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Just like much of the world, I love rice.

Rice is simple and filling and can be used as the bedrock in an amazing range of different dishes from almost all of the world’s famed cuisines.

But rice is more than just a simple food that feeds billions across the world. Rice is extremely useful around the house as a general purpose item to help with cleaning, organization, and general family enjoyment.

Check out seven of the popular uses for rice that you can apply in your home to make life easier.

1. Scrubbing and cleaning

Image by pictavio from Pixabay

Until recently, I didn’t realize that dry rice was an effective scrubbing tool, now I use it for everything I can.

The grain’s soft abrasive surface and its ability to utilize starch (which attracts grime while creating a protective barrier) help it become an inexpensive but useful cleaning agent.

Whether it’s your kitchen pots and pans, fragile glasses and vases, or your hard to clean heavy plastic and glass water bottles, rice can be a spectacular choice to get rid of grime without resorting to massive physical effort or chemicals.

2. Fruit ripening

unripe bananas
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

In this modern age of travelling provisions and snap refrigeration, you’ve likely bought fruit from your local supermarket that was quite ready to eat, either by specific design or purely by accident.

Rice is great for bringing on the ripeness of fresh fruit and veg.

The ability of rice to draw moisture out of a mobile phone is essentially the same principle that will help ripen your fruit, except with that moisture comes ethylene gas, the chemical responsible for ripening.

You can even use the rice after in your cooking without any worries, but make sure to check your fruit every couple of hours as the rice immersion speeds things up rapidly.

3. Crafternoon delight

Colored rice
Image Source: Emma Craig via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

I have an extra bag of rice at home just for rainy days, when my children get stuck inside and turn into short tempered WWE wrestlers.

A bag of rice helps make a mean set of maracas, or you can use the grains to make cool patterns, paintings, or sculptures.

Better yet, it’s easier to clean up than sand (or mud – the boys think toys need to be played with in sludge) and is inexpensive compared to other types of craft entertainment.

4. Rice may suffice for devices

Phone in Rice
Image: Jono Elderton, 12 Tomatoes

This one is a common hack and pretty simple. If you have a phone that’s been compromised by liquid, you may be able to salvage it by submerging it completely in a bag of rice.

How does this work?

The rice draws moisture out of your equipment’s electronic components, hopefully without the need to pull the handset, screen, or system apart, which has the potential to destroy them completely.

The caveat here is that it may not work, that the rice grains may damage the internal components, or that the damage is already too great to save your phone.

If you lack the resources, warranty, or insurance to get your phone fixed straight away by a professional, rice could help save the day.

5. Odor suppression

Rice acts as a brilliant deodorizer for places where the air is too still to circulate, such as closets, pantries, and tucked out of the way storage spaces.

Using it is simple: just like in the clip above you can make a sachet from rice and essential oil.

Alternatively, put your rice in a mason jar or empty glass container, add 10-15 drops of a scent that you like – or a combination of essential oils – then cover the top with a breathable fabric and rubber band, then place it into the desired position.

The rice bomb will keep musty smells, damp, and other astringent fragrances at bay for weeks without needing a top, and keep your cupboards and clothes smelling fresh even if used rarely.

6. Grinder Maintenance

Coffee Grinder
Image by Robert Utkowski from Pixabay

If you hand grind your daily coffee or use one as a tool for breaking down herbs and spices, chances are you’ve had to clean them more than once. If you have, you know how fiddly, time consuming, and annoying the maintenance of your grinder can be.

A great way to keep your grinder working at its best and keep your coffee at peak flavor is to grind some grains of dry rice. The rice and starch will get coffee residue and bits of gunk to cling to them while cleaning up the cogs and blades.

Run rice through your grinder a couple of times, then wipe it out with a clean cloth and your grinder will work better than ever.

7. Salt sifter

Image by serenestarts from Pixabay

If you live where it’s humid or often sprinkle your salt directly over your cooktop into the dish you are preparing, thus exposing it to heat and steam, then you’ll understand how difficult it can be to keep your salt shaker from clogging.

Another oldie but a goodie, putting rice in your shaker works as a natural sifter that keeps the salt (and other spices that can be impacted by dampness) from clumping together in a yucky mess that can ruin your dinner and your mom’s prized antique shakers.

Just make sure that the rice grains are long enough to keep things inside moving.


Rice is more than just the most widely used food in the world.

The humble grain comes in handy for a wide range of household uses that make your household more effective, as an inexpensive cleaning product or general helper around the place.

What alternative uses do you use rice for?

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