Friday, May 10, 2013

27 Additional Reasons To Use And Store Salt

Gaye Levy
Activist Post

Reasons You Need Salt in the Prepper Pantry...

One of the very first things I did when I first started prepping was to bolster my pantry with basic staples that could be used for variety of purposes. When it was suggested that I store salt, and lots of it, I was a disbeliever. After all conventional mainstream wisdom had taught be that salt was the bad guy. Or was it?

I made it my mission to determine whether is salt a good thing, a bad thing or simply something best treated as an item to “use in moderation”.

Salt As the Bad Guy

According to the Mayo Clinic, lowering your salt intake can help lower your blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, a recent article in the “New England Journal of Medicine” looked at the potential impact of reducing salt intake.

The report found that if Americans cut their salt intake by 3 grams a day, new cases of heart disease, stroke and heart attack would significantly drop — as would the number of deaths. The authors estimate that these changes could save between $10 billion and $24 billion in health care costs annually. In light of this, many experts are calling on food manufacturers and restaurants to lower the amount of salt in the foods they sell.

But Is That Really True?

On the other hand, salt/sodium is vital to keep our bodies functioning normally. It is a main component of the extracellular fluids in the body and is important for regulating hydration and other body functions such as the transmission of nerve impulses and the contraction and relaxation of muscles. So although I personally have issues when there is too much salt in my diet, I tend to think that the use of salt is an individual thing.

How Much Salt Is Needed For Survival And Why?

For most of us, the amount of salt needed to stay healthy can be found in processed, packaged or canned foods. Let us hope that we have stored enough of these foods – especially the canned items – that we will never need to worry about adding more.

Which leads me to the next point: what are the uses of salt in an emergency situation?

Here are a few off the top of my head:
1. Preserving meat, fish and game that is caught in the wild
2. Providing the nominal amount of dietary sodium once the canned and processed foods are gone
3. Taste enhancement (perhaps this should be number one!)
4. As a natural cleaner
5. First aid & personal care (i.e bee stings,mosquito bites, gargle for sore throats, teeth cleaning)
Having gone most of my adult life avoiding salt, coming to terms with adding salt to my survival pantry was true mind-shift. Not only is there a physiological need for our bodies to ingest salt in one form or another, but there are a multitude of other uses aside from food enhancement and food preservation.

What are some of those uses? This week I am sharing some non-conventional uses of salt compiled by my colleague ‘Above Average’ Joe at


Salt has been an integral part of civilization dating back as far as 6050 B.C. It has been such an important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales and is frequently referenced in fairy tales.

It served as currency at various times and places, and it has even been the cause of bitter warfare. Offering bread and salt to visitors, in many cultures, is traditional etiquette.

Aside from all of the uses that salt performs in terms of baking, food flavor and food preservation, salt has a number of other uses that you may never have thought of.

Remove Rust

Make a paste using 6 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Apply paste to rusted area with a dry cloth and rub. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Perk Up Coffee Flavor

Add a pinch of Salt to the coffee in the basket of your coffeemaker. This will improve the coffee’s flavor by helping to remove some of the acid taste.

Dispose of Disposal Odor

To help remove odors from garbage disposals, pour 1/2 cup of Salt directly into the garbage disposal. By running the disposal following manufacturer’s directions, you’ll send those odors down the drain.

Eliminate Fish Odors

Removing fish odor from your hands is simple with Salt. Just rub your hands with a lemon wedge dipped in salt, then rinse with water.

Cut Cutting Board Odors

To help cut odors off of your wooden cutting board, simply pour a generous amount of Salt directly on the board. Rub lightly with a damp cloth. Wash in warm, sudsy water.

Soothe Sore Throats

To alleviate the discomfort of a mild sore throat, gargle several times daily with a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon Salt and 1/2 cup warm water*. It’s like taking a liquid lozenge.

Treat your Tootsie’s

To prepare a salt water bath, pour 6 quarts (1-1/2 gallons) warm water in a large basin. Mix in 1/4 cup Salt and 1/4 cup baking soda. Soak feet for up to 15 minutes.

Boiling Water

Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time (it does not make the water boil faster).

Testing egg freshness

Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonful’s of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; if it floats, toss it.

Cleaning greasy pans

The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper towels.

Cleaning stained cups

Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.

Save the bottom of your oven

If a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill. It won’t smoke and smell, and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked-on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled.

Fend Off Fire From A Rogue BBQ

Toss a bit of salt on flames from food dripping in barbecue grills to reduce the flames and calm the smoke without cooling the coals (like water does).

Removing pinfeathers

To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.

Preventing mold

To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Keeping milk fresh

Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Scaling fish

Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier.

Non-stick pancakes

Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won’t stick.

Keeping cut flowers fresh

A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Keeping patios weed-free

If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

Killing poison ivy

Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Deodorizing shoes

Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

Relieving bee stings

If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

Deter ants

Sprinkle salt at doorways, window sills and anywhere else ants sneak into your house. Ants don’t like to walk on salt.

Clean teeth

Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda–dip your toothbrush in the mix and brush as usual.

Melt snow and ice

Sprinkle salt on snow or ice to melt away.

Removing soot

Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.

The term “worth one’s weight in salt” means that a person is effective and efficient or deserving of one’s pay.

About Joe

A little about me (‘Above Average’ Joe): I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. .I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I want to welcome you to the Survival Lifecommunity and look forward to growing with you! Thank you, Gaye, for inviting me to share the Survival Life with your readers!

Now granted, some of these uses are handy dandy but not applicable to survival. Still, as Joe has demonstrated, there are a ton of day to day uses for salt that will make our lives easier if not more pleasant.


I checked a number of sources and the consensus is that you should store 5 to 10 pounds of salt per person as a one year supply. This seems like a lot to me but, given that salt is so cheap, there is no harm in stocking some for emergency purposes. And now that I think about it, with so many uses, I would recommend storing a bit more for use as barter currency.

The other thing worth mentioning is that salt is easy to store. You can use Mylar bags, buckets or even re-processed jars or soda bottles. Just remember that you should not use an oxygen absorber because if you do, the salt will turn in to a solid brick!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Read other articles by Gaye Levy here.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye started Backdoor Survival to share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. She considers her sharing of knowledge her way of giving back and as always, we at Activist Post are grateful for her contributions.

If you would like to read more from Gaye Levy, check out her blog at  You can also visit her Facebook page or sign up for updates by email by clicking on Backdoor Survival Updates.


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Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between any real salt (12-18% essential trace minerals by volume), and what many people in the world think is salt (what is left after real salt has all minerals removed - for sale to vitamin companies? - and is BLEACHED). The chlorinated salt is poison, which is why it makes people sick, raises blood pressure, etc., whereas the real salt provides us with minerals that are essential to maintain life. So table salt is poison, and real (unprocessed, natural) salt is something you'd die WITHOUT. Unfortunately, all processed food, and most salt in shakers (restaurants, homes) is the poisonous variety. In some countries, they are now putting FLUORIDE in the salt! (Same kind as put in drinking water supplies, in US - not the raw fluoride, but poisonous kind generated as a toxic waste byproduct of various industrial activities). So YES we all NEED salt, but make it good salt, okay???

Ian R Thorpe said...

The whole "salt is a health risk" thing is massively overstated and grew out of the obession of one British doctor.

Ian R Thorpe said...

After posting when I wanted to preview I'll try again. The massively overstated health risk associated with salt is largely the work of one British doctor and his evidence is shaky at best.

“There’s a view that salt is the root cause of all high blood pressure worldwide and some people religiously hold on to that belief,” said Tony Heagerty, head of the cardiovascular research group at Britain’s Manchester University and a former president of the International Society of Hypertension. “But the evidence for that is actually pretty flimsy.” As Dr. Heagarty says, “If you torture data long enough it will give you the answer you want.”

Read more:

Roth's stepchild said...

It's kind of crazy to think that salt is bad for humans when, after water, it's the second most abundant substance in the human body.
And what Anonymous@12:11 said is true. Make sure you get unprocessed, natural salt.

Anonymous said...

Himalayan salt (rock salt) is an excellent healthy and beneficial replacement for white processed salt.

Anonymous said...

Wow, not ONE mention of natural, healthy, pure SEA SALT (except in comments). Utterly pathetic to promote artificial table salt as "beneficial". A simple Google search would educate people on the toxicity of processed table salt

Himalayan, Celtic, and other pure sea salts do the exact opposite of processed table salt. For one: the latter clogs arteries, the former cleans them.

LAZY and dangerous post!

Anonymous said...

i bought regular salt, hymilaiyan salt, and those big blocks of salt that horses and cows lick, they are cheap and still salt

kim cassidy said...

Your "boiling water" claim doesn't make sense. Could you restate it? I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Thank you, interesting and thought-provoking article. (I have been saving the wrong kind of salt, but am glad to find out now, at least!)

Anonymous said...

Salt and alcohol clean bongs very well. Kosher works best. Both can be purchased at the Dollar Store. Party on Preppers!

Anonymous said...

Adding salt to water when boiling it makes the water hotter but it doesn't make the process of boiling faster. Example, hotter water makes coffee taste better.

Anonymous said...

I forget where this scripture is in the bible but there is a list of things man needs to survive.

We need salt, water, wheat, grapes, iron. There might be one other mineral which I forget at the moment but it's in there.

Check out the Strong's concordance if you want to look this up.

The best bet is to do the opposite of what the medical profession says. They don't know the cause of illness but treat only the symtoms and usually their medicines take years off life.

It's very true, we need salt for basic survival.

Anonymous said...
Redmond Clay has a line of natural salts they call, oddly enough, "REAL SALT"!! This stuff is delicious!! They have various types and grain size.

I got a sample pack of it when I bought some of their clay and wow. I tossed my table salt right then and there. Tons of minerals in their salt. Tastes wonderful. Yeah, and you can't find this stuff in most grocery stores.

Unknown said...

Great that the comments point out what the article doesn't, that the tablessalt purchased in the grocery store can hurt you, while sea salt or Himalayan salt are essential. But what the commentators don't acknowledge is that that cheap grocery store salt can be used for all the items in the article that don't pertain to nutrition. So it's probably best to load up on both. LOL.

Anonymous said...

As others said, no discussion of sea salt vs toxic 'table salt' makes this article ill-informed.

Most problems with salt, aside from toxic processing, come from too much of a good thing. People get addicted to salty foods. Yet some salt is vital.

Another important use for salt: preserving. Vegetables can be fermented in nothing but salt water and stored for extended periods, and this also creates a source of probiotics. Look up fermenting vegetables in brine. It takes only one tablespoon of salt per quart of veggies, and contrary to some recipes, no whey or other materials are required. Very easy to do and delicious!

Lance the Permie said...

Don't forget to add sea solids in your stockpile for fertilizer. Seriously.
Look up SEA-90 and 'Sea Energy Agriculture'...seems counter intuitive but it really works.

Anonymous said...

If you boil ocean water, is that good salt? I live near the beach, and would probably be boiling sea water for drinking water in a home made desalination system. Could I use the salt that's left behind?

Average American Survivor said...

To everyone who pointed out the critical distinction between natural salt (mined, preferably NOT commercially distilled from polluted ocean water--though even that would probably be better than bleached, with its added aluminum ["When It Rains, It Pours!"] and added toxic fluoride) as opposed to common table salt.

To the individual who pointed out that everyone should store both, because many of the uses for salt can be served by sodium chloride (cheap table salt) as long as one does not ingest it directly--for that, you want Redmond's, Celtic, Himalayan, or other mined salt.

To the person asking whether it's okay to boil seawater and save the residue? That's why Gandhi led his followers to the sea in protest of the British salt tax. That's where many ancient peoples acquired their salt, and why it was more expensive the farther one traveled inland (unless to an area where there was a nearby salt mine). But nowadays ocean pollution is a serious issue, mainly with mercury, and now in the Gulf of Mexico and other oil-spill/eruption areas: petroleum and Corexit. Still probably beats bleached table salt in a survival situation, but don't quote me on it. I'm no expert, and I don't know where you live.

And to the bong-cleaning Party On, Preppers! fool, were I you I'd look first to my survival stash of whatever you're smoking. It will probably have greater long-term trade value than your comedic skillset.

As for trade value, if you're storing bulk salt for trade purposes in a crash scenario, along with disposable lighters, cheap booze, tobacco, etc., it might make sense to stock up on both kinds of salt (cheap table AND mined). Some of your customers won't know or care about the difference and will accept the cheaper stuff, others will pay (or trade) at a premium to acquire the non-toxic variety, and the really smart ones will want both for aforestated reasons.

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