9 Smart, Surprising, and So-Helpful Ways to Use Salt

From getting your cutting board clean to keeping your apple slices green, salt's your go-to tool.  

Of all the seasonings out there, salt is arguably the best. Sure, it might be the least imaginative or most obvious answer, but just think: this is the one ingredient that’s absolutely imperative to nearly every single dish you eat. Forget to add a little pinch of salt and so many otherwise mouthwatering foods (eggs, avocados, even a juicy filet mignon) are barely worth eating.

But here’s the thing: salt can be used for much more than elevating the flavor of our favorite dishes. It's time to give sodium chloride some creative license. Here are 9 genius ways you can use salt that *aren’t* seasoning:

Prevent apples from browning

A quick saltwater soak can help cut apples look (and taste) fresh for longer—it staves off that icky, unpleasant enzymatic browning caused by oxidation. According to Erica Williams, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights, Consumer Affairs & Engagement at Morton Salt, to keep your apples appetizing, add 1/2 a teaspoon of kosher salt to 1 cup of cold water and stir. Soak your apple slices in the salt water for about ten minutes, then drain them and store them until you’re ready to use or serve them. Rinse with tap water—they’ll taste as if they were just cut. Pro tip: This works on potatoes, too!

Chill drinks

If you’re one to host impromptu parties, you’ll love this hack. Adding salt to your ice bucket will chill drinks faster, which is especially life-changing for summertime entertaining. To quickly chill a bottle of wine or champagne, place the bottle in an ice bucket or other tall plastic container. Add a layer of ice on the bottom and sprinkle it with a few tablespoons of kosher salt. Continue to layer salt and ice until it reaches the neck of the bottle, then add water to ice level. After 10 to 12 minutes, open and serve.

Clean your cutting board

To help get odors off of your wooden cutting board, simply pour a generous amount of sea salt directly on its surface. Rub lightly with a damp cloth and rinse in warm, sudsy water.

Rid your hands of garlic or onion odors

If you just chopped garlic and are about to face a social situation, fear not. Simply rub your hands with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then wash them with soap. The smell should dissipate immediately.

Pick up a cracked egg

If an egg breaks on your kitchen countertop or floor, you can sprinkle salt on the mess. Let it “marinade” for about 20 minutes—you should be able to wipe it right up.

Decontaminate your drain

Pour 1/2 cup salt down your kitchen or bathroom drain with one quart of hot water once a week. This will help keep them running smoothly.

Soothe a sore throat

Whether you’ve been hit with a bug or just talked too much the day before, you can gargle with a mixture of one part salt to two parts water. The saltwater will help pacify your throat pain instantly.

Restore the shine to glass

If you’ve got a less-than-lustrous vase, coffee pot, or other glass vessel, salt can help it regain its glow. Start by mixing 1/3 cup sea salt with 2 tablespoons of vinegar to form a paste. Apply to inside of your glass (for a large pitcher or vase, double or triple the quantity of paste). Let stand 20 minutes, scrub, and discard paste. Rinse the glass and dry and it will shine like new.

Clean coffee cups

Rub the interior of a stained coffee or tea mug with salt and watch the stains melt away.

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