Surprising Uses For Rice That Go Beyond Cooking

Many people buy dry rice in bulk because it can go with almost any meal. But did you know that rice has many uses being cooking? Spare some extra rice to clean appliances, wash your face, or create your own heating pad.

With these Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, you can save money and time. Rice can ripen fruit quickly and prevent salt from clumping. Learn many more surprising uses for uncooked rice by reading these hacks.

Create A DIY Heating/Cooling Pad

rice heating pad
Bruce Yan/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Bruce Yan/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Rice can maintain temperature better than a regular towel. If you want a cheap heating pad (or cooling pad), make one yourself. Pour some dried rice into a sock (or other material) and tie the opening shut. Leave some room for the grains to move around.

If you need a heating pad, place your sock in the microwave for about 45 seconds to one minute. For a cold pack, put it in the freezer for a few minutes. You can also sew a bag together for a prettier, more permanent pad.

Scrub Away Pesky Coffee Stains

A close-up shows coffee stains on a mug.
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If you’re a coffee drinker, your cups will get stained, whether it be the coffee pot or your favorite mug. Rice scrapes the surface just enough to remove these stains but not enough to leave visible scratches.

Pour warm water into your mug or coffee pot. Add some dish soap and a few grains of dry rice. Swish it around and let the rice do its magic. If the stains aren’t gone, use a scrubbing brush.

Ripen Fruit More Quickly

A ripe bunch of bananas is pictured.
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Rice can also help your fruit ripen more quickly. As the fruit ripens, it emits a gas called ethylene. The more ethylene that escapes into the air, the riper the fruit will become. Rice can trap the gas and speed up the process.

To do so, submerge the fruit inside a container or paper bag of dried rice. Check the fruit once or twice per day. This will work best for fruits with hard shells, such as bananas and avocados.

Save Your Wet Electronics

phone-rice
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If you drop your phone into water, don’t panic. Grab a container and some dried rice. The rice will soak up water droplets without harming the device. For decades, this trick has been used to keep electronics dry in humid, tropical zones.

Keep the phone there for at least 24 hours. If you’re worried about the rice getting mucky and sticking to your phone, wrap it loosely in a paper towel before placing it inside the container.

Clean And Sharpen Blender Blades

Vegetables and fruit sit in a blender.
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If you use your blender often, the blades will become dull over time. Sharpen it with half a cup of dry rice. Pour the rice into the blender (with nothing else) and run it for two minutes. The rice will smooth and perfect the blender blades.

If food is sticking to the sides of your blender, use rice as well. Add some warm water, a bit of dish soap, and some dry rice to the blender. Run it to clean the inside.

Clean A Dirty Vase With No Hassle

An Italian glass vase is seen.
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DEA/A. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images

Brushes and rags may not be able to fit inside of curved vases. If your vase becomes cloudy, grab some dry rice. Pour some warm water into the vase, and drop in three to four tablespoons of rice. Add some dishwasher soap and two tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.

After combining your mixture, swish the vase around. The rice will get into the crevices without scratching the vase. Rinse out the vase with warm water and dry it with a cloth.

Wash Your Face With Rice Water

A woman washes her face with soapy water.
Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images
Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images

After you cook rice, don’t throw out the water! You can use it as a skincare treatment. In 2013, researchers found that rice wine (fermented rice water) can repair sun damage on the skin. Regular rice-soaked water may tighten, moisturize, and nourish your face.

If you cook rice, let the water cool and use it to wash your face. You could also soak dried rice in warm water for 15 minutes, drain it, and use it as a cleanser. It lasts four to five days in the fridge.

Make Your Own Glue

rice glue
lakelandimages/Unsplash
lakelandimages/Unsplash

If you have no glue and too much rice, you can change that. Rice paste works as adhesive, and it’s easy to make. All you need is cooked rice, a bit of water, and a piece of bamboo or wooden wedge.

Cook the rice and drain it. Using the bamboo or wood, smash the rice into a pulp. When there are no lumps, mix in some water and seal it in an airtight container. That’s all!

Prevent Salt Clumps In Your Shaker

A salt shaker in a restaurant has uncooked rice inside.
afwhite/Reddit
afwhite/Reddit

Have you ever looked at a salt shaker in a restaurant and saw grains of rice? The rice prevents salt from clumping. When the air becomes moist, salt clings together. The rice soaks up the moisture and makes cooking much easier.

You only need a few grains of dried rice per salt shaker. If your salt has already clumped together, don’t fret! Break up the salt, add a few rice grains, and let them do their magic.

Dry Flowers In Half The Time

Dried flowers are in a glass jar.
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Drying flowers can take two to three weeks if you hang them upside-down in a cool area. But with rice, you can do it in half the time. The rice will remove water without compromising the plants’ colors.

Grab a long, rectangular container. Pour in an inch of dry rice, and lay down your flowers. Cover them with another inch of uncooked rice. After about one week, the plants should be dried. Pour out the rice carefully and enjoy!

Ensure That Your Tools Don’t Rust

A pile of tools is covered in rust.
Darren Holden/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Darren Holden/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Rust forms when iron reacts with moisture in the air. If your garage feels humid, then your tools are at risk of rusting. Keep uncooked rice around the tools; it will soak up the moisture before it reaches the metal.

First, clean your tools. Before you store them back in the case, add a bit of dry rice (perhaps a handful at most) to the container. The rice shouldn’t harm the tools, but it may guard against rust.

Create A Sweet-Smelling Sachet

sachet
revjett/Flickr
revjett/Flickr

If you want a DIY gift or party favor, try making a sweet-smelling sachet. These tiny bags add a pleasant scent to any room, and they’re easy to make. Grab a piece of fabric or a small bag and fill it with rice. Then, add a couple of essential oil drops to the rice. Tie it with a decorative ribbon.

The rice will soak up the oil and hang onto the scent. If you don’t want to use essential oils, use a dried herb such as lavender.

Turn Duct Tape And Rice Into A Weighted Blanket

A DIY weighted blanket, made from rice and duct tape, sits on a bed.
MacGyverofAnxiety/Imgur
MacGyverofAnxiety/Imgur

A weighted blanket could cost anywhere between $100 and $400. Save your money by creating your own. When you pour rice into ziplock bags, seal them with duct tape, you’ll have a DIY weighted blanket.

Divide your blanket into “sections.” Fill each section with a bag of rice; keep it in place with duct tape. If you want to, sew fabric over the duct tape. Remember that the ideal weighted blanket is 10% of your body weight, so weigh your rice accordingly.

Test Your Frying Oil’s Temperature

Chips are frying in oil at a restaurant.
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Before frying food, cooking oil needs to reach 350°F (180°C). Many chefs use a thermometer, but you can also use a rice grain to tell the temperature. Toss a grain into the oil. If it floats and cooks, it’s hot enough. If it sinks, it needs to warm more.

Why does this work? According to chef Poppy Tooker from New Orleans, fried foods expand when they cook. They then catch bubbles in the oil, which makes them float.

Soothe Your Skin With A Rice Water Bath

A woman submerges half of her face in a milky bath with rose petals.
@timothycdykes/Unsplash
@timothycdykes/Unsplash

Believe it or not, rice water can improve your bath. In 2002, a study found that rice water helps patients with atopic dermatitis. When they bathed in rice water twice a day, their skin healed up to 20%!

If you cook rice, save the water to pour into your bath. You can also create rice water by heating clean, dry rice in a pot for 15 minutes. Strain the rice, and keep the water for your bath.

Why Clean Silver When You Can Prevent Tarnishing?

silverware
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Silver tarnishes in the same way that tools rust. When silver interacts with moisture, it becomes discolored. Prevent this from happening by storing your silver with rice.

Clean your silver first. Some water and dish soap can clean light tarnishes, but you may need baking soda for a heavier cleanser. After it’s clean, add a few rice grains to the container or drawer that holds your silver utensils. You won’t have to clean your silver for a long while.

Prevent Objects From Falling Or Blowing Over

A paper bag contains rice.
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Occasionally, you may see that objects that frequently fall over– bags flying in the wind, pets knocking over containers, etc. Rice can anchor containers to the ground. The next time you go on a picnic, pour rice into the bottom of containers, and they won’t tip over.

This could also work with items that you want to display. For example, if you want to show off pens, pour rice into a cup, and stick them inside.

Clean Your Coffee Grinder

Coffee beans are in and around a grinder.
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Coffee grinders are notoriously tricky to clean. But with 1/4 cup of dry rice, you can do it in minutes. Pour the rice into your coffee grinder, and turn it on for a minute. The rice will sweep up all of the coffee bits and oil.

Afterward, you will have a thin film of rice leftover. Wipe the rest with a damp paper towel. That’s all you need to do! It’s far easier than dissembling the coffee grinder to wash it.

Make Speckled Easter Eggs

eggs
sonstroem/Flickr
sonstroem/Flickr

Uncooked rice can become an easy and fun craft to dye Easter eggs. Grab small cups (such as clean yogurt cups) and place two tablespoons of dry rice inside. Pour six to ten drops of food coloring into each container. Cover it with plastic wrap, and shake it up.

Afterward, place a hardboiled egg into the rice with food coloring. Seal the container with plastic wrap and gently roll the egg. The eggs will look speckled as if you painted them professionally.

Make A Homemade Hair Treatment

hair
element5digital/Unsplash
element5digital/Unsplash

If you’ve been wanting to grow your hair longer, you can try this tip that people have sworn by for years. They’re secret is fermented rice water, which contains carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins that some people believe fosters hair growth.

To make it, simply cook your rice as you would normally prepare it. At the end, save the water. After you let it ferment, you’ll be left with a treatment you can use in your hair to help it grow long and luxurious.