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Salt is a remarkable thing. An essential element in the diet of not only humans but of animals, and even of many plants, it is one of the most effective and most widely used of all food preservatives. For over centuries mankind has been using salt in the course of which we’ve amassed many uses for this amazing substance. Salt can be helpful for more than just flavoring your food! From soothing bee stings to cleaning a coffee pot, we’ve rounded up a few surprising uses for table salt.

  1. Give brooms a long life

A new straw broom will last longer if you soak its bristles in a bucket of hot, salty water. After about 20 minutes, remove the broom and let it dry.

  1. Remove watermarks from wood

Watermarks left from glasses or bottles on a wood table really stand out. Make them disappear by mixing 1 teaspoon salt with a few drops of water to form a paste. Gently rub the paste onto the ring with a soft cloth or sponge and work it over the spot until it’s gone. Restore the luster of your wood with furniture polish

  1. Deodorize your sneakers

Sneakers and other canvas shoes can get pretty smelly, especially if you wear them without socks in the summertime. Knock down the odor and soak up the moisture by occasionally sprinkling a little salt in your canvas shoes.

  1. Remove various odors from cooking surfaces. 

 You can add salt to a cutting board to remove any odor. Just pour a generous amount directly on the board. Rub lightly with a damp cloth. Wash in warm, soapy water. After putting together a mean pesto or Mediterranean chicken dish, your hands might reek. Mix salt with lemon juice, and then rub it on your hands. Rinse, wash with soap, and voila! Garlic scent is gone!

  1. Cleans greasy iron pans, discolored glass or coffee percolator

Grease can be tough to remove from iron pans, because it is not water-soluble. Shortcut the problem by sprinkling salt in the pan before you washes it. The pan will absorb most of the grease. Wipe the pan out and then wash as usual. Did your dishwasher fail to remove those stubborn stains from your glassware? Hand-scrubbing failed too? Try this: Mix a handful of salt in a quart of vinegar and soak the glassware overnight. The stains should wipe off in the morning. If your percolated coffee tastes a bit bitter these days, try this: Fill the percolator with water and add 4 tablespoons salt. Then percolate as usual. Rinse the percolator and all of its parts well and the next pot you make should have that delicious flavor we all love.

  1. Pick up spilled eggs

If you’ve ever dropped an uncooked egg, you know what a mess it is to clean up. Cover the spill with salt. It will draw the egg together and you can easily wipe it up with a sponge or paper towel.

  1. Condition your skin

You’ve heard of bath salts, of course. Usually this conjures images of scented crystals that bubble up in your tub and may contain coloring and other stuff that leave a dreaded bathtub ring. Now strip that picture to its core, and you’ve got salt. Dissolve 1 cup table salt in your tub and soak as usual. Your skin will be noticeably softer. Buy sea salt for a real treat. It comes in larger chunks and can be found in health food stores or the gourmet section of a grocery store.

Some other simple but helpful ways to make most of the humble table salt:

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Ink stains? Just apply some salt to the ink stained area and then wipe off with a damp cloth; To keep your toothbrush bacteria free, soak it in hot salt water just once a week; Add a pinch of salt to the water while mopping the floor, to keep away those flies; To clean stainless steel taps you can scrub it with tamarind and salt to give it a good shine; Artificial flowers come out cleaner when dunked in bag of salt. The dirt will get transferred on the salt; Potatoes and apples won’t turn brown when kept in a bowl of cold salty water.

– Tanvi Shah

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