Clear flower residue in a vase
Once your beautiful bouquet is gone, the souvenir it leaves behind is not the kind of reminder you want: deposits of minerals on the vase interior. Reach inside the vase, rub the offending ring of deposits with salt, then wash with soapy water. If your hand won’t fit inside, fill the vase with a strong solution of salt and water, shake it or brush gently with a bottle brush, then wash. This should clear away the residue.
Speed up cooking time
In a hurry? Add a pinch or two of salt to the water you are boiling food in. This makes the water boil at a higher temperature so the food you are cooking will require less time on the stovetop. Keep in mind: Salt does not make the water boil faster.
Shell hard-boiled eggs with ease
Ever wonder whether there’s a secret to peeling hard-boiled eggs without breaking the shell into a million tiny pieces? There is, and now it’s out of the box! Add a teaspoon of salt to your water before placing the eggs in it to boil.
Clean artificial flowers
You can quickly freshen up artificial flowers — whether they are authentic silk ones or the more common nylon variety — by placing them in a paper bag with 1/4 cup salt. Give the bag a few gentle shakes, and your flowers will emerge as clean as the day you bought them.
Hold artificial flowers in place
Salt is a great medium for keeping artificial flowers in the arrangement you want. Fill a vase or other container with salt, add a little cold water, and arrange your artificial flowers. The salt will solidify, and the flowers will stay put.
Keep wicker looking new
Wicker furniture can yellow with age and exposure to the sun and elements. To keep your wicker natural-looking, scrub it with a stiff brush dipped in warm salt water. Let the piece dry in the sun. Repeat this process every year or every other year.
Give brooms a long life
A new straw broom will last longer if you soak its bristles in a bucket of hot, salty water. After about 20 minutes, remove the broom and let it dry.
Ease fireplace cleanup
When you’re ready to turn in for the night but the fire is still glowing in the hearth, douse the flames with salt. The fire will burn out more quickly, so you’ll wind up with less soot than if you let it smolder. Cleanup is easier, too, because the salt helps the ashes and residue gather into easy sweepings.
Make your own brass and copper polish
When exposure to the elements dulls brass or copper items, there’s no need to buy expensive cleaning products. To shine your candlesticks or remove green tarnish from copper pots, make a paste by mixing equal parts salt, flour, and vinegar. Use a soft cloth to rub this over the item, then rinse with warm, soapy water and buff back to its original shine.
Remove wine from carpet
Red wine spilled on a white carpet is the worst. But there’s hope. First, while the red wine is still wet, pour some white wine on it to dilute the color. Then clean the spot with a sponge and cold water. Sprinkle the area with salt and wait about 10 minutes. Now vacuum up the whole mess.
Clean grease stains from rugs
Did that football-watching couch potato knock his greasy nachos onto your nice white carpet? Before you kill him, mix up 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol and rub it hard on the grease stain, being careful to rub in the direction of the rug’s natural nap. Or better yet, have him do it. Then you can kill him.
Remove watermarks from wood
Watermarks left from glasses or bottles on a wood table 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. Restore the luster of your wood with furniture polish.
Deodorize your sneakers
Sneakers and other canvas shoes can get pretty smelly, especially if you wear them without socks in the summertime. Knock down the odor and soak up the moisture by occasionally sprinkling a little salt in your canvas shoes.
End the ant parade
If ants are beating a path to your home, intercept them by sprinkling salt across the door frame or directly on their paths. Ants will be discouraged from crossing this barrier.
Remove baked-on food
Yes, you can remove food that has been baked onto cooking pans or serving plates. In fact, it’s easy. Baked-on food can be “lifted” with a pre-treatment of salt. Before washing, sprinkle the stuck-on food with salt. Dampen the area, let it sit until the salt lifts the baked-on food, then wash it away with soapy water.
Soak stains off enamel pans
You can run out of elbow grease trying to scrub burned-on stains off enamel pans. Skip the sweat. Soak the pan overnight in salt water. Then boil salt water in the pan the next day. The stains should lift right off.
Scrub off burned milk
Burned milk is one of the toughest stains to remove, but salt makes it a lot easier. Wet the burned pan and sprinkle it with salt. Wait about 10 minutes, then scrub the pan. The salt absorbs that burned-milk odor too.
Clean discolored glass
Did your dishwasher fail to remove those stubborn stains from your glassware? Hand-scrubbing failed too? Try this: Mix a handful of salt in a quart of vinegar and soak the glassware overnight. The stains should wipe off in the morning.
Clean your cast-iron wok
No matter how thoroughly you dry them, cast-iron woks tend to rust when you wash them in water. Instead, when you’re done cooking, but while your wok is still hot, pour in about 1/4 cup salt and scrub it with a stiff wire brush. Wipe it clean, then apply a light coating of sesame or vegetable oil before stowing it. Don’t clean a wok with a nonstick coating this way, because it will scratch the coating.
Remove lipstick marks from glassware
Lipstick smudges on glassware can be hard to remove, even in the dishwasher. That’s because the emollients designed to help lipstick stay on your lips do a good job sticking to glassware too. Before washing your stemware, rocks glasses, or water tumblers, rub the edges with salt to erase lipstick stains.
Speed cleanup of messy dough
Here’s a way to make short work of cleanup after you’ve rolled out dough or kneaded breads. Sprinkle your floury countertop with salt. Now you can neatly wipe away everything with a sponge. No more sticky lumps.
Erase tea and coffee stains
Tea and coffee leave stains on cups and in pots. You can easily scrub away these unattractive rings by sprinkling salt onto a sponge and rubbing in little circles across the ring. If the stain persists, mix white vinegar with salt in equal proportions and rub with the sponge.
Prevent grease splatters
How many times have you been burned by splattering grease while cooking bacon when all you wanted was a hearty breakfast? Next time, add a few dashes of salt to the pan before beginning to fry foods that can splatter. You’ll cook without pain and you won’t have to clean grease off your cooktop.