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Creative Uses for Salt That You May Have Never Realized

I don’t think there’s a single house in the world without salt, do you? Salt is more than a staple when it comes to food, it is essential. But, if you’d never thought that salt may have any use beyond enhancing flavor in food, you have been missing out!

According to Food Microbiology, salt has powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This means that salt is a great cleaning product, along with having so many other properties. You can use it to clean anything from your coffee maker to even your teeth. Here are some amazing uses for salt that you may have not known about.

Scrub Away Pan Grease

Salt acts as a scouring agent as well as a catalyst for other ingredients. When added to cleaning recipes, salt boosts the deodorizing qualities of dishwasher soaps.

If you have a pan that is coated with grease, you can try the salt trick by sprinkling a layer of it on and leaving it to do its magic for about ten minutes or so. Then, using a damp towel or sponge, simply wipe the grime away! This trick also works great for cast iron utensils.

Clean Your Iron With Salt

If you accidentally run your clothing iron over a stain – you don’t have to be doomed to staining any further items of clothing. Simply get rid of the gunk using salt. Salt will not melt even if it touches a hot iron because it has a melting point of 1,473°F while your iron only goes up to 445°F at most. Therefore, it won’t melt and adhere to the iron, but scrub off any lingering residue.

Sprinkle some salt on a piece of paper and run a warm iron over it. Then turn the heat off and let it cool, after which you can wipe the gunk off with a soft cloth.

Salt Alleviates Bug Bites

According to a 2006 study published in Food Microbiology, salt has antimicrobial properties that get rid of bacteria. This makes salt an ideal source to give relief from bug bites, especially mosquito bites.

If you have a bug bite that is itching too much, try this hack instead of risking turning it into a scab. Take some salt and add only enough water to make a paste and rub this mixture on the bite. Alternatively, you can also wet the area of the bite and gently rub some salt over it. If you choose to do the latter, make sure the salt you use is fine because you don’t want to irritate the itch further.

Clean Your Coffee Maker

The National Sanitation Foundation determined that coffee makers are the fifth filthiest item in a person’s home. Not only are they rarely cleaned, but they also attract bacteria by remaining moist and warm for long periods of time. For an easy-clean, run saltwater through the machine.

Fill the coffee pot with water and add four tablespoons of salt. Then run the coffee pot as usual. The salt will kill much of the bacteria, and it’ll remove the bitterness left from previous coffee batches. To eliminate the saltiness, run pure water through the coffee maker. Note: this works on regular coffee makers… don’t try on your Keurig!

Save Your Bitter Drinks With Salt

Chef and author Alton Brown recommend a peculiar method to neutralize the bitterness of coffee. Before you brew your cup of joe, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the grounds. This will lower the acidity in your coffee and make it taste sweeter.

This trick has a biochemical basis. Salt’s ion Na+ interferes with the chemical that causes the bitter taste. You can use this same trick on a cup of hot chocolate or bitter tea. And if you end up with coffee stains on your mug, brush it off with salt water.

Save Your Sponges From A Grimy Death

If your kitchen sponge has become dirty and gross, don’t throw it away just yet. Fill a bowl with salt water–about 1/4 cup of salt per two cups of cold water. Toss the sponge in and let it soak overnight. By morning, you should be able to remove most of the gunk.

The salt should slowly replace all the space in the sponge, which pushes the dirt out. This trick may not work with some artificial sponges if they have large holes. If this is the case, run your sponge through the dishwasher instead.

Exfoliate Dandruff

Have you ever tried Epsom salt treatments? They work because salt is a natural exfoliator. And if you have dandruff, you need an exfoliator. Rub some Epsom salt through your hair and scalp to clear away the dead skin.

Before washing, massage salt granulates into your dry or slightly damp hair. Rub it in for two to three minutes to thoroughly rub away the dead skin. Once you’re done, you can shampoo and rinse as normal. Depending on the severity of dandruff, you can use this treatment two to three times a week.

Make A Natural Probiotic

Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is an excellent natural probiotic – and the one thing you need to turn cabbage into sauerkraut is, you guessed it, salt!

It is actually really easy to make. All you have to do is take a head of cabbage and carefully cut the core out. Then sprinkle a tablespoon of salt into the hole and store it in a container with enough water to submerge it. The salt mixes with the natural juices from the cabbage and causes fermentation. You can leave this at room temperature for anywhere from 1 to 6 months, according to how funky you like it. Then simply shred the cabbage and store it in mason jars.

Salty Water Chills Your Drinks In No Time

If you want to chill your beverage quickly, here’s a great hack for you. Fill a cooler with water, ice cubes, and salt. Place your drinks inside, leaving a bit of space between each of them. Check back after five minutes for icy cold refreshments!

The way this works is that salt reduces the “freezing point depression”, or the minimum temperature at which any liquid freezes when mixed with water. While water typically freezes at 32°F, salt takes it further down by preventing the molecules from crystalizing easily.

Extend The Life Of Dairy Products

This may sound a bit weird, but adding salt to your dairy products will make them last longer because it is a natural preservative. Salt soaks up excess moisture and prevents mold from forming. If you add a pinch of salt to your milk, an amount so small that you won’t even taste it, it can last for about a week past its expiration date! Salt can also help cheeses stay good for longer. Simply soak a napkin in saltwater and cover the cheese with it.

Keep Lettuce Crisp

Soggy lettuce in a salad isn’t very pleasant, but one way to keep it, or any other salad greens, crisp is to sprinkle some salt on top of them. Not only does this add flavor, but it also preserves the freshness of the lettuce for some time.

Salt has been used as a preservative for decades, even though the scientific explanation for why may have come after. Salt draws water out of cells through a process called osmosis, which is how salt kills bacteria. A little bit of salt will draw out enough water to keep it crunchy. Too much salt, though, will draw out too much water from the cells to keep them alive – not to mention make your salad too salty to eat.

Prevent Cut Fruit From Going Brown

When you leave sliced fruit out, it turns brown on the cut surface as it comes into contact with oxygen. You may have heard that squeezing some lemon or lime on cut fruit can stop the browning – salt works in the same way. You can also submerge them in water to stop oxidization, but this can become a breeding ground for other bacteria. Unless, of course, you add salt to the water.

The antibacterial properties of salt make it impossible for organisms to survive. So, submerge cut fruit in water with a bit of salt and remove after five to ten minutes.

Salt Removes Red Wine Stains

Salt is a great stain-remover because it absorbs water very quickly. If you spill red wine on the carpet, just sprinkle a good amount of salt on it while it’s still wet and vacuum it after 10-15 minutes. Unlike most other stain-remover solutions, salt actually gets rid of it completely.

If you spill something on your clothes, sprinkle the salt on the stain and leave it for a minimum of 3 minutes. Then simply rinse with cold water and repeat the process a couple more times if the stain doesn’t disappear the first time. After that, you can wash your clothes as usual.

Restore Stained And Yellowed Towels

After several uses, linens can appear blotchy or yellowed. While they are still perfectly fine to use, they may not look very pleasant. Washing with regular detergent doesn’t help brighten the color, but all is not lost. You can use salt to brighten the fabric’s colors, but be aware that this only works for single-colored linens such as towels.

Combine ½ cup each of vinegar and salt into ½ gallon of water and boil the towels in this mixture for an hour. Or you can add ¼ cup salt into a gallon of hot water and let the towels soak for 48 hours. Rinse thoroughly and dry as usual.

Remove Lipstick Stains From Glassware

Lipstick stains are notoriously tough to remove from glassware because they contain emollients that are designed to stay on your lips. Running them through the dishwasher doesn’t make much of a difference either!

Salt is your friend here. Your best bet is to get rid of the stain before you put the glassware in the dishwasher. Rub some salt on the stain and wipe it off with a damp washcloth. If that doesn’t work, you can try some rubbing alcohol. Once the stain is gone, pop it in the dishwasher as usual.

Clear Out Your Drains

Salt has its own antiseptic properties, but it also works amazingly to boost the antibacterial properties of other substances, like vinegar. Combining the powers of these make a formidable cleaning agent that can do a fantastic job on your sink or bathroom drain. Just mix equal parts of salt and vinegar and pour it down the drain. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes and pour some boiling water. Alternatively, you can also put some dry salt down the drain and pour boiling water over it.

Put Salt Down The Drain To Unclog The Sink Overnight

If you’ve got a clogged kitchen sink, this trick could solve your problems. Mix ½ cup of salt into 1 cup of baking soda and pour this mixture down the sink. This will need to sit for a minimum of 4-6 hours so it would be best to do it just before you go to bed. Then, simply run hot water down the sink to flush it and you should have an unclogged sink!

Make Your Shoes Smell Fresh Again

Stinky shoes are the bane of human existence, but the odor can be removed with a very simple trick. The bad smell comes from bacteria that develops through the mingling of heat and sweat, so to get rid of the smell, we need to get rid of the bacteria and we already know that salt is antibacterial.

Add two teaspoons of salt into each of your shoes and leave it for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be best, so you could do this at night. Another way to prevent smelly feet is to rub them with vinegar and salt to remove the odor.

Tame The Flames, Especially With Grease Fire

We mentioned that salt has a high melting point, and this means that large amounts of it can put out fires. If you have a fireplace at home, you can use salt to extinguish the flames. Pouring salt on it helps the fire go out quickly and also makes for easier cleanup.

You may have heard that water isn’t the right way to put out a grease fire, but did you know salt is? Water only spreads the oil around, thereby spreading the fire, but the salt will put it out. You can also use salt or baking soda to subdue the rogue flames on a grill or frying pan.

Prevent Food From Sticking To A Pan Or Dish

Sprinkling salt on a warm oven or skillet before using can create a nonstick layer that will prevent your food from sticking. This is because the salt creates a rough layer between the surface and the food that discourages sticking. Don’t forget to dust the excess salt off or you’re in for a very salty meal!

Prevent Candles From Dripping

Dripping candles might look great, but they create a lot of mess. If you want to avoid all of that, you can use this handy trick to stop them from dripping at all.

Add ½ tablespoon of salt into 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Let the salt crystals dissolve completely and turn the heat off. Add your candles into the salt water and let them soak for at least two hours. Of course, don’t forget to dry them off before lighting the wick! You can scale these quantities up if you have larger candles.

Freshen Your Breath And Relieve Pain

Gargling your mouth with lukewarm saltwater has a lot of benefits. Similar to your feet, the odor in your mouth is caused by bacteria and while some of it is removed through brushing, most aren’t as they live primarily in the back of your throat and tongue. As salt kills bacteria, gargling with it allows it to get to all parts of your mouth and break down the oils. Your breath will smell fresher!

You can also do this when you can a canker sore or sore throat. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of salt into ¼ cup water and swish it around in your mouth for at least 20 seconds. This will kill some of the bacteria, aid in the healing process, and also give you some pain relief.

Use Salt As A Pesticide

Commercially-produced bug sprays have harsh chemicals that you may not be comfortable using, but why worry when you have an all-natural solution? Salt helps deter insects, mainly ants, from entering the house, so just sprinkle some across doors and windows to prevent them from entering.

While salt won’t kill ants, it’ll keep them away. Vinegar also acts as an ant-repellant, so if you don’t mind the smell, you could brush a salt and vinegar concoction to doors and windows as well. Keep in mind that you will need to reapply this mixture occasionally as it wears off.

Turn Your Clothes Colorfast

Colorfast clothes are made out of fabrics designed to retain their color after washing. If you have faded clothes, salt can help you prevent this from happening. In fact, textile companies and fabric manufacturers often use salt to achieve the same effect.

To do this at home, combine ½ cup of salt and ½ cup of vinegar into ½ gallon water. Soak your clothes in this mixture, turning them around every couple of hours. Once 24 hours have passed, remove your garments and rinse with cold water.

Salt Makes Cooking Eggs Easier

When cooking eggs, salt isn’t just a way to make them taste better, but to aid in the cooking process as well. Add salt to the boiling water to cook eggs. Salt helps increase the temperature faster and the saltwater will also raise the shell and make it easier to peel.

Evidence also suggests that salt helps set the eggs and prevent them from cracking. So, a sprinkling of salt over your sunny-side-up will give you perfectly oozy eggs. You can also add salt to boiling water when poaching eggs to help keep the whites together.

Is Your Egg Safe To Eat?

You may have heard of this trick, but it really does work! To check if your eggs are still fresh and good to eat, drop them in a saltwater solution to check. If it sinks, it’s good to eat, but if it floats, then it’s doubtful.

This can be explained by some simple science, too. When eggs decay, the yolk disappears and gets replaced by air, thereby reducing the density. Salt raises the water’s density, and that causes bad eggs to float.

Control Potato Texture With Salt

As with other foods, most people use salt in their potatoes to make them taste better. But smart cooks know that using salt in different ways can make the texture of potatoes better or worse.

Boiling potatoes in saltwater soften them as the potato gravitates towards the salt in a process called osmosis. The salt chips away at the potato and causes it to soften. You can also get crunchier homemade fries by soaking potatoes in salt water before frying them. The salt sucks the starch out of the potato (which is what makes the water go cloudy) and causes it to go crispier when fried.

Remove That “Burnt” Oven Smell

If you had any drips that were left in your oven, it may have that burned food smell the next time you turn it on. One way to get rid of that without the use of cleaning chemicals is to use salt. Mix 1/8 cup salt with 1/8 cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon dishwasher soap. Apply this mixture to your oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before wiping it off.

If you spill something in the oven, sprinkle a good amount of salt on it while the oven is still warm. Once the oven cools down, you can simply scrub the stain away. To get a more pleasant smell, combine some cinnamon or lemon zest into the mixture.

Deodorize Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators are perpetually damp, as is the nature of the beast. This makes it a bit difficult to clean. Not to mention the fact that many people are a bit apprehensive about using cleaning chemicals and then storing their food in the same place.

Salt to the rescue! Mix some salt into warm water and use a sponge to scrub your fridge with this. To give it a pleasant smell, you can add some lemon juice as well. Saltwater isn’t as abrasive as other cleaners, so it will remove stains without scratching the enamel.

De-Tarnish Your Silverware Without Polishing It

Salt is a gentle exfoliator and, therefore, will not harm delicate metals such as silver and copper, making it the perfect tool to remove tarnish from silverware. To do this, boil some water and place some aluminum foil at the bottom. Add two tablespoons each of baking soda and salt and submerge your silverware in this solution, making sure to leave some space between each item. After 2-5 minutes, remove the silverware and rinse them. The tarnish should have disappeared!

When the silverware is in the water, all the substances in there combined create a chemical reaction called ion exchange which converts tarnish back to silver. The sulfide becomes aluminum sulfide on the foil, and so you do not need to polish any of the items.

Clean Your Copper, Too

Copper tools also tend to tarnish and stain over time, and salt is one way to clean them. Combine 1 tablespoon of salt into 1 cup of vinegar and use a cloth soaked in this mixture to rub the stains away.

To clean an entire pot, add the salt and vinegar solution to 3 cups of boiling water. Immerse the entire pot or pan into this and let it boil until all the grime washes off. Once it has become clear, remove it from the water and let it cool before gently washing it with soap and water.

Get Rid of Nasty Smells In Containers

Plastic containers tend to hang onto the smells of whatever they held for a long time after you’ve washed them, but salt is a great way to get rid of these odors. Simply sprinkle some salt into the container and leave it, covered, overnight. Wash it off in the morning (maybe add a few drops of lemon just before washing) and it will smell as good as new. This works because salt naturally absorbs odors, which is why it is used in many cleaning products as well.

Brighten and Purify Your Wooden Cutting Board

Over time, cutting boards get tiny nicks and grooves which can then get food particles that sink into them. This makes it a breeding ground for bacteria and let’s not mention the smell!

Salt is a great way to get rid of these food particles and brighten your board’s color. Sprinkle your board with table salt and rub it with a warm, damp washcloth. Once the board has been scrubbed thoroughly, wash it with sudsy water regularly. This process may be repeated until your board looks as good as new.

Clean Fragile Wicker Baskets

Wicker baskets can be quite finicky to clean because they are fragile and also have many grooves that can be hard to get into. Salt can be a great way to clean them and stop them from yellowing.

Scrub wicker baskets with a stiff brush soaked in warm saltwater. You can use dry salt to get in between the grooves. Pour salt into a large bag and place your baskets in them. Shake to let the salt remove any dust or debris.

Extend the Life Of Your Broom

You can ensure the long life of your broom by preserving it with saltwater. You will want to do this before you begin to use it. Fill a bucket with hot water and pour a generous amount of salt into it. Let your broom, brush side down, soak in this solution for about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to let your broom dry completely before using it for sweeping!

Help Your Brass Shine Again

Just like your silverware, brass can also be cleaned with the help of salt. First, you’ll need to create a paste of salt and white vinegar (1/2:1 ratio) and some flour to thicken it. Then you can either dip the brass tool into this mixture or use a cloth to rub it on. Leave it for 15-20 minutes before rubbing away gently with a damp, warm cloth. The vinegar and salt produce a chemical reaction that soaks up the tarnish, similar to the processes we talk about earlier!

Brush Off Mineral Deposits from Fish Tanks

Fish tanks often collect residue from mineral deposits which can be difficult to clean, but salt is a great way to get rid of these. You’ll need to create a vinegar and salt cleaning paste similar to the brass solution and rub this all over the fish tank with soft scrubbing pads. Make sure to rinse the tank thoroughly before bringing the fish back in, especially if it is a freshwater tank. Even if it is a saltwater tank, you’ll want to make sure the smell of vinegar is gone completely.

Loosen Soot in Your Chimney

We already mentioned how salt is a great way to put out grease fires, but did you know you can also burn salt to loosen the soot inside your chimney? If you have a brick fireplace table salt is a great way to remove soot.

All you need to do is pour a few tablespoons of salt into the flames while the fire is going. The fire will turn a gorgeous yellow, too! Once the flames have died down, you can clean the soot in a much easier manner. This also improves airflow and aids in fire safety.

Rid Your Tools of Rust with Lemon and Salt

Rust can affect anything from razors to lawnmowers and it is quite difficult to get rid of as well. One way to clean rust is to scrub it away with a mixture of salt and lemon juice. To make this solution, combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into 6 tablespoons of salt. Apply this to the rusted area and rub in a circular motion. Rinse the area thoroughly once you’re done.

Alternatively, you could also rub salt over the rusted area and squeeze lemon juice over it. Leave this to rest for 2-3 hours before scrubbing with steel wool or a scourer.

Diffuse Coffee and Condensation Rings

You may notice the white residue left behind when you place a hot or cold dish on wooden surfaces. This is condensation, and it can be quite tricky to clean as well. However, with the help of salt, it is very possible.

First, sprinkle some salt along with the condensation marks and leave it for a couple of minutes to let the salt soak up the moisture. Then, dip a rap or sponge in some light cooking oil and gently massage the marks away, drying it with a fresh cloth afterward. This gentle method of cleaning will not harm your wooden furniture.

Destroy Weeds That Grow Out of Cracks

Weeds that peek through cracks in brick or concrete can make your lawn look unkempt, but they aren’t exactly easy to get rid of either. Yes, you can use salt here too!

Salt absorbs moisture very quickly and thereby kills plants by dehydrating them. To do a quick job of it, pour some salt between the cracks where the weeds are and pour hot water over it. To kill poison ivy, mix 3 pounds of sea salt with a gallon of soapy water and spray the leaves and stems with this mixture. The poison ivy should wilt within a few days.

Melt Ice and Snow

Salt reduces the freezing point of water or causes “freezing point depression” if you want to get technical. This lowers the melting point of snow and ice and therefore can help you sought out your snow-related problems.

Dust icy locations like your car, driveway, or porch with rock salt to prevent the ice from sticking to the surface. This will also help you remove it. However, be careful when putting salt on lawns because it can kill your plants. You can also use salt water to wash your car to prevent ice from clinging to your windshields.