We sprinkle it on our foods, we add it to boiling water and we use it on slippery sidewalks and roads. We even toss it over our shoulders to ward off “bad luck.” However, did you know you can use salt for many cleaning purposes around your home?
You can. Good old common table salt, which is a mineral composed mainly of sodium chloride, can be used either alone or in conjunction with other natural agents such as lemon juice and vinegar, for a myriad of cleaning uses.
As you simplify your lifestyle, you will find that you can do away with many commercial cleaning products and go with natural, non-toxic ones instead. We have put together a list of some of our favorite ways to clean with salt, an abundant and inexpensive natural resource.
1. Grease. Salt can work magic on grease stains since it absorbs grease. Simply sprinkle salt on your greasy pots and pans and then wipe with a clean cloth. Some grease spots on carpet can also be removed with a solution of one part salt and one part rubbing alcohol. Be careful to rub in the direction of the nap of the rug.
2. Sink drains. To help eliminate odors in your sink and to prevent a build-up of grease, pour a solution of salt and hot water down your kitchen drain on a regular basis.
3. Water rings. Make a thin paste of salt and vegetable oil or olive oil and gently rub it on any white marks caused by glasses and hot dishes on your wood furniture.
4. Dried-on egg. You know how cooked egg tends to settle on your frying pan? Use salt to loosen the eggy mess before scrubbing clean.
5. Coffee and tea stains. Fill your stained coffee and teacups with a solution of saltwater to help get rid of unsightly stains. The abrasiveness of the salt helps clean away the stains. Another option is to mix salt with your regular dish soap for added cleaning power on stains.
6. Refrigerator. You want to avoid toxic chemicals when you clean your refrigerator. Try using a mixture of salt and plain soda water to wipe out and deodorize your fridge interior.
7. Brass or copper. Make a paste by combining equal parts of salt, vinegar and flour. Rub the paste into the metal and let it sit for about an hour before cleaning and buffing with a soft, dry cloth.
8. Rust. Make a paste with equal parts salt and cream of tartar and a little water. Rub the paste on rust and let it dry. Then brush off the dried paste and buff the area with a soft, dry cloth.
9. Mildew stains. Moisten mildew spots with a mixture of salt and lemon juice. Place the item in the sun to dry. Then rinse well with water and let dry.
10. Coffee pot. Clean your stained coffee spot by placing salt and ice cubes inside the pot and swirling them around. The ice helps the salt scour off the stains. Another option is to add about four tablespoons of salt to the water you use to fill your coffeemaker. Run it as usual and then discard the water and rinse the pot well before using to make coffee.
11. Cutting board. Clean and deodorize your cutting boards safely by rubbing them with a mixture of salt and lemon juice.
12. Wine stains. First, blot up as much of the stain as you can with a clean cloth. Then cover the stain with salt to absorb any remaining residue. Next rinse the garment or tablecloth with cold water. If the stain is on your carpet, scrape salt away and then vacuum the spot well.
13. Fish tank. You can remove hard water deposits that accumulate on the inside of your fish tank with a salt paste. Be sure to use only plain – not iodized salt – for this purpose and rinse well before returning fish to the tank.
14. Wicker. To clean and to help prevent discoloration of your wicker furniture, scrub it with a stiff brush and a solution of warm saltwater. Allow furniture to air dry out in the sun.
15. Perspiration stains. Mix about four tablespoons of salt into a quart of hot water. Then use a sponge to work the solution into the fabric until stains fade.
16. Blood stains. This method works only for natural fabrics that can take high heat. First, soak the stained fabric in cold saltwater. Then launder in warm, soapy water before rinsing well in hot water.
17. Oven. Sprinkle salt on burned food and spillovers inside the oven or on burners while they are still hot. Later when the surface is cool, simply wipe away the salted area with a stiff brush or sturdy cloth.
You may be wondering about the different types of salt that are available at your local store. For eating purposes, your best bets are unrefined salts, such as sea salt and Himalayan salt, since they are the highest in organic quality. Those salts also have a higher price tag. However, for cleaning purposes, you can use refined salt (table salt) or iodized salt, which often sell for about 50 cents for a 26-ounce package.
Do you know of other uses for salt? Share your tips in the section below: