Everyone simply adores it and, truth be told, a meal would never be the same without it. I was, of course, referring to salt or, as I like to call it the uncrowned king of spices (that’s because salt is not actually a spice nor a condiment, but a mineral). Anyway, no matter how bad the food tastes, a pinch of salt can make all the difference in the world.
Of course, without this wonder mineral, we wouldn’t have yummy stuff like beef jerky, jerk-style chicken or the wondrous pickled meat. Come to think of it; our own body would have a hard time coping with, well, like it didn’t have enough sodium chloride. Lest not forget about the marvelous sayings this mineral inspired such as “take everything with a pinch of salt” or “being the salt of the Earth.”
Entire books and stories could be written on the topic of salt and for a darn good reason. As for the subject at hand, yes, it is true that sodium chloride can be of help in many SHTF situations, and not just for curing meat or making pickled veggies. Because I’m such a big fan of salt and salty stuff (though my doc told me I should use less) I’ve decided to write this wonderful piece on survival uses of salt.
Call it my tribute to the spice that crowns every dish, regardless if it’s a stove-cooked meal or a fancy plateau whipped up by a chef with two Michelin-stars. Now, if you thought that salt’s only useful for brining, pickling or putting taste back into food, you’re dead wrong. After doing a bit of research, I can wholeheartedly say that I’ve stepped into a whole new salt-using dimension. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself. Here are 12 ways salt can save your sorry can a shit hits the fan situation.
Gum-massaging early in the A.M.
Fact check – no matter how hard you try or what toothpaste use, you can never get that great shade of dentist white- that’s mostly because they use stuff like hydrogen peroxide and light-accelerated bleach. Great if you want to get rid of tobacco stains or plaque, but wouldn’t be recommended it in the long-run since all teeth whitening agents are notorious for weakening the enamel.
Anyway, a very quick, easy, and all-out natural way of getting in a couple of shades of white is by using salt in combination with baking soda and your favorite toothpaste. There are many to do this, the most straightforward one being garbling a mixture of water and equal parts baking soda and salt. If you want to make your own teeth-whitening substance, take a bell-glass and add one tablespoon of salt (aim for the fine grain variety) and one tablespoon of baking soda. Put a bit of water on your toothbrush and sprinkle some of this one top. Wash, rinse, and finish off with regular toothpaste. You’re welcome!
Removing clingy stains
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to toss a T-shirt back into the washing machine just because that pesky stain didn’t come off. Leave the washing machine alone! Here’s the prepper’s way of removing any kind of smudge – while the stain’s still fresh, sprinkle some salt over it. Take a paper towel, dip it in water, and start rubbing. After a couple of seconds, you’ll see that the stain is gone. Works for all kind of smudges – ketchup, blood, dirt, mayo, blueberries. If you have chunky salt, you can try throwing one inside the washing machine for extra cleaning power.
Putting out a fire
Sodium chlorine is held in very high regards not just for its food-rejuvenation properties, but also for being a great fire retardant. If you get yourself lost in some neck of the woods and need to put out a fire fast, forget about sand, dirt or water. Just toss a handful of salt, and everything will be over faster than you realize (I was talking about the camping fire, of course).
Making the itch go away
Stung by poison ivy? Can’t resist scratching that mosquito bite? No problem. Just rub a bit of salt on the sore spot, rinse with a bit of water, and it all goes away. By the way, salt and water can also be used for throat soreness – just garble a bit of salted water two or three times a day and you’ll be on your feet before you know it.
Removing fish scales
In an SHTF situation, fishing can become your only food source. Sure, mostly anyone can reel in a fish with the right tools, but removing the scales – now that’s an art. I managed to cut myself more than a few times while attempting to scale a fish. That’s until I’ve learned this nifty trick – fill a bowl with ice-cold water and add two tablespoons of regular salt. Put the fish inside and allow it to soak overnight. When it’s cooking time, take the fish out, give it a good rinse, and peel off the scales (yes, the scales peel off like snakeskin or something).
Preventing candles from dripping
At some point, probably each of you had to wait out a blackout by the light of a candle. Have no problem with using them, especially in cases that call for this sort of approach (wink-wink), but no matter what I do, I can’t seem to stop that irritating hot wax from reaching my pants. So, if you’re a candle-yes, wax-no kind of a person, you may try soaking the candles in salted water. Leave them overnight, take out, rinse, allow to dry, and that’s basically it. You will have noticed that there’s no more dripping. Awesome!
Patching up plaster or sheet-rock walls
Though it’s safer to call in a pro for this kind of job, you can patch them up yourself in the meantime using water, salt, and corn starch. Do keep in mind that this neat trick works only on plaster or sheet-rock walls (wouldn’t try it on carpentry or heavy masonry). Get yourself a bucket, add some water, and equal parts salt and corn starch. Mix until it becomes pasty. Use a trowel to spread the mix over the wax and cover with a thin layer of paint. Easy-peasy!
Dealing with mosquitos and other pests
And because I’ve mentioned something about mosquito stings and itches, here’s a great way to keep them at bay. Get yourself one of those spray cans and pour inside a water and salt mix. Spray yourself with this mix and around your campsite. Works for ants too. On that note, if you want to keep ants outside your tent, draw a thin salt line around the sleeping area. Will keep out ants, bugs, and even mischievous ghosts.
Open wound management
Yes, I know that the last thing you’ll want to do is to put salt on a wound, especially a nasty one, but this is exactly what you will need to do order to keep infection at bay. Put that salt shaker aside, because that’s not how this thing works. Let’s backtrack a bit. Your blood serum contains sodium chloride, which is used to maintain vital organs like the liver, heart, and kidney in working order.
Docs use so-called isotonic salt solutions (sodium chloride concentration equal to that of your blood serum) to flush out wounds and, if necessary, replace lost levels. And because bacteria abhor salt, a water and salt mix is very useful in the treatment of severe wounds. Here’s what you will need to do in order to flush out an open wound in the field: grab a plastic bottle and fill it with clean water. Add a teaspoon of rock salt and shake the bottle until the salt dissolves. Put on the cap and use your survival knife to make a small hole in the middle of the cap. When you’re done removing any debris from the wound, flush it with this saline mixture before applying sterile gauze, clean cloth or anything you have on hand.
Removing nasty smells from shoes
If you’re just like me (thanks mom for the awesome glands!) then you know just how difficult it is to remove nasty smells from your shoes. Tried every footcare products out there – all of them are worth zilch! Do you know what removes pungent smells from your favorite blue suede shoes, apart from not wearing them in the first place? Yup, you’ve guessed it – water and salt. Here’s what you need to do. Dissolve one tablespoon of salt in half a liter of water.
Fill up a spray can with this mix. Spray the inside of your shoes and allow the water to evaporate. You can do the same with new shoes. One other advantage of using salt in footcare – it severely cuts back on blistering. Just use the same solution to spray your soles before wearing those shoes. Might be a good idea to do is if you’re planning on breaking new shoes any time soon.
Whacking driveway weeds
I really lost track of all the times I had to get down on my knees to pick up those f-ing weeds that seem to sprout out of every crack in the driveway. What’s even worse is that, if you wait too long before rooting them out, those things can make a hole in the driveway. So, to prevent those weed from growing, grab a little salt from the kitchen and put some in every crack you see. You should also consider mixing up some mortar to patch up those cracks.
Extend milk’s shelf life
I know that the fridge is milk’s BFF, but even this cookie refrigeration contraption can’t keep milk fresh forever. Nothing can, by the way, but there’s a clever trick that can help you extend the milk’s life by at least a couple of days – putting some salt inside the container. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but salt does have this kick-ass property of preventing milk from getting sour. Just be sure you don’t use too much. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up with something that can hardly be called palatable.
So, that’s about it about using salt in a shit hits the fan situations. I’m aware of the fact that some of tips and tricks I’ve shown can hardly be associated with disasters, natural or otherwise, but hey you don’t need a nuke or EMP to be up your neck in crap. Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed my article on how great salt is (I can never seem to stop praising it). As always, if you feel that something’s missing from the list, be sure to hit the comments section and let me know.
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Call it my tribute to the spice that crowns every dish, regardless if it’s a stove-cooked meal or a fancy plateau whipped up by a chef with two Michelin-stars.