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Cleaning with Salt

Cleaning is important, but you don't have to expose your family to harsh chemicals to get the job done. Salt is one of the best cleaning agents, and it's found in your kitchen. You can remove stubborn stains, clean coffee pots, and even unclog a drain with salt.

A close look at a couple of miniature toys sweeping the spilled salt.

I’ve been cleaning with salt for years. I began to research traditional cleaning products and learned that they contained chemicals I didn’t want in my home. For a while, I purchased green cleaning products. These were more expensive and didn’t always live up to my expectations.

Eventually, I realized that many of the best cleaning products were household items I had on hand. I discovered salt could tackle many cleaning projects around my home, and I never looked back.

In a post covid world, cleaning has become more of a focus. Disinfecting surfaces and handwashing have taken on new importance. This means that there’s greater exposure to cleaning products, because we are using them more often.

Ironically, bleach and other chemicals used for cleaning can have a negative impact on the respiratory tract, making natural solutions even more important.

Related: Kosher Salt vs. Table Salt | Kosher Salt vs. Sea Salt | Types of Salt | Salt Substitute Options | Salt and Sugar Curing | Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits

The Dangers of Traditional Cleaning Products 

A close look at a cleaner carrying a bucket of cleaning products.

Many cleaning products contain ingredients that can be dangerous for your health. 409 is a well-known all-purpose cleaner.

Take a look at its safety data sheet, and you’ll discover it’s known to cause respiratory irritation when inhaled. Using this type of product releases it into the air, so it’s impossible not to inhale it without respiratory protection.

When it comes to the consequences of long-term exposure or reproductive risk, the datasheet states that no information is available.

An even more well-known cleaner is bleach. It’s found in many household cleaners and is often used on its own as well. It’s known to increase asthma symptoms in those with existing asthma and can induce asthma over time.

As research continues, it’s likely that more issues with cleaning chemicals will be discovered. The good news is that there are natural options that do not have health concerns.

What Can You Clean With Salt 

This is a close look at a couple of lemons and sea salt on a wooden table.

When cleaning with salt, you’ll find many uses around your home. A few items you can clean with salt are:

  • Carpets
  • Coffee pot
  • Burnt pan
  • Floors
  • Counters
  • Wooden furniture
  • Stove spills
  • Clogged drain 

Cleaning Carpet 

A woman cleaning the carpet's red wine stain with salt.

Salt can remove a grease stain or wine stain from your carpet. It can also remove odors and dirt from carpet fibers.

To remove a grease stain, mix one-part salt with four parts rubbing alcohol. Use a damp sponge to scrub the stain.

To remove a wine stain, pour salt on the stain. Let it sit for 20 minutes, or until the stain turns pink. Mix 2/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of vinegar to create a vinegar solution and wipe with a clean cloth to remove the residue.

Ironically, your carpet can also get a salt stains. This often occurs in winter when roads are salted. The road salt is then tracked into the house and onto your carpet.

Use a spray bottle and combine equal parts water and vinegar. Spray on the area and leave for at least 5 minutes. Blot dry with a dry cloth.

Cleaning a Coffee Pot

We are all guilty of it at some point. There’s just a little coffee left in the pot and you forget to turn it off. You end up with coffee sludge stuck in the bottom of your coffee pot.

Salt can make cleaning the pot much easier. Add a cup of crushed ice, a few tablespoons of water, and coarse salt to the pot. The coarse salt will scrub the pot, aided by the abrasiveness of the ice. Just swirl the mixture and rinse once the stains or residue are removed.

Cast Iron or Burnt Pan 

A close look at a bunch of lemon, vinegar, salt and baking soda with sponges.

For a cast iron skillet, just sprinkle salt on it and wipe with a damp cloth.

Have a burnt pan? You don’t have to toss it. Instead, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of salt into the pan. Add enough vinegar to cover the bottom of the pan. Add 4 tablespoons of baking soda and place the pan on the stove on low heat.

Heat it until the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and rinse with water. If needed, wash with dish detergent. The residue should wipe off easily.


To clean floors, add 1/4 cup of salt to 1 liter of water to create a salt solution. For heavily soiled or stained floors, you can add lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda to the mix.

Once you’ve created the cleaning solution, use a microfiber mop to mop the floor.

Just like carpets, road salt can create salt stains on your hard floors. To remove the salt residue from the floor, add one cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Use a microfiber mop to remove the salt residue and dry with a clean cloth.

Counters and Sinks 

This is a close look at slices of lemon and sea salt.

The antibacterial properties of salt make it excellent for cleaning countertops. For stubborn stains, sprinkle sea salt on the countertop. Cut a lemon in half and use it to scrub the stain. Rinse with a solution of vinegar and water.

This is effective for any type of counter surface other than marble, which is a more delicate surface. It also works well for cleaning wooden cutting boards or butcher blocks.

To give your sink a like new shine, mix salt with lemon juice and give it a scrub. Then rinse with warm water.

If you are concerned about bacteria, a mixture of equal parts vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. In addition to using it to clean your countertops, it can be used as a fruit and vegetable wash.

You can also go high-tech and use a solution registered with the EPA to kill 99.9% of bacteria, including COVID-19, flu, and staph. The product is Force of Nature. It’s a kit that uses a mixture of vinegar, table salt, and water. The machine electrifies the cleaning solution, making it just as effective as bleach but completely safe.

Wooden Furniture

No matter how often you warn your family to use a coaster, you are bound to end up with water stains on your coffee table. Mix salt with a little water to make a paste. Rub it on the stain. Then wipe with a soft dry cloth to remove the stain. The salt will absorb the water that caused the stain. It does remove furniture polish as well, so it’s wise to reapply after cleaning. 

Stove Spills 

A woman cleaning the cooking area.

Salt makes quick work of stovetop spills. When you spill liquid on your stovetop, sprinkle salt on it while it’s still wet. This prevents it from drying into a difficult-to-remove mess as it cools. Once it’s cooled, take a clean cloth and wipe the spill away. 

Clogged Sink

Before you reach for a drain cleaner, use a salt solution to remove a clog. Add equal parts salt and baking soda, one cup of each. Then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let it sit for 15 minutes then add a pot of boiling water to the drain. If the clog isn’t completely cleared, repeat the process.

Cleaning a Salt Cell

If you own a salt pool, eventually you’ll need to clean the salt cell, also known as the salt chlorinator. Over time, the salt plate develops calcium buildup.

The easiest way to remove the buildup is to use cold water with a pressure washer. The high pressure can remove light residue. For tougher jobs, you’ll need muriatic acid. You’ll add one cup of muriatic acid to one gallon of warm water. Let it soak for 15 minutes. Once it’s clean, simply rinse the clean salt cell.


Does cleaning with salt work?

Salt is an amazing cleaner. Depending on the application, combine it with lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, or water for extra cleaning power. 

Can you sanitize with salt?

Salt is a natural sanitizer because it dries up bacteria. However, it’s important to know that some bacteria are salt resistant. These bacteria can’t be killed with salt. 

Can salt and water be used as a cleaner?

Yes. Salt and water can be used as a mild cleaner for countertops, sinks, and other areas. 

Should you wash your face with salt?

Yes. Washing your face with salt can remove dirt and bacteria. Using coarse sea salt exfoliates as well. You can also mix salt with warm water. Place it in a spray bottle and spray on your face as a facial cleanser. 

What happens when you put a bowl of salt under your bed?

Many religious traditions believe that salt absorbs negativity. It’s said to clean energetically as well as physically. When you put salt under your bed, it’s supposed to remove any negative energy from the space.