9 Ways to Use Rice Around the House

Rice -- what can't it do? --SaywardMy Trader Joe’s recently started carrying organic brown rice, which made me a very happy lady. When I buy rice for eating, I want it pesticide-free and I want it bran-intact. Brown rice has a lot more flavor than white, and a lot more nutrients too. Once I got used to I never looked back. Mmmmm. Wait, are we talking about food?

Right, rice! Not all the rice I buy is bound for my belly. Nope, that delightful little grain is good for so much more than mealtime. So if you’re a do-it-yourselfer like I am, please do pull up a chair. Our friend rice is quite the performer.

1. Put it to work doing dishes. You can use rice to get at those hard-to-reach bottoms of narrow-necked vessels, like milk bottles and flower vases. Simply add rice, soap, water, and then shake-shake-swirl. The rice becomes your scouring pad! I don't have a house cleaning service near me in Portland, so time-saving tips like this make my days easier. (white or brown)

2. Get your coffee grinder squeaky clean, too! This is very useful if you’re using a single grinder for both your java and your seeds/spices. Wipe the grinder clear of debris and add enough rice to cover the blades. Then, grind-grind-grind, and the rice will absorb all the lingering oils that carry the coffee aroma. (white or brown)

3. Add it to all your salt shakers. Especially in summer and especially in southern climates, humidity can cause your salt to clump and clog up the little shaker holes. A pinch of rice thrown into the mix will suck up moisture, leaving you to sprinkle unencumbered. (white or brown)

4. Use rice water as a facial serum. You can either reserve the water from rinsing your cooking rice, or you can make an extra-strong solution by bringing ½ cup of rice to a boil in 2 cups of water. Remove the rice and allow the liquid to cool. Use a wash cloth to rub the liquid into your face, then rinse clean. Rice is high in vitamin E and is reputed to soften the skin. (brown rice)

5. Make an easy heating pad. Fill an old sock with a couple cups of rice, and then tie up the end. Pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, and voila! Instant neck warmer. (white or brown)

6. Make your kid a pair of maracas. Fill two small plastic tubs or Tupperware containers roughly half full of rice and seal well. Shakey shakey! You can paint them pretty colors too, for a more comprehensive afternoon art project. (white or brown)

7. Use rice to dry out electronic devices. Drop your cell phone in a puddle? Try burying it in a bowl of rice. You’d be surprised how much moisture can be extracted, and you just may save yourself the cost of a new gadget. I’ve got a remote submerged in rice as I write this (oh toddlers!) (white or brown)

8. Make DIY glue! Yup, you can make your own glue by simply boiling down rice until it degrades and releases the starch. (white rice)

9. Make a cat toy. Use the other sock left over from your neck warmer project. Cut a couple inches of the toe area, fill it with a mix of rice and catnip, and sew it up. You’ll get a perfect little “bean bag” toy for your favorite feline friend. (white or brown)

Sayward Rebhal writes for networx.com.

Updated April 26, 2018.

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