Salt has been an important part of worldwide civilization, dating back to 6050 B.C. For centuries, salt was used for baking, flavoring, preservation, and even currency. Today, salt is much easier to come by—but it still has the numerous benefits and uses of centuries past.
In fact, it may come as a surprise that this common flavoring agent is also a powerful household cleaner. Salt is a mild antiseptic that cuts through grease, removes odors, and lifts stains. Plus, it’s inexpensive, non-toxic, eco-friendly, and easily available.
Below we’ll give you the 24 uses for salt that will keep your home smelling and looking its freshest. For these, you can use plain table salt (non-iodized), sea salt, or Epsom salt.
Smelly sink and garbage disposal? Dilute 1 cup of salt in 1 and a half cups boiling water. Pour down the drain as the disposal is running. This will clear out any clogged gunk and lingering odors.
For an added boost of freshening scent, add an essential oil like lemon or rosemary to the boiling water. Essential oils kill bacteria and mold, and they mix well with the exfoliating powers of salt for an extra deep clean.
Smells can linger in cutting boards indefinitely, even after you’ve washed and rewashed them. This is especially true for wood cutting boards that clutch odors immediately.
To get rid of these smells, cover your cutting board in table salt. Rub lightly with a warm, damp cloth. This will help exfoliate away any particles that have seeped into the board. Wash in warm, sudsy water, and your board will look and smell like new.
If your fridge stinks even after a deep cleaning, try salt. Make a 1:1 solution of salt (Epsom salt) and seltzer or club soda. Dip a rag in the mixture and lightly rub the inside of the fridge. This will cut through stains, grease, spills, and odor.
Sprinkle salt in canvas shoes or sneakers. Let sit overnight. Pour the salt out of the shoe in the morning. The salt will absorb moisture, remove odors, and refresh the shoe’s fabric quickly and safely.
Have a grease-stained pan or pot that you can’t seem to fully clean? Sprinkle salt in the bottom of the pan and rub with a damp cloth in circular motions. This will help exfoliate away grease and remove any burned or charred particles.
Salt can even help remove grease stains on a carpet or floor. Mix 1 cup of salt with 4 cups of vodka. Let sit on the carpet for 5-10 minutes. Rub gently with a cloth and watch the grease lift instantly.
Just like gunk at the bottom of your pan, salt can help clean gunk at the bottom of your oven. When you see that your food is bubbling or spilling over the sides, don’t despair about the potential baked-on mess at the bottom. While the oven is still on, pour a handful of salt on top of the spill (be careful not to burn yourself).
The salt will ensure that the food spillage won’t smoke or burn, which could ruin your dish, damage your oven, and lead to a smoke detector fiasco. The salt will also bake overtop the spill, which will make the mess easier to scrub away once the oven has cooled.
Salt is great for removing tea and coffee stains from pots and cups. It’s especially useful for glass coffee pots, which are sensitive to other types of cleaning solutions.
Fill the coffee pot with 1/2 cup of salt and a dozen ice cubes. Let the ice cubes melt in the pot. Swish the mixture around and let sit for half an hour. Fill with cold water and rinse. Your coffee pot will be stain- and smell- free, ready to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
You can learn more about cleaning your coffee pots here.
Is your iron sticky or stained? Sprinkle salt on a piece of printer paper. Iron the paper on the lowest setting. This will remove any residue on the iron—and give you a very flat piece of paper.
Mix 1 cup of salt with white vinegar. Dip your brass in the mixture, or use a rag to cover the brass piece in the solution. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Wipe with a damp lukewarm cloth. Your brass will be shining and refreshed instantly.
Your sponges are filled with bacteria and germs that you don’t want spreading to your dishes and surfaces. If you don’t want to waste your sponges, you can sanitize them with salt.
First, get your sponges sudsy without cleaning. Rinse thoroughly with cool water. Make a mixture of 3 cups cold water to 2 cups salt. Rinse your sponges in the solution for an hour. After the hour, rinse under warm water. Microwave the sponge for one minute. Your sponge will be fresher than the day you got it!
Remove mineral deposits from your fish tank by rubbing the inside of the glass with plain salt. (Make sure your fish aren’t in the tank at the time of cleaning.) Rinse thoroughly before putting your fish back in the tank.
Salt effectively absorbs moisture and stain particles. After blotting up any liquid, pour salt on wine and juice spills. This will help to absorb any wet moisture quickly, making any additional stain cleanup much easier.
For blood stains, soak the fabric in cold saltwater. Launder as usual with hot, soapy water. For sweat stains, dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in a quart of hot water. Use a sponge to dab the sweat-stained area with the saltwater solution. Launder as usual.
Find out other ways to remove common stains here.
Pour table salt in the bottom of your fireplace. As your fire burns, it will create gorgeously vivid yellow flames. The salty ash released from the fire will actually help loosen soot stuck in the chimney, which can improve airflow and prevent fires.
Salt is the most natural way to get rid of rust—on everything from your razors to your lawn mower! Mix 6 tablespoons of salt with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Apply the paste to the rusted area using a dry cloth. Rub in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly with damp water. Dry even more thoroughly—don’t leave the area wet, or it will rust again.
Clean tarnished copper and silverware with salt. Fill a spray bottle with heated white vinegar and three tablespoons of salt. Spray on the copper and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rub clean with a fresh, dry cloth.
To prevent tarnish before it strikes, try silica gel packs!
Do you have condensation or coffee rings on your wood table? Sprinkle salt on the area and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Then dip a rag in a light cooking oil (cooking oils are on our top 5 list of natural cleaning solutions). Gently massage away the rings. Dry with a fresh cloth.
Ants hate walking on salt. Sprinkle table salt at entrances like doorways and windowsills to keep little bugs out of your home. You can also try these other 6 natural ways to get rid of insects.
Got a beautiful bouquet of roses that you want to last? Add a dash of salt to the water in your flower vase to help keep cut flowers prettier, longer.
Pour salt in between the cracks of your patio or bricks and cover with hot water (or wait for rain). This will help the salt seep into the soil, killing off unwanted weeds and grass.
Salt can also kill poison ivy. Mix three pounds of sea salt with a gallon of soapy water. Spray on the leaves and stems of the ivy, and it will be gone in a few short days.
You’ve likely seen plow trucks put salt down on the road. This helps to quickly melt snow and ice while also providing safety traction. Although commercial salt is stronger than table salt, you can use the same method at your house to help thaw windowsills, patios, and walkways.
You can also use salt to keep your windows and car windshields free of frost. Dip a sponge or cheesecloth in saltwater, wring it out so it’s slightly damp, and rub over the glass. You’ll be frost-free for any winter storm.
Set the dye of new clothes with saltwater. (This only works for a single-colored fabric.) Soak the garment in a solution of 1/2 gallon of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of salt. Let soak for one hour. If there is color in the water after an hour, repeat the process. Learn more about caring for your fabrics here.
Want to know if your eggs are rotten? Put an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoons of salt. If it sinks, it’s a fresh egg. If it floats, throw it out.
Also, if you drop a runny egg on the floor, salt can help clean and deodorize quickly. Sprinkle salt on the mess and leave for 20 minutes. You’ll be able to wipe up the mess with ease—with no leftover egg-stench.
Prevent candles from dripping wax by soaking them in a potent saltwater solution for 2-3 hours before first use.
After slicing open potatoes, apples, and avocados, put them in lightly salted, cold water. This will keep them fresh and prevent browning.