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5 Reasons to Hoard Salt Packets in Your Desk

When you get delivery or takeout from your favorite restaurant on the job, chances are you’ll get, along with your plastic cutlery, a handful of tiny paper packets of salt. If food needs it, we typically use one or two of these, and tend to throw the rest out. But why waste salt when it’s so useful? After all, to the ancient Romans and West Africans, salt was worth its weight in gold, and it still can be. Here are five ways you can put your salt packets to work at work.

Sore Throats

One of the worst everyday workplace miseries has got to be a sore throat. Talking only makes it worse, so for many people the most basic parts of their job become painful, and a sharp pain with every swallow is a recipe for misery. The Mayo Clinic recommends dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, gargling, and spitting for on-the-spot relief. Through rigorous experimentation, SmartAsset has determined that 12 to 15 standard salt packets equal one teaspoon, so keep these equivalencies in mind for other uses.

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Paper Cut Stains

Compounding the minor suffering of a paper cut–another workplace hazard that can ruin your whole day–is getting blood on a clean and pressed piece of clothing. Hemoglobin, the stuff that makes blood red, is a protein; and sodium chloride is really good at denaturing, or breaking down, proteins. If your bloodstain is fresh, wet the stain with cold water, sprinkle salt on it, and gently rub the salt on the stain.  If possible, rinse with cold water. Note that a dried bloodstain is much harder to remove.

Bad Breath

Have you ever had the misfortune of being delayed getting to a meeting and finding the only bagel left is garlic and onion? With some salt on hand you don’t have to choose between going hungry with fresh breath or noshing on that bagel and repulsing everyone you talk to.

Getting your mouth to clean up its act is as easy as gargling warm salty water. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in half a cup of water, rinse, and spit in order to destroy odorous bacteria. Remember that salt on a piece of cloth was an early “toothbrush” during the Renaissance in Europe.

Beverage Stains in a Mug

It’s your lucky mug, you drink coffee or tea out of it every day–and it’s disgustingly stained as a consequence. If those dark patches don’t come out of the ceramic, pour a small amount of water into your prized mug, add enough salt packets to make a paste, and scrub with a paper towel until it shines, then rinse. Good as new!

Using on Future Meals

This one is the most obvious–what could be worse than getting undersalted chicken salad or French fries and finding out that this is the one time the delivery guy forgot the salt packets? One reason Roman legionnaires kept salt on hand was to make sure their traveling rations–designed to last, not to taste good–would always be somewhat palatable. Be as prepared as they were.

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Photo Credit: xpkranger

Alex Silady Alex is a graduate of New York University's journalism school. He has penned and edited articles, features and videos for news, politics and entertainment websites, both in the US and abroad. His specialties are archival research and the history of finance. His areas of expertise include home buying, small businesses and banking. Alex's hobbies include video games, especially RPGs, and following NHL hockey.
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