Alternative Uses for Table Salt

In addition to seasoning food, table salt can be used as a natural pesticide, gentle cleaner and way to soothe muscles.

| March/April 1982

Everyone knows that bread without a little salt in the dough is about as tasty as damp cardboard. And most cooks have — at one time or another — forgotten to put salt in the water when cooking the pasta and ended up serving noodles with all the flavor of boiled string

But, you might not know that there are a number of uses for common table salt besides putting it in food.

Alternative Uses for Salt

For example, salt can be an excellent substitute for expensive — and sometimes risky — commercial nose sprays. Dissolve a little salt in boiled water, let it cool and either spritz the solution into the nasal passages from a sterilized spray bottle or — lacking such a container — pour a dribble of the liquid into your clean, cupped hand and sniff it up. You'll feel a momentary stinging sensation, but the simple remedy is about as effective in clearing a stuffy nose as is any over-the-counter preparation.

And how about using salt to get your feet warm? It's true: Heated table salt, poured into a closely woven cotton bag, will hold warmth as well as—  if not better than — a hot water bottle, which can make a cold bed friendlier, soothe a swollen jaw or comfort an aching shoulder.

If the plastic earpieces on your eyeglasses are bent out of shape, heat up a pan of salt and then insert the stems. As soon as they're thoroughly warmed, you'll be able to mold the earpieces into shape again without worrying about breaking them.

Have you ever taken a swim in a pond or creek only to discover that leeches were sharing the water with you? Well, any bloodsuckers that might attach themselves to your skin will be convinced to let go by a liberal sprinkling of salt.

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