55 Surprisingly SMART Uses For Salt

55 surprisingly SMART 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 salt often gets a bad rep when it comes to our health, it's actually a very important mineral that, in the right quantities, can not only benefit humans, but a lot of other things too.

From incredible beauty uses to handy cleaning hacks, prepare to be surprised with our 47 fantastic uses for salt.

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

pink roses
Arrange them aesthetically!

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, then 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 salt water, 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

shoes russel bromley addidas
Keep them smelling fresh!

Trainers, canvas shoes and ballet pumps - especially when worn without socks - can get pretty pongy. 

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. Rub it into the glass using a sponge and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

10. Prevent your new towels from fading in the wash

striped bath mat
Keep those colours bright!

Bright colours are prone to running and fading, especially during their first few washes.

If you've just bought some brightly coloured towels then you'll love this tip. For their first few washes, simply add 1-2 cups of salt into the drum and it'll help prevent any colour-running.

11. Keep your brass ornaments looking clean

Are you lucky enough to 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 and objects. 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!

Don't spend money on expensive laundry products - all you need to banish them is lemon and salt.

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 not need to splash out on expensive beauty products when you have salt! 

14. A natural alternative to mouthwash

listerine mouthwash
There's no need to splash out!

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 naturally be fresh.

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 in circular movements to exfoliate the skin. Normal table and cooking salt work, but sea salt is even better.

17. As a natural dandruff treatment

long red hair
Banish that dandruff for good!

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 tale1

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

Salt is one of our favourite foods you can clean with! It can prohibit the growth of mould, bacteria and yeast, making it a great cleaning agent.

20. Remove tea and coffee stains from mugs

office mugs
Get those office mugs clean!

If you're as addicted to tea and coffee as us, you'll know all about mug stains and how hard they are to remove.

If you have mugs that have been stained with endless cups of tea, you can scrub away any stains away with salt. Sprinkle some salt onto a sponge and rub in circles across the tea rings until they disappear.

If that doesn't work, 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 for 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

cucumber chopping board
Banish those food stains.

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 ring 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.

Phew!

26. Clean your pots and pans

washing pots and pans
Scrub-a-dub-dub

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? Chnces are your drain is blocked. This can be caused by anything from hair products to hair itself, but luckily is 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!

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

tea and barley
Get dinner on the table, faster!

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

box of eggs
Are they still OK?

We can become a bit careless when it comes 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

rose himalayan salt
A sprinkle of salt's all you need!

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 both 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 salt water. 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

red mini
This will save you SO much time in the morning!

Now here's an easy-peasy solution to a problem we always face during Winter.

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.

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

dirty bib tomato
Whoops!

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 1 kg 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 wide-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.

52. Agriculture

pony in stable
Animals need salt too!

Have you ever spotted a salt rock in a horse field? Just like humans, livestock need 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

water and apples
Salt's the key to softer water.

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!
Author

Anushka F

Editor

A keen money-saver and fan of all things natural, Anushka enjoys making her own beauty products and is partial to a bit of crafting. Never short of a clever tip or two, she's always looking for new ways to make her money go even further.

Follow me on twitter

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  1. Author Andrew on May 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    When you drop an egg, the egg white is notoriously difficult to clean up. Sprinkle liberally with table salt and leave for a few minutes. The egg will 'set' like jelly and will be much easier to thoroughly clean up! Try it for yourself now!

    1. Author Anushka F on May 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Thanks for the tip Andrew! I'll try it next time...

    Reply
  2. Author susan bowden on May 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    The tip for testing whether eggs are stale or fresh works without the salt as well! Fill a jug with water and if the egg sinks it's ok, if it floats it's stale and if it hovers just touching the bottom it can be used for cakes etc.

    1. Author Anushka F on May 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Oh does it? Great stuff, thanks for letting me know Susan.

    Reply
  3. Author jada on August 4, 2016 at 4:20 am

    My toilet bowl under the water,how do I get it to stay white and shining, no timescale

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 10, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Hi Jada. Have you tried using coca cola to clean your toilet bowl? The acidity of the drink makes it very effective at removing limescale build-up. I hope this helps :)

    2. Author Sandra Carter on October 5, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      I never found cola worked on mine I have hard water get a lot of limescale

    Reply
  4. Author Donatello46 on December 23, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Be VERY careful when using salt to clean a fish tank, even when cleaning a tank for marine fish. Keep a sponge and a brush SOLELY for cleaning your tank It is imperative that you rinse the tank and the sponge/brush thoroughly and, after refilling it, add a water treatment product such as Tapsafe (other products are available!) before reintroducing your fish, otherwise you risk losing them, also soak your cleaning implements after rinsing. Straight tap water contains additives such as chlorine (and even in some areas fluorine) as part of the sterilising process and these additives are harmful to tropical fish, as are leeched metals such as copper, a water conditioner helps to neutralise these "contaminants". if in doubt consult your chosen tropical fish supplier.

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 10, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Hi Donatello. Of course, where fish tanks are concerned, you must be very careful. Thanks for your reminder of this. Your extra info is great and I'm sure our readers will be very grateful :)

    Reply
  5. Author Lesley Reeves on December 23, 2016 at 11:24 am

    No 17 works brilliantly, I had an mug that was badly stained on the bottom, elbow grease couldn't shift it but the salt tip worked and it looks brand new again. Thanks.

    1. Author Anushka F on January 11, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Oh wow amazing! Love hearing when tips work well. Thanks for sharing Lesley.

    Reply
  6. Author susan bowden on December 23, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    My husband drinks black tea and I find the easiest way to remove tea stains is a few drops of bleach, a splash of water and a bottle brush or old toothbrush. Brush lightly, then leave for a few moments, rinse and wash or put in the dishwasher - salt (or anything abrasive) works but this is quicker and doesn't scratch the glaze.

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 10, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Hi Susan. Tea stains can be a real pain, especially with black tea. It sounds like you've got these sorted - good work! :)

    Reply
  7. Author Edith on December 23, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Another tip is put some salt in a bowl where the moisture is. I put in one room on the window sill because the windows collect water and salt soaks it in. You will see the next day that salt is not a powder anymore. Do it as much as you need.

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Hi Edith. A great tip from you here If you have very poor ventilation in your bathroom, this method can be a real life saver for keeping walls dry & damp at bay :)

    Reply
  8. Author Michelle on September 11, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Using salt to brush your tenth helps to make your gum healthy

    1. Author Joanne A on September 11, 2018 at 9:08 am

      That's a great tip, Michelle!

    Reply
  9. Author Woodie on October 5, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Blood on a shirt? Just wet the area and sprinkle salt on it then leave for 15 mins then wash as usual

    1. Author Joanne A on October 5, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  10. Author heather on October 5, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Moths on the carpet also don't like salt. So sprinkle salt on your carpet then give it a brush before vacuuming, then brush in a bit more. It works well.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Great tip!

    Reply
  11. Author Ravi Virdee on October 5, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    If you spill some food on the hob whilst cooking, switch off the gas, than take the pan off the gas hob, pour some salt on the spillage using a table spoon. Return the pan back onto the hob, turn it on and continue with your cooking. The salt will prevent the spillage to burn on the hob which could ages to scrub off.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      That's a great idea! Thanks Ravi.

    Reply
  12. Author alex mcallister on October 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    warm salted water gets rid of cramp

    1. Author Joanne A on October 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Alex!

    Reply

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