a dead rotten animal ­čśë

  6. Great video series! Unfortunately, at least the first two in the  lifehack series that I've viewed seem to presume that viewers are male. There are plenty of women and girls that are not afraid of terms like syn-propanethial-S-oxide and Maillard reaction, and we forget to pre-chill our beers as often as guys do. Can you keep this in mind in later videos?

  7. For stinky sponge syndrome, moisten sponge and add a drop or two of dish soap. Squeeze the sponge a few times to lather it up and place it on a microwave safe plate. Nuke it for a full minute. Bacteria all dead, stink gone! 5 stars!

  8. better lifehack, get rid of the sponge all together.  instead use a cloth and wash your dishes with a bit of bleach.  sponges easily collect food particles for things to eat later, don't dry quickly and are not very durable.

  9. want a cold beer without making an ice bucket? wrap it in a single layer of wet paper towels and stick it in the fridge. the water in the paper towels boosts the cooling. Want to do it even faster? Put a fan into your fridge blowing at the beer, but that one is probably going to get a little harder to achieve. ­čśŤ

  10. You can also dishwasher your kitchen sponges to sanitize them or stick them in the microwave for a little bit. The heat from both will kill any bacteria in them and making them fresh again.

  11. Put your sponge in the microwave for about 2 minutes to kill bacterias and refresh the smell. Also works with chopping boards (im sure about wood boards but not about about plastics ones)

  12. Sure, let's overcook our burgers and make sure it's dry and all the taste is gone before serving.

    That's the worst advice ever. It's beef. Unless you leave it lying outside in the burning sun for hours upon end without cooking it, it doesn't just get infected all of the sudden. 

  13. Microwave full of splatter and crusty residue? If you put a half and half water and vinegar solution in a bowl and microwave it for a few minutes (3-5), it loosens it up enough to clean it easy.

  14. bee/wasp sting- splinter place over rigid damp┬áplastic bottle/pot┬áopening and create vacuum (by hand or you┬ácan also ┬ácreate vacuum by putting very┬áhot water in the pot-as it cools it sucks –┬á heat and moisture degrade insect-poison and soften the skin to let splinter out)┬á ask if further explanation needed.

  15. mouldy fruit┬áin the fridge ?–┬áeg. raspberries – rinse them in┬ádilute hydrogen peroxide┬á( same as in1staid┬á(use sterile kettlewater )briefly .dry them under table lamp maybe.[alt: spray┬á 20proof gin (┬ú) or vinegar-{ spoils taste ?}.

  16. About cooling the beer. I agree that dissolving NaCl into water alters the freezing point and I also agree that this makes sure that you can cool the water to a lower temperature while remaining liquid. However the reason why it cools much lower then just "normal" ice is not clarified here. On the lab I regularly use ice baths to cool to either ~2-4 degree celcius while just using regular ice and water. If a reaction requires cooling to temperatures such as -10 or even -20 degree celcius, we add the NaCl. This is not to keep our ice bath from freezing, but because the NaCl requires heat to dissolve in water. Poring salt into the icy water, will require heat to create a solution. No heat is applied, meaning it finds another source that applies energy to dissolve, in this case water. The energy is drained from the water as the salt dissolves, resulting into a decrease in temperature of the water. 
    Another beneficial aspect of the use of NaCl is that the solubility of it in water is very high, meaning you can put in tons of salt, causing it to remove a lot of heat from the water, lowering its temperature. If you would take a poorly soluble salt, it will not have the same effect.

    but a nice video guys! 

    source: own experience
    More elaborate explanation:

  17. I got one:
    Got silverware in your household (or your parent's)? Then you already saw these black stains on it.
    This is most likely silver-sulfide (Ag2S). How do you get rid of it?
    With science bitches ­čÖé ->Give the sulfer something more tasty.

    For example aluminium foil.
    Take a bowl of hot water and scoop some salt (NaCl) into it. after that trow in some pieces of aluminium foil. Now put in the silverware. Make sure it has contact to the foil.

    Extrapoints if you get in your hands and actually rub the foil on the stained parts (eg. the fork tips)

    You will smell the sulfur compounds beeing set free (rotten eggs).
    Works awsome and yout mother will thank you ­čśë

  18. The first, lowering the water freezing point, is due to the colligative properties of solutions. When you add an electrolyte (a thing which dissociates, in this case an ionic product NaCl(s) > Na+(aq) + Cl(aq)), it causes the water freezing point to drop, and by how much can be calculated from this equation:
    ΔTk=change of solution freezing point
    i= Van't Hoff coeficient (takes into account the dissociation of the electrolyte, otherwise it would be as if you're watching an ideal non-electrolyte), i=1+(v-1)*α (v=number of ions a particle dissociates onto, α=degree of dissociation)
    K= cryoscopic constant
    b= molality (amount of substance/mass of solvent)
    (this is essentialy why the roads are covered with salt during winter – as the salt (NaCl, which dissociates and is an electrolyte) lowers the freezing temperature of water, the outside temperature, which goes below 0┬░C (the freezing point of water without salt) doesn't cause the moisture and water on the roads to freeze and cover them in ice. That would take, as it says in the video, temperatures of -21┬░C)

    Science, bitch!

  19. Been using a form of that fruit fly trick for years. Living in a hot, humid state in the American South, the occasional bug invasion is just a fact of life – especially in summer. Using a few traps like that one will clear up fruit flies in a couple days. However, the few that are smart enough to avoid/escape the traps are the ones you need to worry about. Those fuckers are smarter than the average bear, and need to be caught by hand on sight. You don't wont the smart fruit flies to breed.

  20. sponges get stinky because you don't use enough soap when using the sponge, then don't rinse the sponge enough when you're done. using two sponges means you'll end up with two stinky sponges because of those habits. it's easy to fix, though. get the sponge wet and wring it well, then throw it in the microwave for half a minute to a minute. it will reach boiling temperature and kill the stink-producing organisms. just don't do this with sponges containing metal (steel wool) or metallicized plastic (marketing gimmick). and don't grab the sponge with your bare hands immediately to get it out of the microwave.

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