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bobbinhood's avatar

Can you help me defeat the stubbornly clumping salt in my new salt shaker?

Asked by bobbinhood (5898points) January 18th, 2011

My roommate recently received a set of salt and pepper shakers, and salt insists on clumping within a day of being put in the new shaker. We put rice in the shaker and moved it from the stove to the table, but the next morning, it was full of clumps once again. The shaker was not damp before we filled it, so that’s not the problem. It’s not humid here, and none of our other shakers clump at all. I’m beginning to think that we have a sentient salt shaker that hates being shaken, so it gets itself a tiny bit wet when we go to sleep at night in hopes that we will give up on using it.

My main questions are:
Why would the salt in one shaker consistently clump when the rest of the shakers are just fine?
How is it managing to clump so quickly? (I’ve never seen salt clump so quickly, even when it’s super humid.)
Why didn’t the rice help?
How can we get this shaker to work properly?
Is this shaker going to come after us in our sleep if we keep trying to make it be something it never wanted to be?

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7 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You may have to have one half of the shaker full of rice. I had one like that.

crisw's avatar

What is the shaker made of?

john65pennington's avatar

Great remedy is a cracker placed inside the faulty salt shaker. it works.

thorninmud's avatar

I can’t think of a reason that this shaker would be different, but maybe the rice would be more effective if you were to drive all of the moisture out of it before putting it into the shaker. Rice absorbs moisture alright, but if it already contains a lot of moisture that it has soaked up from the air before you put it in the salt, it won’t be as effective at pulling moisture out. I’d try throwing a handful of rice in a very low oven for a few minutes to drive out any moisture, then putting it, still warm, into the shaker. Just a thought.

That’s the way those special moisture absorbing crystals in the “do not eat” packets work. If they’ve been out in the air for awhile, they soak up all the moisture they can hold, and they can be reactivated by drying them in a low oven.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I put a few grains of rice in there and have been clump free ever since….sigh .;)

bobbinhood's avatar

@crisw I think it’s a glazed ceramic, but I’m not really sure.

@Tropical_Willie and @thorninmud We may just try those options. I would mostly like to understand what’s wrong with this shaker, but getting it to work is also a significant objective.

@john65pennington Unfortunately, the shaker is much too small for that. I know it works well, because that’s how we always kept salt and sugar from clumping at camp when summer humidity was at its best.

@lucillelucillelucille Lucky you. Perhaps you could give my shaker a pep talk about how to receive rice. ;)

crisw's avatar


If it’s ceramic- especially if it’s unglazed- it may be absorbing moisture- something glass shakers don’t do.

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