5 Life Hacks Possible Through the Scientific Properties of Salt

Salt can solve a whole range of every day problems. “It’s basically magical fairy dust,” is what we’d say if science didn’t exist and the properties of sodium chloride or NaCl hadn’t already been discovered and widely used. However, in case you’re unaware of said properties and would like them explained in context of every day solutions, then you’re in the right place because salt can be used to…

5) Un-Bitter Your Coffee

If you’re wondering why you have to dump six packets of sugar into your coffee or need a ratio of milk flavored with just a few drops of coffee in order to swig it down, it’s probably because you’re brewing your coffee too hot and extracting more of the bitter flavor from the beans. However, the lovely people over at Reactions who make a series of Chemistry Life Hacks videos have pointed out that adding just a pinch of salt into your coffee will release sodium ions that will block the bitter molecules from reaching your tongue. So stop settling for coffee smoothies and grab a cup of perfectly unbitter joe.

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4) Get rid of bad odors

Salt can do everything from getting rid of the fishy smell on your hands to eliminating the burnt smell in ovens to fixing your smelly shoes. There’s a reason why salt is such a great seasoning and preservative. Salt absorbs water moisture because it is an ionic compound with strong attractive forces for the highly polar water molecules. It’s hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs both liquid water and water vapor in the air, which also means it has the power to cancel out the moisture that odor-causing bacteria festers in.

Salt not only protects you from Hocus Pocus witches, but wards off bacteria too.

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3) Clean crud off of pans, counters, floors, and any other surface

Bon Appétit lists scouring your pan with salt as the first step in cast iron skillet maintenance because of salt’s amazing powers of diffusion, aka causing water molecules to evacuate the general area, drying out the remaining food particles on the pan and effectively unsticking it from the surface.

Plus, salt works as a catalyst for other ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, boosting cleaning and deodorizing action.

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2) Lift stains off carpets and fabrics

Remember when we mentioned diffusion earlier? Well the reason why we need salt to dry meats is because it draws out the moisture. Diffusion is the act of water molecules in fluids moving from an area of low concentration to high concentration. So if you spill wine on your carpet or tablecloth, blotting the worst of it and immediately covering the area with salt will draw out the last of the moisture from the fibers because of the water molecules moving towards the salt’s higher concentration.

Diffusion is basically the act of salt soaking up your mistakes.

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1) Cool your beer super fast

Our friends at Reaction have got our backs once more with this tip for making sure your beers are guaranteed frosty double quick before your party guests arrive. Salt significantly reduces water’s freezing point after it’s been dissolved, meaning it blocks the creation of ice crystals, keeping the water freezing cold, but not frozen. That means if you submerge your beer in icy salt water, its surface area is completely incapsulated by glacial temperatures, causing it to cool quicker than when it’s put in the cold air of a fridge or freezer or stuck in with blocks of ice that don’t cover the entire surface of the bottle.

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So stop wasting time and money and stock up on good ‘ol NaCl.