While cleaning out my pantry the other day, I discovered a huge bag of white rice. Normally, finding a hidden cache of food would get me all warm and fuzzy inside, but this discovery did not, for a couple of reasons:
#1 It’s rice.
#2 It was home to a couple of those awful little creatures known as rice moths.
Ew! I curse the person who didn’t store the bag of rice properly! Okay, so curse me…
No matter how much I hate wasting food, there’s really no way I’m going to be feeding the moth rice to my family. I really loathe the idea of simply throwing it in the trash, though, so I got to thinking about alternative uses for rice.
To my surprise, there are actually a lot of great alternative uses for rice besides stir fry! This handy little pantry staple can be used for tasks ranging from cleaning to pain relief!
Here are some of my (new) favorite uses for rice! (The uncooked kind that is…)
1. Save a Cell Phone
One of the first alternative uses for rice that popped into my mind was the old “rescue a wet cell phone trick”. Been there, done that—more than once—and I must say that it really does work! If your cell phone gets wet, you’ll need to remove the battery immediately and bury everything in a bag of rice for a few days. The rice sucks the extra moisture out off the device, and as long as the water didn’t short anything out before the battery was pulled, you should be good to go!
2. Keep Salt Clump-free
Another one of the most common alternative uses for rice is to keep your salt clump free. Just pop a couple of grains into your salt shaker and they’ll absorb the moisture that makes the salt clump.
3. Prevent Sugar Clumps
If salt can be used to keep salt clump-free, it should be able to keep sugar clump free, right? Right! Toss a small cotton bag filled with rice into your sugar containers to absorb moisture and prevent clumping.
4. Clean Coffee Pots and Vases
I hate cleaning my coffee pot and vases, simply because they have such narrow necks. In my rice research, however, I found that you can toss a small handful of rice into these awkward vessels and give it a good swirl or shake. The coarse grains of rice are abrasive and scrub away buildup and grime in no time.
5. Clean Coffee Grinders and Blenders
Coffee grinders in particular can be tricky little gadgets to clean, but buildup can yield some rough tasting Joe. Cut your cleaning time in half and keep all of your digits in tact with a little rice. Just toss some rice into your coffee grinder and grind your way to clean. You can do the same in your blender, and it has the added benefit of keeping the blades sharp.
6. Prevent Rust
Rust just irks me, but it always seems to sneak onto my tools, especially when I first crack open the garden shed in the spring. Next year, though, I’ll be adding a cloth bag full of rice to the toolboxes. The rice absorbs the moisture and prevents it from settling on the metal surfaces. This would actually work for just about any metal objects, not just tools.
7. Save Seeds
We like to save seeds from our garden from year to year, but even just a bit of moisture can ruin a whole batch. To prevent this, we add desiccant packets. Well, small satchels of rice will work just as well!
8. Dry Flowers
Do you want to save some of those beautiful blooms from your garden? arrange them facedown in a box of rice or bury them with a thin layer. This may not work for more delicate flowers, but it should work for most blooms.
9. Make Scented Sachets
Freshen a musty drawer or closet with a scented rice sachet. Use a cloth sachet or even an old sock and fill it with rice. Next, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and you have a super simple and affordable homemade sachet. You could even make them super pretty and give them as gifts.
10. Make an Ice Pack / Heating Pad
I have a couple of old sock filled with rice and tied off sitting in my freezer. Now, before you jump to conclusions and decide that I’m just plain weird, hear me out. These make excellent ice packs and heating pads! Use them right out of the freezer for ice packs, or heat them in the microwave to heat them and soothe away sore muscles or cramps. Be careful heating these up, though, since they can get HOT very quickly and cause burns! I usually heat them for 10 to 20 seconds at a time and turn them each time to make sure they don’t overheat.