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60 Clever Uses for Salt—That Don’t Involve Cooking

From relieving rashes to removing stains to restoring household items to their original luster, salt does more than just season food.

salt shaker on black kitchen tableJiri Hera/Shutterstock

Solutions that are worth their salt

From organic home-cleaning and stain-removal hacks to beauty scrubs and throat gargles, there are so many practical applications for salt. In addition, salt makes food taste really good. For this reason, salt was once so valuable that it was used as currency, according to these surprising facts about salt. Read on for some of the very best household uses for salt that you've probably never heard of.

A glass of red wine, spilt on a pure wool carpet.StockCube/Shutterstock

Remove wine stains from carpet

When it comes to red wine spills, it pays to act fast. First, while the stain is still wet, pour some white wine on it to dilute the color of the stain. Then dab the spot with a sponge and cold water. Next, sprinkle the area with salt, wait about 10 minutes, and vacuum up the whole mess. Here are more homemade carpet cleaners you already have in your house.

Lots of coffee cups on wooden backgroundAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Make coffee taste less bitter

Move over, sugary lattes. If you drink your coffee unsweetened but prefer a less bitter brew, try tossing a pinch of salt into your mug. The seasoning contains sodium ions that neutralize or cancel out coffee's bitter taste, research has found. Cooking Light recommends adding about 1/8 teaspoon of salt into the ground coffee beans before turning on your coffee maker. Salt is just one of the 10 surprising things you should be adding to your coffee.

Open refrigerator filled with different food in kitchenNew Africa/Shutterstock

Clean your fridge

You should clean your fridge every three to six months to keep it looking (and smelling) good, but elbow grease alone doesn't always do the trick. To lift stubborn food stains and smells, scrub the shelves with 1/2 cup of salt mixed with two liters of warm water. Here are more tips on cleaning out your fridge.

Cutting board with towel and bowl on wooden background slava17/Shutterstock

Sanitize cutting boards

Countless studies have found that plastic and wood cutting boards harbor germs deep inside the grooves made by your knife. Luckily, you can keep bacteria at bay by adding one easy salt-scrub step to your washing routine. For plastic boards that you use to handle meat, sprinkle bleach and salt on the board, scrub it with a stiff brush, and rinse with hot water. Wood boards can be sanitized using salt, rubbed in with a lemon wedge, then rinsed clean. Learn which is better, plastic or wood?

Water marks on a wooden table suitable for use as a backgroundPaul Maguire/Shutterstock

Remove watermarks from wood

Glasses or bottles can leave watermarks on wood that really stand out. Make them disappear by mixing 1 teaspoon salt with a few drops of water to form a paste. Gently rub the paste onto the ring with a soft cloth or sponge and work it over the spot until it's gone. Then, restore the luster of your wood with furniture polish. If that doesn't work, here are 5 more things to try that might help remove those rings.

kitchen sponge close up on wood deskOleksandr Rybitskiy/Shutterstock

Restore a sponge

Hand and mop sponges usually get grungy long before they are actually worn out. To revive your sponges to a pristine state, soak them overnight in a solution of about 1/4 cup salt per liter of water. Try these 95 household uses for vinegar you never knew about, too.

MosquitoDigital Images Studio/shutterstock

Relieve bee stings

If you get stung by a bee, salt is a natural salve. Immediately wet the sting and cover with salt to lessen the pain and reduce swelling. Most bug bites and stings can be treated at home, but here's how to know when your sting needs immediate medical attention.

Big collection of different sport shoes.Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock

Deodorize your sneakers

Sneakers and other canvas shoes can get pretty smelly, especially if you wear them without socks in the summertime. Knock out the odor and soak up the moisture by occasionally sprinkling a little salt in your canvas shoes. Don't miss these other fixes for shoe odors.

Ear and earrings ear piercingsrisakorn wonglakorn/shutterstock

Disinfect piercings

To speed up the healing process and prevent infections, soak new body piercing jewelry in salt water. Just be sure to use the correct ratio: The Piercing Bible recommends ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt for each cup of warm water. You can get too much of a good thing; water with high salt content can irritate your skin, according to the site. These are the most (and least) painful parts of your body to tattoo.

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