Imagine that someone asked you how many different uses for salt there are. I asked myself this question and came up with about seven answers.
My answer was incredibly far off. The Salt Institute estimates that there are 14,000 uses for salt. That led me to research the best money saving uses for salt.
I ended up choosing 25 popular and credible ways to use salt. This includes sea salt, Epsom salt, and table salt, all of which are very inexpensive.
This incredibly diverse substance is a must have for frugal living. Below you’ll find my list of unique uses for salt. When possible, I compared the cost of salt to alternative products.
See how you can cut down spending with this versatile substance.
Using Salt For Cleaning
1. Remove Stains From Wooden Cutting Boards
If your wooden cutting boards are stained or dull, there’s a simple fix. You only need coarse salt and half of a lemon. First, sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the cutting board.
Next, use the cut side of the lemon to scrub the board. Let the board sit for about five minutes, then clean the residue off using a clean sponge and warm water.
The coarse salt acts as an abrasive agent to help lift stains from the wood. Lemon juice is a common staple in DIY household cleaning methods.
That’s because it acts as a natural and safe bleaching agent, deodorizer, and has antibacterial properties.
Compare To: CLARK’S Cutting Board Soap, 12-ounce bottle – $13.95 at Amazon.com
2. Brighten Up Dull Brass
Do you have tarnished brass decor or other cherished items? If so, turn to your kitchen cupboard for a quick and effective remedy.
Please note this method is only for non-lacquered brass. Start by soaking your brass items in hot water. Then create a paste using equal amounts of vinegar, salt, and powder.
The quantity you make will depend on the item(s) you’re cleaning.
Remove the brass from the hot water, and generously coat it with the paste. Let it sit for about one hour, then rinse the paste off with warm water.
Salt and the acetic acid in vinegar break down oxidation on brass, which causes the tarnish. The flour helps form a paste to thoroughly cover the brass.
Compare To: Weiman Instant Tarnish Remover, 16 fluid ounce bottle – $4.99 at BedBathAndBeyond.com
3. Clean Out Your Fireplace With Ease
When your fireplace looks black, oily, and dirty, it’s due to creosote buildup. Creosote in fireplaces consists of soot and other debris.
Removing it safely is very important because it’s flammable. One popular method of cleaning creosote is using a mixture dish soap and salt. Follow these simple instructions:
- Combine equal parts salt and dish soap in a bucket. The type of soap you use doesn’t matter. However, I read that soap designed to cut through grease works best.
- Slowly add water and mix until you’ve formed a thick, creamy paste.
- Using an old cloth or scrubbing brush, apply the mixture to the brick surface of your fireplace. Use a generous amount of the mixture.
- After 10 minutes pass, use a sturdy scrubbing brush to remove the creosote.
- Finish up by wiping the fireplace down with a clean, damp rag or sponge.
The logic behind this method of cleaning is pretty simple. The dish soap breaks down oil and soot like it would break down debris on dishes.
Salt adds exfoliating properties, which helps lift the debris with ease. Any type of salt works for this cleaning solution.
Compare To: Rutland Brick and Stone Cleaner Spray Bottle, 16 ounces – $10.97 at HomeDepot.com
4. Freshen Up Your Garbage Disposal
There are plenty DIY options for cleaning your garbage disposal. A HuffPost article, How To Clean A Garbage Disposal, lists a method using only salt and ice.
You simply need to pour two cups of ice and one cup of salt into the garbage disposal. Then run the blades for 5-10 seconds while cold water runs from the faucet.
The ice is used to clean debris and buildup from the blades. The salt effectively kills odors in the garbage disposal. Try this simple trick out next time yours is due for a cleaning.
Compare To: Plink® 10-Count Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer in Lemon – $3.99 at BedBathAndBeyond.com
5. Stop Oven Spills From Getting Worse
The occasional oven spill is inevitable. Whether you’re baking a pie or cooking meat, sometimes oils, sugar, and fat spillover. If you ignore the spill and clean it later, it can be a pain to remove.
Instead of scrubbing until you’re sore, take action as soon as the spill occurs. Carefully cover the spill with salt first. When the oven is completely cool, use a sturdy plastic spatula to scrape up the mess.
Salt can help prevent sticking, and its abrasiveness makes it easy to clean up.
I’ve tried this trick before, and it really did make cleanup easier. Salt is also much more gentle on metal surfaces than steel wool and harsh chemicals.
Compare To: Goo Gone Oven & Grill Cleaner, 14 ounces – $3.91 at WalMart.com
Using Salt For Health
6. Alleviate Sore Throat Pain
Gargling salt water is one of the most popular natural treatments for sore throats. It seems like a simple folk remedy, but there are many reasons why it’s so common.
Warm salt water helps reduce swelling, so it provides temporary instant relief. It also helps loosen up mucus and flushes out bacteria and other irritants in the throat.
This aspect helps viruses and infections heal. All you need to do is combine eight ounces of warm water with ½ teaspoon of salt. Gargle and repeat the process several times a day.
You should quickly feel relief while helping the healing process.
Compare To: Cepacol Maximum Strength Throat Drop Lozenges, Cherry, 16 Count – $5.29 at Walgreens.com
7. Rapidly Treat Insect Bites and Stings
Bug bites and bee stings are typically itchy and painful. If you don’t have over-the-counter ointments on hand, you can quickly create your own remedy.
Rapid Home Remedies suggests using Epsom salt due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help dislodge the bee’s stinger from your skin. Make a paste by combining Epsom salt and water.
Apply this to the bug bite or sting. The swelling and irritation should rapidly start to get better. This gentle remedy can be reapplied as needed.
Compare To: Pac-Kit by First Aid Only 19-001 Sting Relief Swab, 10 Count – $7.06 at Amazon.com
8. DIY Electrolyte Drink
You’ve likely heard of drinks designed to replenish electrolytes. They’re often used by athletes to support their health. They are also used to treat diarrhea and vomiting in children and adults.
Unfortunately, pre-made drinks like Pedialyte and Gatorade have a lot of sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
I’ve tried this before, and I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. My son has used it when sick, too. There are lots of recipes online, but this is a general one that can be tweaked to your liking:
- Pour ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice with two cups of purified of filtered water into a blender pitcher. You can use coconut water as a tasty substitute, too.
- Add in ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. In my experience, lemon tastes better.
- Add in two tablespoons of a natural sweetener. Examples include honey or organic maple syrup. I use honey since I always have it on hand.
- Add in ⅛ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt. Some recipes also suggest Celtic sea salt.
- Blend all ingredients well and store in the refrigerator. Mason jars work well for storage, but any cup with a lid will do.
This nourishing electrolyte drink takes about five minutes to whip up. If you want to drink it right away, just pour some over ice. You’ll get the nutrients you need to replenish and recover.
9. Remove A Stubborn Splinter
Splinter can be a huge pain – literally and figuratively. In some cases, it’s fairly easy to remove them with tweezers. But sometimes stubborn splinters are very difficult to get out.
Picking at your skin can make things worse and cause inflammation. One gentle yet effective remedy is using Epsom salt to remove the splinter.
Combine one cup of very warm water with ⅓ cup of Epsom salt and mix well until the salt is dissolved. Dip the splintered area into the mixture and soak for a minimum of 10 minutes.
After this, gently try removing the splinter with tweezers or a sewing needle. It should pop right out!
If the splinter is in an area you can’t easily soak – your knee, for example – just make a compress. Dip a clean rag in the Epsom salt solution and firmly press it against the affected area.
This often works as well as soaking the splintered area.
Compare To: Pac-Kit by First Aid Only 22-410 Medipoint Splinter-Out (Box of 10) – $6.83 at Amazon.com
10. Take Care Of Occasional Constipation
Everyone deals with constipation now and again, and it’s certainly an unpleasant ailment. Unfortunately, there are dangers to using strong stimulant laxatives.
They can also cause painful cramping, which makes the discomfort even worse. Fortunately, Epsom salt works as a natural laxative. In fact, it’s one of the known uses and says so on Epsom salt boxes and packages.
To use this remedy, you’ll need to follow the instructions listed on the package. The warm water and salt ratio may differ depending on the brand you buy. You should expect results within 30 to 60 minutes.
Compare To: ex-lax Maximum Strength Stimulant Laxative Pills, 24-count – $6.99 at Walgreens.com
Using Salt For Beauty
11. Naturally Brighten Your Smile
There are dozens of DIY recipes that promise to brighten your smile. While some of them don’t work, there are a handful that get the job done.
One method I’ve tried includes sea salt; it’s said to act as a sort of gentle polish. Despite the taste, I was happy with the results. My teeth looked and felt smooth as if I’d had a dental cleaning.
I found a recipe on Underground Health Reporter that’s similar to what I do. You simply need to mix sea salt, baking soda, and water together to form a paste.
Start out with one teaspoon of sea salt and one tablespoon of baking soda; slowly add water and stir to make the paste. Brush your teeth with this mixture for a minute or so. Rinse, spit, and you’re good to go!
So, you’re likely wondering how this works. First, sea salt is rich in nutrients such as calcium. The iodine in sea salt has antibacterial properties, too.
Sea salt helps kill bacteria on your teeth and gums while freshening your breath. It also works as a very gentle abrasive agent along with baking soda. The baking soda is good for killing germs and freshening your breath, too.
Compare To: Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste, Creme de Anise, 6 ounces – $3.99 at Target.com
12. Gently Exfoliate Your Face
Pink Himalayan salt offers several different skin care benefits. Some examples include toning skin, reduce excess sebum, and it gently removes dead skin cells via exfoliation.
It’s also packed with 84 different vitamins and minerals, so it’s overall a great natural choice for skin care. You can mix it with any skin oil to make a DIY exfoliator.
I’m a huge fan of Derma E Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil; it’s great for cleansing and creating a radiant glow. Other options include argan oil, jojoba oil, and almond oil.
Start by pouring a bit of pink Himalayan salt into a small container. Slowly add in the skin oil until you’ve got the consistency you want.
Gently massage the mixture into your skin for about 30 seconds. Follow up with your regular face wash, toner, and moisturizer routine. You can exfoliate using this recipe 1-3 times a week depending on your skin’s sensitivity.
Compare To: Art Naturals Himalayan Salt Scrub, 20 ounces – $12.97 at Amazon.com
13. Diminish The Look Of Puffy Eyes
Waking up with puffy eyes is never fun. From allergies to poor sleep, there are tons of causes for this problem. There are also lots of different treatments including pricey creams and gels.
The good news is that there’s a DIY treatment for puffy eyes that people swear by. It’s a simple solution of sea salt and water. I’ve seen it mentioned in a few Asian beauty forums, on Pinterest boards, and more.
The article How Salt Both Causes and Eases Puffy Eyes explains how this works. Sodium in sea salt can reduce puffiness when applied topically because it draws out excess fluid.
All you need to do is mix ½ teaspoon of sea salt into one cup of warm water. Dip cotton rounds or cotton balls into the solution and carefully place them beneath your eyes.
Lay back and relax for about 10 minutes, then remove the cotton rounds. The swelling should be reduced, and you’ll be looking and feeling fresh.
Compare To: Soap and Glory Puffy Eye Attack Eye Rescue Gel, 16-ounce jar – $16.00 at Ulta.com
14. Make DIY Hair Spray For Beachy Waves
Soft, beachy waves are a popular hair trend during the spring and summer. It can be hard to achieve this style without using the right products.
There are several salt based hair sprays designed to create beachy waves. But there’s no need to spend money on this product when you can make your own in minutes. I’m a fan of a simple recipe from Wellness Mama. You need to:
- Fill a spray bottle with about eight ounces of hot water.
- Add two tablespoons of Epsom salt. I’ve also seen recipes using sea salt, so that’s fine if it’s what you have on hand.
- Add in one teaspoon of natural conditioner. The recipe suggests a few drops of almond oil or jojoba oil. Fractionated coconut oil is a great option, too.
- Add in one teaspoon of aloe vera gel.
- Secure the spray bottle lid and shake well for 1-2 minutes. Check to make sure the salt is completely dissolved.
That’s all you need to do! When you want the beachy look, spray the mixture on damp hair. Scrunch it using your fingers to create waves.
It can also be used on dry hair to add volume and texture.
Compare To: Renpure Professional Coconut Water Sea Salt Spray, 8 oz bottle – $7.99 at Target.com
15. Whip Up A Two-Ingredient Facial Toner
A high-quality toner is an essential part of any skincare routine. I’m partial to DIY toner because I know exactly what’s in it.
There’s no need to worry about the drying effects of alcohol or other irritants. I currently use a witch hazel toner I made but have used pink Himalayan salt in the past.
It works great because it’s a cleansing antiseptic, rich in minerals, and dries out dirt and excess oil. There are lots of recipes online; this is a basic one I used. It’s easy to customize, too.
- Pour ¼ cup of hot distilled water into a spray bottle. Don’t use boiling water; it just needs to be hot enough to dissolve the salt.
- Add in one teaspoon of Pink Himalayan salt and shake well. Check to see that the salt has dissolved.
- Optionally, you can add in various essential oils. You’ll only need 1-2 drops of the oil(s) you choose. I prefer tea tree oil and lavender oil because they’re good for skin care.
After you wash your face, spray the toner onto a cotton ball. Gently wipe it across your face, focusing on problem areas with blackheads, acne, and excess oil.
Follow up with moisturizer. You can use this gentle, natural toner 1-2 times per day.
Compare To: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea™ 4-in-1 setting mist, 2.5 ounces – $25.00 at Sephora.com
Using Salt For Cooking
16. Fry Bacon Without Grease Splatters
If you enjoy eating a hearty breakfast, you may cook bacon now and then. While it’s certainly tasty, the cooking process isn’t always fun.
The fat from bacon quickly creates a lot of grease in the pan. Grease splatters can be painful and downright dangerous. You can use salt to quickly nip this problem in the bud.
As mentioned throughout the article, salt absorbs excess water. It will also do the same with hot grease. Add a pinch of salt to the pan once the grease starts appearing.
This should significantly reduce or eliminate grease splatters altogether. Give it a try next time you fry up some bacon!
17. Speed Up Cooking Time
I love to cook, but my timing isn’t always great. For example, I often finish cooking pasta sauce long before the pasta is done. Like me, you’ve probably heard that salt makes water boil faster. This isn’t true, but it can still help.
The truth is that salt makes water boil at a higher temperature. This means the food that you’re boiling will not need to cook as long. So salt doesn’t help the water boil any fast, but it does make food cook faster.
It’s no magic trick, but it can save you a few minutes when you’re in a hurry. Just add a pinch or two of regular table salt to the boiling water, and you’re good to go.
18. Gently Clean Leafy Green Vegetables
Delicious produce makes a great addition to any meal. Unfortunately, very fresh vegetables often have some dirt and grit on them. Spinach and leeks are two good examples.
You can easily clean these veggies using sea salt or kosher salt. Simply fill a bowl with lukewarm water and your produce. Add in one tablespoon of salt and swish the water around.
You can do this with clean hands or by moving the bowl gently. Let the veggies soak for about 20 minutes, drain them into a colander, and rinse well using cool water. The end result is clean, healthy produce.
19. Make Your Own Dill Pickles
There are many things I love about dill pickles. They’re both salty and sour, nice and cool, and they’re a convenient snack. If you love them as well, consider making your own at home.
It’s actually a pretty easy process. I found a recipe on the Food Network website that only uses five ingredients. You’ll need sea salt, apple cider vinegar, distilled water, Kirby cucumbers, and a bit of fresh dill.
This recipe uses 1.5 pounds of cucumbers. Here’s how you make them into pickles:
- Bring 3.5 ounces of sea salt, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, and eight cups distilled water to a boil. This will be used as your brine.
- Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for five minutes.
- Place the cucumbers upright in glass jars. You can use one large jar or several small ones. The cucumbers should fit snugly, but there should be enough room for brine.
- Add a few fresh dill sprigs into the jars.
- Fill the containers with brine.
- Secure the lids and refrigerate.
That’s all there is to it! According to the recipe, the pickles are good for a few weeks. Next time you want to whip up a frugal snack, consider this salty and crunchy choice.
20. Reduce Bitterness In Coffee
When it comes to coffee, everyone has unique preferences. But there’s certainly a difference between bold and bitter coffee, and the latter isn’t tasty.
If you brew a bitter batch, don’t throw out the bag of coffee. Next time you brew, add a tiny pinch of salt to the coffee grounds.
Chef Alton Brown suggests ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt per six tablespoons of coffee grounds.
The science behind this little trick isn’t very clear, but salt essentially neutralizes the bitter taste. And it’s healthier than dumping cream and sugar into your coffee to mask the taste.
I’ve tried the salt trick myself and it worked fairly well. Give it a shot if your coffee has too much of a bite to it.
Using Salt For Laundry
21. Remove Sweat Stains From Laundry
White t-shirts quickly show signs of sweat. Unfortunately, this comes in the form of unsightly yellow stains around the neck and armpit areas.
Bleaching your white t-shirts can weaken the fabric. Constantly buying new shirts is way too pricey. Instead, use a bit of salt to remove the stains.
HowStuffWorks.com says to combine one quart of water with four tablespoons of salt. Use a sponge to rub the mixture onto stains.
Repeat this process until the stains are gone. After this, wash your shirts as you normally would. Sounds like a simple solution that’s certainly worth a shot.
Compare To: Dapple Stain Remover Spray, Fragrance Free, 16.9 fl oz bottle – $4.99 at Target.com
22. Clean Up Red Wine Stains
Red wine spills are enough to send anyone into panic mode. As it sinks in, the wine quickly stains fibers. Fortunately, there are ways to quickly treat spills and stains when they occur.
You just need to grab some salt, baking soda, and cold water. These instructions come from ApartmentTherapy.com:
- Soak up as much red wine as you can with paper towels. Make sure to dab the towels versus rubbing – that could make the wine set in.
- Pour a liberal amount of salt on the stain to completely cover it. Really saturate it thoroughly to get the best results.
- Let the salt dry for several hours or overnight.
- In the morning use cold water and baking soda to wash the stain. You can also use cold water and powder or liquid detergent.
That’s all there is to it. You can save your carpet, furniture, or clothing with this simple trick. For extra stubborn stains, I’ve applied a bit of vinegar during the washing process.
You may want to try this if there are still traces of wine.
Compare To: OxiClean Carpet And Area Rug Stain Remover, 24 ounce bottle – $4.48 at WalMart.com
23. Absorb Odors From Canvas Shoes
It’s no secret that tennis shoes get smelly sometimes. Shoe odor is caused by a mixture of sweat/moisture and bacteria, but cleaning and deodorizing shoes is easy.
You don’t need any special products to get the job done. Salt helps absorb excess moisture from shoes that causes odor. It can also prevent mold from growing in them.
Fill two clean socks with any type of salt. Put them into odorous shoes, and let them sit for a few days. When you remove the socks, the odor should be significantly reduced.
For added power, use a 50/50 mixture of salt and baking soda.
Compare To: Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray, Fresh Scent with Aloe, 7 oz can – $6.99 at Target.com
24. Prevent Color Bleeding In Clothing
An article from Select Laundry lists several ways you can use salt to clean clothes. One use stood out to me as very helpful. You can use salt to prevent color bleeding from clothing during the washing process.
This can save you a headache and the money you’d spend to replace ruined items. Simply add ½ cup to one cup of salt into laundry water.
Wash per the clothing’s instructions, and you won’t have to deal with color bleeding. I’m definitely giving this tip a try!
Compare To: Carbona Color Grabber with Microfiber In-Wash Sheets, 30 count – $3.77 at WalMart.com
25. Bring Sponges Back To Life
Kitchen sponges are full of bacteria – 362 types of bacteria, to be precise. Throwing away a sponge every few days isn’t very cost effective though.
Cleaning your sponges to thoroughly kill bacteria is a better solution. There are plenty of different ways to do this. One simple and effective method involves salt, vinegar, and hot water.
Reader’s Digest says to combine one cup of hot water, ½ cup of white vinegar, and three tablespoons of salt.
Soak your dirty sponge in this mixture overnight. In the morning, squeeze out excess liquid and rinse well. Repeat this process a few times, and you’re all set.
Hot water is commonly used for sanitation, and vinegar kills several types of bacteria effectively. The salt works by drawing out the dirty water and bacteria within the sponge.
This combination is gentle yet powerful and lengthens the life of your sponges.
Final Thoughts On Uses For Salt
Making this list for our readers was a great learning experience for me. There are so many great ways to use salt while cutting down some expenses. Making my life more frugal with this common household ingredient is a no-brainer.
Salt isn’t the only affordable substance you can use around your home. Read my posts 30 Baking Soda Uses That Will Save You Money and 35 White Vinegar Uses That Will Save You Money to explore even more options.
With these inexpensive ingredients, you may save hundreds of dollars per year. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!