Frugal Parenting (from the editor's desk)
by Rachel Keller
If you have read part one and part two of this series, you discovered some of the over 14,000 wonderful uses for salt. That canister of salt sitting in your kitchen cupboard is great for more than just seasoning your food or for cleaning. Use it for killing weeds, fixing clogged drains, soothing bugs bites or poison ivy, and as a dandruff treatment. Read on for more helpful (and healthy) ideas.
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31 Health and Other Unusual Ideas
1. Gargle with an iodized salt and water mixture to alleviate sore throats. If you have problems with frequent sore throats, try gargling regularly during the winter months, (from personal experience I know that this really does work!)
2. Don't spend money on expensive mouth wash. If you want fresher breath, blend equal parts of salt and baking soda in warm water and swish. (Try one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 cup water.) The taste is not the same, but it works for less money, not to mention you won't have any of those hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
3. Don't spend your money on expensive whiteners or polishers. Try some salt sprinkled on your toothbrush instead.
4. By mixing one part salt with two parts of baking soda you can make your own toothpaste that will both whiten your teeth and remove plaque. The toothpaste is smoother if you first pulverize your salt in a blender or food processor (or crush the salt into a find sand-like texture with a rolling pin and cutting board). To use, dip your dampened toothbrush into the mixture and brush your teeth. Store the powder in an airtight container in your bathroom.
5. Make your own tooth powder by thoroughly mixing three parts baking soda with one part salt. Create a paste from the powder by adding glycerin and water. You can even add oils to make a better tasting paste.
6. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a teaspoon of olive oil to make your own facial toner or scrub. Gently massage your face and throat, avoiding contact with your eyes.
7. You can also mix about two teaspoons salt with about a teaspoon of whichever cream you prefer and rub gently upward on your face with circular motions avoiding the eye area.
8. To help control excess oil on your skin, fill a small spray bottle with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in tepid water. Spray on your face and blot dry.
9. Do you have puffy eyes? Apply cotton pads soaked in salt water (one tablespoon of salt in a pint of hot water).
10. I've not tried this one, but I've read about it in several places. Apparently, you can also use salt water to rinse a sore eye.
11. Soothe a bee sting by wetting it and covering with salt.
12. Bug bites and poison ivy can be annoying. To relieve itching, soak the area in salt water or soak in a tub of hot salt water. After soaking, apply a coating of vegetable oil (or shortening) to bug bites.
I was amazed at how well salt relieves the itching. I had a couple itching mosquito bites. Instead of soaking, I moistened my fingers and sprinkled salt on them. Then I rubbed the salt on my bites, but did not use any oil. Instantly, the itching vanished and the discomfort subsided. The next morning, I did not see or feel any sign of the bites.)
13. At the end of a stressful day, add a cup of sea salt to a warm bath and soak for at least ten minutes to condition and soften the skin.
14. Dissolve a handful of salt in warm water and soak your tired achy feet. Rinse in cool water.
15. Remove dead skin particles and boost your circulation by massaging your damp skin with dry salt. (Either table salt or sea salt crystals work well). Try doing it while in the tub or right after getting out of the tub.
16. Table salt is a great pre-shampoo dandruff treatment. Shake some salt onto your dry scalp. By working it through your hair, you'll give your scalp a massage and work out the dry, flaky skin. Follow with a shampoo.
17. If you soak fish in salt water before scaling, the scales will come off easier.
18. Soak nuts in salt brine overnight. Then crack them out of the shells whole. (To easily break open the shell, tap the end of it with a hammer.)
19. Soak a new straw broom in a bucket of hot, salted water to increase its life span.
20. New toothbrushes will last longer if you soak them in salted water before using.
21. Restore hard sponges by soaking overnight in a solution of about 1/4 cup salt per quart or liter of water.
22. Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours and then dry to reduce dripping wax.
23. Keep fresh cut flowers perky by adding a dash of salt to the water in the vase.
24. For frost-free windows, rub the inside of the window with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and wipe dry. To prevent your car windows from being covered with snow or ice, use a small cloth bag of salt to rub your wet car windows.
25. Open hair-clogged drains by pouring a mixture of one cup salt, one cup baking soda, and 1/2 cup white vinegar down the drain. After 10 minutes, follow up with a 1/2 gallon or two liters of boiling water. Run your hot-water tap until the drain flows freely.
26. To fill plaster holes in your walls, use equal parts of salt and starch, with just enough water to make a stiff putty or paste. (Try two tablespoons salt and two tablespoons cornstarch, with about five teaspoons water.) After filling the holes, let the paste dry. Then sand lightly and paint.
27. Use salt for killing weeds and poison ivy. Add three pounds of salt to a gallon of soapy water. Spray it onto leaves and stems. (Reader Tip: "Yes, salt will destroy weeds but it will also destroy your soil: rendering the soil infertile. Use caution!" - Cathy C.)
28. Salt repels fleas and can kill slugs in your garden.
29. Discourage ants by sprinkling salt across your door or across their paths.
30. Salt also helps destroy moths.
31. You can also sprinkle salt between sidewalk bricks where you don't want grass growing and sprinkle with water (or wait for the rains). Another option is to boil a solution of about a cup salt in two cups water, and pour directly on the weeds to kill them.
Have you ever wondered why some salt shakers contain rice? Rice helps prevent clumping and makes the salt pour easier.
Finally, one last great idea which I failed to include earlier in this series:
32. Are your apples wrinkled? Soak them in a mildly salted water solution to perk them up!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this series on super sensational savings with salt. Although I haven't tested all 94 ideas listed in all three parts, I have discovered and tried some great new uses for salt. Hopefully, you will find some helpful ideas for that bottle of salt.
Previous (Part 2)
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Copyright © 2008 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.