As an enthusiastic green-cleaning connoisseur, I’ve tried almost every DIY solution on the Internet. Vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and castile soap are my mainstays, but black tea, lemon juice and peppermint oil are tucked into my arsenal as well. My cleanser of choice is vinegar — I use it to clean almost every surface in my home, from carpets to counters, and oh but I love its cheap and powerful nontoxic goodness. And, I recently learned that I could pump up the potency of this antibacterial maverick with the simple addition of table salt. Amazing! An easy paste made from 1 part vinegar + 1 part salt will do double duty on those extra-tough stains, tarnish and mineral deposits. And that got me wondering: What else can salt clean? As it turns out ... a lot!

cast iron skillet1. I love my cast iron cookware and I’m going to use this method next time I need to deep-clean it: fill the bottom of the pot/pan with oil, heat it up a bit and then add a few tablespoons of coarse salt. This will form a paste, which you can use to scrub-a-dub-dub. Rinse with hot water and then wipe dry.

2. To clean enamel cookware, a paste of equal parts salt and vinegar will do an excellent job.

3. For those burnt crusties on the bottom of pans, apply a sprinkling of salt as soon as you’re finished cooking. This will help the sticky stuff come up later.

4. To deal with extra-greasy pans, add a bit of salt and then use a piece of paper to buff. Follow with a normal wash.

5. Clean oven spills with a mixture of mostly salt and a dash of cinnamon. Keep this mixture on hand so that you can cover spills (both inside and stove top) as soon as they happen. The salt will absorb the liquid and both salt and cinnamon will fight any odors. Wait to cool completely before wiping away with water.

coffee pot6. To clean your automatic coffee maker’s coffee pot, add a few tablespoons of salt to the water and bring the whole thing to a boil.

7. To remove stubborn coffee stains from cups, use a sponge to rub them with a paste made from salt and vinegar. Rinse with water.

8. To shine most metals (steel, silver, gold, pewter), make a paste from equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Use a cloth to rub it on, let it sit for an hour, then rinse with water and wipe dry.

9. Shine up your chrome (sink faucets and other fixtures) with a mixture made from 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Buff with a rag then rinse with water and wipe dry.

10. To shine up copper and brass, take half a lemon, squeeze out the juice, then sprinkle salt inside the rind. Rub this all over the brass/copper, then rinse with water and wipe dry.

11. To remove the tarnish from real silver flatware, put a piece of aluminum foil over the bottom of a pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda, fill with water and drop the silver in. Bring to a boil and watch the magic happen. After 5 minutes or so, remove from the heat and let cool before rinsing.

12. To remove rust from metal, make a paste from salt, cream of tartar and water. Apply the paste and then let the item sit in the sun to dry. Buff clean.

sponges13. Keep your sponges fresher, longer, by soaking them in a saltwater solution after cleaning with them.

14. Clean out your refrigerator with a simple mixture of salt and soda water. It works, and there are no strange smells to infiltrate your food.

15. Buff and brighten your cutting boards once in a while after using them. Just rub with a damp washcloth dipped in salt.

16. To deal with water cup rings or other marks on the surface of your wooden furniture, make a paste of vegetable oil and salt. Use a rag to rub it in, then use a clean rag to wipe it off. This can also work for treating nicks and dents.

17. Treat your carpet stains with a paste of 1/4 cup salt and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Rub it in, allow to dry and then vacuum clean.

18. To treat mildew stains on cloth, make a paste of equal parts salt and lemon juice. Apply this to the stain and then hang in the sun to dry. Follow with normal laundering.

19. Freshen and whiten your faded or yellowed linens by boiling them in a salt and baking soda solution. In a washing tub or large pot, add 5 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Boil for 15 to 30 minutes, then remove and rinse in cold water.

20. Remove soap scum from bathroom tile by scrubbing with a solution of 1 part salt in 4 parts vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp rag.

Sayward Rebhal originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

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Click for photo credits

Photo credits:

Skillet: Karma Shuford/Shutterstock

Coffee pot: Mike Flippo/Shutterstock

Sponges: ANCH/Shutterstock

20 household things you can clean with salt
Add this kitchen mainstay to your arsenal of natural cleaners.