- Uses for salt around the home
- Health & beauty uses for salt
- Cleaning with salt
- Uses for salt in the kitchen
- Using salt outside
- Wide-scale uses for salt
Salt is one of the most used ingredients in the kitchen but how often do you use it for anything but cooking?
Although people might say you should avoid consuming too much salt, when it comes to our health, it's actually a very important mineral. In the right quantities, not only can it benefit our health, but it can be super useful for all sorts of other things!
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in May 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in September 2018.
Uses for salt around the home
You never would've imagined just how useful salt can be around your home...
1. Keep artificial & natural flowers in place
Artificial flowers are a fantastic alternative to the real deal - a good bunch will look realistic and save you a fortune in the long run.
It can be tricky to keep them from falling, so set them in place with this clever hack: fill a vase with salt then add some cold water. Arrange the flowers and the salt should soon solidify, keeping your flowers in place.
For natural flowers, use larger Epsom Salts to keep your flowers anchored in place. We think they look quite pretty but, if you don't like the look of salt in a vase, simply use a vase that isn't see-through.
2.Refresh artificial flowers
Whilst we're on the topic of artificial flowers, salt can also be used to keep them clean and dust-free.
Place your flowers into a paper bag filled with some table salt and gently shake. It will remove any traces of dirt and they'll look spotless again.
3. Clean flower residue from vases
Flowers can leave our once shiny vases in a right mess thanks to the mineral deposits they leave behind.
To get rid of any staining and get the glass shining again, sprinkle some salt onto a sponge and use it to gently 'exfoliate' the stains. Then, wash thoroughly with warm soapy water. If you can't get into a narrow vase, fill it up with saltwater, shake it and use a toothbrush or bottle brush to get at stains.
4. Restore a sponge and make it last longer
Sponges can look grubby quickly and often end up in the bin when they could really be used for longer.
To restore your sponges and make them go further, soak them in a solution of 1/4 cup of salt per 1 litre of water. Air dry them or pop them on the radiator the next day and they'll be good as new.
5. Keep wicker looking new
Wicker can look so pretty, but it's not easy to look after. As it ages, exposure to the sun means yellowing is common.
To keep it from discolouring, gently scrub your furniture every 6 - 12 months with a stiff brush dipped in warm salt water and let them air dry.
NOTE: This is a preventative method and won't remove any existing discolouring - sob!
6. Put out a fire
Fires are great to have on those cold, winter nights, but what do you do with them when you're ready for bed?
If they're still burning brightly, throw some salt onto the flames. This will help the fire burn out more quickly, not only reducing the danger, but also the mess caused.
7. Deodorise your trainers and other shoes
What's that smell? Is it a matter of smelly feet, or are your shoes to blame? Trainers, canvas shoes and ballet pumps - especially when worn without socks - can get pretty pongy. They make your whole house stink!
Get into the habit of deodorising them every night with by sprinkling a small amount of salt inside - it will soak up any lingering smells leaving them fresher in the morning.
Baby powder also works well, sprinkle some into your shoes and feet every morning to keep smells at bay.
8. Remove lipstick marks from glassware
Long-lasting lipsticks are designed to withstand water, which might explain why lipstick stains are so stubborn! If your post-party glasses are covered in red stains, salt can help you remove them.
Give your glasses a quick scrub with salt before washing or popping into the dishwasher and those stains will soon lift off.
9. Get your fish tank sparkling again
Fish tanks don't look so pretty when they're dirty.
Similarly to vase cleaning, you can remove mineral deposits found in fish tanks with the use of non-iodized salt. Empty the water from your tank and rub salt into the glass using a sponge. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
10. Prevent your new towels from fading in the wash
Bright colours are prone to running and fading, especially during their first few washes.
If you've just bought some brightly coloured towels, you'll love this tip. For their first few washes, simply add 1-2 cups of salt into the washing machine drum and it'll help prevent any colour-running.
11. Keep your brass ornaments looking clean
Do you have a collection of rustic-looking brass ornaments? They may be old, but they don't have to look it!
Mix equal parts of salt, flour and white vinegar to form a thick paste and rub it into your brass ornaments. Let it sit for an hour before cleaning it off with a brush. Buff dry with a clean cloth to reveal brighter-looking brass.
This also works on dirty brass pans - simply pour salt into them and use a scourer to lift off food and grease.
12. Drip-proof your tapered candles
Calling all dinner-party lovers, this is a wonderful tip that will prevent any waxy messes from your statement tapered candle display.
Soak your new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours. Dry them well and when you use them next you should notice they don't drip and cause as much mess.
13. Remove grass stains
If you have kids, you'll have seen a lot of grass stains during your time!
Begin by squeezing lemon juice over the stain, then sprinkle on a generous layer of salt. Rub the stain, and it should lift.
Health & beauty uses for salt
There's no need to splash out on expensive beauty products when you have salt!
14. A natural alternative to mouthwash
Did you know mouthwash contains colouring and sweeteners that can actually damage your teeth?
When it comes to our bodies, often natural is best - go back to basics and your teeth and wallet will thank you for it!
Combine 1 teaspoon of cooking salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and half a cup of water. Give it a good stir before doing a rinse and gargle. You won't be left with minty breath but it will be naturally refreshed.
15. Extend the use of your disposable toothbrush
Here's another quick and easy clever tip that will save you money.
Before you use your new toothbrush, soak it in salted water to help it last longer.
16. Exfoliate your skin
Both hot, cold and even mild weather can cause our skin to dry out over time.
Don't let your skin go scaly on you! Use salt to remove dead skin and boost your circulation (promoting better skin health) after you've had a hot shower or bath.
Do this whilst skin is still damp by rubbing a handful of salt into your skin and massaging it in circular movements to exfoliate the skin. Normal table and cooking salt work, but sea salt is even better.
Do you exfoliate before or after shaving? Check out our guide to find out how it should be done.
17. As a natural dandruff treatment
Embarrassed by your dandruff?
You may think you've tried every dandruff treatment going, but we bet you've not tried salt.
When used as a pre-shampoo treatment, it works well at scrubbing out dandruff so you can properly clean your hair. Just sprinkle some into your scalp and give your head a 5-minute scalp massage then shampoo as normal.
Scalp massage is fantastic for maintaining a healthy scalp, which in turn helps you to grow long and healthy hair.
18. Get soft & smooth lips
Are your lips feeling dry and rough to the touch?
They probably need exfoliating!
Take an old toothbrush and pour some table salt onto it. Lightly brush over your lips in circular motions for a few minutes, then wash off, taking care not to ingest the salt or you could feel a little ill.
This simple beauty hack should leave you with luscious lips in no time.
19. Ease your sore throat
You probably know this one already, but salt is very good at reducing swelling and loosening mucus - no, it isn't just an old wife's tale.
It can also help flush out irritants and bacteria that will be causing your sore throat.
Next time you wake up with a sore throat, pour some table salt into a small glass of water with it and gargle for 30 seconds to help ease the pain.
Cleaning with salt
20. Remove tea and coffee stains from mugs
If you have mugs that have been stained with endless cups of tea, you can scrub them away with salt. Sprinkle some salt onto a sponge and rub in circles across the tea rings until they disappear.
For really stubborn stains, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the mug and swirl around before continuing to rub.
21. Clean your fridge
We recommend cleaning out both your fridge and freezer every 3-6 months to keep them looking and smelling tip top. When you clean yours, you may be surprised at how difficult food stains and smells are to lift.
The answer? Salt.
Once you've removed all the food and debris from your fridge, get to work with some salt. Mix half a cup of salt with 2 litres of warm water and use a sponge, to clean the surfaces of the fridge.
22. Clean a dirty broom
It's easy to forget about all the dirt your broom picks up every time you use it. That dirt won't get rid of itself, so make sure you give it a deep clean every now and then or else you'll be covering your floors with more mess whilst you sweep!
To clean yours, soak it in a bucket of hot, salty water. Wait 30 minutes before taking it out to dry. Wipe with an old cloth to get rid of any excess dirt.
23. Refresh your chopping boards
Wooden chopping boards can start to look a bit dull after a while. If you like to keep an immaculate kitchen, you'll enjoy this hack.
Wash your chopping board as you normally would with soap and water, then, dip a damp tea towel into salt and use it to scrub your board until it starts to look brighter.
24. Get rid of watermarks on wooden furniture
Forgot to use your drinks mats? You may just be able to save your stained wood.
If you've got a water rings on your coffee or dining table, sprinkle some table salt directly onto it and scrub it gently with a wet sponge. It should lift right out!
25. Red wine carpet stain remover
Red wine spillages are something we all fear!
Here's an essential cleaning hack to remember in an emergency: pour water directly over the spill to dilute it a little then cover the stain with table salt. Leave it for 10 minutes, then vigorously scrub the red wine stain until you start to see it fade away.
26. Clean your pots and pans
What's your trick for getting stubborn stains off pots and pans?
One of our favourites is salt, and for good reason!
Saltwater makes a very efficient soak for those dirty pans, as it helps soften and lift food and grease. In fact, any kind of grease can be easily scrubbed away when you add a little salt - give it a go after this Sunday's roast!
27. Dissolve a drain blockage
Is the water getting precariously high every time you shower? Chances are your drain is blocked. This can be caused by anything from hair products to hair itself, but luckily it's relatively easy to remedy.
Mix 1 cup of salt with 1 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and pour it down your drain. Leave it to settle for 10 minutes while you boil the kettle. Carefully pour roughly 2 litres of boiling water down the drain - be careful as there could be splashback that could burn - then run your hot water tap until the water runs freely down the drain.
No need to call in the professionals!
If you're still having problems, take a look at our handy guide on how to get hair out of drains.
28. Clean the metal plate on your iron
If you accidentally use your iron on a label or delicate fabric, it could become stuck to the plate.
These messes can be both tricky and intimidating to clean, but luckily salt can help.
Sprinkle some table salt onto your ironing board, then use the hottest setting on your iron and go over it. It should lift off any lumps and bumps and get the metal plate looking brand new again.
29. Get rid of stubborn sweat stains
Yellow, hardened sweat stains are notoriously tricky to remove.
Salt is a great natural way to help you remove perspiration stains from your whites.
Dissolve 5 tablespoons of salt in 1 litre of hot water. Use a sponge to apply the solution to the stains and gently rub in until the stain starts to lift. Finish with a quick cycle in the washing machine and add a cup of bicarbonate of soda to make your whites whiter than ever.
Uses for salt in the kitchen
Forget seasoning! Here's how to use salt for prepping food and speeding up cooking time...
30. Speed up cooking time
It's not just worth adding a pinch of salt to your saucepan of water for seasoning - it will also make the water boil at a higher temperature.
This will, in turn, make your food cook faster. A great tip for when you're cooking pasta and veggies - just be careful not to over-use the salt.
31. Keep your salad nice and crisp
It's hard to prepare salad before the guests arrive, as it can quickly go soggy and flat.
A quick trick to keep it fresh and crisp is to give it a sprinkle of salt to keep it from perishing. It won't affect the taste too much and it'll help keep the leaves crisp for at least 4 hours.
32. Keep milk fresh for longer
Got loads of milk left with the best-before date looming?
Make it last a day or two longer by adding a pinch of salt to the bottle. This handy tip works on cream too!
33. Quick and easy de-shelling
De-shelling nuts is half of the fun, but boy can it be fiddly!
Don't avoid these healthy snacks just because you don't want the faff, simply soak them in lightly salted water for a few hours and dry.
34. Test the freshness of an egg
We can become a bit careless when it comes to the best-before date of eggs. It's easy to forget how old they are, especially if you store them out of the egg container. If you're in doubt, it's better to be safe than sorry!
To see if they're still ok, add 2 tablespoons of cooking salt to 1 cup of water (large enough for the egg) and carefully drop the egg in. A good egg will sink, but an old egg will float.
35. Remove stubborn food odours from your hands
Been dealing with garlic, onion and fish? If your cooking session has left you with stinky hands, you can remove smells with salt. Wash as normal then, rub your hands against something made from stainless steel, and finally rub your fingers with a pinch of salt!
36. Clean dirty salad leaves quicker
If you've ever bought a bag of un-washed spinach leaves you'll know no matter how much you rinse them you'll still find grit and dirt in your mouth when you eat them. This is because the leaves have irregular shapes and the stems' nooks and crannies make them hard to wash properly.
Soak your leaves in a bowl of water with 2-3 teaspoons of salt . Give them a good swirl around, scrunch the leaves in the water then rinse. Your leaves should be nice and grit-free.
37. Easy-peel eggs
Did you know that eggs boiled in lightly salted water will peel more easily?
Give it a go next time you're making egg mayo - you'll be able to peel them in no time!
38. Prevent chopped fruit from browning too quickly
Leftover fruit salad will soon go brown. This is because the exposed flesh oxidises.
If you're pre-preparing a fruit salad to be served later, soak the fruit pieces in a bowl of lightly salted water before placing it in a bowl. This should keep your fruit salad looking brighter for longer.
This works especially well with apples, pears, and potatoes too!
39. Boil a better potato
Boiled potatoes don't have to be bland!
Give yours a better texture by taking them out of the water after boiling, draining, sprinkling them with salt then returning them to the pan.
Vigorously shake them back and forth and the salt will absorb some of the moisture making them more flavourful.
40. Whip egg whites and double cream quicker
Whipping takes up so much energy! We bet you wouldn't have guessed that a small pinch of salt will help them to beat faster and higher.
Your Pavlova will be ready in no time!
41. Cook poached eggs like a pro
Poached eggs get a bad rep for being tricky, but a few additional steps make them easier than ever to master.
Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the water moments before you add the eggs to prevent them from diffusing. This helps set the whites - a neat trick that restaurant chefs use. You can also add a small splash of vinegar to really guarantee a perfectly set poached egg.
42. Extend the life of your cheese
Cheese lover? Us too!
If you have more cheese than you can possibly get through, wrap it in a light cloth that's been soaked (then dried) in saltwater. Keep it in the fridge as normal and it should last a week longer.
Using salt outside
Take your salt shaker into the great outdoors - your plants will love it!
43. Keep your car windscreen frost-free in the Winter
Looking for a way to maintain your car during winter? Now here's an easy-peasy solution to a problem we always face.
Salt actually decreases the temperature at which ice freezes, which is why it's used as a de-icer on roads. Keep your car windscreen and windows frost-free by keeping a small cloth bag filled with salt and rub it across the glass every evening. In the morning, you'll wake up to find your windows free from frost!
44. Get rid of plant-destroying snails and slugs
If you're new to gardening, you might not know that salt causes snails and slugs to shrivel up.
This is a personal choice and not for everyone, but if your plants are having pest problems, it's an option worth considering.
45. Stop weeds from growing between your patio slabs
Are weeds making your patio look messy and unruly?
You can get rid of garden weeds with salt: just add 1 cup of salt to 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Then, pour it directly onto the weeds to kill them. A few hours later, pull them out to remove them.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle salt directly onto slabs just before it rains.
46. Ant repellant
It's not just slugs that don't like salt - turns out ants really don't like it either.
Block them from certain areas of your home or by the doorways by drawing a line with the salt. This should deter them from entering in a kind way, and is also non-toxic to humans and pets.
47. Instant pain relief from a bee sting
We hope you're never unfortunate enough to get stung by a bee, but if you are, reach for the salt.
Douse the sting with water then cover with salt to relieve pain and reduce swelling. If it doesn't improve or you start to show symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek medical help.
48. Make a quick pre-stain treatment when you're out
If your clothing gets stained while you're out and about - at a restaurant or theme park - and you don't want to give your clothes a wash in the toilets, cover the stain with salt instead. It'll soak up any grease and prevent the food from settling into the fibres of your clothes.
Next time disaster strikes, grab the salt shaker!
49. Ease an itchy mosquito bite
If you've been bitten by mosquitos and you're not at home, ease the itchiness by soaking the bite with some salt water. Apply some oil after your salt rinse and it should provide some relief.
50. Stop poison ivy in its tracks
Another one of our fantastic uses for salt in the garden is using it to kill poison ivy.
All you need is 1kg of salt and 5 litres of soapy water. Pour it into a spray bottle and cover the leaves with the solution.
Wide-scale uses for salt
If you're still not convinced by the usefulness of salt, here are some large-scale ways that salt is used to enhance our day-to-day lives,
51. Highway deicing
Just as salt can be used to keep your own windscreen free from frost, it's salt that's used on our roads in precarious conditions to make them safer.
It's not only the most effective deicer but, also the most eco-friendly, readily available and economical solution too.
Have you ever spotted a salt rock in a horse field? Just like humans, livestock needs salt too as part of their nutritionally balanced diet.
Salt supplements are common on both farms and stables to keep animals healthy.
53. Paper manufacturing
Making paper isn't as easy as simply chopping down trees. Salt is used to manufacture other chemicals which process and bleach wood as part of the basic paper manufacturing process.
54. Industrial chemicals
Out of all the salt produced, a huge 68% of it is used to produce industrial chemicals.
55. Water conditioning
Live in an area with hard water?
Salt is used to condition water that's high in calcium and magnesium, which prevents the build-up of limescale on appliances in your home.
Who knew salt was so useful? Do you have any of your own unusual uses to add? Let us know in the comments below!