Sometimes the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt for example. It’s amazing stuff! And it’s cheap, too.
Dump a bunch of ice cubes into the garbage disposal followed by about 1/2 cup of ordinary table salt (either iodized or plain).
Turn on the disposal while running a small stream of water down the drain. Use a long-handled wooden spoon or similar, to carefully push all the ice into the running disposal. Keep it on for at least two minutes, which should be long enough for all the built-up gunk and grime to begin falling off the disposal’s blades. Turn off the water.
Do this weekly between monthly deep-cleaning of your garbage disposal to keep it running smoothly, odor-free, and sparkling clean.
If the dye in a garment or household item is not colorfast, it’s going to fade the moment you put it through the laundry. Dark-colored jeans are notorious for this. Here’s a great way to set that color to make the item more resistant to fading.
Soak the garment for an hour in 1/2 gallon of water to which you’ve added 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup salt. Rinse. If rinse water has any color in it, repeat. Use only on single-colored items. If the item is multicolored, have it professionally dry-cleaned to avoid the colors all running together.
Soften new jeans
The uncomfortable stiffness of a pair of new denim jeans can be remedied by adding 1/2 cup salt to the wash cycle along with detergent. Your jeans will be soft and supple the first time you wear them.
For skin that is chapped or itchy for any number of reasons (poison ivy, insect bites, food allergy rashes, or post sunburn skin peeling), bathing in salt water is soothing. Just add ½ to 1 cup salt to a bath of warm water. After bathing, smooth on aloe vera gel or other lotion or cream for immediate soothing relief.
Clean your iron
Salt can easily remove the gunk that builds up on the surface of your household iron. Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of wax paper or a soft cloth and run the hot iron over it to remove all the buildup. Repeat as necessary. Works like sandpaper without scratching.
No more sugaring
Just a pinch of salt added to cake icing will keep it lovely to the last piece, preventing it from forming crunchy crystals known as “sugaring.”
As you are peeling apples, pears, or potatoes, drop them into cold, lightly salted water and they will retain their color.
If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant that serves a lot of coffee, you’re bound to know this handy trick to keep the pots looking fresh and new. Pour about 2 tablespoons salt into the empty carafe plus enough crushed ice to fill the pot about 1/3 full. If you don’t have an ice crusher, just whack a few cubes with a heavy object to make smaller pieces.
Vigorously swirl the contents in a circular motion the stains and burned-on coffee lifts right off. When finished, dump the contents and finish with dishwashing liquid and water.
Add a pinch of salt to a new container of milk. Shake it up well. This will not affect the taste or texture in any way—but that milk will stay fresh much longer because salt inhibits bacteria.
Prevent grease splatters
Add a few dashes of salt to the oil frying food. This helps prevent the grease from splattering and making a big mess on the stovetop.
Keep it crisp
Prep and store lettuce and spinach then store in a saltwater bath in the fridge. Those greens will remain crisp and clean. Just rinse and serve.
Bathroom drain cleaner
To help dissolve scum and hair in a sluggish bathroom sink and tub drains, pour a mixture of 1 cup salt and 1 cup baking soda into the drain. Carefully follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar. You’ll get a little show as the vinegar bubbles and gurgles.
Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Flush with 2 quarts boiling water poured directly into the drain (be careful!) followed by flushing hot tap water down the drain for 1 minute. You can repeat this process if necessary. Bonus: Salt keeps small roots from taking up residence in your pipes.
Prevent pantyhose runs
Mix two cups of salt with one gallon of warm water. Immerse clean dry pantyhose. Soak for three hours or overnight. Rinse the hose in cool water and allow to drip dry. (You can save the soaking liquid for future use.) The salt toughens the fibers, which makes them more resistant to snags and runs.
Stains on porcelain
Porcelain sinks and tubs can become stained with watermarks and other substances that are hard to remove. This gentle scouring powder will help remove those stains without scratching the surfaces. Mix 1 cup salt with 1 cup baking soda and keep it in a sealed container. Use the mixture as you would any scouring powder.
The life of wicker patio furniture, baskets, or other wicker items can be extended by using salt. It will also brighten, clean, and prevent white wicker furniture from yellowing. First, mix together salt and water (about 1 cup of salt in 1-gallon warm water). Then, using a stiff brush, dip it in the salt water and wash down the items. Do not rinse. Finally, let the furniture dry in the sun.
Caution: Salt can harm or even kill vegetation, so make sure you aren’t creating a saltwater runoff onto the lawn or other things you’d rather not kill in the process of treating your wicker items.