Most of us don’t often sit down to appreciate salt. It is, after all, pretty basic stuff—the mineral that sits in shakers on our tables and makes popcorn taste good. But salt is much more than a condiment. It actually has a long and illustrious history, and historians have argued that salt—and its ability to preserve food—was, in fact, the basis upon which civilization was founded (because salt relieved us of our dependence on readily available food. With preserved food, we could travel and store up supplies for the winter). For many centuries, salt was difficult to obtain and therefore valuable, forming the backbone of a number of civilizations' economies. At times, it was even used as currency.
From these lofty origins, it’s sort of amazing to consider how mundane salt seems now; It’s something that we all just have sitting around in our cabinets. But although salt is perhaps less exciting than it once was, it’s still just as useful as ever. This magical mineral can be used in cleaning, skincare, hair care, nail care, basic hygiene, and first aid. Better yet, it’s easy to get, and it’s cheap. What could be better than that? Keep reading for 14 ways that salt can make your life easier:
1. Make Your Own Toothpaste
Mix baking soda, salt, and a dash of peppermint oil (or whatever essential oil you’d like) to make your own toothpaste. Check out the full instructions.
2. Treat Dandruff
Massage sea salt into your scalp before washing your hair. Doing so will help to slough off dead skin cells, making it easier for hair and scalp treatments to penetrate and work their magic.
3. Treat Dry Skin
Make yourself a salt bath when you’re feeling itchy. Mix a cup of sea salt into warm water; it will heal your dry skin. (Check out more ways that salt can help your hair and skin here).
4. Make a Salt Scrub
A salt scrub can be used to remove dead skin cells and moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Try mixing sea salt with honey, lemongrass and rosemary essential oils, sunflower oil. Check out the full instructions here.
5. Clean Stained Cups
If you have tea or coffee stains on your mugs, rug the stains with salt—they should lift right off.
6. Remove Wine Stains
If you’ve spilled wine on fabric, begin by blotting up (not rubbing) as much liquid as possible. Then sprinkle a layer of salt on top of the stain. The salt will absorb the remaining liquid. When it’s dry, rinse the fabric and the stain should be gone. (This trick works on carpet, too—wait until the salt/wine mixture dries and then vacuum it up).
7. Keep Flowers Fresh
Add a dash of salt to your water to keep fresh flowers blooming longer.
8. Help Itching From Bites And Stings
To relieve the itching from mosquito bites, soak the effected area in salt water, and then add a layer of lard or oil. For a bee sting, wet the bite and add a layer of salt to relieve the pain.
9. De-puff Puffy Eyes
To reduce eye puffiness, mix a half-teaspoon of salt in a cup of hot water. Soak pads in the mixture and press them gently to the puffy places.
10. Fix a Sticking Iron
If you’ve got gunk on your iron, sprinkle a layer of salt onto a piece of paper. Rub the iron over the salt; the sticky stuff will clump up and come off.
11. Soften Cuticles and Strengthen Nails
Mix one teaspoon each of salt, baking soda, and lemon juice in half a cup of hot water. Soak your fingertips in the mixture for ten minutes, then scrub and rinse off. The treatment should soften your cuticles and strengthen your nails.
12. Un-stink Stinky Hands
If your hands smell like garlic or onions, treat them with a mixture of salt and vinegar.
13. Get Rid of Ants
Spray a mixture of salt and water in places where ants like to congregate. The ants won’t cross areas that are salty, so aim your spray for windowsills, doorways, and other entry points for ants. The ants will be repelled, and you won’t be exposed to nasty insecticide fumes.
14. Help Fresh Piercings
Soaking fresh piercings in salt water can help prevent infection and speed up the healing process. Just be sure to use the salt in the correct proportion.
Images: Larry Hoffman/Flickr; Giphy (7)