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10 Uses for a Box of Salt

Salt, one of the most natural and abundant substances on earth, is essential to good cooking. Inexpensive and accessible, it can also be pulled into service for a myriad of household uses, from keeping cheese fresh to chilling wine quickly. If you’re trying to cut back on your spending or strive for a chemical-free way to clean up around the house, here are ten great uses for a box of ordinary table salt.

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  • Keep cheese fresh. 1 of 10
    Keep cheese fresh.
    Hard cheeses like Parmesan can start to develop mouldy spots before you use it up. To prolong its life, soak a piece of cheesecloth in a solution made up of 1 Tbsp. salt dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water. Wring it out and wrap it around your chunk of cheese before storing it in the fridge. (Source: Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda, by Shea Zukowski)
  • Scrub cast iron. 2 of 10
    Scrub cast iron.
    To remove tough cooked-on food from your cast-iron skillet, warm it over low heat, then scrub with a paste made with equal amounts of salt and vegetable oil. Wipe out with a paper towel.
  • Chill your wine quickly. 3 of 10
    Chill your wine quickly.
    Ever wonder why ice cream is churned in a mixture of ice and salt? Because a combination of the two is colder than ice on its own - salt lowers the freezing point of ice, creating an icy brine that chills a bottle of wine (or other beverages) down more quickly than time in the refrigerator.
  • Remove rust. 4 of 10
    Remove rust.
    Easily remove rusty spots from small appliances, utensils and such by sprinkling a teaspoon of coarse salt on the cut side of half a lemon. Rub on the rust spot until it's gone. (Source: Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda, by Shea Zukowski)
  • De-ice your windshield. 5 of 10
    De-ice your windshield.
    Salt has the same effect on icy windshields as it does on frozen walkways; make a solution of 1 part salt to 4 parts water; let it dissolve completely, then store in a spray bottle and spray on your windshield to make scraping it easier. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
  • Exfoliate. 6 of 10
    Exfoliate.
    After going for a facial last week at the Jasper Park Lodge spa, the aesthetician told me to make my own inexpensive exfoliator with sea salt and a mild oil, like canola or olive. Mix up a small amount in the palm of your hand, then use to slough away dead skin. Works on rough hands and feet, too. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
  • Make your own no-drip candles. 7 of 10
    Make your own no-drip candles.
    Candles can be messy, but no-drip candles tend to be pricier. Turn any candle into a no-drip candle by soaking in a solution made of 1/3 cup salt and 2 cups warm water. Stir to dissolve, then submerge the candles - weigh them down if you need to keep them from floating. Leave them overnight, then let them dry completely before burning. (Source: Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda, by Shea Zukowski). Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
  • Keep lips soft. 8 of 10
    Keep lips soft.
    In the winter, lips can become rough and chapped. Mix equal parts salt and olive or almond oil, store in a small container and use in the shower to gently exfoliate your lips, leaving them smooth and soft! Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
  • Control barbecue flare-ups. 9 of 10
    Control barbecue flare-ups.
    More effective than water, a handful of salt on a barbecue flare-up will tame the flames (close the lid too) without soaking everything, making it easier to fire it up and start cooking again quickly. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
  • Make your own air freshener. 10 of 10
    Make your own air freshener.
    No need to buy expensive potpourri - mix 1 cup coarse salt, 1/4 cup dried lavender and a few drops of essential oil, and store in a decorative bowl or potpourri holder - give it a shake once in awhile to keep it going, and when its aroma dissipates, use it in the bath! (Source: Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda, by Shea Zukowski). Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

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