Salt shakers and pepper shakers grace the kitchens of just about every home in the country. We use salt and pepper for cooking, seasoning our food while eating, and occasionally for other household purposes.
Salt and pepper shakers are two of those kitchen items that often get lost in our housecleaning shuffle. We look at them for so long and so frequently, that sometimes we no longer see them at all. We use salt as one of several safe cleaners that come from our kitchens.
Take a good look at your salt and pepper shakers. Is the grease on the outside? Are there smudges and maybe even pieces of hardened-on food, too? Salt and pepper shakers get dirty, and like other household items require cleaning on a regular basis.
Items Needed to Clean Salt Shakers
A few simple items you already have in your kitchen—including safe cleaners—will make cleaning your salt shakers and pepper shakers a breeze. Line them up on your counter, and you’ll be ready for the task.
- Dish soap/dishwasher
- Two small bowls
- Small electric fan
- Bottle brush
- Baking soda
- Dish cloth
- Dish towel
All too often people clean items in their kitchens using unsafe cleaners. Why wouldn’t you insist on using safe cleaners when cleaning things that hold food? Salt and pepper shakers are exactly these types of items.
Dish soap is the only cleaning solution used that isn’t a 100 percent safe cleaner, but compared to most, it is quite safe. Mild dish liquid rinses away thoroughly so no unsafe residue remains.
Cleaning the Shakers
Your first step in cleaning your salt shakers and is to empty out the salt into a small bowl. Set aside. Repeat with the pepper shakers.
Fill your sink with hot water and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Submerge the body of your shakers into the soapy water. If the tops of your shakers are metal, you may submerge them too, but only for a few minutes. Wash the inside of the shaker lids with a dish cloth. Rinse them thoroughly in clean, hot water and set them on a clean dish towel.
Use a bottle brush to thoroughly scrub the inside of each of the shakers. Rinse them thoroughly in hot water and set them upside down onto your dish drying rack.
Once most of the water has dripped from your salt shakers and pepper shakers, hold each up to a window or kitchen light and see how they look. If they are made of glass and still appear filmy, use the following steps.
Fill each of the shakers with hot water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to each of them. The baking soda is a safe cleaner which will fizz and foam for a minute or so. Leave the baking soda and water mixture inside the shakers for about a half hour. Repeat the aforementioned rinsing step and set the shakers back onto your drying rack. After some of the water has dripped off you should see that the film is gone as well.
You may skip some of the prior steps and run your salt shakers and pepper shakers through the dishwasher instead. Check for film when removing them, as even a dishwasher isn’t a guarantee the film will come off in the wash.
Drying the Shakers
Next it’s time to dry your salt shakers and your pepper shakers. The lids are fairly easy to dry, as they’re shallow. Simply work a dry dish towel inside the lid and wipe any water away.
The shakers themselves require a bit more diligence to make sure they’re thoroughly dry. Use a table knife and work the dry dish towel deep inside the shakers, so that the cloth is touching the bottom of each. Turn the knife in a circular motion so the dish towel will dry the inside of each of the shakers.
Refill Your Salt Shakers
Some might believe there’s nothing left to do but refill your salt shakers, but you’re not quite ready for that step yet. Even if you worked that dish towel snugly inside each of the shakers, there’s still some dampness left inside. You have two options to make sure that dampness is gone. You may leave the salt shaker upside down on the dish drying rack for a couple of hours, then turn it right-side up and leave it out in the open for another 24 hours.
Your second option is to turn on a small electric fan and aim it at your salt shakers while they are laid on their sides. This will ensure all the moisture is gone—and in a much timelier manner. Then put the shaker lids by the fan to ascertain their complete dryness.
Now you’re ready to refill your salt shakers. Use a funnel and add the salt you’ve saved in a bowl to the shakers. Pour in extra if they require filling. If you live in a particularly humid climate, you might want to put a fistful of uncooked rice in with the salt. The rice will absorb any moisture caused by humidity, and will prevent the salt from clumping. When it clumps, it is difficult to get it out of the shaker.
Refill Your Pepper Shakers
Follow all the steps used for refilling your salt shakers to fill your pepper shakers as well. Skip the rice, however, as pepper isn’t as affected by humidity as salt.
Now that your salt and pepper shakers are washed, dried, and refilled you’ll enjoy watching them sparkle and shine on your dinner table. Make this part of your monthly housecleaning routine and never get stuck with dirty shakers again.