Most of us always have salt in the cupboard to use in our cooking, but this mineral has so many other uses. Here are just some of them!
When you think about salt, what’s the first use that springs to mind? If you’re anything like us, then you probably only ever use salt in cooking – or as something to cover your fries in to make them even more delicious. However, salt is one of those versatile products that can be used for so many different things. Plus, as most of us have plenty of salt in our homes, it means that we can always grab a shaker to try one of these hacks out.
We get salt from salt mines and through the evaporation of seawater, and it’s thought that we’re unlikely to run out any time soon. The ocean itself is believed to have around 35 grams of solid salt per liter of seawater. When you consider how vast the ocean is, it’s safe to assume this is no scarce resource! We’ve been using it for thousands of years, too. Some of the earliest evidence that we processed salt hails all the way back to 6,000 BCE… While many of us use it for food, there are so many other incredible uses for salt.
Remove wine from the carpet
Is there anything worse than spilling red wine all over your cream carpet? We don’t think so. While some people might tell you to put white wine on it, that’s not always the best idea. It will dilute the color, but it’s not going to clean it up – and your home will still smell like a vineyard.
Instead, use the white wine trick, then wipe down the area with a sponge and cold water. Now, sprinkle on some salt and wait around 10-15 minutes. Finally, vacuum the area and voila! No more spill or smell. You can use this trick on any fabric, such as clothes or couch cushions, too.
Relieve the pain of stings and bites
If you’ve found yourself with a bee sting, an insect bite, or even being stung by poison ivy, then salt can help! If you’re stung by a bee, then just covering the area in salt should be enough to reduce the swelling and stop it hurting so much. Insect bite? Soak the entire area in saltwater and then finish off with a coating of vegetable oil.
Finally, if you find yourself getting stung by poison ivy, soak the area in hot saltwater. All of these salty methods will help reduce any inflammation and pain. However, if you’re allergic, then you should always seek medical assistance!
Keep your windows frost-free
Many people already know that salt is the greatest enemy of ice – which is why the roads get salted when it’s icy! However, instead of just turning to the salt when everything is already frozen over, you can use it as a preventative measure as well.
When the temperature is set to drop below zero, wash your windows with a sponge that has been dipped in saltwater. Alternatively, fill a small cloth bag full of salt and wipe these over your windows (or car windshield) when they’re wet. This will stop them from freezing over when it gets too cold.
Create an ant barrier
For ants, salt is their kryptonite – and they’ll do anything to avoid it! If you’ve found yourself in the middle of an ant warpath, then you can win the battle just by sprinkling salt. All you need to do is sprinkle the salt directly on their path or create a barrier that diverts their route.
You can also sprinkle the salt along door frames and skirting boards if you find that they’re trying to get into your home. They’ll take one look at the salt and instantly change course, meaning that you don’t have to spend the whole of summer building ant barricades to try and keep them out.
Remove those tough lipstick stains
Even once you’ve run your glasses through the dishwasher, it can seem almost impossible to remove tough lipstick stains. They just won’t budge! If you want to continue wearing your favorite Mac lipstick while drinking from a glass, then never fear – salt is here!
You see, lipstick has been specifically designed to stay on your lips using a particular type of emollients. However, they struggle to hold on when salt is involved. So, rub the edges of your glasses with salt before you put them in the dishwasher or hand wash them. The stains will come off with ease.
Save your bitter coffee
For coffee lovers, there is nothing worse than forgetting you had a pot of coffee on the go, and now it’s overcooked. You get that horrible bitter taste that means the whole pot has to be thrown out and you’ll need to start again. However, just a little bit of salt could help combat this problem.
Add a pinch of salt to your cup o’ Joe and marvel at how much less bitter it is now. If you find that your percolator is turning coffee bitter, then you can also clean it out with saltwater. Use four tablespoons of salt, fill with water, then percolate as normal. Give it a rinse, and you’re good to go!
Speed up your cooking
A watched pot never boils, or so they say. If you find that it’s taking far too long for your pot of water to boil, then you’re not alone. Why does it always take longer when you’re hungry?! While you can’t speed up the water boiling (boo), you can speed up how quickly food takes to cook in a pot of boiling water.
Just add a pinch or two of salt to the water that you’re going to boil food in and wait for the magic to happen. Salt allows the water to boil at a higher temperature, which means that your food will be ready quicker. It’s that simple!
Chill your drinks
If you’ve just been to the store and bought a whole load of drinks for a party, then you might be disappointed if they’re room temperature. You want ice cold drinks – and you want them now! Luckily, this salty hack will ensure your drinks are chilled in no time.
All you need to do is fill a large mixing bowl or bucket full of water and some ice. The cold water and ice won’t work alone to chill them quick enough, so this is where the salt comes in. Pour in some salt, stir the drinks around, and watch as they turn icy cold in less than a minute. Magic!
Make your own dishwasher soap
Dishwasher soap and tablets are expensive, right? Luckily, you just need three ingredients to make your own at home. Plus, all three of these ingredients you should have sitting in your cupboards! The first is usual dish soap that you’d use when hand washing up.
Next is baking soda. Finally, of course, salt. Three or four drops of dish soap, a large spoonful of baking soda, and a sprinkling of salt will do the trick. Just mix it all together in your detergent cup and pop it in the dishwasher. It’ll ensure your plates are sparkling clean – and save you a ton of money in the process.
Say goodbye to grease
Grease is not water-soluble, making it an absolute nightmare to try and get off of anything. Luckily, salt loves to soak up grease! Whatever you have that’s greasy in the home can be cleaned up with the right amount of salt. If you have a greasy pan, sprinkle it with salt until it soaks up all the grease.
Then, wash as usual. If you want to stop grease splatters from happening, then try sprinkling some salt in your pan before you fry up any greasy, delicious goodness. It will help prevent grease from splattering all over the stove and kitchen worktops.
No more grimy sponges
How many sponges do you think you’ve had to throw away in your lifetime? They usually get grimy way before they’ve fallen apart, so we end up throwing them in the trash. However, there is a way of restoring dirty sponges so that you can continue using them.
The next time your sponge is looking a bit grubby, try soaking it overnight in saltwater. Go for a ¼ cup of salt per quart (or liter) of water and watch what happens. When you come down in the morning, all that stubborn grime should be removed. They’ll almost be as good as new!
Clear out the drain
Drains can be one of the dirtiest parts of your home, but they’re also one of the hardest to keep clean. Whether it’s your shower drain clogged with hair or your kitchen sink clogged with grease, there is a solution. All you need is some white vinegar, some baking soda, and some salt.
Tip down each ingredient (around a cup of each of the dry and half a cup of the vinegar), and you’ll hear it fizzing and bubbling away. This is cleaning out all of the dirt as it makes its way down the drain. Leave for about ten minutes before tipping some boiling water down, just to make sure it’s all cleared out.
Keep salad crisp
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party and want to keep salad fresh for guests, or you’re just fed up that your lunchtime salad is wilting by the time you get to eat it at work, there’s no denying that it’s hard to keep salad crisp. Luckily, there is a solution, and it involves – you guessed it – salt.
Just a sprinkling of salt on top of the salad as soon as it’s prepared will help keep it crisp and fresh. After all, salt has been used to preserve food for years! It’ll only last for a few hours more, however, so make sure you time it right. Also, don’t go overboard with the salt as people will definitely be able to taste it if you do.
Test how fresh an egg is…
Want to know whether those eggs are still okay to eat, or if they’ve gone a bit bad? There’s an easy way to test the freshness of eggs by using some salt and water. Add two tablespoons of salt to a cup of water and then pop your egg in. The fresher the egg, the lower it will be.
So, a really fresh egg will sink right to the bottom. However, an old one will float to the top. One that sits in the middle is halfway in between. If you have chickens that lay fresh eggs or just lost the carton that tells you when your eggs go off, this is a smart way to check.
…And make the perfect poached eggs
That’s not all salt is good for when it comes to eggs, however. Many people find poached eggs to be the hardest kind of egg to make, especially when the whites seem to come away whenever you make them. How do restaurants get them to look so good?!
Well, it’s not any kind of sorcery, it’s actually just salt. Simply sprinkle around half a teaspoon of salt into the water just before you drop the eggs in there. It will help keep the whites together! Many chefs also use a dash of vinegar to help keep them looking neat, as well.
Stop your fruit from going brown
Why do apples seem to turn brown pretty much as soon as you cut them open? Unfortunately, when the air gets to them, that’s it – they’re goners! However, if you want to keep your apples and pears looking fresher for longer, then you just need some saltwater.
Soak any cut fruit in a bowl of saltwater for a short period of time, to help them retain their color. Don’t leave them in the salted water for too long, however, as nobody likes a salty apple. This hack will come in really handy if you’re planning on serving up a fruit salad or platter and don’t want it to look all brown and unappetizing.
Cleaning the iron
It doesn’t seem to matter how careful you are with your iron, something is inevitably going to melt onto that metal soleplate and ruin all the clothes you iron afterward. It can be tough to remove anything from that metal plate on the iron, but salt can come to the rescue… Once again!
All you need to do is sprinkle salt all over a newspaper on your ironing board. Now, turn your iron onto high and run it over your salty newspaper. This will help remove anything that’s on the iron – including any lumps and bumps that make it practically impossible to iron anything else until it’s fixed.
Make your towels brighter for longer
If you’ve ever invested in new, beautiful towels, you may have been disappointed that they lost their color after the first few washes. It just happens, unfortunately, and you end up with faded, odd colored towels that definitely don’t look like the ones you bought.
Luckily, there is a solution. The first few times you wash your new towels, make sure you add a cup of salt to the wash load. This will help set the colors on your towels, which will help them seem brighter for much longer. Of course, they will eventually fade, but at least the salt can help slow down the process.
Get rid of slugs and snails
If you thought ants hated salt, just wait until you see how slugs and snails react to it! Unfortunately, these pests can be a real nuisance in the garden, especially when they get into your fruits and vegetables. They can totally ruin your plants, and it may seem like chemicals are the only answer.
However, before you invest in any pesticides, try using salt instead. You can either sprinkle the salt around your plants to stop the pests getting in – or cover the offenders in the salt itself. Be warned, it’s not pretty if you do the latter… They literally explode.
Salt out the weeds
Staying in the yard, have you ever noticed those little weeds that pop up in the cracks of your paving stones and walkways? They can be really tough to try and get out using your hands – or a knife from the kitchen! Some people use weed killer to get rid of them, but this is often toxic and not good for the wildlife around.
For a chemical-free way to get rid of weeds, try using salt instead. Cover the weeds in salt and wait for the rain, or make up a mixture of two parts water and one part salt. The plants won’t last long once they have been covered in salt and water!
If you struggle with dandruff, then it can be challenging to know what to do. There are so many lotions and potions on the market; some which make it worse than it was when you started. Luckily, salt has a natural abrasiveness that can help scrub out all of that dandruff before you wash your hair.
Add some salt to your hair, then give it a really good massage into the scalp. This will help exfoliate and remove any flaky bits before you then get in the shower to shampoo and conditioner as usual. Salt can be used to exfoliate the rest of your skin, too.
Keep your sneakers stink-free
If you’re the kind of person that likes to wear sneakers or canvas shoes without socks, then you may find them getting a little bit stinky – especially in the summertime. You can buy some pretty expensive odor eaters and deodorizers to keep your shoes smelling fresh, but there is also another solution.
Sprinkle some salt into each of your shoes before you go to bed and they should eat up all of the odors. They’ll be fresh again by morning, ready for you to sink your feet back into them. You can also add a ball of newspaper into each shoe along with the salt, to help things along.
Keep your dairy fresh
We have already mentioned that salt is used to preserve food, but it’s not just keeping your fruit or salad fresh. A pinch of salt in milk or cream can help keep it fresher for longer – and you won’t be able to taste it. Also, you can use this to save any cheese you have in the refrigerator from going moldy.
Soak a napkin in salty water and use this to wrap around your block of cheese. Now, pop it back in the fridge and count the days it stays mold-free. Salt really is fantastic for preserving food, meaning less waste. It’s a win-win!
Clean up egg spills
Have you ever dropped an egg and watched in horror as it splattered all over the floor? We’ve all done it, and we’ve all wailed at the thought of having to try and clean it up. We’ve tried paper towels, sweeping it, mopping it… All that happens is that it spreads across the floor in a sticky mess.
Luckily, salt has the answer. All you need to do is cover the egg spill in salt and leave it to work its magic. The salt will soak up all the moisture from the egg and make it hard. This will then be so much easier to clean up, without worrying about spreading yolk all over the floor.
Whether you’ve got mildew on your clothes or on the bathroom walls, salt is an excellent tool for getting rid of it. If the mildew or mold has got on clothes then soak them in a solution of water, salt, and white vinegar. Leave it to dry, and a salt crust will form, that can then be brushed off with a soft brush.
Now, stick it in your washing machine as usual, and all the mildew will be gone! You can also use water, salt and vinegar to scrub any mold or mildew that can be found on walls or in those bathroom tiles.
Keeping your flowers alive
Buying flowers from the store can be a real treat, but not if you find them wilting after a day in the vase. Some florists will give you a little bit of flower food to help keep your plants alive for longer, but others won’t. Want to know what’s usually in that flower food, so you can make your own?
In most cases, it’s merely a saline solution – water and salt. If you want to keep your fresh flowers looking beautiful for longer, then all you need to do is add a little bit of salt into the vase.
See ya, poison ivy
We already know that salt can help relieve the symptoms of a poison ivy sting, but did you know it can actually take down the source as well? While salt in water can help keep flowers fresher for longer, interestingly it can actually kill plants at the same time.
We don’t know how either! Mix up some water and salt together and put in a spray bottle. Now, get spray-happy and cover that poison ivy with the salty solution. Just be careful to avoid spraying any plants that you do actually want to keep, as it will take down anything in its path.
There’s nothing quite like a roaring fire on those cold, winter nights to keep you warm and toasty. However, it can be a real pain when you want to go to bed, and the fire is still burning away. If you want to extinguish it quicker, then douse the flames in a load of salt.
Not only will this help put it out faster, but it will also help with the cleanup. There will be less soot than if you just let it smolder, and the salt will help gather up the ash and residue to sweep it out.
Stop candles dripping
Some people love their candles dripping wax, as it creates a pretty pattern down the side of the stick. However, sometimes that dripping wax can end up everywhere and be a real nightmare to clean off. If you want to stop your candles from dripping all over the place, then you need some saltwater.
Simply soak the candlesticks in some really, really salty water for a few hours. To make sure the water is salty enough, keep adding salt until it literally won’t dissolve anymore. Don’t forget to let your candles dry before you use them again.
Long before store-bought mouthwash was a thing, there was a recipe to keep your breath fresh that didn’t break the bank. Instead of spending out lots of money on a mouthwash that contains nasties like sweeteners and food coloring, make your own at home.
All you’ll need is a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda, mixed into half a cup of water. Gargle the solution just like you would regular mouthwash, before spitting it back out. This will help keep your breath fresh and can even help prevent the buildup of bacteria. It’s also great to clean out infections!