Amazing Uses for Salt You Never Realized

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It’s fair to assume that everyone has salt in their kitchen. As a staple spice, salt can be used to season nearly any food. But this popular spice has several other uses that most people don’t know about. For instance, have you ever thought of using salt to clean your coffee maker?

According to Food Microbiology, salt is a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic. You can use regular table salt to clean many of your belongings and even to help out your hair. Read on for some amazing and incredible ways you can use salt.

To start, we’ll use salt to clean out both appliances and bug bites…

Scrub Away Pan Grease

Salt is both a scouring agent and a catalyst for other ingredients. By tossing it into cleaning recipes, salt boosts the deodorizing action of dishwasher soaps. Sprinkle some onto your grease-coated pan and scrub. The thicker the salt, the better it’ll clean.

Person cleans a carbon steel pan with salt

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If you have an old cast iron skillet, try this trick without the soap. Coat the skillet with salt and leave it for about ten minutes. Then, grab a damp towel, sponge, or other cleaning tool and have at it. The salt should scrub away the grime.

Clean Your Iron With Salt

If you run your clothing iron over a stain, you may end up with gunk on your tool. Don’t transfer this mess onto your next shirt — clean it off with salt. Even if salt goes on the hot iron, it won’t melt. Salt has a melting point of 1,473°F, whereas clothing irons usually go up to 445 °F at the hottest.

Cleaning a clothing iron by sprinkling salt on the cutting board

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Because the salt won’t melt, it’ll scrub off any lingering residue. Sprinkle a sheet of paper with salt and rub your warm iron over it. After you run it a couple of times, turn off the heat, and once it’s cooled, wipe off the residue with a soft cloth.

Salt Alleviates Bug Bites

According to a 2006 study in Food Microbiology, salt is an antimicrobial that reduces bacteria. This property makes salt perfect for bug bites, especially mosquito bites. If your bug bite is itching like crazy, try this hack.

Coarse salt flakes sprinkled on a woman's skin

Pinterest/Beth Szollose

Mix salt with a small amount of water. When we say small, we mean small; you want to mix the saltwater into a paste. Rub the mixture onto your bite. Alternatively, you can dampen the bug bite and gently rub salt over it. If you choose this method, opt for a fine salt that won’t irritate the bug bite further.

Here are some coffee and salt hacks you never would’ve thought of.

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 salt water through the machine.

An automatic coffee maker brews coffee-by-the-cup in the condo of Kitty Bernard in Reston, VA.

Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

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 recommends 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.

YouTuber adds salt to espresso grounds to remove the coffee's bitterness

YouTube/Whole Latte Love

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 saltwater.

Coming up: how salt can chill your drinks…

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.

Sink cleans a dirty kitchen sponge of microbial bacteria

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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.

Young person washes their hair in the sink

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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 the dandruff, you can use this treatment two to three times a week.

Make A Natural Probiotic

Did you know that fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) is an excellent probiotic? It’s also very easy to make it at home. Here’s how to do it. First, take a head of cabbage and carefully cut the core out. Set the core aside.

cabbage

Pinterest/ihavegotit

Next, pour about a tablespoon of finely ground salt into the hole. It will mix with the cabbage’s juices and start to ferment. Submerge the cabbage in water and leave it at room temperature for at least one month and up to six months. Once it suits your tastes, shred the cabbage and store in mason jars.

Salty Water Chills Your Drinks In No Time

If you want to chill your beer quickly, try this: fill a cooler with water, ice cubes, and salt. Don’t worry about overdoing the salt. Without shoving them too close together, place your beer bottles into the solution. They should chill within five minutes.

Beer bottles sit in a bucket of ice

Unsplash/@stairhopper

If you want the science behind this hack, here it is. Every liquid has a “freezing point depression,” or a minimum temperature in which it freezes. Typically, water freezes at 32°F. But if you mix salt in water, it lowers the water’s freezing point. This is because salt’s ions prevent the molecules from crystallizing easily.

Learn how to keep food fresh with these upcoming tips.

Extend The Life Of Dairy Products

As weird as it sounds, salt is an ideal dairy preservative. Salt soaks up excess moisture and prevents mold from forming. To help your cheese last longer, soak a napkin in saltwater and cover the cheese with it.

Chef salts goat cheese at the farm 'La Ferme du Petit Quenneval' in Wirwignes

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You can also keep milk fresh by adding a pinch of salt to its contents. The amount of salt is so small that you won’t taste it, although it should keep the carton fresh for about a week past its expiration date.

Keep Lettuce Crisp

Nobody likes soggy lettuce. If you want to keep your salad crisp, sprinkle some salt on top of the greens. It’ll flavor the salad and preserve your lettuce for a little while. After all, salt has preserved food for years.

Washed Romaine lettuce

Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Here’s the scientific explanation: Salt draws water out of cells through osmosis. A little bit of salt will draw out enough water to keep your lettuce crunchy. If you add too much, though, it’ll remove too much water from the cells to keep them alive. This is how salt kills certain bacteria.

Prevent Cut Fruit From Going Brown

When fruit slices come into contact with oxygen, they gradually turn brown. You can preserve fruit’s color by submerging it in water, although this process alone opens your food up to bacteria. Fortunately, salt’s antibacterial properties make it very difficult for organisms to survive.

A sliced apple sits neatly on a blue surface

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If you want to prolong the life of your cut fruit, place the food in a large bowl, and submerge them in water. Add some salt and let it soak. You may notice the salt depositing into your fruit, which indicates that it’s re-saturated. Remove the fruit after five to ten minutes.

Next up: several ways to remove stains with salt.

Salt Removes Red Wine Stains

Salt promptly absorbs water, which makes it great for soaking up stains. If you spill red wine onto the carpet, dump salt onto the wet stain and wait for 10 to 15 minutes. Then vacuum it up. Unlike other home solutions such as white wine, salt fully lifts the stain.

Red wine called The Griffin pours unsteadily into a wine glass

Twitter/@JourneysEndWine

For clothing stains, sprinkle salt onto the red spot and wait at least three minutes. Rinse it with cold water. If the stain is still there, repeat the process until the redness disappears, then launder your clothes as usual.

Restore Stained And Yellowed Towels

After months of use, our linens can appear blotchy or even yellowed. Regular detergent doesn’t restore the color much. Salt can brighten the colors on fabrics, but only use this method for single-colored linens such as towels.

Woman wears white towels upon leaving the shower

Unsplash/@creativeexchange

Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of salt into 1/2 gallon of water. Boil the towels in this mixture for one hour. Repeat until the linens look better. Alternatively, you can pour 1/4 cup of salt into one gallon of hot water and leave the towels in there for 48 hours. Rinse thoroughly and dry as usual.

Remove Lipstick Stains From Glassware

Lipstick stains are hard to remove from glassware. Because lipsticks contain emollients that are designed to stay on your lips, they’re hard to wash off of cups. A casual run through the dishwasher may not help, but salt should.

Lipstick smears can be seen on a glass of freshly tapped beer at a press conference regarding the 21st International Berlin Beer Festival

Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

Before you run these glasses through the wash, rub off the lipstick stains. Sprinkle some salt on a damp washcloth and use it to rub away the stain. If the spot remains, you can try the same method with rubbing alcohol. Then wash your cup in the dishwasher as usual.

Keep reading to learn why salt may be better than water at putting out fires.

Clear Out Your Drains

Salt isn’t just an antiseptic. It also boosts the cleaning powers of other antibacterials such as vinegar. If you mix the two, you can create a solution strong enough to clear your sink or bathroom drain.

Pouring salt down the drain to clean it

YouTube/Clark Howard: Save More, Spend Less

To start, stir one cup of salt into one cup of vinegar until the solution appears even and smooth. Pour the mixture into the drain and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, boil two cups of water and send that down the drain. You can also send dry salt down the drain and pour boiling water over it.

Put Salt Down The Drain To Unclog The Sink Overnight

Salt can be used as an anti-clogging agent for your kitchen sink. In order to help it work it’s magic, mix 1/2 a cup of salt with a cup of baking soda. You’ll want to give it 4-6 hours to sit, so it’s easier if you pour the mixture down the sink before you go to bed.

pour-salt

YouTube

Once it’s had time to sit in the sink for a few hours, or overnight, run hot water down the sink to flush it out. Repeat as needed.

Make Your Shoes Smell Fresh Again

After long periods of wear, our shoes tend to smell bad. This odor comes from bacteria that develop through heat and sweat. Salt not only dries the moisture, but it also wipes out most of the bacteria. If you pour salt into your shoes, you can make your gym bag smell okay again.

Off-white sneakers rest near a screen door

Unsplash/@patkwon

To get rid of bad smells, add two teaspoons of salt into each shoe. Leave it in there for at least two hours. To make things easier, you can leave the salt in your shoes overnight. Similarly, you can rub your feet with vinegar and salt to remove odor.

Tame The Flames, Especially With Grease Fire

Because salt has such a high melting point, large quantities of it can put out fires. If you have a fireplace, you can extinguish the flames by pouring salt on them. The fire will go out quickly, and you’ll have an easier clean-up time.

Camper cooks bacon over an open fire on the beach in Tynemouth, United Kingdom

Unsplash/@heftiba

If you ever encounter a grease fire, pour salt on it instead of water. Pouring water will only spread the oil, thereby spreading the fire. Use salt or baking soda to lower rogue flames on a grill or frying pan.

See why salt works as a pesticide…

Prevent Food From Sticking To A Pan Or Dish

Salt provides a rough layer that prevents food from sticking to a pan. After you wash your griddle or waffle iron, sprinkle it with salt. Add salt to an already warm oven or skillet before using, and then dust it off. Your next meal should not stick to the pan.

Rachael Ray cleans a Cast-Iron skillet with salt to remove food stains

YouTube/Rachael Ray Show

If it’s too late and your food is already clinging, you can remove it with salt. Sprinkle salt on your dish and rub it with a damp cloth in circular motions. Then wash the dish as usual. It should become a lot easier to clean.

Prevent Candles From Dripping

Some people love the look of dripping wax on candles. If you don’t want to hassle with them, though, you can prevent the drip altogether. You just need to soak your candles in saltwater after purchasing.

Candles burn at a Church during Christmas Eve service in Germany

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To start, boil two cups of water and add 1/2 tablespoon of salt. (You can double this recipe for larger candles.) Once the salt stops dissolving, you’ll know that your water is entirely saturated. Turn off the heat. Add your candles and leave them for at least two hours. Don’t forget to dry them before you light the wick!

Freshen Your Breath And Relieve Pain

Gargling lukewarm saltwater has plenty of benefits. For one thing, it kills the bacteria in your mouth, namely in the back of your throat. If you gargle saltwater near the back of your tongue, the salt should break down the oils in your mouth. Your breath will smell fresher after that.

Small glass of cold water with a spoon in front

Unsplash/@yasuotakeuchi

Saltwater relieves the pain of a sore throat or canker sore. Dissolve two teaspoons of salt into 1/4 cup of water and swish it around your mouth for at least 20 seconds. After the salt kills the germs in your mouth, you should feel less pain.

Use Salt As A Pesticide

If you don’t like the harsh chemicals found in bug sprays, you can shoo the pests away with a natural alternative. Salt will deter many insects in your home, namely ants. Sprinkle salt across your door and window frames to prevent ants from entering your home.

Salt spilling out from spoon

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Salt may not kill them, but it will repel some insects. Vinegar is another ant repellent, so if you don’t mind the smell, you can mix salt and vinegar to create the ultimate anti-ant shield. You may need to reapply this mixture since it wears off over time.

Turn Your Clothes Colorfast

Colorfast clothes are fabrics that retain their color after washing. If your clothing item has faded after washing, you can use salt prevent this from happening. For this reason, textile companies often use salt, and you can too.

Freshly washed lama socks of a child hang on a clothes horse

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Pour 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of vinegar into 1/2 gallon of water. Soak your garment in there and swish it around gently every couple of hours. As the salt soaks into the fabric, it’ll set the color in place. After 24 hours, remove your clothing and rinse it with cold water. Repeat if needed.

Salt Makes Cooking Eggs Easier

Whether you’re hard-boiling eggs or poaching them, add some mix to the mix. When you boil your eggs, add salt to the water. Not only will it raise the temperature faster, but the solution will also lift up the shell. This makes eggs much easier to peel.

An egg lies in a pot on a hotplate in boiling water.

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There is also evidence that salt prevents eggs from cracking by allowing the egg to set. This helps a lot with poaching. When you poach eggs, add salt to the water. The solution will keep the egg whites together, allowing your dish to cook evenly.

Is Your Egg Safe To Eat?

Before you cook your eggs, you need to check if they’re still safe to eat. How do you do so? You guessed it: salt water. Dissolve two tablespoons of salt into two cups of water, then drop the egg in. If it sinks, it’s good to eat. If it floats, it’s doubtful.

One egg floats in a glass of water while the other sinks

Twitter/@BoschHomeIn

There’s science behind this density. Salt raises water’s density enough so that bad eggs will float. When eggs decay, their yolk disappears and gets replaced by air. This makes them less dense than saltwater, indicating that your egg is bad.










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