A sprinkle of advice that’s worth its salt

By Joanne Loos Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

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While at my sister-in-law’s house recently, my niece came running into the room with a huge grass stain on her shirt. Her mother asked her to change her clothes and bring her the shirt.

Soon, she was creating a quick mixture to remove the stain. Her secret ingredient? Epsom salt. She told me how she always keeps plenty on hand because of the many things it can do.

I am a sucker for ingredients that can serve multiple purposes, so I vowed to stock plenty of the ingredient in my own kitchen. I’m glad I did. Epsom salt, which is another name for magnesium sulfate, is a natural mineral compound that people have been using for years in their laundry, beauty regimens, gardens and more.

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Here are some top uses for Epsom salt at home:

Laundry: Remove detergent build-up by filling your washing machine with hot water, 1 quart of white vinegar and 1 cup of Epsom salt. Allow the machine to mix the ingredients and then let it soak for one hour before completing the cycle.

Kitchen: Scrub pots and pans. Add a teaspoon or so to the bottom of the pan. Then, add warm water and scrub and you normally would. The salt will help to break up any caked-on or burnt food on the surfaces.

Sink: Soap up. Mix Epsom salt with baby oil in equal parts and store in a bottle. The mixture will clean, soften and moisturize your hands with every use.

Floor: Clean tile and grout. Mix equal parts Epsom salt and liquid dish soap. Apply the mixture to the surface and let it soak for two minutes. Scrub thoroughly and rinse.

Garden: The Epsom Salt Council credits the magnesium and sulfur in Epsom salt for helping plants to grow greener, with higher yields and more blooms. The magnesium helps the plants to increase chlorophyll production, and the sulfur can help to produce vitamins, they say.

The Epsom Salt Council recommends sprinkling 1 cup of Epsom salt over 100 square feet of soil and mixing it in before planting. However, they also warn that Epsom salt should not be used for sage, which does not like the ingredient. For house plants, they recommend adding 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water and feeding it to the plants once per month.

Have a question for Joanne? Email her at thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.