As far back as 6050 BC, salt has played an integral role in world history. Today the uses for salt include manufacturing, textiles, conditioning water, de-icing highways and agriculture. In addition to macro economic uses, did you know that using salt can actually save you money? Here are ten easy and simple ways to save money using salt.
1. Make your own Brass and Copper polish
Exposure to the elements can dull brass and copper. However, there is no need to buy expensive metal cleaning products. To remove green tarnish from copper, simply make a paste by mixing equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Use a soft cloth to rub this over the metal that has become oxidized. Finally, rinse this with warm, soapy water and buff it back to its original shine. For stained areas that need longer exposure, like the bottom of a pot, let the paste sit for a half an hour or so, scrubbing periodically. Some stains may be too tough for this method, but minimal stains and patina should be a quick ten minute project. Don’t buy metal cleaner, save $6 – $12.
2. Deodorize Your Sneakers
Canvass shoes can get smelly, especially if you wear them without socks in the summertime. Minimize the moisture and knock down the odor by using salt to deodorize your shoes. What you do is first clean the inside of your shoes and wipe them out with a moistened paper towel. Let the shoes dry, then sprinkle enough salt in the shoe to cover the sole. Be sure that you take out of the insoles before you clean and deodorize the shoes. Let the shoes sit for a few hours, then shake out the salt. Don’t buy any fancy deodorizing spray or ultraviolent powered odor removing inserts. Do it yourself and save the money. Total savings: $6 – $150.
3. Freshen your Garbage Disposal
One of the uses of salt is eliminating bad smells from your garbage disposal. If your disposal smells bad, consider freshening it with some salt. Just dump in a half a cup of salt, turn on the cold water and run the garbage disposal. The salt should dislodge any stuck food bits and neutralize any odors. No need to drop your hard earned cash on garbage disposal freshener. Total savings: $2.50 – $17.00.
4. Remove Stains From Enamel Pans
Getting stains out of enamel pans can be a pain. Instead of spending a lot of time scrubbing the pan, let it soak overnight in salt water. Then, boil the salt water in the pain. The stains should lift right out. Don’t spent $20 on expensive enamel cleaner.
5. Clean Discolored Glass
Sometimes dishwashers don’t always do a good job removing stains from glassware, especially lipstick or stains from scummy water. A painless way to remove these stubborn stains is to soak the glass in a mixture of salt and vinegar. Once the glass soaks over night the stains should wipe off easily in the morning. Don’t spent money on glass cleaner. Total savings: $4 – $6.
6. Speed Up Cooking Time
If you are boiling water and are in a hurry, consider adding some salt to the water. The salt will make the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing the amount of time that it will take for your food to cook. Bear in mind, the salt won’t make the water boil faster. Savings: reduced utility costs.
7. Stop Cut Fruit From Going Brown
If you are cutting fruit that needs to look pretty, such a fruit salad for a party, briefly soak the fruit in a bowl of lightly salted water. This will help prevent the fruit from getting brown. Mix a ½ teaspoon of salt for every 1 quart of water and soak the fruit pieces for about 5 minutes. It works well for pears and apples. Don’t buy produce wash. Savings: $4.
8. Kill Sidewalk Weeds
Salt is amazing good at preventing plant growth. If you have weeds cropping up in your driveway or walkway, salt can kill them. Mix about 1 cup salt into two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour it directly on the weeds to kill them. Another effective methods is to spread the salt directly onto the weeds. Then sprinkle some water on the salt to be sure it washes down over the weeds. Be sure the salt stays away from plants you want to keep. Don’t buy weed killer or weed sprayers. Total savings: $40 – 45.
9. Clean Cast Iron
One of the uses of salt is cleaning iron. Grease can be hard to get off iron pans. To clean your iron pans, pour 1 cup of salt (coarser salt works better) into the still-warm skillet. Use a folded kitchen towel or paper towel to scour the pan. Discard the salt and immediately rinse the pan with hot water. Dry the pan with a kitchen towel, or heat it over a medium-low flame to evaporate the moisture. Drying the pan immediately will help prevent rust. No need to fork over the cash for a fancy cleaning brush, just use salt and a towel. Savings: $12.
10. Rid Your Garden of Slugs
Salt and slugs simply don’t mix. Salt is a desiccant, meaning that it absorbs water from things and dries them out. Sprinkling salt on slugs causes their bodies to be come quickly dehydrated, eliminating them from your garden. If you must use salt on slugs, be sure to keep it well away from your plants. A concentration of salt in the soil can take years to disperse and its shown to be harmful to plants. So, go with a shaker that only lets a few grains out at a time. As an added bonus, the decomposing slugs will add nitrogen to your soil. Don’t buy expensive slug bait. Savings: $8 – $24.
Finally if you are looking to learn about how you can economize around your home, pick up a copy of Readers Digest’s Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time. It sells for between 3 and 5 dollars on Amazon and it’s totally full of great money saving ideas. We love it.
Photo credit: Yvonne.