In looking for ways to minimize the amount of chemicals and junk I bring into my home, I learned of the powers of salt. Apparently simple table salt is a fantastic cleaner. It's cheap, effective, and green! Here are five ways you can use it in your home.

1. You know that bouquet of fake hydrangeas you have on your dining room table? They sure look nice but they collect dust like it's some sort of hobby! Grab the bundle, take it outside, and sprinkle some salt on the pedals. The grains of salt will help collect the dust that your rag can't get to. Then just shake the plant until all the salt (and dust!) falls right off.

2. What if you have a vase of real hydrangeas on your dining room table? We all know you're supposed to replace the water on a daily basis, but sometimes we forget. When your flowers have run their course and you go to clean out the vase, you notice a faint line of grime. There's an easy solution for that. Just throw in a handful of ice cubes and a healthy spoonful of salt. Swirl it around to let the grit of the salt do all the scrub work for you. Then pour it out and wash as usual.

3. Oven spills are my least favorite spills! Cleaning on oven is an awkward task with all that stretching and scrubbing. Next time you have a bubble-over, sprinkle some salt on the spill and it'll absorb the grease for you. Let it sit for a bit and then just wipe it away.

4. My personal favorite: glass. The amount of soap scum that gathers on a shower door is just unreal! I once heard that scrubbing your glass with dry crumbled newspaper would take the scum off. Sad to report that all it did was leave me with black fingers. I decided to give salt a try because, well, why the heck not? It worked like a crystal clear charm! Spray your glass with water and dampen a cloth. Pour some salt on the cloth and scrub the glass. Beautiful.

5. If you're bold, this next tip is for you. Dishwashing. Sprinkle a bit of salt on a dish, the abrasion will help loosen the food. Some say that salt water alone is an effective way to clean your dishes. I'm not that brave. I'd recommend taking it one step further and just using a touch of your favorite dish soap.

Save some money and give a couple of these a shot. Hopefully they'll work like a crystal clear charm for you too!