Everyday Cheapskate: 11 Ways to Solve It With Salt

September 8, 2020 Updated: September 8, 2020

Sometimes, the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt, for example. It’s amazing stuff! And it’s cheap, too.

I have a favorite little book: “Solve It With Salt” by Patty Moosbrugger. Just look at all the things Patty says we can do with ordinary, inexpensive table salt to make our lives better.

Clean Disposal

Dump a bunch of ice cubes into the garbage disposal followed by about a half-cup of table salt. Turn on the disposal while running a small stream of water down the drain. Use a long-handled wooden spoon, or something similar, to carefully push all the ice into the running disposal. Keep it on for at least two minutes, which should be long enough for all the built-up gunk and grime to begin falling off the disposal’s blades. Turn off the water.

Soften New Jeans

The uncomfortable stiffness of a pair of new jeans can be remedied by adding a half-cup of salt to the wash cycle along with detergent. Your jeans will be soft and supple the first time you wear them.

Clean Your Iron

Salt can easily remove the gunk that builds up on the surface of your household iron. Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of wax paper or a soft cloth, and run the hot iron over it to remove all the buildup. Repeat as necessary. It works like sandpaper without scratching the iron.

Add to Cake Icing

Just a pinch of salt added to cake icing will keep it lovely to the last piece.

Prevent Browning

As you are peeling apples, pears, or potatoes, drop them into cold, lightly salted water, and they will retain their color.

Glass Carafes

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant that serves a lot of coffee, you’re bound to know this handy trick to keep the pots looking fresh and new. Pour about two tablespoons of salt into the empty carafe, plus enough ice to fill the pot about one-third full. Vigorously swirl the contents in a circular motion. The stains and burned-on coffee lift right off. When finished, dump the contents, and finish with dishwashing liquid and water.

Extend Freshness

Add a pinch of salt to a new container of milk. Shake it up well. This will not affect the taste or texture in any way—but that milk will stay fresh much longer, because salt prevents bacteria.

Prevent Grease Splatters

Add a few dashes of salt to the oil when frying food. This helps prevent the grease from splattering and making a big mess on the stovetop.

Keep It Crisp

Prep and store lettuce and spinach, and then store it in a saltwater bath in the fridge. Those greens will remain crisp and clean. Just rinse and serve.

Prevent Pantyhose Runs

Mix two cups of salt with one gallon of warm water. Immerse clean, dry pantyhose. Soak for three hours or overnight. Rinse the hose in cool water, and allow to drip-dry. (You can save the soaking liquid for future use.) The salt toughens the fibers, which makes them more resistant to snags and runs.

Stains on Porcelain

Porcelain sinks and tubs can become stained with watermarks and other substances that are hard to remove. This gentle scouring powder will help remove those stains without scratching the surfaces. Mix one cup of salt with one cup of baking soda, and keep it in a sealed container. Use the mixture as you would any scouring powder.

Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments, and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Copyright 2020 Creators.com