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The Uses for Salt

Updated on May 27, 2013
The different uses of salt.
The different uses of salt.

Common Table Salt

What is salt used for?

Salt is a mineral found naturally in many places around the world. It can be mined underground or underwater.

Salt is made mainly made up of two compounds which are sodium and chloride. It is used for many things, although we tend to think about common table salt which is added to food.

Salt can have many uses. It is needed for consumption, as it is essential for our bodies to function. Salt can help with muscle contraction and maintaining fluid levels. But too much in our diet can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and kidney disease. A recommended daily intake for a healthy adult should be no more than 2,300mg of sodium.

Salt and it's Uses

There are many different ways we can use salt, and it really is quite useful.

Cooking with Salt

Salt can be added to food for seasoning. It gives taste to many dishes such as meat dishes, soup and sauces. It also brings out flavour in sweet dishes too.

Salt acts as a preservative, meaning food will last longer when salt is added to it. Packed around to cure meat, added to butter or put in water as brine, it will give food a longer shelf life as it protects it from bacteria.

Salt is also used when baking bread, as it improves flavour and helps the dough to rise.

A great stain remover
A great stain remover
Using natural ingredients
Using natural ingredients

Water Softeners

Salt can be used to soften water in domestic and industrial appliances. The salt used for this is more refined than table salt. It cleanses impurities to maintain efficiency. Appliances include dishwashers, home water softeners and cooling systems.


Salt is a great stain remover. By soaking clothes in salted water will help to lift stubborn marks.

Soak in a tub of warm water and plenty of salt for at least an hour, before washing as usual in your washing machine

Salt can be mixed with natural products to make a cleaning solution. Try mixing with lemon juice or vinegar to polish household brasses and door handles safely. It will also clean mildew from windows.

Salt can clean a number of things. Mix it with turpentine to clean toilets, bathtubs and sinks or use a strong solution to clear grease down kitchen sinks.

Try cleaning stained coffee cups with salt, mix with soda water to clean out your refrigerator or clean dirty pots and pans by scouring with salt.


Salt has antibacterial properties and can be used to heal a number of skin problems. Always dilute it in clean water and it won’t sting.

For sore areas on the body, put sea salt in a running bath and relax. Do this regularly to clear away the problem.

Salt water can clean sticky or infected eyes. Soak a cotton wool ball in a solution and rub over the eye, sweeping from one corner to the other. Dispose and use a new cotton wool ball for the other eye.

If you can stand it, gargle with salt water to fight infections such as mouth ulcers or sore throats. It works wonders.

Or try brushing your teeth with salt water to fight germs which may cause gum problems. Then soak your toothbrush in salt water to keep it for longer!

Removing Odours

Salt can remove nasty odours. Wash your hands with it, especially if you have been cooking with onions or garlic.

It can remove smells from drains and smelly sinks.

It can also clean and freshen Tupperware tubs and plastic bottles.


Use rock salt to exfoliate your body cheaply. Use it in the shower and mix with baby oil for a moisturising softening experience.

Use finer salt grains on the face to remove dead skin cells and deep cleanse.


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    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Yes, you've highlighted the downside to salt and like you say, the problems it can cause.

      People often think of salt as being bad, and regards to our health too much is. But using salt in other ways is quite interesting and the list is endless.

      Thanks for your input.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Interesting. Salt can also be used to preserve fish or, if you are a fisherman, to stop your bait from going soft. For bait butcher's salt is best. Salt is also used in the curing of furs.

      On the negative side salt water is undrinkable and there are places now that rely on desalination plants for drinkable water. Also in parts of the USA and Australia there is a rising salt problems. This is caused by the cutting down of too many trees. The end result of too much salt in the top soil is that the commercial plants we rely on cannot grow. As with all things there is a balance. Used and understood salt can work wonders. Otherwise salt can cause more problems than it can solve.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Yes, it's a great way to remove those horrible dead skin cells!

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      I did not know that salt could be used to exfoliate your body. Interesting idea

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Om, it'll make the house smell fresh too!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Nice tips. I never knew that salt mixed with lemon juice can clean mildew. I'll have to give this trick a try!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi robes - thanks for your comment :)

      Hi Jen - I love homemade recipes for beauty products. Essential oils are great, so I must try that body scrub

      Leah - salt seems to be great for laundry and all sorts of cleaning. It's more natural too with no nasty chemicals!

      Hi Billy - it's surprising what salt can do! It's not all bad ;)

      Saloca - yes salt is great for fighting infections, and makes skin feel great :)

    • Saloca profile image

      Saloca 5 years ago from Liverpool, UK

      Warm water and a few table spoons of salt gargled is amazing for tonsillitis too! Also can't beat a good natural salt body scrub!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheez, I didn't realize salt was good for all of those things. Nice job of informing those of us who were clueless about salt.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I have a friend who uses salt in her laundry to prevent colors from running, and also on the carpets (sprinkle and leave for 24 hours) to remove odors! She buys the big "industrial" sized bag of salt, lol! This is a great hub!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      I did not know that salt was used to soften water, that was interesting for me. I use epson salt on a daily basis for my foot to help ease the pain. love that stuff. I also make a body scrub from kosher and table salt with some extra virgin olive oil and some essence oil, that is a wonderful treat for my skin. Great info!

    • robes profile image

      robes 5 years ago

      Hm, didn't realize salt was so applicable, thanks!