Salt is pretty much the go-to seasoning for nearly every Western household everywhere. But as ubiquitous as this mouthwatering mineral is, we rarely use salt for anything other than cooking. These 15 alternative uses for salt are about to change how you (wait for it) see salt forever! (Boom!)
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1. Keep Windshields Free of Ice and Frost
The morning commute after a snow storm or a big freeze is bad enough, but having to scrape your windshield is pretty much the icing on the crap cake that will be your day. Shift your salty mood with, well, salt! Instructions: Keep a sock full or table salt under your front seat, and rub your windshield with it on winter nights. The salt decreases the temperature that moisture freezes and prevents ice from forming over night. In the morning, you'll wake to frost-free car windows.
2. Unclog Toilets and Drains
Seriously, is there anything that ruins an evening like a clogged toilet? What was a quick jaunt to the loo can quickly turn into a crime scene, but this salt hack can save both your mood and dinner party (provided you have a second bathroom to use, while the salt works its magic). Instructions: Mix 1/2 cup of rock salt (table salt will do in a pinch) with 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour into the toilet along with six cups of boiling water. Leave the solution to loosen the clog for several hours before breaking up the remaining clog with a plunger.
3. Soften Your Jeans
If your fresh, new pair of well-fitting jeans are a little too stiff, soften them up using everyday table salt! Instructions: Submerse denim jeans into a solution of water (enough to cover) and 1 cup of table salt. Let the jeans soak for 2-3 hours, rinse and hang dry them. If you prefer to use your washing machine instead, add 1/2 cup of table salt to your detergent and put the jeans through a normal wash cycle.
4. Quickly Chill Beers and Sodas
If you bought an unrefrigerated six-pack of beer or soda, and you need it cold right away — harness the power of science to bring your brews below zero! Instructions: Create an icy-science slurry by stirring ice cubes into a solution of 1/2 cup of table salt to 2 cups of water. Mixing salt, water and ice in the correct proportions creates a solution that is well below the freezing point of water, and it will rapidly chill your canned beverages down in record time.
5. Prevent Colors From Bleeding
If you don't have the quarters or energy to divvy up the dirty laundry into several piles, but you're worried about your new pink top bleeding onto your other garments, simply soak it in water and salt to prevent any problems. Instructions: Submerge bright, new garments into a solution of water (enough to cover) and 1 cup of table salt, then let soak for 1-2 hours before laundering. Add 1/4 cup of salt to the wash cycle for added protection.
6. Fertilize Plants With Sea Salt
Unlike its poor cousin table salt, sea salt is rich with minerals like sodium, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium — which makes it a perfect pet-and-people-friendly fertilizer for your garden. Instructions: Mix 1 teaspoon of salt into a gallon of water and add the solution to a garden sprayer. Repeat the application every 1-2 weeks during growing season.
7. Use Table Salt to Eliminate Weeds
If you're in the market for an organic form of weed control, and your DIY sensibilities make you extremely savings savvy, then salt is the low-cost gardening solution that you need to try! Instructions: Bring a solution of 1 cup table salt and 2 cups water to a boil. Once cool, pour your mixture into a spray bottle, or simply drizzle the concoction directly onto your weeds. But be warned: Salt will also kill other plants it comes into contact with, so be careful.
8. Give Brooms a Longer Life
There's an old Jamaican saying, "New broom sweeps clean, but old broom knows the corners." If you're a fan of clean sweeps, then double the life of a new broom by soaking the bristles in a bucket of hot, salty water. Instructions: Place the synthetic or straw bristles of a new broom into a solution of 1/2 cup of salt mixed with a gallon of water and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Remove the broom and let dry.
9. Alleviate Pain From Bites and Stings
Salt is an old farmers' curative to relieve pain from bee stings, bug bites and poison ivy. Bee stings: Reduce swelling and pain by wetting the area and coating with salt. Mosquito and bug bites: soak area in salt water for 5-10 minutes before coating with butter or cooking oil. Poison ivy: Relieve the itching by soaking area in hot salt water (even if it means jumping into a bathtub of salt water).
10. Keep Stovetop Spills From Hardening
It's inevitable. Ingredients from your mini shepherd's pot pies bubble up and spill over onto your freshly cleaned stove top. Don't give it time to harden into a stain. Instructions: Sprinkle some salt on the spill while it's still liquid. Once the stovetop cools, you can simply wipe up the spill with a cloth.
11. Stomp Stubborn Stains From Pots and Pans
Grease loves to be difficult and because it's not water-soluble, it gets away with poor behavior. However, salt will banish surly grease stains from your pots and pans. Instructions: Sprinkle salt directly onto cookware for spot scrubbing or add 1/4 cup of salt to pots and pans that are soaking in the sink.
12. Speed Up Cooking Time
When you're absolutely starving and the dang Top Ramen won't cook fast enough, sprinkle some salt into the water. Salt water gets hotter faster than tap water, which means that you can slightly decrease cooking times for your one-pot creamy tomato basil chicken pasta.
13. Freshen Bad Breath
If you've ever found yourself heading into an intense conversation, but you don't have anything to cover up the smell of your awful, shameful breath, then obliterate the vodka and coffee bacteria swimming in your mouth with a quick rinse of salt water. The solution will sanitize your mouth and gums without the fuss of fluoride or added sugars.
14. Deodorize Stinky Sneakers
We previously covered how your freezer can give shoes a waterless cleaning by killing the bacteria on fabrics. But maybe your fiancée doesn't want your smelly footwear in the freezer next to her homemade shamrock milkshake. If that's the case, then try some salt to soak away the stink in those clammy kicks. Instructions: Lightly sprinkle salt into your shoes nightly because life is musty and unfair.
15. Make Tea and Coffee Stains Disappear
We've shown you how to seal a cracked coffee cup, and now we've got even bigger tips to rehab those priceless souvenir mugs. Rid your life of those unattractive tea and coffee stains by sprinkling salt onto a sponge and then giving those mugs a light scrub. Bonus tip: This trick also works for glassware stained with lipstick!