Practical Household Uses For Salt

uses for salt

A couple of weeks ago I found this great pair of black Calvin Klein jeans at Costco that I have absolutely fallen in love with! They are, most importantly, COMFORTABLE, they fit great, are the right length (ie. long enough!), and they are a nice dark black color! I know that sounds strange, but not all black-colored fabric is created equal.

For that reason I have been hesitant to wash them because the other day when I went to wipe some dog hair off my pants with a damp washcloth there was black dye on the washcloth! I just KNOW that once I wash them they aren’t going to be that nice, dark black color anymore. That led me to do some research on how SET the colors in new clothing, which in turn led me to some pretty extraordinary uses for salt that I wasn’t aware of!

Since I was so impressed with many of these, I figured you would be too, so I decided to compile a list of my favorites to share with you.

Starting with……..How To SET The Color In New Clothes and Towels.

uses for salt

  • Salt is used commonly in the textile industry, but works at home too. If a dye isn’t colorfast, soak the garment for an hour in 1/2 gallon of water to which you’ve added 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup salt, then rinse. If rinse water has any color in it, repeat. Use only on single-colored fabric or madras. If the item is multicolored, dry-clean it to avoid running all of the colors together.

In the Kitchen

  • Boiling Water – Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time (it does not make the water boil faster).
  • Peeling eggs – Eggs boiled in salted water peel more easily.
  • Poaching eggs – Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.
  • Testing egg freshness – Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

uses for salt

  • Prevent browning – Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.
uses for salt
  • Shelling nuts – Soak your nuts in salt brine overnight and they will crack out of their shells whole. Just tap the end of the shell with a hammer to break it open easily.
  • Preventing sugaring – A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.

uses for salt

  • Washing spinach – If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.
  • Crisping salads – Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp. Lettuce and spinach can be prepped and stored in a salt water bath in your fridge. They will remain crisp and clean. Just rinse and serve!
  • Improving boiled potatoes – Boiled potatoes will be given a fine, mealy texture by sprinkling with salt after draining, then returning them to the pan and shaking them back and forth quickly to get rid of the excess moisture.

uses for salt

  • Crispier fried potatoes – Soak potatoes in salt water for several hours before you use them. This will help to “leech out” some of their starch content.
  • Cleaning greasy pans – The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper.
  • Cleaning ovens – Salt and cinnamon take the “burned food” odor away from ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

uses for salt

  • Cleaning stained cups – Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.
  • Cleaning refrigerators – Use salt and soda water to clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator. It won’t scratch enamel either.
  • Prevent grease splatters and splashes – Before frying food, add a few dashes of salt to the pan before putting the food in. This helps prevent the grease from splattering and possibly burning you in the process.

uses for salt

  • Extinguishing grease fires – Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.
uses for salt
  • Improving coffee and hot cocoa – A pinch of salt in coffee or cocoa will enhance the flavor and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.
  • Improving poultry – To improve the flavor of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.

uses for salt

  • Cleaning tarnished silverware – Rub tarnish with salt before washing.
  • Cleaning copper pans – Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
  • Cleaning coffee pots – Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

uses for salt

  • Remove lipstick marks from glassware – Lipstick smudges on glassware can be hard to remove, even in the dishwasher. That’s because the emollients designed to help lipstick stay on your lips do a good job sticking to glassware too. Before washing your stemware, rocks glasses, or water tumblers, rub the edges with salt to erase lipstick stains.
uses for salt
  • Removing onion odors from hands – Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.
  • “Sweetening” containers – Salt can “sweeten” and deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

uses for salt

  • Whipping cream and beating egg whites – By adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.
uses for salt
  • Keeping milk fresh – Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.
  • Cleaning sink drains – Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odors and keep grease from building up.

uses for salt

  • Preventing mold – To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.
  • Brightening cutting boards – After washing them with soap and water, rub cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.
  • Clean dough off countertops – After rolling dough out on countertops, sprinkle salt on the countertop, and you will be able to wipe up the dough residue easily, without it forming sticky lumps.

uses for salt

  • Burned-on Stains – Soak enamel pans in salt water overnight and boil salt water in them next day to remove burned-on stains.
  • Fixing over-salted soups – If soup has been oversalted, cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.
uses for salt
  • Cleaning dried-on egg – Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes them a whiz to clean when you have time.

uses for salt

  • Setting gelatin – To set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt. Also, gelatin sets more quickly when a dash of salt is added to the recipe.
uses for salt
  • Preventing food from sticking – Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying fish to prevent the fish from sticking. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, foods will not stick.



  • Cleaning brass – Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, rub the paste on the brass item, leave on for an hour or so, then clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.
uses for salt
  • Cleaning wicker – To prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater and allow to dry in the sun.
  • Cleaning grease spots on rugs – Some grease spots can be removed with a solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol and rubbing hard but carefully to avoid damage to the nap.

uses for salt

  • Extending broom life – New brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater before they are first used.
uses of salt
  • Pre-treatment for stains on clothing – Eating out and dropped sauce or dressing on your clothing? Quickly sprinkle a little salt on the still damp sauce or dressing to absorb it. When you arrive home, wash as normal.
  • 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.

uses for salt

  • Restoring sponges – Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.
  • Removing rings from tables – White rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes or glasses can be removed by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot with your fingers, letting it stand an hour or two, then wiping it off.
uses for salt
  • Piano Keys – Use a mixture of salt and  lemon juice to clean piano keys.

users for salt

  • Muddy footprints on carpet – Sprinkle salt on carpets to dry out muddy footprints before vacuuming.
  • Stainless steel – Rub with a gritty paste of two tablespoons of salt mixed with lemon juice. Rinse well and pat dry with a soft cloth.
  • Settling suds – If a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle salt on the suds to reduce them.

uses for salt

  • Keep clothes from freezing on the line – Add a little salt to the rinse water when washing a load of laundry to keep the clothes from freezing stiff on the clothesline. Soaking the clothesline in salt water will also prevent clothes from sticking to it in cold weather.
uses for salt
  • Brightening yellowed cottons or linens – Boil the yellowed items for one hour in a salt and baking soda solution
  • Removing mildew or rust stains – Moisten stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching; and finally, rinse and dry.

uses for salt

  • Fix a sticking iron – Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.
  • Color-matching nylons – Good nylons that don’t have a match can be made the same color by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.
  • Cleaning fish tanks – Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not iodized, salt.


Health & Beauty

  • Relief for canker sores, sore throats – A saltwater gargle will take the bite out of a toothache and ease the pain of canker sores and sore throats. Dissolve two teaspoons of salt in 1/4 cup of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for at least 20 seconds, gargling if you have a sore throat.
uses for salt
  • Extend toothbrush life – Soak toothbrushes in salt water before your first use; they’ll last longer.
  • Clean teeth – Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda — dip your toothbrush in the mix and brush as usual. You can also use the same mix dissolved in water for orthodontic appliances.

uses for salt

  • Fresh breath – Mix equal parts salt and baking soda in water for a fresh and deodorizing mouth rinse.
  • Bathing eyes – Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to bathe tired eyes.
uses for salt
  • 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.

uses for salt

  • Relieving tired feet – Soak aching feet in warm water and a handful of salt. Rinse in cool water.
  • Relieving bee stings – If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.
  • Treating mosquito and chigger bites – Soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture of lard and salt.

uses for salt

  • 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.
  • Treating poison ivy – Soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten the end to poison ivy irritation.
  • Relieving fatigue – Soak for at least ten minutes in a tub of water with several handfuls of salt.

uses for salt

  • Stimulating facial –  Mix equal parts of salt and olive oil and gently massage the face and throat with long upward and inward strokes. Remove mixture after five minutes and wash face.
  • A pre-shampoo dandruff treatment – The abrasiveness of ordinary table salt works great for scrubbing out dandruff before you shampoo. Grab a salt shaker and shake some salt onto your dry scalp. Then work it through your hair, giving your scalp a massage. You’ll find you’ve worked out the dry, flaky skin and are ready for a shampoo.
  • Removing tattoos – Called salabrasion, this technique involves rubbing salt on the tattoo and requires several treatments. Healing is required between sessions, but there is virtually no scarring. CAUTION: This is a medical procedure that can be done only by a physician.


Around The House

uses for salt
  • Tame a wild barbecue – Toss a handful of salt on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills to reduce the flames and calm the smoke without cooling the coals (like water does).
  • 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.

uses for salt

  • Removing soot – Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.
  • Invigorating goldfish – Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier.
  • Cleaning flower vases – To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

uses for salt

  • Keeping cut flowers fresh – Mix a tablespoon of salt into the water of a vase of cut flowers to keep them fresh longer.
  • Holding artificial flowers – Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place. It’s cheaper than filling the vases with marbles or other small items. Salt is better than sand, too, because it provides a pure white color.
  • Art Project – Paint with watercolor then sprinkle with salt. When it dries, brush the salt off to reveal a beautiful stippled effect.

uses for salt

  • Clothespins – Boil clothespins in salt water before using them and they will last longer.
  • Rose air freshener – To make a rose air freshener try layering rose petals and salt in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid. Then just remove the lid to freshen the air.
uses for salt
  • Keeping patios weed-free – If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

uses for salt

  • Deodorize your sneakers – Sneakers and other canvas shoes can get pretty smelly, especially if you wear them without socks in the summertime. Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will absorb the moisture and help remove odors
  • Keeping windows frost-free – Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car’s windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.
  • Killing poison ivy – Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

uses for salt

  • Goodbye to fleas – If your dogs have fleas, simply wash their doghouse and blankets in salt water. If you’re worried your dogs may have brought fleas into your house, sprinkle your carpets lightly with salt and then brush it in. Leave it for 12 hours and vacuum thoroughly.
  • Keep radishes safe in the garden – Salt worms (cutworms) will be repelled if you sprinkle seeds with table salt, then cover with dirt.
  • De-icing sidewalks and driveways – Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easy removal. Don’t overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass and ornamentals.

uses for salt

  • Make play dough – Use 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. Stir together flour, cream of tartar, salt, and oil, and slowly add water. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until dough becomes stiff. Spread onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the dough with your hands until it reaches a good dough consistency.
  • Deter ants – Sprinkle salt in doorways, on window sills and anywhere else ants use to sneak into your house. It’s a sure way to keep them out!
  • Easy fireplace cleanup – When you’re ready to turn in for the night but the fire is still glowing in the hearth, douse the flames with salt. The fire will burn out more quickly, so you’ll wind up with less soot than if you let it smolder. Cleanup is easier, too, because the salt helps the ashes and residue gather into easy sweepings.

uses for salt

  • Repair walls – To fill nail holes, fix chips or other small dings in white sheet-rock or plaster walls, mix 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons cornstarch, then add enough water (about 5 teaspoons) to make a thick paste. Use the paste to fill the holes.
  • Removing rust – Use salt and a damp rag to remove rust from auto bumpers, bike handles and metals; rinse thoroughly.

Did I forget anything???? :-)


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  1. Gail B. says

    I embroidered a towel when I was a child and the metal embroidery hoop left rust marks on the fabric.

    My mother had me drench the rusted spots in lemon juice and then put a liberal amount of salt on the rust stains. Left it outside in the sun and kept the salt wet with additional lemon juice as required until the rust was lifted out of the fabric.

  2. says

    You mentioned the greasy pan idea, but salt is also the best way to clean cast iron that has food bits stubbornly burned on. Generously sprinkle with salt and scrub with a plastic “scrubby” and it will clean right up without losing the pan’s seasoning.

  3. Deborah Jennings says

    You can also soak white lingerie to keep them white. I learned this from a lady that sold lingerie. I use salt and vinegar on all of my new clothes.

    • shalom says

      rubbing hands on stainless steel will do the same thing, it helps with some other smells on the hands too

  4. Alisha says

    AWESOME ideas! I knew many of these, and learned a few things. Thanks for all your hard work!

  5. Landon says

    I learned the setting colors trick from using the boxed die on the laundry row. According to it you just add 1 cup salt to the water. It works great. My daughter’s favorite zebra beach towel would come out of the wash just fine, but when she wrapped up in it at the pool & it held water for a while the black kept bleeding onto the white. Since I knew the black would come off the white by running through the wash I washed it to get it out, then ran it through another time with salt in the water. No more color bleeding. Since then I like to wash new colors in salt water to set the colors, especially if they are a dark color with white stripes.

    This post gives me a lot more great ideas for using salt around the house! =)

    As I was mixing up some sugar scrub yesterday an idea came to mind. My favorite bridal shower gift to give a new couple that still live with their parents up until they move in together after the wedding is a laundry basket that I pack full of all the little things a new couple needs to start off a new home – foil & plastic wrap, cleaning supplies for dishes, laundry & home, some basic staples (flour, sugar, salt, etc) & some basic paper goods. It always seems to be well received, since the ones that don’t live on their own before marriage have to start a house from scratch.

    I’ve learned through making my own cleaning supplies that you really only need a few ingredients to clean a whole house & all of it’s laundry. A neat variation on the basket idea would be to include some of the homemade cleaners in nice containers along with the supplies need to make them & the formulas. I’m already making copies of my favorite formulas so I don’t have to boot up the computer every time I need to make a batch. It goes on a card in my recipe box & I’m also going to make extra sets so that I can fix my kids one of those laundry baskets when they set up their first homes.

    • Deborah Jennings says

      Landon, I have done this, too. The only difference was that I used a laundry hamper. I added some hand made items, too. (This was for the shower.) I put in a handmade handkerchief that could be sewn into a baby’s cap. Lots of odds and ends of items. At the moment, I can’t think of what all was in it, but it was heavy and full! =) I have done the laundry baskets full of thing for our children for Christmas gifts. My mother started doing this for us almost as soon as we married.

      • Karen423 says

        What a wonderful idea! All the weddings I know in the next year have all been on their own for awhile though. A spin on this would be a graduation present for a kid going off to college. Not all the cleaning recipes but the detergent and laundry basket would be two good ones.

        On the post with the $30 of laundry soap for a year, one of the commentors had a great idea, she took the soap and put it in a folded coffee filter, sewing the opening shut, instant little soap packets like the pods that are available now, great for students going to the laundry room. I had the idea of spraying the filters with vinegar or fabric softener and letting them dry first, as an all in one detergent and softener.

        Also some type of lavender spray or lavender infuse baking soda to sprinkle on the college mattress (lavender repels bed bugs)

      • CTY says

        I make the coffee filter pods– soaking in vinegar first might not be the best idea– I read that vinegar reduces the effectiveness of the soap. That is why vinegar should be added to the rinse cycle. Anything to that Jillee?

    • Linda says

      My ex-MIL did essentially the same thing except that she took a kitchen garbage can & tied to a string many of the small kitchen utensils that I would need. It was fun pulling on the ribbon to find a new utensil about 10 inches down at a time.

  6. Marce says

    Wow! Lots of these tips my parents did but I never knew the “WHY” they did it. Thank you so much! I learned a lot!

  7. Charli says

    Working in he food industry years ago, I learned a neat trick. To clean coffee stains out of the glass coffee pots, pour in a generous amount if salt (1/3 of a cup?) and add 1/4 of a pot of CRUSHED ice. NOTE: only do this when the pot is cooled off. Do NOT put ice in a hot pot, it will shatter!!!! Swirl it around vigorously for a few minutes until the glass is clear again. The ice and salt scrub away all the stains and burned coffee that accumulates over time. They look brand new! We even used it to save pots that were “ruined” by being left on the warmer too long.

  8. says

    thanks so much for this list! there are several great ideas i’m writing down to try! i keep a parmesean cheese container filled with a mixture of half salt/half baking soda by my kitchen sink, i use this along with a little dish soap to scrub my sinks & pans…works like a charm

  9. Barbara says

    I use salt to clean my bathrooms. I keep an old coffee creamer container full of kosher salt (and a couple drops of essential oils), sprinkle into the toilet/sink/tub as needed. It’s been great, especially for when my kids manage to get toothpaste everywhere.