The First Thing You Should Do with a New Bag of Rice

updated Jun 2, 2020
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bag of jasmine rice on kitchen table
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Some kitchen staples go further than your favorite recipe. Take rice, for example. If you’ve ever dropped your phone in water, then you may have stuck it in dry rice, which absorbs the moisture. Or if you’re prone to achy muscles or headaches, maybe you’ve put rice in a sock for a DIY heating pad. But there’s another clever way to go the extra mile with rice — and once you try it, you’ll want to do it every time you bring home a new bag!

Have a musty-smelling closet, laundry room, entryway, or mudroom? Try a DIY odor remover with rice as the star ingredient. You just need a few cups of dry rice (any variety will do!), a Mason jar, and your favorite scented essential oil. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Simply pour 1 to 2 cups of rice into the Mason jar and add 10 to 20 drops of your preferred essential oil. (For a relaxing scent, try cedarwood, rosemary, or lavender. For something energizing, go with citrus or mint. Or whatever you have on hand will work!) Then, cover the jar with breathable fabric and secure it with either a rubber band or the outer band lid of the Mason jar. Carefully shake or stir the jar to evenly distribute the essential oil throughout and then put the jar in said musty-smelling closet, laundry room, entryway, or mudroom.

The same way the rice absorbs water from your too-wet phone, it will also absorb smells from the room. And the essential oils will help to mask them as well.

If you’re worried about attracting vermin with the rice, we have two points to make. First, the rice is uncooked and not super likely to attract any pests. And second, the essential oils also act as as a repellent. (Especially peppermint or spearmint.) Of course, it’s still food, so if you have had problems with mice in the past, maybe this is one to skip.

Give the jar a good shake every once in a while (definitely if you can’t smell the essential oil anymore) and your DIY room deodorizer should be good until you buy your next bag of rice, or up to four months — whichever comes first!