I didn’t know salt could do that…!
I consider myself a gourmet salt connoisseur, an now I have copious amounts of ordinary table salt laying around. I’m going to start putting it to other uses aside from using it to boiling water. (Factoid: This does not make the water boil faster, but rather at a higher temperature. Surprised? So was I…)
Beside cooking with salt and making the food and beverages you enjoy that much more delicious, it is believed that there are more than 14,000 uses for salt in and out of the kitchen. Your grandmothers and their mothers were probably familiar with them, but with the advent of modern chemicals and cleaners, these age old uses have gone out with the bathwater. Many of the uses are valid today to clean, protect and serve around the house.
I thought I would share some of these salt tricks with you that go beyond the kitchen, but I hold no guarantee to the results. Seeing as salts have been around since the dawn of time, I believe it’s safe to say there is something solid to them. But don’t fret – if they don’t work for you, then you’re probably doing it wrong anyway…
Salt as a cleaning agent, by itself or in combination with other substances, restores, scours, protects and disinfects. A solution of salt and turpentine restores the whiteness to yellowed enameled bathtubs and lavatories. A paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished brass or copper. A strong brine (very salty water) poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting and eliminates odors.
Salt helps destroy moths and drives away ants. A dash of salt in laundry starch keeps the iron from sticking and gives linen and fine cottons a glossy, like-new finish. Wash your new denim in salt water to set the color and stay bluer longer. A thin paste of salt and salad oil removes white marks caused by hot dishes or water from wooden tables, but don’t over do it.
A box of salt is an important item in many bathrooms as well. In mild, well-dissolved solutions, it makes an excellent mouthwash, throat gargle or eye-wash; it is an effective dentifrice (toothpaste); it is an effective antiseptic; it can also be extremely helpful as a body scrub to improve complexion and rejuvenate dry skin.
So, as you see, salt can do much, much more than boil water.
Here are a few helpful unconventional kitchen uses
- Cleaning coffee pots – Remove bitterness from coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and boiling as usual.
- Removing onion odors from hands – Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.
- Brightening cutting boards – After washing them with soap and water, rub bread and cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.
Try these clever cleaning uses for salt:
- Removing wine stains – If wine is spilled on a tablecloth or rug, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover the wine with salt, which will absorb the remaining wine. Later rinse the tablecloth with cold water; scrape up the salt from the rug and then vacuum the spot.
- Restoring sponges – Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.
- Brightening colors – Wash colored clothes or washable fiber rugs and curtains in a saltwater solution to brighten the colors. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.
Hygiene, Health & Beauty tips with salt:
- Gargling – Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a gargle for sore throats.
- Reducing eye puffiness – Mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.
- Removing dry skin – After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.
…Even more uses for salt:
- Drip-proofing candles – Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.
- Keeping cut flowers fresh – A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.
- Deodorizing shoes – Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.
And my favorite…
- Removing tattoos -CAUTION- This is a medical procedure that can be done only by a physician. It is called salabrasion and requires several treatments by rubbing salt on the tattoo. Healing is required between treatments, but there is virtually no scarring.
Phew! That is a long list of uses… not quite 14,000 but quite a few. If you’re still with me (…and still interested), there are many more uses for salt in the kitchen and on the dining table that I will outline in my upcoming post “Salt in Foods” and in my Culinary Curiosity™ book, “An Entertaining Guide to Salt & Pepper™”