Uses for Salt: Outdoor Projects and Activities

By: Christine Halvorson

Salt can be used in many wonderful ways outside your home. Salt is a great alternative to toxic chemicals for controlling weeds and pests in your yard. This article includes tips on how you can use salt for various outdoor projects, from controlling pests away from your garden to a de-icer on windows in winter climates, and for maintenance activities. Let's begin with how salt can be helpful in the garden.


Great Gardening


Poison ivy: A strong solution of saltwater can kill an area infested with poison ivy plants. Mix 3 pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water. Apply this mixture to the leaves and stems of poison ivy plants using a garden sprayer.

Weeds: Boil 1 quart of water, then add 2 tablespoons of salt and 5 tablespoons of vinegar. While its still hot, pour the mixture directly onto the weeds between the cracks on sidewalks and driveways.

Ants: Sprinkle ordinary table salt in areas where ants congregate to help deter them.

Cabbageworms: Cabbageworms frequently attack garden cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower. To control them, dust the leaves of these vegetables with a mixture of 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt. Use this dusting powder in the morning or evening when plants are damp with dew. 

Moths: Sprinkle salt directly on a moth to kill it.

Slugs: Sprinkle slugs with a heavy does of salt to kill them. Wait 5 minutes, then sprinkle them again.


Camping Gear

Salt can play a role in the care of camping gear.

Canvas: If a canvas bag or any bags develop a musty smell, deodorize them by sprinkling salt on the inside, zipping up the bag, and letting it sit overnight. Remove the salt in the morning, then allow the bag to air out.

Rust: If rust develops on bike handlebars or tire rims, clean it away by making a paste of 6 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Apply the paste to the rusted areas with a dry cloth, then rub, rinse, and dry the area thoroughly.


Care for Your Car

Salt is one of those items you should carry in case you need it while you're driving.

Oil spills: If you accidentally spill oil onto your garage floor, sprinkle salt on it and wait 15 minutes. The salt will help soak up some of the liquid and make cleaning easier.

Windshields: Avoid frosted car windows on a cold morning by rubbing them in the evening with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution. Make the solution by adding 2 tablespoons of salt to 2 cups of water.

Another option is to fill a small cloth bag or folded scrap of cloth with salt, and hold it securely closed. Dampen the bag with water, then rub it on the outside of the windshield to keep the snow and ice from adhering.

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