You may have heard that salt isn’t the best ingredient to add to your daily diet—especially in large doses. But there are lots of creative ways to incorporate this ancient mineral into your life without using it as unhealthy flavor for food. Here 10 of the most interesting and surprising uses for salt.
1. Soothing a sore throat
Gargling with salt water is one of the best ways to sooth a throat that’s itchy or sore. You can mix a teaspoon of salt with a small glass of water, take a sip—don’t swallow!—and gargle for 60 seconds. You may want to wash your mouth out with regular, unsalted water after doing so.
2. Improving bath time
Salts have historically been added to bath water, and this is still a fantastic way to relax and take care of your skin. Saltwater baths are especially great for oily skin and scalps.
3. Scrubbing the skin
If you’re not into baths, you can still use salt as an exfoliator for dry, tough, or dead skin. It’s especially good to add to a body wash you already have.
4. Treating swollen eyes
If you’ve had a sleepless night or are prone to getting puffy eyes, salt is a great way to reduce swelling around the eye area. You can use salt for this purpose by adding it to warm water, soaking a washcloth in your mixture, and then laying the cloth over your eyes for 20 minutes.
5. Treating spills and stains
Salt is like a sponge—it absorbs water and spilled liquids. You can use salt to help remove the liquid part of the stain, then work out any color that remains.
6. Boosting plant health
When planting produce, salt can be added to seed starter. According to plant experts, salt helps supply the plant with magnesium.
7. Cleaning pans and cast iron
If you don’t like to clean your pans (especially cast-iron!) with soapy dishwater, adding salt to tap water will help to remove little food particles and grease buildup. Think of it as an exfoliator for your pans!
8. Repelling insects
This may not work on all insects, but ants in particular do not like salt. If you have an area indoor or outdoors that’s prone to ants, try covering it with salt. Disclaimer: they may find somewhere else (without salt) to relocate!
9. De-icing sidewalks
We’ll leave the big highways and main roads to the pros, but you can use salt to de-ice your sidewalks during the cold winter months. It will also help to melt and break down the ice before shoveling.
10. Treating bug bites and itchy skin
If you’ve got kids that play outside, this is a great use of salt to help their skin after a nasty bite. Now you just have to convince them to soak in the bath tub!