Salt is an integral part of our diets. You can find salt in literally anything! When ingested in the right quantities, salt is also essential to our health. Whether it is in your everyday meals, drinks, or whether you put it in your evening baths.
Salt is everywhere! So, it’s natural for you to wonder how safe it is, and whether salt is flammable.
Luckily, we have all of the answers for you. This guide will answer whether salt is dangerous, whether it is flammable and even if it is considered explosive!
For the most part, salt is not considered flammable. It is not a substance that easily catches on fire, and it will not begin to melt until it reaches an extremely high temperature of around 1,470 degrees fahrenheit.
However, there are various different types of salt available, and we use a range of salt in our households and everyday lives. So, let’s examine whether these salts can be dangerous, flammable or catch fire. But, first let’s take a look at what salt actually is.
What Is Salt?
The term salt can be used to describe any chemical compound that is made up of both positively and negatively charged ions. This in turn creates an electrochemically neutral compound. But we are talking about the salt we use every day!
The salt we use is generally referred to as ‘table salt’, which is actually called sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is the scientific name for the chemical compound of sodium and chlorine, which is written in the periodic table as NaCI.
The sodium that makes up this compound is positively charged, whereas the chlorine is negatively charged, which is what makes this compound electrochemically neutral.
Therefore, table salt, or sodium chloride is considered salt in the chemical sense, as mentioned above, as well as referred to as salt colloquially.
Table salt is what we use to season our foods, enhance flavors and preserve foods for longer. It also contains iodine, which is an essential nutrient that we need for our health and wellbeing.
Our bodies physically cannot live without sodium in our diets, as this works to help transmit nerve impulses, and maintain the right fluid balance.
Can Salt Catch Fire?
As we use salt for so many things, you may be wondering whether it is flammable, or poses a fire risk in your home. Well, salt, or sodium chloride does not catch fire easily, as it requires very extreme and high temperatures in order to ignite.
For instance, salt will require a temperature of over 1,470 degrees fahrenheit to ignite or catch fire. That being said, every substance will catch fire and burn if you expose it to temperatures high enough.
But, it is very unlikely that any salt in your home would ever be exposed to such temperatures, and so it will not catch fire.
The reason salt has such a high burning point is because the sodium and chlorine form a very strong bond, which creates a large amount of energy. This bond cannot be broken very easily, unless it is subjected to extreme amounts of heat.
This amount of energy is considerably more than you would ever find in your home, workplace or public space. Therefore, no, salt does not catch fire.
Does Table Salt Catch Fire?
Table salt is just sodium chloride, and so not it will not catch fire, and is not flammable. Most salt will not melt unless it reaches 1,472 degrees fahrenheit, which is over 800 degrees celsius, so it does not burn or ignite very easily at all!
In addition to this it will not boil until it surpasses 2575 degrees fahrenheit, so to catch on fire it would have to get even hotter than that so that the individual chemical elements could get hot enough to break apart.
In everyday life, you would never find salt in those conditions, so there is no need to consider table salt a fire risk or flammable.
What Happens If You Throw Salt On A Fire?
You may have heard that if you throw salt into a fire, a chemical reaction will take place. This is true, as the salt will change the color of the flames when thrown into a fire.
However, this is not because the flames are burning the salt, it is more because the heat of the flames are changing and altering the energy in the electrons found in the salt.
This then releases light photons, which makes us see a change in color. This can change the flames from their initial color to a brighter yellow flame as the salt is thrown into the fire.
Whilst many consider this the salt ‘burning’, once the flames are extinguished and the fire is out, you would see salt residue, and it would not be burnt or melted in any way, but would be intact at the bottom of the fire.
Some people can even extinguish a fire with salt because it does not burn. You would need to have a lot of it, and would have to throw it on top of the flames in order to smother the flames and extinguish the fire by starving it of oxygen.
Can Salt Create Blue Flames?
No, salt cannot create blue flames. As mentioned above, when you add salt to flames, it tends to burn yellow rather than any other color. This is due to the high levels of sodium with burns with a yellow flame.
Can Sea Water Catch Fire?
Due to the high levels of salt in seawater, it is also not flammable. You can even use sea water to put out beach fires as it will not burn. The only reason that sea water is not commonly used to put out fires rather than freshwater is because of the high levels of salt.
This is not because it burns, but because it can cause damage or rust firefighting equipment and other items. Saying that, all water is not flammable, as it is water. Water puts out fires, it doesn’t catch fire, whether it is salty or not!
Can Pink Salt Catch Fire?
Pink salt is pretty much the same as table salt. In terms of chemical compounds, they are exactly the same, and so no, pink salt will not catch fire and it is not flammable. So, don’t worry about using this in relaxing baths with some candles, it will not burn!
Can Iodized Salt Catch Fire?
The same as other types of salt, iodized salt also cannot catch fire, and is not flammable. Whilst this salt contains iodine chloride, it is not easy to break apart these elements, and so it is not flammable.
Can Rock Salt Catch Fire?
Rock salt is also not flammable. It does not catch fire just like other types of salt we use.
Is Salt Explosive?
Nope. Salt is not explosive in the slightest. As stated, it would take so much heat to get it hot enough to melt, let alone burn. It would require extreme temperatures to explode salt.
The only way this would be possible is if you had enough energy or heat to break down the sodium and chlorine until they separate, and then you would be able to ignite them.
Conclusion: Is Heating Up Salt Dangerous?
For the most part, no, heating up salt is not dangerous. This is because it has such a high melting and boiling point that we can use salt safely in our cooking with no problems, no ignition and no broken safety measures.
Salt is incredibly safe to use in your cooking and every day lives, just exercise caution wherever possible.