Picture of How to Make Sea Salt
Making sea salt from saltwater is very easy, although quite time consuming. It's not necessarily cost effective, but it's a lot of fun and a rewarding learning experience.

How much salt are you going to get? I read on one website that the rule of thumb is 5 gallons of seawater to 4 cups of salt, which would mean a 5% salt solution. I did 4 gallon batches, and got between 2.5 and 4 cups per batch, which is a bit of a lower yield. However, my small batch of 2 quarts gave me 1 full cup of salt, which is much higher. So it all depends on the original saltiness of the seawater and the method used to evaporate it, and how careful you are not to lose any salt to the floor in the process (I speak from experience—I lost more than I'd like through careless pouring).

Overall, I processed 16.5 gallons of seawater, and I ended up with over 9 cups of salt. This is a total of about a 3.5% yield by volume of salt from saltwater, but your mileage may vary. I documented my own experience on my blog.

Let's get started!

Step 1: The Gather

Picture of The Gather
The first step is to get yourself a lot of salty seawater. I used 5-gallon buckets with lids, but I've seen others use milk jugs (for smaller batches) and coolers (for larger batches).

Go on a road trip to the nearest saltwater source with your containers. You may want to do some research into the pollution along your coast so you don't end up with dirty water that won't give good salt (and may be very bad for you!). Generally, the farther from civilization, the better.

Gather as much saltwater as you like. The more you get, the longer the process will take, but the more salt you'll end up with.
bj124612 minutes ago

I really want to do this and give as gifts. You site is so informative and easy to follow. Now, I have to get someone to get me some sea water. Thank you so much

Would be great to see our desalination plants in California consider taking some of it's super salty brine, and turn it into this commodity. Seems like a win/win would be in the works here if they did, since the salt concentration would be higher once water is desalinated. Also, instead of pumping the excess out to sea, we then could use some to make a product many could use.

TimW510 months ago

Great instructions! I'm off to the Straits with a few buckets to try this out although the humidity up here in the PacNW might make it a moot point?

TimW510 months ago

Great instructions! I'm off to the Straits with a few buckets to try this out although the humidity up here in the PacNW might make it a moot point?

You are absolutely correct, I wasn't criticizing you...just that words mean things and our society has gotten away from proper use of words. I'm not interested in the 'politically correct' craze that our society recently seemed to accept. Take the catch phrase "ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS" of course it is 'ALL NATURAL' what else could it be but 'ALL NATURAL'. Man has made NOTHING, except waste and other problems. Man may take 'ALL NATURAL' items and assemble something and and call it man-made but that is all, everything is made from something 'ALL NATURAL'. Fresh sea salt probably does have more benefits with other fresh minerals and nutrients, maybe some less desirable from pollution though, which probably have been lost in mined salts. Thank you...good Indestructible!!!
At least no one here called it organic salt.

No this isn't a joke people sell sodium chloride as "organic"
A passive solar stil gets you distilled water and concentrated salt water. I started making habanero salt. Salt the peppers then pound them into the salt
benfarhner (author)  STEVE BONZAI2 years ago
I'm very interested in building a passive solar still for my next batch of sea salt. Zero energy cost, and a usable byproduct!

Habanero salt sounds tasty :)

Thanks for the comment!
ALL salt is actually sea salt!
Rock salt mined from the earth settles out of the ancient sea in layers thus the salt is almost pure sodium chloride.

Sea salt is usually never "pure" (which is it's main selling feature).
benfarhner (author)  sourdoughjoe2 years ago
That may be misleading. Rock salt may also be mined from underground sources—for example, Himalayan pink salt—although this salt, called halite, is technically the result of evaporation just as sea salt is.
ZackBlack2 years ago
A wine filtering system might be good to take out particles from the water. You can get different filters for the setup and rent the machine (for a low cost) from a wine brewing store.

I used one on some "electric cool-aid" wine I made (don't ask :) ) and I used the "smallest" filter I could get. It filtered it so well that it even removed some of the colour.

This would probably be too small for salt water but there are higher and lower grades of filters you can get (they come as pads).
benfarhner (author)  ZackBlack2 years ago
That's a great idea! It'd be interesting to see how fine of a filter you can use on seawater without filtering out any salt.
FrenchFrog2 years ago
Cool! I didn't know you could make homemade sea salt! This will save money:)
oh yea

huge utility bills for gas-electricity and your salt has price of gold
Its a fun project but I suspect that you probably won't be saving money after all the boiling and simmering. But depending or your source water you should have a superior product
jimmyb0nz2 years ago
Great idea, never even thought of doing this. I would have to filter mine for any organics or plankton though. I know it would be safe after the boil but can't stomach even thinking eating ocean floaters. Lots of plastics and junk in there nowadays.
benfarhner (author)  jimmyb0nz2 years ago
Thanks! I'd love to hear your ideas for better filtering too. I'm always open to improvements. Cleaner is better!

My preferred water filter when I go camping. I have a few because they're so affordable. I'm going to use this when i try salt making.
benfarhner (author)  jimmyb0nz2 years ago
Nice! It doesn't mention salt on the list of things it filters out, although it does list "taste." My only concern would be if the salt is not fully dissolved, the water might end up with a lower salinity. It's definitely worth a try though!

I'm all about simple tools, and I love that it's a simple ceramic/silver filter. Good find :)
sunshiine2 years ago
Thanks for sharing! I wished I had a sea source because this is something I would enjoy making! Have a great day!
scoochmaroo2 years ago
Fantastic! I had no idea this could be done at home.