1. Extend the life of your aging broom
Not in the mood to spend your hard-earned cash on a boring new broom? Soak your existing sweeper in a bath of hot salt water for about 20 minutes, then let it dry overnight. By morning those weak, floppy bristles will be, well, bristling with life again!
Note: This trick works equally well with aging, grungy sponges! Here, soak the sponges overnight in a solution of one part salt to three parts water. And if you want your toothbrush to last longer, soak it in salt water before using it for the first time.
2. Lift away stubborn stains
Whether wine or grease stains on the carpet, or burned-on stains in stovetop pans or oven grills, salt is the only rescuer you need.
- Enamel containers: Pour a solution of one part salt and three parts water into the pot or pan and let it sit overnight. Boil the next day, then watch the stains lift themselves away.
- Cooking and serving pans, platters and plates: Burned-on food or milk responds well when you sprinkle on some salt, then dampen the salt. Wait until you see the debris begin to lift away, then give a final rinse of warm water and soap.
- Oven or stovetop spills: Sprinkle the spill with salt ASAP (while fresh), and as soon as the surface is cool enough to be safe, scrub the debris away.
- Hard water stains: Sprinkle the stained areas with salt, then scrub.
3. Make fresh, perfect poached or hard-boiled eggs
Whether you are attempting hard-boiled or poached, adding a pinch of salt to the water will end in egg-delicious perfection. Adding salt to hard-boiled egg water also makes the shells peel away with ease later on!
Note: If you aren’t sure whether the eggs are still good, fill a cup with water and add two teaspoons of salt. Then pop in the egg. If it floats, throw it away!
4. Help fruit and veggies look presentable and keep longer
Sprinkling salt on cut fruits, veggies, and leafy greens will keep them fresh looking (i.e. no more brown) even when prepared well in advance of guests arriving. If you fill a cup with water and add two teaspoons of salt, then pop in a wrinkled apple, it will be smooth-skinned again when you lift it out.
5. Preserve milk and cream
Is your milk or cream about to hit its expiration date? Add a pinch of salt and extend the useful life of that carton by a few days.
6. Make perfect meringue…or whipped cream
Add a pinch of salt to egg whites or heavy cream while beating and watch those to-die-for high peaks form with ease.
7. Clean the fridge
With salt on the job, there's no need to spend extra money on commercial cleaning products. Fill a bucket with three parts water and one part salt, then sponge-clean the fridge. As a bonus, salt fights odors and will not abrade glass or other sensitive surfaces.
8. Get sand out of your edibles
Love fresh spinach but can't abide crunching down on sand? If you wash that bunch of leafy greens in a bath of water and salt, the sand will quickly gather at the bottom of the bowl and you can lift the spinach away free and clear.
9. Kill garden weeds
Hate commercial pesticide chemicals as much as you hate garden weeds? Salt is a weed's natural nemesis. Sprinkle some salt on areas filled with weeds, in between bricking, and in other areas where weeds grow or may grow.
10. Make mouthwash
Salt is a natural freshener and sanitizer—as such, it makes a great mouthwash. Mix one part baking soda and one part salt with two parts water. Add a drop or two of peppermint oil if you like, then gargle and rinse.
11. Keep new clothes and towels bright and colorful
If you have a single-color towel, shirt, or other item and you don't want the color to bleed or fade, pre-soak it in a solution of one part vinegar, one part salt, and two parts water. This will help the color to set.
Note: This also works well to restore fading color.
12. Release starch residue
Sometimes extra starch ends up as a brown, sticky residue on the bottom of your iron, rendering it useless. If you tear off a sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle it with salt, just slide the iron across, then buff with silver polish—no more residue!
13. Give your goldfish a boost
If your happy little orange swimmers seem sluggish, try giving them a weekly 15-minute dip in a bowl filled with one-quarter water (the same temperature as the water in their tank) and one teaspoon salt. The saltwater mixture acts as a natural antibacterial agent and improves their health and lifespan.
14. Repair holes and cracks in walls
Mix one part cornstarch and one part salt together with a bit of water (enough to turn the salt and cornstarch mixture into a paste). Use a thin spreader (a frosting spreader can work well here) to dab the paste into nail or screw holes or cracks.
15. Shell nuts
Shelled nuts are often cheaper than the unshelled kind—but they can be a pain to prepare. If you soak pecans or other shelled nuts in a salt water solution for a few hours, the shells will come away much more readily.