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Salt and its Uses

Salt and its Uses


To make a fortune and a lot of money, you should find something that is easily and freely available in nature and make something useful from it. Salt is one of the materials that is available in nature and can be purchased at a very low price. In most areas within the United States, you can purchase large amounts of salt and have it delivered to you for as low as 2 cents per pound. That is a great motivational factor for chemists who are trying to make various things from salt. As a result, salt has thousands of uses and is used in making thousands of other products.

Table salt or sodium chloride is a colorless, transparent crystal or white powder. In the United States, deposits of salt are found naturally in central New York, southern Michigan, Great Salt Lake, Newfoundland and golf coasts. Many salt deposits are naturally pure or have a high concentration of salt (90 to 99%).

Salt can also be extracted from sea water during the process of evaporation.

The most widely known usage of salt are for food seasoning and snow or ice melting. Today up to 20 million ton of salt is annually spread on the nation’s roads. That’s 61 percent of U.S. salt usage–at a cost of $479 million.

Salt has other industrial, medical and scientific uses that are also the subject of this project.


This project guide contains information that you need in order to start your project. If you have any questions or need more support about this project, click on the “Ask Question” button on the top of this page to send me a message.

If you are new in doing science project, click on “How to Start” in the main page. There you will find helpful links that describe different types of science projects, scientific method, variables, hypothesis, graph, abstract and all other general basics that you need to know.

Project advisor

Adult supervision and help is required in this project.

Information Gathering:

Find out about salt and it’s uses. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn how other products can be made from salt. Keep track of where you got your information from.

To find uses of salt, you may start by looking in an encyclopedia or a chemical dictionary. A chemical dictionary shows the following usages for salt:

  • Chemical manufacturing: Salt is used to make chemicals such as Sodium Hydroxide, Soda Ash, Hydrochloric Acid, Chlorine, and Metallic Sodium
  • Ceramic Glazes
  • Metallurgy
  • Curing of hides
  • Food preservative
  • Mineral waters
  • Soap manufacturing
  • Home water softener
  • Highway deicing
  • Regeneration of ion-exchange resins
  • Photography
  • Food seasoning
  • Herbicide
  • Fire extinguishing
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Mouthwash
  • Medicine (heat exhaustion)
  • Salting out dyestuff
  • Super cooled solutions
  • Spectroscopy
  • Ultraviolet and infrared transmission.

Although this list seems overwhelming, it is only a list of the most important usages of salt. Experience shows that a dictionary does not list all details and we expect to find more applications as we continue our research.

Question/ Purpose:

What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.

The purpose of this project is to explore and learn about the use of salt in reducing the temperature of an ice – water mixture. We will also try to use an ice-water-salt mixture to make a super cooled solution using salt.

Our specific question is: How does the amount of salt affect the temperature of an ice-water mixture.

Identify Variables:

When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.
  • The independent variable is the amount of salt.
  • The dependent variable is the lowest temperature of the ice-water-salt mixture.
  • Constants are the size of cups, the amount of ice and water, and the experiment method.
  • The controlled variable is the room temperature. All tests will be performed at the same time and at the same room temperature.


Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis. This is a sample hypothesis:

As you increase the amount of salt in an ice water mixture the temperature will drop. The reduction in temperature will continue until no more salt can be dissolved.

Since the solubility of salt is about 36g/100cc water at 20C (68F), we expect to get the coolest solution when maximum salt is in solution.
This solubility rate is extracted from a salt material safety data sheet located at:


Experiment Design:

Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.”

Experiment 1: (Making a super cool solution)

Introduction: One time I saw an ice cream cart and noticed that the man was using milk and sugar to make ice cream. He had no freezer, no refrigerator and no electricity what so ever. I started wondering how he was going to make ice cream in such hot weather, under the sun, with no cooling device? Curiously I stood there and watched the procedure. He filled up the ice cream pot with milk and sugar, placed the pot inside a wooden barrel and filled the space between the ice cream pot and the barrel with crushed ice. Then he started putting lots of salt on the crushed ice and stirring the pot. It took about 10 minutes and then I saw a layer of ice cream forming on the walls of the ice cream pot. Later I learned that salt and ice can make a super cool solution and that is why the man was adding salt to the ice. In this project we will experiment making a super cool solution and then measure to see how cold can it get.

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Material: You will need the following material and equipment:

  • Styrofoam cups with known volume for example 250 cc
  • Thermometer for the range of -30C to +100C
  • Ice cubes
  • Water
  • Small scale
  • Salt


  1. Fill up 10 cups to half with ice cubes or crushed ice, then add cold water to the level of the ice. Mix the ice water without adding any salt and record the temperature. Number the cups from 0 to 9
  2. Do not add any salt to the cup number 0. This will be your control.
  3. Add 1 gram salt to the cup number 1,
    add 2 grams salt to the cup number 2,
    add 3 grams salt to the cup number 3,
    add 4 grams salt to the cup number 4,
    add 5 grams salt to the cup number 5,
    add 6 grams salt to the cup number 6,
    add 7 grams salt to the cup number 7,
    add 8 grams salt to the cup number 8,
    add 9 grams salt to the cup number 9.
  4. Stir all cups for one minute.
  5. Read and record the temperature of each cup.
    Record your results in table like this:
 Total amount of salt in grams The temperature of solution
 0  0
To see a better result, you may add 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 grams of salt to the cups number 1 to 8.


What is the lowest temperature of the salt-Ice-water mixture?

Can it be used to freeze water, make ice or ice-cream? To find out you can do a simple test. To start read your thermometer at room temperature. Then insert it in to a cup of ice and read the temperature. Finally add some salt to the ice and check the temperature again

Room temperature Thermometer after inserting in ice for 3 seconds Thermometer after adding salt to the ice.

The thermometer shows that the temperature of salted ice is a freezing temperature for water (-18ºC).
Add about 5 milliliters of water to a test tube. Insert the tube in the salted crushed ice and inspect it every 30 seconds.

If you don’t have any glass or plastic test tubes, you may use any similar container that can hold some water and you should get the same result.

If you use milk and sugar instead of water, you may as well make some ice-cream.

In our observation, a layer of ice formed in the test tube in about 60 seconds. The inner walls of the test tube and the surface of the water started to freeze first. So the ice was being formed from the outside to the inside.

In about 2 minutes about 95% of the water was frozen.

The water was fully frozen in about 3 minutes.
This picture shows an up side down test tube with ice in it.

Experiment 2: (Using salt in soap manufacturing)

Soap is made by a chemical reaction between animal fat or vegetable oil and caustic soda. When the reaction is completed, the product is a solution of soap and glycerin in water. Salt is used to separate soap from this solution. The purpose of this experiment is to see how salt can separate soap from a soap solution. You can do this experiment in a cup or in a steel pot.

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Since making soap is not one of the objectives of our experiment, we make a soap solution by dissolving some soap in hot water. Soap can be grinded first to simplify dissolving it in water.

Place some soap or grinded soap in a cup of hot water. Stir it for about one minute to make the soap solution. Remove any excess unresolved soap.

While the solution is still hot, add ½ spoon salt and stir the solution. Soap is soluble in water but it is not soluble in salt water. So when you add salt, you are converting the water to salt water and therefore the soap will separate.
Solid soap will usually rise and come to the top of the water. It can then be separated with a spoon or by passing the mixture through a sieve or filter paper.

Separated soap will still contain some water that can be separated using a filter press.
Soap makers will dry such soap to make soap bars.

A More Advanced Experiment

Additional Question/purpose: While doing this experiment, you may also want to find out “How much salt is required to separate soap from water?”. This can be a question for your project.

Two sample Hypothesis for this question:

  • Since the maximum amount of salt that you can dissolve in 100 grams of water, is 35 grams. So we need 35 grams of salt for each 100 grams of water in order to separate all the dissolved soap.
  • About 3% salt is enough to separate the soap. My hypothesis is based on my observations that soap does not dissolve in sea water and sea water contains about 3% salt.

Material: In addition to the soap, water, salt and cups for this experiment, you will also need a gram scale (a scale that can measure in grams) and a graduated cylinder to measure milliliters. You will also need filter papers or cheese cloths to separate soap from the solution.


Label 10 cups with numbers from 1 to 10. These numbers will also represent the amount of salt (in grams) that you will add to these cups. Use a gram scale to weigh and place appropriate number of grams of salt in each cup. (For example the cup number 4 will receive 4 grams of salt.) Add 50 ml hot water to each cup. Stir the salts until they dissolve.

Number 10 other cups from 1 to 10. Place 10 grams of grinded soap in each cup. Add 250 ml hot water to each cup. Stir all the cups very slowly with a spoon until the soaps dissolve.

While the soap cups are still warm, add the contents of salt cup number 1 to the soap cup number 1. Repeat the same with all other cups until you add the contents of salt cup number 10 to the soap cup number 10. After adding salt, stir each soap cup for about 30 seconds and then start filtering as described below.

Use a cheese cloth or filter paper to separate the solid soap of each cup. Let them dry for two days. Make sure to keep the dry contents of each cup separate and maintain a label that shows the cup number next to each drying soap.

After two days weigh the extracted dried soaps and record them in your results table like this:

Trial# or Cup# Total amount of water Amount of soap Amount of salt Extracted soap
1 300 ml 10 grams 1 gram
2 300 ml 10 grams 2 grams
3 300 ml 10 grams 3 grams
4 300 ml 10 grams 4 grams
5 300 ml 10 grams 5 grams
6 300 ml 10 grams 6 grams
7 300 ml 10 grams 7 grams
8 300 ml 10 grams 8 grams
9 300 ml 10 grams 9 grams
10 300 ml 10 grams 10 grams

As you see in the above table, total amount of water in each cup has been 300 ml. This includes 250 ml water used to dissolve the soap and 50 ml water used to dissolve the salt.


  • ml = milliliter = cc = cubic centimeter
  • 1 ml pure water weights 1 gram
  • You may expand your experiment and have 20 trials (20 sets of cups) and try additional amounts of salt from 11 grams up to 20 grams
  • You may do the same experiment and only add 150 ml water to the soap cups, in this way total amount of water will only be 200 ml in each cup.

Make a graph:

You can later use the last two columns of your results table to draw a line graph. Your graph will show a relation between the amount of salt and the amount of soap that may be extracted for each amount of salt. (Make sure to read the link about making a graph in the “How to Start” section.

Materials and Equipment:

List of materials can be extracted from the experiment section.

You can use any solid soap bar for the experiment number 2. You may also use tap water or drinking water. There is no need to use distilled water for this experiment.

Results of Experiment (Observation):

Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.


If you do any calculations, write your calculations in this section of your report.

Summery of Results:

Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.

It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.


Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.

Related Questions & Answers:

What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.

Possible Errors:

If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.

If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.


List of References


Additional Uses of the salt

Boiling Water: Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature and therefore reducing the cooking time. (It does not make the water boil faster.)

Peeling eggs:
Boiling eggs in salted water will make the eggs peel easily.

Poaching eggs:
Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the eggs whites.

Testing egg freshness:
Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

Preventing browning:
Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Washing spinach:
If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.

Preventing sugaring:
A little salt added to cake icings prevent them from sugaring.

Crisping salads:
Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp.

Extinguishing grease fires:
Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.

Improving coffee:
A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavour and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.

Improving poultry:
To improve the flavour of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.

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

Removing onion odors from hands:
Rub fingers with salt before washing.

“Sweetening” containers:
Salt can “sweeten” and deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Fixing oversalted soups:
If soup has been oversalted, cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.

Cleaning dried-on egg:
Salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes “eggy” dishes clean easier. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, foods will not stick.

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

Whipping cream and beating egg whites:
By adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster an higher.

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

Setting gelatin:
To set gelatin salads and dessert quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt.

Cooking grease:
Add a pinch of salt to the pan to prevent the cooking grease to spring.

Add a pinch of salt to the pancakes to remove the fatty “taste of paste”

When roasting onion rings add a pinch of salt to improve the taste.

If adding of salt to the paste has been forgotten, it can be solved by adding saltwater to the paste.


Cleaning brass:
Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, rub the paste on the brass item, leave on for an hour or so, then clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.

Cleaning greasy pans:
The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you put a little salt in it and wipe with paper.

Cleaning tarnished silverware:
Rub tarnish with salt before washing.

Cleaning copper pans:
Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning coffee pots:
Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Cleaning sink drains:
Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odours and keep grease from building up.

Brightening cutting boards:
After washing the with soap and water, rub bread and cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.

Cleaning wicker:
To prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater an allow to dry in the sun.

Cleaning grease spots on rugs:
Some grease spots can be removed with a solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol and rubbing hard but carefully to avoid damage to the nap.

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

Cleaning ovens:
Salt and cinnamon take the “burned food” odor away from ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

Cleaning refrigerators:
Salt and soda water will clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator. It will not scratch enamel either.

Extending broom life:
New brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater before they are first used.

Removing wine stains:
If wine is spilled on a tablecloth or rug, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover wine with salt, which will absorb the remaining wine. Later rinse the tablecloth with cold water; scrape up the salt from the rug and then vacuum the spot.

Removing rings from tables:
White rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes or glasses can be removed by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot with your fingers, letting it sand an hour or two, then wiping it off.

Restoring sponges:
Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.

Settling suds:
If a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle salt on the suds to remove them.

Brightening colours:
Wash coloured curtains or washable fibre rugs in a saltwater solution to brighten the colours. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.

Removing perspiration stains:
Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains disappear.

Brightening yellowed cottons or linens:
Boil the yellowed items for one hour in a salt and baking soda solution.

Removing blood stains:
Soak the stained clothing or other cloth item in cold saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. (Use only on cotton, linen or other natural fibres that can take high heat.)

Removing mildew or rust stains:
Moisten stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching; and finally, rinse and dry.

Colour-matching nylons:
Good nylons that don’t have a match can be made the same colour by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.

Fixing sticking iron:
Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.

Nicotine stains:
Nicotine stains on ash trays can be removed by rubbing with heated salt.

Milk stains:
Mix 6 part water, 2 part “household ammonia” and a pinch of salt, and remove the stains with a soft cloth.

Coffee stains:
Fresh coffee stains can be removed with saltwater.

Cleaning flower vases:
To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

If the dishes has been left uncleaned for too long, dried stains can be loosen with a wetted soft cloth dipped in salt.

Crystal glasses:
Add a handful salt and some vinegar to the dishwater and the glasses will shine.

Cleaning fish tanks:
Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not iodised, salt.

Silverspoons and -forks:
When having eaten eggs, silverspoons and -forks tend to blacken. Rub them with salt and the black spots disappear immediately.

Clean it with turpentine with a tablespoon of salt, and it will whiten up.

Rinse with a heavy solution of saltwater with vinegar.

Health & Beauty:

Sore throats:
Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a gargle for sore throats.

Cleaning teeth:
Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverising the salt in a blender or rolling it on at kitchen board with a tumbler before mixing. It whitens teeth, helps remove plaque and it is healthy for the gums.

Washing mouth:
Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda as a mouth wash that sweetens the breath.

Bathing eyes:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to bath tired eyes.

Reducing eye puffiness:
Mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.

Relieving tired feet:
Soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt has been added. Rinse in cool water.

Relieving bee stings:
If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

Treating mosquito and chigger bites:
Soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture of lard and salt.

Treating poison ivy:
Soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten the end to poison ivy irritation.

Relieving fatigue:
Soak relaxed for at least ten minutes in a tub of water into which several handfuls of salt has been placed.

Removing dry skin:
After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.

Applying facial:
For a stimulating facial, mix equal parts of slat and olive oil and gently massage the face and throat with long upward and inward strokes. Remove mixture after five minutes and wash face.

Hang -overs:
The alcohol ruins the salt balance of the body. To restore the balance, drink a glass of boiled, (lukewarm) water with a teaspoonful salt.

Other uses:

Extinguishing grease fires:
Keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt. Do not use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease. Also a handful of salt thrown on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.

Drip-proofing candles:
Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for at few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.

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.

Invigorating goldfish:
Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier

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

Holding artificial flowers:
Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place.

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.

Keeping windows frost-free:
Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car’s windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.

De-icing sidewalks and driveways:
Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easy removal. Don’t overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass and ornamentals.

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