That salt shaker you have in the kitchen cupboard offers you more uses than you could have ever imagined, well beyond the singular one we all know about of adding flavor to food. Learn how to kill poison ivy, stop grease fires, make an anti-bacterial exfoliant and a tired foot soak, and 19 other fun ideas!
Famously, salt provides an inhospitable chemical environment for most bacteria, including Salmonella, E. Coli, and it serves double duty against bacteria in that it also removes water from food and cells, making it harder for bacteria to grow without moisture. Hence the old-fashioned use of “salt curing” for the preservation of meats. A brine of 10 percent salt will normally prevent the growth of all pathogenic bacteria, which is the reason why meat-preserving brines were popular before refrigerators, and why a saltwater gargle is to this day recommended if you have a sore throat.
Salt is formed when acidic and alkaline materials combine and are neutralized. The resulting neutral pH is unique and offers many uses.
Because of its neutral pH, salt is also used purposely to kill off vegetation, and does a better or worse job at this depending on how sensitive the vegetation is to shifts in pH.
Salt also is a good non-abrasive scrubber and provides many uses in the home and for the body for this reason.
- Brass, Silver, and Copper Cleaner: Make a paste of salt and vinegar, scoop it onto a soft cloth, rub the metal, rinse, and buff dry.
- Drain Deodorizer: Mix ½ cup of salt with ½ cup of hot water, and pour it down the drain periodically to eliminate odors and cut through grease buildup.
- White Marks on Furniture: Combine a teaspoon of salt with enough olive oil to make a dry paste. Scoop some of the paste onto a soft cloth, and then rub into the white marks until they are gone.
- Grease Cutter: Scrub greasy pans first with salt before washing with a detergent.
- Deodorize Cutting Boards: Dip a damp cloth in salt and rub it into the cutting board.
- Prevent Food from Sticking: Rub the pan with salt. This will also prevent smoking.
- Refresh Coffee Percolators and Pots: Add 4-5 tablespoons of salt to and processing as if there was coffee in the pot.
- Clean Sponges: Soak in cold saltwater after you have washed them.
- Deodorize Shoes: Sprinkle salt into the shoes at night; brush out in the morning.
- Drive Away Moths and Ants: Sprinkle areas the pests travel with salt.
- Brighten Colors: Add ½ a cup of salt to colored wash loads to enhance the colors. Note that salt is used to set dyes, so it works as a fixative.
- Eliminate Mold and Mildew Stains: Scrub with salt and lemon juice, then set in the sun. Wash, rinse, and dry.
- Put out Grease Fires: Cover the fire with salt. (Don’t use water on grease fires.)
ANTISEPTIC AND PERSONAL CARE USES
- Sore Throat Gargle: Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water. Gargle.
- Teeth and Gum Cleaner: Pulverize salt with baking soda (1:2 ratio).
- Mouthwash: Combine equal parts of baking soda and salt. Add 1 teaspoon to a glass of water, rinse out mouth.
- Bathe Your Eyes: Make a salt solution of ½ teaspoon of salt to 1 pint of water. Soak a soft washcloth in the mixture and lay it on closed eyes.
- Puffy Eye Help: Use the mixture, above, on puffy eyes, but soak longer.
- Foot Soak: Fill a pail of warm water to just the right temperature. Add ½ cup or so of salt. Soak your feet for as long as it feels good, rinse.
- Dry Salt Scrub: Exfoliate dead, dry skin, by giving yourself a massage with dry salt.
- Removing dry skin: After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.
- Weed Killer: Sprinkle salt along the cracks of patios where weeds are, sprinkle with water, then pull out the dead weeds and dead grass.
- Poison Ivy Killer: Dissolve 1 cup of salt in 1 gallon of hot water. Pour onto the poison ivy. Note that fresh bright green shiny, poison ivy leaves are the most vulnerable to this solution.
By Annie B. Bond