It’s not just pepper’s better half or what makes you float in the ocean — good ol’ sodium chloride can also be a very handy household cleaner! Here are some of the many around-the-home uses of salt, as described by cleaning guru Debbie Sardone of SpeedCleaning.com.
1. Old cast iron skillets
Got a rusty, grimy cast iron skillet? Make it burger-ready once more with some salt and a paper towel. “The coarser the salt, the better it works,” Sardone says. Sprinkle it into a dry skillet and scour using a sponge or paper towel, or coat with a heavier layer and slightly dampen it. Let sit for 10 minutes, then go at it with your cleaning tool.
When you leave your flower vase out just a little too long, you can have scum-coated glassware that’s tough to reach into to clean. Instead of breaking out a bottle brush , fill the vase with warm water and 1/3 cup of salt and leave it be for five minutes. Cover the opening with a sponge or your hand and shake to swirl away the grime, then rinse. “It will sparkle!” promises Sardone.
3. Coffee stains
A favorite coffee mug can be seemingly permanently marred from one too many half-drunk cups being left unattended. Try this: “Make a paste with a dab of dish soap and some salt,” Sardone says, and use it to buff away the discoloration.
4. Dull wooden cutting boards
Give old cutting boards a new stab at life: Cut a lemon in half, dip the cut side in salt, and rub it all over the wood. “The board will smell fresh and look clean and bright,” says Sardone. Wipe up any residue with a cloth or paper towel when you’re done.
5. Sweat stains
If the underarms of your favorite white shirt have gone yellow from sweat, this trick is worth a shot. Dissolve four tablespoons of salt in one quart of hot water, then “dip a sponge in the solution and dab the stains away,” Sardone says.
6. Clogged bathroom sinks
Soap scum can really slow down a bathroom sink. To keep it from getting gunked up, every month or so put one cup salt, one-half cup of white vinegar, and one cup of baking soda down the drain, and let sit for 10 minutes. Flush the pipes with a boiling kettle of water.
7. Erupting soap bubbles
Did someone (not naming names!) overload the dishwasher with soap (again)? “If your clothes’ washer or dishwasher overflows with bubbles, you can stop the avalanche by sprinkling it with salt,” Sardone says. You (or someone else) will still have to mop up the mess, but this will help!