One of the most consumed grains across the globe, rice is a nutritional staple with many benefits. The grain is low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol and full of energy-creating carbohydrates—and it’s inexpensive. According to Statista, China, India, and Vietnam combined find more uses for rice than the rest of the world, consuming over 333,000 metric tons per year!
While the U.S. and Canada don’t even crack the top ten countries for rice consumption, we still love our rice. What do we use rice for? Just about every type of cuisine you can imagine, from Southern style to the Mediterranean. But believe it or not, rice isn’t just used as food. It’s also used for practical everyday things. Check out these ten creative uses of rice for cleaning, dehumidifying, and even sharpening.
- Fight Odors
One of the best uses for rice is fighting unpleasant aromas, especially in small spaces. Fill a jar with rice and sprinkle in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Cover the opening with a breathable fabric secured with a rubber band. These little jars of pleasing aromas work great in the laundry room, closets, bathrooms, and even near litter boxes!
- Keep Salt Dry
Because salt absorbs moisture, high humidity and other conditions can cause it to clump and not sprinkle easily. Remove the lid and wipe away clumped salt and any residue. Add a teaspoon of rice, replace the cap, and give the salt and rice a good shake. Now the rice will absorb the moisture, and the dry salt will flow freely.
- Make a Pet Toy
Take an old sock, fill it with rice and catnip, and seal the open end with a knot, hair tie, or a quick stitch. Your cat will get some exercise as it enjoys the sights and scents, and you’ll get some entertainment.
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- Clean Small-Necked Bottles and Vases
Instead of letting those narrow necks keep you from cleaning vases and bottles, use rice to tackle the dirty work. Take two tablespoons of rice and enough warm water to fill the vase about ¾ full. Let the concoction sit for 10 minutes, and then give the vase several good shakes to let the rice and starchy water scrub away dirt.
- Sharpen Grinding Blades
If your coffee or spice grinder has seen sharper days, run a batch of rice through it. The rice will absorb most of the build-up, particularly in those hard-to-reach areas. Instant rice seems to work particularly well with this. Just make sure you rinse and remove all the rice residue before your next grinding task.
- Fix Your Phone
If your handheld technology meets a watery foe (the toilet? Again?), remove the battery if possible and bury the phone in rice for at least 24 hours. Important: To give survival a decent chance, avoid turning it on until you’ve given it at least 24 hours to dry itself out.
- Quickly Ripen Fruit
When unripe avocados are dashing your dreams of guacamole, throw them in a container of rice to speed up their ripening timeline. A bowl of rice will also turn green bananas full and ripe faster than if you hang them. And there’s no need to throw the rice out when you’re done.
- Use Rice Water to Scrub Pots, Faucets, and Faces
Save the rinse water when you prepare rice and use it to scrub cookware, faucets, and other metal items with buildup. The mild abrasiveness of the starch is even gentle enough for your face!
After rinsing the rice once to remove dirt, rinse again and save the water in a separate bowl. Splash the water on your face five or six times, and then rinse your face thoroughly with cold water. Pat dry and enjoy fresher and smoother skin naturally.
- Make a DIY Heating and Cooling Pad
Make a sealed pouch filled with rice and heat it in the microwave. Whether you sew your own satchel or use one of your mismatched socks, make sure it’s made with natural fabrics like wool or cotton. Rice will hold heat for up to an hour and will easily conform to the shape needed. You can also use your DIY remedy as a cooling pad by letting it freeze for at least an hour.
- Create Educational Toys and Activities
Rice makes an excellent learning medium for kids, whether you make maracas, sensory tables, or impromptu art projects (think glue and glitter, only biodegradable). Check out Artists Helping Children to find more creative uses for rice, from bean bags to rattles.
Who knew there were so many uses of rice around the house! Now that you know, which uses of rice will you try first? If you want to learn more ways you can use household staples for all sorts of useful things, we invite you to read our other housekeeping guides.
Whether you do it or we take care of the house cleaning, we’re on a mission to create cleaner homes and make housework less of a chore. If you want to let The Maids take on the dirty work once or every week, get your free online estimate today.