Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller
A Special 3-Part Series
In Part 1, we discovered a few of the over 14,000 uses for salt. Salt is great for more than just the kitchen. It can save you the expense of purchasing expensive cleaners, spot removers, and brighteners. Salt's the frugal, environmentally safe, all-natural choice.
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31 Laundry and Cleaning Ideas
1. A mixture of salt and vinegar make a great all purpose cleaner, but don't use it on marble, linoleum, or waxed surfaces because the vinegar may damage those surfaces.
2. A paste of salt and lemon juice may remove mildew.
3. Polish your old kerosene lamp with salt for a brighter look.
4. To clean copper or brass, mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste. Rub the paste on the brass item and leave it on for about an hour. After cleaning with a soft cloth or brush, buff with a dry cloth.
5. Because pewter is a soft metal that can be damaged easily, you must clean it gently. Make a smooth paste by adding flour to a teaspoon of salt and a cup of vinegar. Apply the paste to a pewter piece and allow it to dry for half an hour. Rinse with warm water, and polish with a soft cloth.
6. Clean your iron by sprinkling salt on a sheet of waxed paper or newspaper and sliding the iron across it.
7. A dash of salt in laundry starch keeps the iron from sticking.
8. Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice to clean piano keys.
9. Use kosher salt and a wet sponge or cloth to easily scrub away stains from bathtubs and toilets. You can also make a solution of salt and turpentine to restore the whiteness to yellowed enameled bathtubs.
10. If you have white rings on tables caused by wet or hot dishes and glasses, rub a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot. Let the mixture stand for an hour or two before wiping away the ring.
11. Salt cleans off dust and dirt. Just sprinkle salt on delicate cloth items or artificial flowers which have dust embedded in the folds and then carefully shake out the item.
12. Set the color in new towels by adding a cup of salt to your wash water the first couple times you wash them.
13. Protect colors of new clothes from bleeding by washing them in a cold wash with 1/4 cup salt.
14. Soak colored cottons overnight in salt water to reduce fading of the colors.
15. Brighten the colors in curtains or washable rugs by washing in a solution of water and kosher salt.
16. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.
17. Boil yellowed cottons or linens for one hour in a kosher salt and baking soda solution to restore to their original white.
18. Boil mismatched hose in salty water and they will come out matched.
19. Moisten a stiff brush with warm saltwater and scrub your wicker furniture to prevent yellowing. Dry the furniture in the sun.
20. If you spill red wine or red punch on a tablecloth or rug, immediately blot up as much as possible. Then cover the spot with salt to absorb the remaining wine. Later, rinse the cloth with cold water or scrape up the salt and vacuum.
21. Remove blood stains from some items by first soaking in cold saltwater. Then launder in warm, soapy water followed by boiling the item. (You can only do this on cotton, linen or other natural fibers that can take high heat.)
22. Salt is also supposed to absorb ink stains.
23. If you spill salad oil on your clothes, pour salt on the spot to absorb the grease and launder.
24. You can also remove some grease stains from rugs by mixing one part salt to four parts alcohol. Rub hard, but carefully, to avoid damage to the nap.
25. Remove perspiration stains from your clothes by adding four tablespoons of kosher salt to one quart of hot water and sponging the fabric with the solution until the stains disappear.
26. Remove rust stains by moistening stained spots with a pasty mixture of lemon juice and salt. Spread the item in the sun for bleaching and then rinse and dry.
27. You can also remove rust by mixing salt and cream of tartar with just enough water to make a paste. Apply to a rust stain and let it sit in the sun until dry. Repeat the process if necessary.
28. Did you use too much detergent and have too many suds? Eliminate them with a sprinkle of salt.
29. To deodorize your sneakers, occasionally sprinkle some salt in them.
30. Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace to help loosen soot from the chimney. Salt also makes a bright yellow flame.
31. Did you run out of dishwashing soap? Mix a tablespoon of salt in your hot water and wash dishes. Rinse well. Because salt can dry your skin, wear gloves while washing.
Author's note: I have had fun researching the many uses of salt. Although I've discovered many new ideas, I have not personally tried all of them.
Previous (Salt: Part 1)
Next (Salt: Part 3)
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Copyright © 2008 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.