Do It Yourself

27 Surprising Uses for Salt



Salt has been an integral part of civilization dating back as far as 6050 B.C.

Salt has been such an important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales and is frequently referenced in fairy tales.

It served as currency at various times and places, and it has even been the cause of bitter warfare.

Offering bread and salt to visitors, in many cultures, is traditional etiquette.

Aside from all of the uses that salt performs in terms of baking, food flavor and food preservation, salt has a number of other uses that you may never have thought of:

Remove Rust

Make a paste using 6 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Apply paste to rusted area with a dry cloth and rub. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Perk Up Coffee Flavor

Add a pinch of Salt to the coffee in the basket of your coffeemaker. This will improve the coffee’s flavor by helping to remove some of the acid taste.

Dispose of Disposal Odor

To help remove odors from garbage disposals, pour 1/2 cup of Salt directly into the garbage disposal. By running the disposal following manufacturer’s directions, you’ll send those odors down the drain.

Eliminate Fish Odors

Removing fish odor from your hands is simple with Salt. Just rub your hands with a lemon wedge dipped in salt, then rinse with water.

Cut Cutting Board Odors

To help cut odors off of your wooden cutting board, simply pour a generous amount of Salt directly on the board. Rub lightly with a damp cloth. Wash in warm, sudsy water.

Soothe Sore Throats

To alleviate the discomfort of a mild sore throat, gargle several times daily with a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon Salt and 1/2 cup warm water*. It’s like taking a liquid lozenge.

Treat your Tootsie’s

To prepare a salt water bath, pour 6 quarts (1-1/2 gallons) warm water in a large basin. Mix in 1/4 cup Salt and 1/4 cup baking soda. Soak feet for up to 15 minutes.

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).

Testing egg freshness

Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; if it floats, toss it.

Cleaning greasy pans

The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper towels.

Cleaning stained cups

Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.

Save the bottom of your oven

If a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill. It won’t smoke and smell, and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked-on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled.

Fend Off Fire From A Rogue BBQ

Toss a bit of salt on flames from food dripping in barbecue grills to reduce the flames and calm the smoke without cooling the coals (like water does).

Removing pinfeathers

To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.

Preventing mold

To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Keeping milk fresh

Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Scaling fish

Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier.

Non-stick pancakes

Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won’t stick.

Keeping cut flowers fresh

A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

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.

Killing poison ivy

Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Deodorizing shoes

Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

Relieving bee stings

If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

Deter ants

Sprinkle salt at doorways, window sills and anywhere else ants sneak into your house. Ants don’t like to walk on salt.

Clean teeth

Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda–dip your toothbrush in the mix and brush as usual.

Melt snow and ice

Sprinkle salt on snow or ice to melt away.

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.

The term “worth one’s weight in salt” means that a person is effective and efficient or deserving of one’s pay.

The list above shows just how versatile and useful salt is and only proves just how valuable salt is as a survival staple.

So the next time that you sprinkle this over your french fries take a second and think about all the different uses this delicious, flavor enhancing rock can provide.

Can you think of any other uses that I may have missed?  Let me know below.

Want more? Check out these articles for other surprising uses of items that you need to know about:

Vinegar Can Do What?

15 “Odd” Uses For Honey| It’s the Bees Knees

Surprising Uses for Household Items

Continue Reading


  1. mariowen

    April 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Remember to salt away some iodized salt in your prep pantry. The iodine is necessary for a healthy thyroid, so if SHTF you will want to stay as healthy as possible.

    • Gordon

      April 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Celtic sea salt is full of peripheral minerals and natural iodine.Use it in place of table salt to improve your health.

  2. Mike in AZ

    April 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I think I read many years ago that the Indians used salt to tan hides for clothes and moccasins.

    • Nanook

      April 8, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      If you used salt in the tanning process it would draw all the water out of the hide and make it stiff as a board. The native americans tanned hides by scraping the membrane just under the hide completely off. Then they used the brains of the animal to “tan” it. That was brain tanning. It is a lengthy process, as the hide has to be continuously worked to soften it. To remove the hair on a hide, it has to be submerged in water, preferably with a charcoal mix. Stinks to high heaven & you have to be very careful it doesn’g go to far or it will rot. Another way to “slip” the hair is to immerse it in a flowing stream til the hair slips. To make a tanned hide water resistant, it was exposed to wood smoke for an extended period of time, like in an enclosed teepee. The softest leather I have ever picked up was a beaver pelt that was tanned with crisco rather than brain. That was in Alaska, and done by a native american woman.

      • Gordon

        April 8, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        Fantastic!Did you know that fringe on jackets and coats was used to wick off moisture so it will dry faster?

        • Nanook

          April 8, 2013 at 8:45 PM


  3. Larry

    April 8, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Clean a stained coffee pot or carafe by filling half full with ice cubes and then adding a few tablespoons of salt with a SMALL slosh of water to loosen the now frozen mess from the pot. Then swirl the ice cubes all over the inside and watch the pot get cleaner and cleaner with every swirl.
    Rinse (and repeat if necessary with clean ice and salt).
    Make sure your pot or carafe handle is tight before this procedure.

    • Sugar

      April 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      This is an old waitress trick. Ice and salt a few swirls and ready to make coffee again. It works on any glass or metal pot, use a lid.

  4. Brian

    April 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    1/4 cup or so in wash for first time red dyed clothing will set the dye and prevent further bleeding. Wash alone second time with a white rag to confirm results

  5. Chris

    April 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Salt also works great for getting rid of slugs on your hostas and other plants that they like to eat.

    • Mari

      April 14, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Just be careful about salting the slugs around the plants. The salt in the soil is not good for the plants. It can kill them!

  6. Janet

    April 8, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Adding salt to the water when you’re boiling fresh eggs will make them easier to peel.

    • Gdytko

      April 8, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      I noticed when doing that, that the water starts to boil sooner.

  7. cindy

    April 8, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Salt can be used as an exfoliant to keep skin soft; rub some in gently after washing face, and rinse off. It’s great for feet and rough heels at the end of a shower too.

  8. Practical Parsimony

    April 8, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Using salt to get rid of ice or weeds makes the ground sterile/infertile. Of course, a small amount will not immediately render the soil incapable of sustainin life, but over time and with closer frequency of use, your soil will lose value as a growing medium. Sawdust or sand will make ice less slippery. Boiling water on weeds in between bricks or in cracks will kill weeds. There are better ways than to use salt for ice or weeds.

    My dentist told me that baking soda is too abrasive for use on teeth instead of toothpaste. Maybe some people have better enamel than I. My enamel is very thin now after using baking soda. You might be luckier than I.

  9. pureresearch

    April 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    I noticed that no one mentioned food preservation at all. Pickles, jerky, ham, smoked fish….

  10. Matts Retep

    April 13, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Salt & vinegar cleans copper. Salt puts out grease fires on the stove. A poultice dries out poison ivy blisters. Add to lemonade to recharge your electrolytes in hot weather (but if it cleans copper, it must do a number on your guts!) Sprinkler rock salt on your asparagus bed to keep the weeds down without hurting your root stock. “Salt Hay” from grasses grown in brackish waters is great for weed control. If you shake some salt on a bird’s tail it can’t fly (Ha!)… try getting that close.

  11. ron

    April 17, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    wow, some really good ideas, thanks.

  12. Aleta

    March 18, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    Remove tarnish on copper-clad pots and pans by puddling vinegar on the bottoms and then sprinkling salt on the vinegar. Scrub it around with a terry towel rag and watch the copper shine!

  13. Mo Devlin

    July 15, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    I believe salt can be used as a dehumidifier.

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