The Power and Magic of Salt (Not Kidding) 

 Originally Written: March 7, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

From cleaning house to preserving food to helping soothe aches and pains, salt can tackle even the toughest jobs.

While there are dozens of ways to use salt at home, the most common industrial use is in making chemical compounds. Salt is the key to to the manufacturing of steel, aluminum, rubber tires, soap, ceramics, inks and dyes – not to mention thousands of medical applications.

I am going to list some household uses for this wonder here – if you have and tried others, or if you have a question, please post a comment with your inquiry!

Salt in the Kitchen:

  • Remove coffee and mineral stains from the glass pot of an automatic drip coffee makers by adding 1 cup of crushed ice, 1 tablespoon of water and 4 teaspoons of salt to the pot when its at room temperature. Gently swirl the mixture, rinse and then wash as usual.
  • Remove tea or coffee stains from light-coloured cups and mugs by rubbing stained areas with salt and little water. Then wash as usual
  • If a pie or similar sugary item boils over in your oven, sprinkle the sticky spill with salt. Let it sit until spilled area becomes crisp, then lift off with a spatula when oven cools.
  • To clean and refresh the inside of your refridgerator, sprinkle equal amounts of salt and baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe refrigerator surfaces.
  • Any spill on your stovetop can be cleaned up more easily if sprinkled with salt first. The mildly abrasive quality of salt removes stuck-on food, but it won’t mar the surface.
  • Clean burned-on food from a stovetop burner by sprinkling it with a mixture of salt and cinnamon, then wipe immediately. The mixture will give off a pleasant smell and cover up and burnt odour the next time you turn on the burner.
  • Soak up a liquid spill on a stovetop burner by sprinkling it with a mixture of salt and cinnamon. Leave it on for 5 minutes to absorb excess liquid, then wipe away.
  • Clean casserole dishes that have stubborn, baked-on food by adding boiling water and 3 tablespoons of salt. Let stand until water cools, then wash as usual.
  • Get rid of excess grease in a roasting pan by first sprinkling it with salt. Then wipe pan with a damp sponge or paper towel, and wash as usual.
  • Clean a woodcutting board with soap and little water. Follow cleaning by wiping board with damp cloth dipped in salt until salt is gone. The salt treatment will leave the board looking and feeling fresh.

Salt in the Dining Room:

  • The tarnish on silverware can be removed by gently rubbing pieces with salt and soft cloth and then washing them by hand with dish soap and warm water.
  • To clean sterling silver pieces and bring back their shine, rub them with a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Dip a clean, soft cloth in the paste, then gently rub silver pieces in a circular motion. Rinse then dry with another soft cloth.
  • When you can’t wash the breakfast dishes immediately, sprinkle plates with salt to prevent any egg from sticking. This will make dishes easier to clean when you do have time.
  • Sprinkle some salt into a thermos or any other closed container prone to developing odors. Leave overnight, then rinse. Smells should disappear, but repeat if necessary.

Salt in the House Cleaning:

  • Make a paste of turpentine mixed with salt to restore white enameled fixtures that have gone yellow. Use this on sinks, bathtubs, or toilets. Apply, let sit 15 minutes, then wipe with damp sponge.
  • For a gravy stain on the carpet, first remove as much liquid as possible by covering spot with salt. This will prevent the grave stain from spreading. Then follow rug manufacturer’s instructions. You may need a dry-cleaning solution or enzyme detergent,
  • Try removing grease spots in a rug with a mixture os 1 part salt to 4 parts of rubbing alcohol. Rub hard, going in the same direction as the nap, then rinse with water.
  • Whne you have a red wine spill – Immediately blot up all the moisture from spill, then sprinkle the area with salt. let sit 15 minutes. The salt should absorb any remaining wine in the carpet (turning pick as a result) Then clean the entire area with a mixture of 1/3 cup of vinegar and 2/3 cups of water.
  • Keep white wicker furniture from yellowing by scrubbing it with stiff brush moistened with saltwater. Scrub, then let dry in full sunlight.
  • When a hot dish has marred the surface of a wood table, get rid of the mark with a thin paste made of salad oil and salt. Just wipe on paste, then buff slightly as you wipe off with a soft cloth.
  • To clean and shine copper or brass surfaces, make a paste out of equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Rub on with soft cloth, let sit about 1 hour, then wipe off and buff with a clean, soft cloth.
  • Clean tarnish off copper decorative pieces by spraying them with vinegar and sprinkling them with salt. Scrub pieces with a sponge, then rinse carefully, making sure to remove all salt traces. Repeat if necessary.
  • Clean slightly tarnished brass or copper with a lemon dipped in sale. Rinse.

Salt around your Home:

  • For wall recovery, mix 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons cornstarch, then add enough water (about 5 tablespoons) to make thick paste. Use paste to fill a small nail hole, chip or other hole in sheetrock or plaster. Let dry, then sand lightly and paint.
  • Stop candles from dripping by first soaking them in strong solution of 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup salt for several hours. Let candles dry, then burn as usual.
  • An occasional handful of salt thrown into your fireplace will help loosen inside your chimney. It also makes a cheery, bright yellow flame.
  • Mix salt and cream of tartar, and moisten with emough water to make paste. Apply to a rust stain on a piece of metal outdoor furniture; let sit in the sun until dry. Repeat if necessary.
  • Another rust remover method is to make a paste of lemon juice and salt. Apply paste to rusted object, and rub with a dry, soft cloth.

Salt in the Laundry Room:

  • Add 1/2 cup of salt to wash cycle to prevent new coloured fabrics from running
  • The colours of washable curtains or fibre rugs can be brightened by washing them in a saltwater solution
  • Brighten faded rugs with a brisk rub using a cloth dampened with a strong saltwater solution
  • Boil yellowed cotton or linen fabrics in a mixture of water, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Soak for 1 hour.
  • Whiten nylon curtains by dissolving Epsom salts in warm water. Let soak for 1 hour, then rinse with clean, warm water and hang to dry.
  • An iron with rough or sticky spots on its surface can be cleaned by running it, set at low, over a pieces of paper with salt on it.
  • Ad a dash of salt to laundry starch to keep iron from sticking to clothing. This will also give a smooth finish to linens or fine cottons.
  • Soak a bloodstain on cotton, linen ot other natural fibre in cold salt water for 1 hour. Wash using warm water and laundry soap. then boil fabric in a large kettle of boiling water. Wash again.
  • A fresh bloodstain should disappear easily if it is immediately covered with salt and blotted with cold water. Keep adding fresh water and blotting until stain is gone.
  • Try covering fresh gravy stain with sale and letting it absorb as much of the grease as possible. A stubborn stain may need a 50/50 solution of ammonia and vinegar dabbed on and blotted until stain disappears.
  • Remove a fresh grease spot on fabric by covering it with salt. Wait for salt to absorb grease, then gently brush salt away. Repeat until spot is gone, the launder as usual.
  • Double knit fabrics can be a stain challenge when it comes to grease. All 1/2 teaspoon salt into a small dish of ammonia, and dab mixture directlyu onto grease spot. let sit, then wash as usual.
  • Rub salt into a fresh ink stain on fabric, and soak fabric overnight in milk. Wash as usual.
  • Make a thin paste of lemon juice and salt, then spread paste in mildew stains. Lay clothing items out in the sun to bleach them, then rinse and dry.
  • A mixture of salt, vinegar and water should remove mildew stains on most fabrics. Use up to full-strength vinegar if mildew is extensive.
  • Prevent mildew growth on shower curtains by soaking them in a bathtub full of salt water (1/2 cup of salt to the tub) Soak for several hours, then hang to dry.
  • Remove wine spill from cotton fabrics by immediately sprinkling stained area with enough salt to soak up the liquid. Then soak fabric for 1 hour in cold water and lauder as usual.

Salt for Health and Beauty:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small bowl, then use the mixture to gently massage face and throat being careful to avoid contact with eyes. Follow by washing with your usual face saop and rinse.
  • To reduce oiliness, fill a small spray bottle with tepid water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and spray on your face. Blot dry.
  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda into a 4-ounce glass of water. Use this solution to gargle and freshen breath.
  • To remove onion odor from your hands, sprinkle on a little salt, then moisten with a bit of vinegar. Rub hands together and rinse.
  • The simplest remedy for minor sore throat pain is a warm saltwater gargle (no matter how much you dislike the taste!) Just add 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water, and gargle several times a day. See a physician if sore throat persists longer than 3 days or is accompanied by a high fever.
  • A severe burn in your mouth from eating something very hot can be relieved by rinsing with salt water every hour or so. Use 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Bitting the tongue or cheek can result in large amount of blood but is rarely serious. To help ease the pain, rinse mouth with 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Swish with 1 teaspoon of salt in 4 ounces of warm water when gums are painful. If you have an abscess, the salt will draw out some of the infection. Any gum pain should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.
  • As a temporary remedy for a toothache before going to dentist, rinse yout mouth with a mixture of 4 ounces of warm water and 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • Work a mixture of salt and water into a paste that will stick to a bee sting or bug bite. Apply paste, let sit until dry. This should relieve any itch or pain.
  • Combine equal parts of baking soda and salt then brush onto a bee sting or bite area to help relieve the itch.
  • Treat a mosquito bite by soaking it for a few minutes in saltwater, then applying an ointment made of salt and lard.
  • Help poison ivy clear up more quickly by soaking irritated skin in hot saltwater.

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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