Springtime means spring cleaning in my house and always start with the highest traffic place in my home: the kitchen. I try to use non-toxic spring cleaning techniques wherever possible and stick with natural cleaning agents when they work just as well.
While there are some great natural cleaning products out there worth every dime (we love Better Life around here, and even housecleaning services use it), the store-bought options do tend to be more expensive. So I also look to the natural ingredients I already have around the house, like baking soda, lemons, and salt.
These 8 unexpected uses for salt to clean your kitchen make great use of the affordable spice that everyone has around the house at all times — which means no more excuses. Ha!
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8 ways to use salt to clean your kitchen
1. Clean your oven with salt
Remove the oven racks, then combine coarse salt, vinegar, and baking soda to make a thick paste that you can use to slather the inside of your oven. Allow the paste to sit from 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, or tougher areas. Rinse and repeat until clean.
Related: Here are the smell-resistant sponges we can’t live without anymore.
2. Use salt to keep burnt food from staining or sticking to your pans.
Once you remove food from your favorite stainless pans, 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.
This Lodge cast iron-skillet is under $40 for a 12′ pan right now!
They’re workhorses, and last forever when you know how to take care of them.
Clean your cast-iron skillet by pouring about 1 cup of coarse salt into it while it’s still warm, then scour it with a kitchen towel. Alternatively, pour in a little hot water with the salt and scrub it with a soft-bristled, cast-iron cleaning 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.
Related: Our kitchen spring cleaning checklist: 7 tasks you won’t want to forget
4. Clean enamel cookware or dishware with salt
If you treasure your enamel cookware from brands like Lodge, Staub, or of course, Le Creuset, take care of them the non-toxic way! Mix together equal parts salt and vinegar to create a solution that cleans stains out of enamel beautifully and easily. Just rub thoroughly, rinse, and dry.
5. Deodorize your refrigerator with salt
There’s nothing tricky here, just a way of cleaning the fridge naturally, so you don’t leave any 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. Use salt to clean and deodorize your sink drain or 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. Use salt to polish brass or copper.
These brass candlesticks from Pottery Barn are so lovely but you do have to keep them polished!
Maybe you fell in love with that copper cookware set for your wedding registry. Or you love the look of brass trays (charcuterie board, anyone?), brass candlesticks or these brass-finished cheese knives to add a little shine to your table that isn’t too blingy. Clean and shine either metal with…you guessed it. Salt!
Just mix together a paste of equal parts salt, flour, and white vinegar. Use a soft cloth to apply the paste to the metal, and allow it to sit for at least an hour. Then, wipe down with a clean cloth and buff until shiny and (seemingly) new
8. Use salt to remove wine from your carpet
This is the final salt tip you’re waiting for, right?
We test a lot of cleaning hacks around here for parents, and I admit that this may not deliver perfect results 100% of the time. But then, nothing really will when it comes to removing red wine stains. So much depends on how much wine has spilled, the material you’re cleaning, how long the wine has set into the fibers.
Using salt to clean my wool pile rug however, has worked for me more than once.
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.