Springtime means spring cleaning in my house and I always start with the highest traffic place in my home: the kitchen. I try to stick to natural cleaning agents and, while there are some great brands out there worth every dime, the store-bought kind tend to be harder to find and more expensive. So I also look to the natural ingredients I already have around the house, like baking soda, lemons, and salt.

These 10 unexpected uses for salt in the kitchen make great use of the affordable spice that everyone has around the house at all times—which means no more excuses. Ha!

Related: 10 unexpected uses for lemons, from the perfect pot of rice to taking the itch out of bug bites.

 

1. Clean your oven.
Combine coarse salt, vinegar, and baking soda to make a thick paste that you can use to slather the inside of your oven (racks removed). Allow the paste to sit for several hours to overnight. Wipe down with a damp cloth or sponge, scrubbing as neccessary with a brush and/or extra elbow grease, to remove stains, grease, and so on. Rinse and repeat until clean.

2. Keep burnt food from staining or sticking to your pans.
Once you remove food from the pan, immediately add salt to the affected area while it’s still warm and allow it to sit. When it’s time to wash the pan after your meal, the salt will help the burnt part slough off easier. Save your elbow grease for something else!

3. Clean greasy cast iron pans.
Clean your cast-iron skillet by pouring about 1 cup of coarse salt into it while it’s still warm. You can then scour it with a kitchen towel or pour in a little bit of hot water and scrub it with a brush (never steel wool!) until clean. Then, discard salt and rinse with hot water. Be sure to dry your pan thoroughly to avoid rusting; wipe it down with a towel and then set it over a medium-low flame for at least 5-10 minutes to ensure that it’s bone dry.

 

8 unexpected ways to use salt for non-toxic spring cleaning in in the kitchen | Cool Mom Eats

 

4. Clean enamel cook- or dish-ware.
Mix together equal parts salt and vinegar to create a solution that you can use to clean stains out of enamel. Just rub thoroughly, rinse, and dry.

5. Deodorize your refrigerator.
There’s nothing tricky here, just a way of cleaning the fridge without leaving chemical residue where you keep your food. Simply dissolve salt in soda water to create a solution that you can use to wipe down and deodorize the inside of your refrigerator. You can also combine salt with white vinegar, though that will leave it’s own sour odor behind for a time.

6. Clean and deodorize your sink drain/garbage disposal.
To keep your sink drain clean and odor free, dissolve salt in boiling water and pour it down the drain on a regular basis. I do this about once a month.

7. Polish brass or copper.
Clean and shine either metal by mixing together equal parts salt, flour, and white vinegar to create a paste. Use a soft cloth to apply the paste to the metal object and allow it to sit for at least an hour. Then, wipe it down with a clean cloth and buff until shiny and seemingly new.

8. Remove wine from carpet. 
This is the one you’re waiting for, right? I admit that this may not deliver perfect results 100% of the time, but nothing will when it comes to removing red wine stains. So much depends on how much wine has spilled, onto what type of material, how long the wine has sat, and such like. Using salt, though, has worked for me more than once on my wool pile rug.

Gently blot the wine with a dish towel to pull up as much off the surface as possible; do not rub the stain area or that will spread the wine or force it deeper into the carpet. Cover the spill area with a thick layer of salt and wait for about 20 minutes before vacuuming it all up. You may need to repeat the process. Another option is to apply a paste made of equal parts salt, vinegar, and borax. Apply to the stain, allow to dry, and then vacuum up.

 

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