Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unusual Uses for Salt

This morning's Fact or Fiction was all about Salt.  With winter creeping in and snow fall likely we all know that salt helps whisk away unwanted snow driffs, and that salt is an excellant seasoning.  Here are some of Salt's lesser known uses that may be useful around your home.

NOTE: I have not personally tested these.  They are from the article referenced below except for the first three.
  • Remove stains from your coffee pot: Fill the coffee pot with 1/4 cu of table salt & a dozen ice cubes.  Swish the mixture around then let it sit for 30 mins; then fill the pot with cold water rinse.  Your coffee pot will look brand new.
  • Remove unwanted grass and weeds growing in the cracks of your driveway by sprinkling salt on the grass then pour very hot water over it.  Not only is this highly effective way to kill weeds, it's also eco-friendly & cheap.
  • Remove onion smell from your hands: After cutting an onion rub your hands with a salt scrub from your favorite beauty item store or soak your hands in warm salt water. 
  • Drip-proof candles: Prevent your candles from becoming a drippy mess by soaking new candles in a strong salt solution for 2-3 hours.
  • Clean smelly food spills: A little cinnamon in a pinch of salt will make dripped-on messes in the oven easier to clean, and prevent them from stinking up the house. Sprinkle the mixture onto the drip soon after it occurs, while the oven is still hot. Once it has cooled, brush away the salt and the mess will come with it.
  • Test egg freshness: Add two teaspoons of salt to a cup of water, and drop in the egg. If it’s fresh, it will float; if it’s past its prime it will sink right to the bottom.
  • Sanitize sponges: Used sponges harbor bacteria. To restore them and kill some of those germs, suds them up, rinse them thoroughly and then soak them in cold, heavily salted water for an hour or two.
  • Kill poison ivy plants:  Three pounds of salt mixed with a gallon of soapy water, applied to the leaves and stems of poison ivy with a sprayer, will kill this tenacious pest of a plant.
  • Extend broom life: Natural fiber brooms can last a lot longer if you use this easy trick: soak them in hot, salty water before their first use.
  • Soothe a bee sting: Remove the stinger, wet the sting and immediately shake on a paste of salt and water. Let it dry, and it will reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Remove soot from chimney: A handful of salt thrown onto the flames in your fireplace will not only produce pretty, vivid yellow flames, it will help loosen soot in the chimney, preventing chimney fires and improving air flow.
  • Relief for canker sores: 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. It will likely burn at first, but it works.
  • 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.
  • Restore artificial flowers: Just toss the flowers in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag along with about a cup of salt. Shake the bag well, and the salt will whisk away the dust and debris.
  • Keep milk fresh: Sour milk is the worst, especially if you don’t realize it’s gone bad until you’ve already poured it into your cake batter or coffee mug. Keep it fresh longer by adding a pinch of salt to the carton, pinching the spout closed and gently shaking to mix.
  • Make coffee less bitter: Over-brewed coffee that has taken on a bitter taste can be much improved with a tiny pinch of salt, which will also enhance the flavor.
  • Remove stains: Blot up spills and then pour salt on top to absorb what’s left, pulling as much of it out of the fabric as possible. To remove perspiration stains from clothing, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of hot water and sponge it on.
  • Prevent sliced fruit from turning brown: Dip sliced apples, pears and other fruits susceptible to browning in lightly salted water to preserve their fresh look. If your apple slices have withered, salt water will also perk them up.
  • Keep windows frost-free: To keep frost from accumulating on the windows in your home and your vehicle, dip a sponge in salty water and run it over the inside and outside of the glass, then rub dry with a soft cloth.
  • Deodorize shoes: Zap the stink-worsening moisture out of canvas shoes by sprinkling a little salt inside them and then wiping it out. NOTE: Don’t use this trick on leather or synthetic shoes, as it could dry them out too much and cause them to deteriorate.
  • Reduce eye puffiness: Mix a pinch of salt in a little hot water and applying it to puffy, swollen areas around your eyes with a cotton pad. The salt will help draw out the moisture and tighten the skin.
  • Give your skin a glow: Massage a mixture of salt and olive oil into your skin in circular motions, leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off. The massage increases circulation to your skin, the olive oil moisturizes and the salt buffs away dead skin cells.
  • Brighten yellowed linens: Dingy whites can be brought back to their crisp, white best without the use of bleach. Boil cotton or linen items in a big pot of water with a few tablespoons of salt plus a few tablespoons of baking soda.

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