Uses for Salt: Doing the Laundry

White Sea Salt on Tabletop
Did you know salt is an excellent stain remover? Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images

­Salt is a super stain remover on clothing, helps maintain bright colors, and can even eliminate sticky spots on your iron. It can also reduce yellowing in clothes and mildew on shower curtains. This article includes hints on how salt can be used while doing the laundry. We'll start with the care of colors. Please note: None of these tips should be tried with dry-clean-only fabrics.




Keep Colors Colorful

­Salt can help restore vivid colors to your aging fabrics.

Color Bleeding: Add 1/2 cup of salt to the wash cycle to prevent new colored fabrics from running.


Curtains and Rugs: The colors of washable curtains or fiber rugs can be brightened by washing them in a saltwater solution.

Brighten faded rugs with a brisk rub using a cloth dampened with a strong saltwater solution.

Yellowing: Boil yellowed cotton or linen fabrics in a mixture of water, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/4 cup baking soda. Soak the fabric for 1 hour.

Whiten nylon curtains by dissolving Epsom salts in warm water. Let soak 1 hour, then rinse with clear warm water, and hang up to dry.


Ironing and Salt


Ironing is not always a fun task. Salt can make it easier.


Cleaning: An iron with rough or sticky spots on its surface can be cleaned by running it, set at low, over a piece of paper with salt on it.

­Starch: Add a dash of salt to the laundry starch to keep the iron from sticking to clothing. This will also give a smooth finish to linens or fine cottons.


A Guide to Stain Removal

Stains need all the help they can get. Salt is there to lend a hand.

Blood: Soak a blood stain on cotton, linen, or other natural fiber in cold saltwater for 1 hour. Wash using warm water and laundry soap, then boil the fabric in a large kettle of boiling water. Wash again.


­­A fresh blood stain should disappear easily if it is immediately covered with salt and blotted with cold water. Keep adding fresh water and blotting until the stain is gone.

Gravy: Try covering a fresh gravy stain with salt and letting it absorb as much of the grease as possible. A stubborn stain may need a 50/50 solution of ammonia and vinegar dabbed on and blotted until the stain disappears.

Grease: Remove a fresh grease spot on the fabric by covering it with salt. Wait for the salt to absorb the grease, then gently brush the salt away. Repeat until the spot is gone, then launder as usual.

Double-knit fabrics can be a stain challenge when it comes to grease. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to a small dish of ammonia, and dab the mixture directly onto the grease spot. Let sit, then wash as usual.

Ink: Rub salt onto a fresh ink stain on fabric, and soak the fabric overnight in milk. Wash the fabric as usual.

Mildew: Make a thin paste of lemon juice and salt, then spread the paste on mildew stains. Lay the clothing item out in the sun to bleach it, then rinse and dry.

A mixture of salt, vinegar, and water should remove mildew stains on most fabrics. Use up to full-strength vinegar if mildew is extensive.

Prevent mildew growth on shower curtains by soaking them in a bathtub full of saltwater (½ cup salt into the tub). Soak the curtains for several hours, then hang them to dry.

Wine: Remove a wine stain from cotton fabrics by immediately sprinkling stained area with enough salt to soak up liquid. Then soak the fabric for 1 hour in cold water, and launder as usual.

­As you've seen, salt can be a vital asset in the list of laundry ingredients. See what salt can do for you.


Salt Laundry FAQ

Can you wash clothes in salt water?
Yes, you can. Adding salt to your wash cycle helps remove stains and armpit discoloration, and keeps colors bright.
Can salt remove stains from clothes?
Salt is an excellent household cleaner that you can use to remove different kinds of stains, including wine, rust, grease, blood, ink and mildew from your clothing. It’s also great for getting the yellow stains out of the armpits of shirts.
Can you use white vinegar and salt together in laundry?
Yes, vinegar and salt can be used together to remove stains, brighten colors and deodorize the wash load.
What does salt do in laundry starch?
Adding salt to laundry starch can prevent your iron from sticking to clothing, which will help you save time and give your clothes a smoother finish.