In addition to being a staple of weeknight dinners around the world, rice has so many more uses than you might ever imagine. The first thing that might come to mind is rescuing your smartphone after it takes a dip in the sink along with your dishes. But that isn't the only thing this multi-tasker can do: Here are five of our favorite unexpected uses for a bag of rice.
1. Clean your coffee or spice grinder.
If you use the same grinder for both coffee and spices, or even if you just like to mix up the kinds of coffee you brew, this trick is for you. Uncooked rice is great at absorbing odors and flavors along with any oils that might have built up in your grinder. Simply fill up your grinder with rice and run it until it is completely ground into a powder. Bonus: The rice powder actually makes a gentle skin exfoliant; just mix it with a little bit of coconut or jojoba oil to make a scrub.
Step-by-Step: Clean Your Coffee Grinder with Rice
2. Clean hard-to-scrub vases or decanters.
Not all floral vases are difficult to clean, but some of the most beautiful ones are downright impossible! The same is true for wine and whisky decanters. The good news is that uncooked rice can save the day. Simply add a tablespoon or two of rice to your decanter, and then add some warm, soapy water. Give the vase a few vigorous shakes and make sure the rice gets into the hard-to-reach corners, then rinse and air dry as usual.
3. Bake better pies.
There's no need to spend a lot of money on pie weights when you can simply use rice instead. The secret is to make a bundle out of cheese cloth to hold the rice in the pie crust, making the grains easier to remove.
Learn More: Pie Weights — What Are They and When to Use Them?
4. Keep silver from tarnishing.
The moisture in the air is one of the reasons that your silver flatware tarnishes. To help slow the tarnish on pieces that you don't use frequently, store a small muslin bag of rice in the chest or drawer along with your silver. While this won't completely keep them from tarnishing, it will lessen it, making your life a little easier next time you decide to break out the good silver.
5. Ease your aching back.
There's no need to spend a ton of money on a microwavable hot-compress to help soothe sore muscles. Instead reach for a mismatched sock and a bag of plain rice. Simply fill the sock (make sure there aren't any holes!) with the rice, and some dried lavender, if you have any, and stitch up the ankle of the sock. Then microwave it for 30 seconds to heat it up.
(Image credits: Kaitlin Flannery; Sarah Rae Smith; Gabriela Herman; Emma Christensen; Ashley Poskin; Instructables)