Saline Solutions


Consumer Tips for Salt Use

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.

- Isak Dinesen

Besides making foods delicious, it is believed that there are more than 14,000 uses for salt.  (Our grandmothers were probably familiar with many of them.)  Many of these uses were for simple things around the home before the advent of modern chemicals and cleaners.  However, many uses are still valid today and a lot cheaper than using more sophisticated products.

We thought you might like to share some of these fascinating applications of salt.  We make no guarantee about the results if you try any of them, but there must be something to them since they have been handed down over the years in many households.  Most of these uses have stood the test of time.

The most familiar use of salt undoubtedly is in the kitchen and on the dining table.

bulletSalt accents the flavour of meat, brings out individuality of vegetables, puts "oomph" into bland starches, deepens the flavour of delicate desserts and develops the flavor of melons and certain other fruits (well, in the opinion of some).  No other seasoning has yet been found that can satisfactorily take the place of salt. 

But there are other uses around the home, too.  Salt is an excellent cleaning agent, by itself or in combination with other substances.

bulletA solution of salt and turpentine restores the whiteness to yellowed enamelled bathtubs and lavatories.
bulletA paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished metals.
bulletA strong brine poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting and eliminates odours.

Miscellaneous uses:

bulletSalt helps destroy moths
bulletSalt drives away ants.
bulletA dash of salt in laundry starch keeps the iron from sticking and gives linen and fine cottons a glossy, like-new finish.
bulletA thin paste of salt and salad oil removes from wooden tables white marks caused by hot dishes or water.

A box of salt is an important item in many bathrooms.

bulletIn mild solutions, it makes an excellent mouthwash, throat gargle or eye-wash.
bulletIt is an effective dentifrice.
bulletIt is an effective antiseptic.
bulletIt can be extremely helpful as a massage element to improve complexion.

Basic Salt Tips:


bulletBoiling 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.)
bulletPeeling eggs - boiling eggs in salted water will make eggs peel easily.
bulletPoaching eggs - poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.
bulletTesting 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.
bulletPreventing browning - apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their colour.
bulletShelling pecans - soaking pecans in salt water for several hours before shelling will make nut meats easier to remove.
bulletWashing spinach - if spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.
bulletPreventing sugaring - a little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.
bulletCrisping salads - salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp.
bulletImproving 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.
bulletCleaning greasy pans - the greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you put a little salt in it and wipe with paper.
bulletCleaning stained cups - rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.
bulletCleaning ovens - salt and cinnamon take the "burned food" odour 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.
bulletCleaning refrigerators - salt and soda water will clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator.  It won't scratch enamel either.
bulletExtinguishing 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.
bulletImproving coffee - a pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavour and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.
bulletImproving poultry - to improve the flavour of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.
bulletRemoving pinfeathers - to remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.
bulletCleaning tarnished silverware - rub tarnish with salt before washing.
bulletCleaning copper pans - remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
bulletCleaning 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.
bulletRemoving onion odours from hands - rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.
bullet"Sweetening" containers - salt can "sweeten" and deodorise thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.
bulletCleaning sink drains - pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odours and keep grease from building up.
bulletBrightening cutting boards - after washing them with soap and water, rub bread and cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.
bulletCleaning dried-on egg - salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes "eggy" dishes clean easier.  Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes them a whiz to clean when you have time.
bulletPreventing 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.
bulletPreventing mold - to prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.
bulletWhipping cream and beating egg whites - by adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.
bulletKeeping milk fresh - adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.
bulletSetting gelatin - to set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt.

Note: To fix oversalted soups, you can cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup.  The potato will absorb the excess salt.


bulletCleaning 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.
bulletCleaning wicker - to prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater and allow to dry in the sun.
bulletCleaning grease spots on rugs - some grease spots can be removed with a solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol, rubbing hard but carefully to avoid damage to the nap.
bulletExtending broom life - new brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater before they are first used.
bulletRemoving 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.
bulletRemoving 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.
bulletRestoring sponges - give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.
bulletSettling suds - if a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle salt on the suds to reduce them.
bulletBrightening colours - wash coloured curtains or washable fibre rugs in a saltwater solution to brighten the colours.  Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.
bulletRemoving perspiration stains - add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains disappear.
bulletBrightening yellowed cottons or linens - boil the yellowed items for one hour in a salt and baking soda solution.
bulletRemoving blood stains - soak the stained clothing or other cloth item in cold saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash.  (Use only on cotton, linen or other natural fibres that can take high heat.)
bulletRemoving 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.
bulletColour-matching nylons - good nylons that don't have a match can be made the same colour by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.
bulletFixing sticking iron - sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.
bulletRemoving "salt stains" from carpets - "salt" stains are usually caused by calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, not sodium chloride, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute.  Rock salt has small amounts of both of these salts imbedded in it.  The problem comes with solubility.  Patience and lots of rinse cycles are the key and sometimes calcium carbonate forms and this is fairly insoluble.  Try to vacuum most of the dry residue off before using cool to warm water and a very small amount of carpet shampoo.  Once the cleaning solution has been applied, allow time for it to dissolve the deposit.  Blot, do not scrub, the spot.  (Sodium chloride is more soluble at lower temperatures than at higher ones.)  Then rinse with clear lukewarm water, blotting up the excess moisture and follow with another water rinse and blot dry.  This should work.  If not, try a cleaning mixture of 1/2 white vinegar to 1/2 lukewarm water, allow to stand 15 minutes and rinse with clear water.

Health & Beauty

bulletGargling - stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a gargle for sore throats.
bulletCleaning teeth - mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the salt in a blender or rolling it on a kitchen board with a tumbler before mixing.  It whitens teeth, helps remove plaque and it is healthy for the gums.
bulletWashing mouth - mix equal parts of salt and baking soda as a mouth wash that sweetens the breath.
bulletBathing eyes - mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to bathe tired eyes.
bulletReducing eye puffiness - mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.
bulletRelieving tired feet - soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt has been added. Rinse in cool water.
bulletRelieving bee stings - if stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.
bulletTreating mosquito and chigger bites - soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture of lard and salt.
bulletTreating poison ivy - soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten the end to poison ivy irritation.
bulletRelieving fatigue - soak relaxed for at least 10 minutes in a tub of water into which several handfuls of salt has been placed.  Or try this recipe for "aches and itches."

Mix all ingredients in a jar.
Seal jar when not in use.
Stir mixture well before applying.
Massage in circular motions towards the heart.
Leave on for a few minutes then rinse off.

bullet2 c. sea or mineral salt
bullet1 c. vegetable oil/blend
bullet15 drops essence oil/blend.
bulletDo not use on face.
bulletYou can also use it with a body shampoo more for exfoliation.
bulletChoose base oils such as sweet almond, kukuki nut, hazelnut et cetera according to skin type.
bulletChoose essential oils appropriate for intended purpose.
bulletDo not rub over irritated or broken areas of the skin.


bulletRemoving dry skin - after bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt.  It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.
bulletMaking a salt glow scrub -

Mix all ingredients together in a large ziploc bag.

bullet1/2 cup baking soda
bullet1/2 cup dry milk
bullet1 cup epsom salt
bullet1 cup sea salt


bulletApplying facial - for a 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.
bulletRemoving tattoos - CAUTION - this is a medical procedure that can be done only by a physician.  It is called salabrasion and requires several treatments by rubbing salt on the tattoo.  Healing is required between treatments, but there is virtually no scarring.

Other Uses

bulletExtinguishing grease fires - keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt.  Do not use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease.  Also a handful of salt thrown on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.
bulletDrip-proofing candles - soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well.  When burned they will not drip.
bulletRemoving 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.
bulletCleaning 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 iodised, salt.
bulletInvigorating 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.
bulletCleaning 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.
bulletKeeping cut flowers fresh - a dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.
bulletHolding 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.
bulletKeeping 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.
bulletKilling poison ivy - mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.
bulletKeeping 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.
bulletDe-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.
bulletDeodorising shoes - sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odours.
bulletHave fun with salt - salt can be converted easily into an inexpensive dough for children's creative artworks (serious artists use salt as a medium too).  Or make a mini-volcano from salt.  Salt can be used to illustrate principles of science.

Consumer uses of salt are virtually unlimited.  There are other websites and even entire books on the subject.

Source: and also see for a bazillion recipes, all using salt.

------- Original Message --------
Subject: Suggestions
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 12:57:48 -0500
This message was posted via the Feedback form.
Name: Richard

Comments: Another use for Salt for your salt page:

bulletJala Neti - cleaning your nose.  (Search online for "neti pot".)

(Could be worse, could be sutra neti or some suitably scary sounding techniques from the same source for other bits of body which possibly include salt.)

For articles related to lifestyles including guns, television, extortion, hair, handbags, parenting, time bind, desserts, fitness, feasting, friends, happiness, ageing and more, click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index for this Lifestyles section.

Back Home Up Next