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Of course we are all familiar with salt. It’s the most popular seasoning in the world and vital to life. Who wants fries without it? But besides spicing things up, you might be surprised at the other kitchen tasks it can perform.

Salt can clean almost anything. Its coarseness gives it scrubbing power comparable to popular powdered cleansers. Make a paste by adding a few drops of water and you are armed to do battle with numerous messes. Remove watermark rings left on wood surfaces by moist glasses. Wipe away that burnt food spilled on the stovetop. Degrease your pans and eliminate those brown stains in the coffeepot. And don’t spend a fortune on copper cleaners; this salt rub will make your copper-bottom pans pretty as a new penny.

Simply sprinkling salt can also resolve problems. Did your casserole drip goopy stuff while baking in the oven? Sprinkle it with salt and let dry. It’ll come right off with a spatula. Ever get a rusty ring around the drain of your old porcelain sink? Cut open a lemon and sprinkle a heavy dose of salt on it. Now use it as a scrubber to remove the stain and freshen the bowl. Always struggling to scour cookware with baked-on gunk? Fill ‘em first with salty boiling water.

Want more? After washing your cutting board with soap and water, run a damp cloth with salt over it. The wood will be fresher and brighter. While you’ve got that salty cloth handy, wipe down your silverware, even the good sterling stuff, to remove tarnish. And soak used sponges overnight in a bowl of salty water to bring ‘em back to life.

But it’s not all about cleaning. Sprinkle salt along the door frame to turn ants away. Try a pinch in your coffee, tea, or hot cocoa to make it more savory. Another pinch in your milk carton will delay spoilage. And in your vase it’ll keep cut flowers fresh. Soak nuts in their shells in a salty bath. They’ll open easy and the nut can be removed whole. And, here’s my favorite: wrap that block of cheese in a damp salty paper towel to prevent mold.

And after all your chores are done, should you spill your reward of wine on the tablecloth, no fears; just spread a thick layer of salt on the stain until dry, then rinse in cold water. Cheers!