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updated: 7/5/2011 2:05 PM

Keep Epsom salt on hand

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Epsom salt brings thoughts of a relaxing bath. you might pour it directly into your bath water or incorporate it into homemade bath salts or bath bombs. It can be used for more than just soothing aching muscles. How have you used Epsom salt? The Epsom salt council ( shares various suggested tips for your home and garden.

Here are a few additional ways to use this inexpensive product:

Lemonade concentrate: Mix together your own homemade lemonade syrup to enjoy throughout summer. One reader, Brenda from Missouri, shares her recipe: In a pitcher stir 2 ounces citric acid, 1 ounce tartaric acid, 1 ounce Epsom salt, zest and juice of 8 lemons, 5 pounds granulated sugar and 3 pints boiling water. Combine and stir all ingredients together well. Let stand overnight. Strain mixture and then transfer to Mason jars. When ready to mix a drink, add the concentrate to water to taste (about a 1:3 ratio). Optional: Use half lemons and half oranges in recipe.

Homemade tofu: You can make your own tofu and experiment with an emulsifier such as vinegar or Epsom salt until you find your personal preference. Another reader, Durgan from Canada, shares: "First start with some soy milk. I make my own, but I suppose even the store-bought stuff will work. (I have no experience with it.) Here is how I make the soy milk:

"Start with about four cups of soy milk. Heat to about 185 degrees. Just before boiling, add emulsifier to the soy milk and stir. The curds should form immediately. Let cool, and pour into a mold. The tofu will take the shape of the mold. Place a weight on top of the cheesecloth-covered tofu in the mold to remove as much moisture as desired. If storing for several days the tofu should be covered with water. Depending upon the quantity of tofu desired judge the quantity of soy milk accordingly; time about half an hour after having the soy milk.

Emulsifier can be magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), magnesium chloride or calcium sulfate. Dissolve about 2 tablespoons of the Epsom salt (my choice) in hot water. The idea is to utilize as little of the emulsifier as possible and achieve curds -- maybe a bit of trial and error.

Use your imagination on a suitable mold. I chose some items from a kitchen supply store. Cheesecloth is available form most fabric stores." (View a step-by-step pictoral at

Remove splinters: Soak the affected area in warm water and Epsom salt. The salt will help draw out the splinter, so it's easier to remove. This is especially helpful for kids that get small splinters at the playground from mulch or equipment.

Body wash: Cheap shampoo, water and Epsom salt make an excellent body wash. Another reader, Tracy from New York, shares: "Combine 1 cup of Suave shampoo (whichever one smells best to you), cup water and 3 tablespoons Epsom salt together, and whisk it until it's kind of frothy. Pour into a recycled liquid soap container and voila! You have instant body wash at a fraction of the cost!" Epsom salt is wonderful as a skin exfoliant when added to a foot bath, too.

Clean tiles: Mix Epsom salt and dishwashing liquid until you have a paste. Using a scrub brush, scrub onto your kitchen backsplash or bathroom tile and rinse clean with water.

• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or