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Life Hacks

15 Brilliant Uses for Salt That Have Nothing To Do With Seasoning Your Food

Discover how it can help make your life so much easier!

No pantry is complete without salt. The household staple is a must for seasoning food, but it’s good for so much more than that. From unclogging a drain to soothing itchy bug bites, the granules can come in handy for many of life’s problems. Below, you’ll find 15 uses for salt that will make you consider picking up an extra shaker or two next time you’re at the supermarket.

1. Uses for salt: Clean a wreath

You were excited to find an old wreath tucked away in your attic. You can’t wait to display it, but it’s a bit dusty. The quick way to clean it: Place the wreath in a large paper bag with 1/2 cup of salt, then shake. As you move the bag, the salt granules will knock any dust and debris loose, so your wreath looks beautifully welcoming!

2. Mold-proof a block of cheese

The gourmet cheese you snagged for a deal will be a great addition to your cheese board. To help it stay fresh, soak a paper towel in a mixture of 2 Tbs. of salt and 3 cups of water; wrap loosely around cheese before refrigerating. The dehydrating salt inhibits microbial growth.

Related: Snacks for St Patrick’s Day: 5 Easy Grazing Boards That Are Wow-Worthy + Delicious

3. Uses for salt: Salvage a bitter cup of coffee

Salvaging coffee is one of many uses for salt
Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty

Eek! Your morning cup of joe is tasting a bit off, but you’d rather not use creamer and add extra calories. The solution: Try adding in a pinch of salt. The salt will help to balance out the coffee’s acidity, so your brew is delicious.

@peacecoffee

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♬ original sound – Peace Coffee

Related: Dr. Bob Arnot: Swap Your Dark Roast Coffee for a Lighter Roast for Automatic Weight Loss

4. De-puff tired eyes in minutes

After a fun night catching up with friends, you wake up with puffy eyes. To look bright-eyed again in a flash, fill a cup with 16 oz. of warm water and 1 tsp. of salt, dip two cotton balls in the solution, then lay your head back, close your eyes and place the cotton balls over your eyelids for 5 minutes. The warm water will open the pores around your eyes so the salt can draw out the excess fluid, reducing swelling.

Related: How to Bake Makeup Undereyes So Dark Circles and Fine Lines Disappear Fast + the Powder You’ll Want to Avoid

5. Uses for salt: Chill drinks in a flash

The guests are about to arrive at your bash when you realize you forgot to put the soda in the fridge. To chill the cans fast, toss them into a large tub or bucket, fill with ice and top with 3/4 cup of salt. Then pour in enough cold water to cover the cans’ sides. Salt water has a lower freezing point than regular water, so its temperature will quickly drop, cooling the drinks in about 10 minutes. (Tip: Rinse off cans before serving to ensure drinks don’t taste salty!)

See how well this works below:

6. Disinfect a wooden cutting board

Removing stains from cutting boards is one of many uses for salt
RusN/Getty

Colorful foods like pomegranates, beets and tomatoes tend to leave stains on your cutting board. But scrubbing the marks with dish soap or cleaning spray can impart an unpleasant taste the next time you chop produce. The save: Sprinkle salt all over the board, wet a sponge with hot water and rub the salt in until the marks are gone, then wipe with a towel. The granules will scour away any lingering food particles, cutting stains, odors and the risk of bacterial growth.

7. Uses for salt: Deodorize smelly shoes overnight

Warmer temperatures mean you’ve been able to get out for a daily walk again. The exercise has certainly felt fantastic, but it’s left your sneakers smelling less than fresh. To nix the stink, pour a small handful of salt into two coffee filters. Then wrap a rubber band around the top of each to close, and set one sachet in each shoe before going to bed. The absorbent salt soaks up the odors, so your shoes smell fresh again by morning.

Related: 3 Natural Remedies to Nix Smelly Odors In the Bathroom, Kitchen, and Laundry Room

8. Eliminate a flea problem

Argh! Your pup’s fun day at the park ended with an icky flea infestation. To the rescue: Salt! “Sprinkling a generous amount of table salt on dry carpets, pet bedding or areas where your pet spends a lot of time can help dehydrate and kill flea eggs and larvae,” says veterinarian Sabrina Kong, DVM, veterinary writer at WeLoveDoodles. “After letting the salt sit for about 48 hours to do its magic, a thorough vacuuming will remove the salt and the dead fleas. It’s a natural, chemical-free approach to managing flea infestations in the home.”

9. Uses for salt: Lift protein-based stains

Lifting stains is one of many uses for salt
Akintevs/Getty

The next time a melting ice-cream cone drips onto your daughter’s sundress and you don’t have digestive enzyme powder on hand, add 1 Tbs. of salt to 1 cup of cold water and let the stain soak for 30 minutes, then rinse and hang to dry.Tct as a scrub to break the protein into tiny particles that can easily be washed away.

Related: Cleaning Pros’ Top Tips to Remove Turmeric Stains — and How Using Hot Water Can Make Things *Worse*

10. Ease the itch of bug bites

After an enjoyable afternoon of hiking, you realize you have a few mosquito bites to show for your adventures. To feel better fast, combine salt with enough water to create a paste, then dab all over the bites. Salt boasts antiseptic and anti-inflammatory­ properties that help reduce swelling and ease discomfort in no time.

Related: Natural Spider Repellent: 4 Easy DIY Sprays That Keep The Bugs Away

11. Uses for salt: Chop garlic cloves

Your homemade garlic bread is always a hit, but chopping up garlic can be easier said than done! Cloves always stick to your knife as you mince and slow down the process since you continuously having to stop and wipe the blade clean. To the rescue: Salt! Roughly chop the garlic and sprinkle with just a pinch of salt before continuing to mince. The salt grains absorb any sticky juices (without leaving an overly salty flavor) so you can chop with ease.

Related: Dentist-Recommended Tips to Get Rid of Garlic Breath

12. Fix a clogged drain

Unclogging drains is one of many uses for salt
triocean/Getty

The only thing worse than a slow-draining sink? The noxious smell of drain cleaner! Sidestep both problems with this all-natural fix: Mix 2 Tbs. of salt with 2 cups of seltzer and pour down the drain. Wait 1 minute, then run the hottest tap water for 10 seconds. The abrasive salt and seltzer will break down the blockage and the scalding water will wash it away.

13. Uses for salt: Extend the life of candles

The trick to ensure the new candles you bought last as long as possible: Lay the candles on their side in a basin, cover with 2 cups of water and add 2 Tbs. of salt. Let sit for 24 hours, then remove and let dry before using the candles. The salt water creates an invisible hard coating on the wax that melts more slowly than the candle itself, trapping drips within. This will also prevent messy candle drips on your table!

Related: 6 Expert Tips to Make Candles Burn Longer — And the Common Hack That Can Backfire

14. Restore tarnished cutlery

If you find that your silverware is tarnished, and you don’t have any polish on hand, try this: Close your sink’s drain and cover the bottom with a large sheet of aluminum foil (shiny side up). Fill the basin with hot water and add 1⁄4 cup each of salt and baking soda. Then soak the tarnished silver in the solution for three minutes before removing and drying. “The combination creates a chemical reaction called ion exchange that helps transfer the tarnish from the flatware onto the aluminum foil,” says Will Cotter, owner of HappyCleans. “The end result is sparkling clean flatware that looks brand new!” (Click through for more uses for aluminum foil.)

15. Uses for salt: Reveal silky smooth skin

Exfoliating skin is one of many uses for salt
Image Source RF/Zero Creatives/Getty

No need to splurge on pricey beauty products to get extra soft skin. The answer is right in your pantry! “Combine salt with olive oil or coconut oil to form a scrub for exfoliating skin,” says former dermatologist Jake Woods, MD, of Gya Labs. “Gently massage the mixture in circular motions to remove dead skin cells and reveal smoother skin.” Just mix together 1/4 cup of salt and 3 tsp. of your chosen oil to create the scrub!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.


For more brilliant life hacks, keep reading!

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15 Brilliant Uses for Sponges

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