Introduction: Unusual Uses for Rice

Rice is one of my all time favorite foods. I eat it with everything. If I can find an excuse to add rice to something I will. :D

But did you know that you can also use rice for all sorts of things around the house, too? Keep on reading to find out a few of my favorite unusual uses for rice.

Most of these unusual uses work best with plain white rice, but some can work with other varieties too. Though I suggest white rice since it's so cheap!

Step 1: Save Wet Electronics

Probably one of the most classic uses for rice! If you've ever dropped your phone in water you're probably tried this trick. :D

If you can turn the item off, do so. Dry the exterior of the item as best you can. If you can open it up and dry out the inside, that's a great idea too! For phones it's best to remove the battery and SIM card, too.

Place it in a ziploc bag or a container of rice and leave it for 24+ hours.

Check out this instructable for more thorough instructions! I have saved several items this way. (Yes, I am ridiculously clumsy.)

Step 2: DIY Heating Pads

Another one of my favorite uses! Perfect for sprains and cramps and or even just a really chilly day. I always mess my neck up with too much computer work and embroidery, so I've made a long skinny one to go around the back of my neck. :)

You can either sew up your own heating pad or make one by filling a sock with rice. Then just pop in it the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute and enjoy!

To find out how to sew your own check out this microwave heating pad by Danger is my middle name.

For a no-sew sock version, check out carleyy's homemade heating pad.

Step 3: Keep Hand Tools From Rusting

This is really useful in humid areas! Back home in Kentucky this is done all the time - I've seen it in almost every workshop I've been in. If you have older hand tools that are susceptible to rusting, place them in a can of rice. (Sawdust can work too!)

This works especially well for pliers, screwdrivers and hammers. :D

It also keeps your tools within easy reach. Fancy.

Step 4: Check to See If Your Oil Is Hot Enough Before Frying

If you've ever been unsure about the temperature of your oil but you don't have a thermometer handy, rice is a good indicator. If you drop a couple grains of rice into your oil and they sink, it's not hot enough.

If the grains of rice pop back up immediately and begins to bubble, the oil is hot enough - normally around 350-360 F.

I say a couple because not all grains of rice will pop and float!

When I was doing this I just threw a ton of rice in there - puffed rice is delicious. DELICIOUS. So maybe just do that instead of frying something else. :D

Step 5: Clean Your Coffee or Spice Grinder

One of my favorite uses! I think rice works much better than bread.

Check out this instructable for a full tutorial and other helpful coffee grinder cleaning tips!

Step 6: Clean Containers With Small Openings

If you don't have a bottle brush around, rice is a great substitute.

Add a small amount of rice (perhaps a tablespoon?) into the container with a couple drops of soap. Add in some hot water and swish the rice around.

I clean my teapot like this all the time! I just put my thumb over the spout and hold the lid on while swishing the rice around. :)

Step 7: Weight for Blind Baking

Blind baking is probably the way I use rice the most often. (Well, besides stuffing my face. I love rice.)

Both rice and beans and great blind baking weights.

To blind bake pastry, form the pastry in the tart or pie pan and then place a piece of parchment over the pastry. Pour in enough rice so that the pastry is completely filled.

Bake the pastry for half the required time and then take it out to check. If the pastry has gone lightly golden brown around the edges (like the photo above), you'll know it has set and won't go sliding down the side of the pan.

Use the parchment to transfer the rice from the crust into a container for later use. Once you've "baked" the rice, you can't use it to cook later, so I keep mine in a gallon mason jar separate from my eating rice. :)

Place the crust back in the oven to finish baking, and viola - perfectly blind baked pastry!

Step 8: Makeshift Knife Rack

I can't say how well this works as a permanent knife rack - but it's fantastic if you're just setting up your kitchen or if you just moved and find yourself without one.

Find a tall wide mouth container and pour in enough rice so the blades will be mostly covered.

The one caveat here is to be careful when putting the knives into the rice - there's not much to stop them colliding with the bottom of the container - so you can dull the tips if you're not careful.

Looks pretty awesome, too.

Step 9: Slow Release Air Freshener

This is perfect for closets or bathrooms - any small space where you want a little fragrance! This air freshener isn't strong enough for any large rooms, though. Tried it in the bedroom and it wasn't noticeable, but in a small bathroom it is.

Find a small glass container to put the rice in - I normally use between 1/4 and 1/2 cup. Add 10-20 drops of essential oils and mix well.

Place it where you want for a subtle and long lasting air freshener - just shake the container whenever you feel the smell is dying down - that will refresh it. :D

Just be careful to put these air fresheners high - out of small hands and away from pets!


FlorinJ made it! (author)2015-09-20

While I do like many of the ideas described above, I had an initial reaction similar to others, who see rice as food, and are a bit uneasy with using it for other purposes. Therefore, I tried to come up with a list of alternatives that don't use food for each use described above:

1. Save the electronics can also work with sawdust. Probably even better, since softwood sawdust is more porous and finer grained than rice. True, sawdust can be very fine, and get into places where you wouldn't want it, but you can sieve it, and only use the coarse part.

2. Heating pads work great with salt. You just have to get the coarse grained variety so it doesn't trickle through the socket/pad - or put it into a plastic bag first, and only then into a sock. Salt has also a higher caloric capacity than rice, so the pad will probably stay hot for longer.

3. Keeping hand tools from rusting: again, sawdust - and make sure you change it from time to time, or else it will eventually become so damp it will actually promote rust instead of preventing it.

4. In order to check whether the oil in the pan is hot enough, use a wooden spoon - a dry one, mind you. Put it into the pan. If small bubbles start to develop around the spoon, the oil is hot enough for cooking.

5. I don't know about others, but I clean my coffee grinder (which I use mainly for spices) using paper. I tear a paper towel into pieces, put a few of them into the grinder, let it run for a couple of seconds, and repeat the process a few times - usually 2-3 cycles are ebough. Then I wipe the inside of the grinder (after having plugged it out of the power socket) with one or two more paper towels, to make all the tiny paper shreds go away.

6. Cleaning the insides of small containers works better with ashes. Ash mixed with water is also caustic, chemically aiding in the removal of stain.

7. I have a bowl of small stones I keep in the kitchen for blind baking. I'd clean and microwave some cherry kernels, rather than use rice for this, if I didn't have my stones.

8. I do prefer a magnetic strip, but I also like the makeshift knife rack. However, I'm not entirely sure that repeatedly sticking the knives into the rice won't significantly contribute to faster dulling, and I think spent and dried coffee grounds could work equally well - and they're softer, so dulling would probably be less of a concern.

9. Sawdust works great for the slow release air freshener - so much so that there are commercial products using it precisely for this purpose.

VictoriousVixen made it! (author)VictoriousVixen2016-09-16

These are *great*, and you write perfectly with great grammar. You should think of one more, and then make an Instructable called "10 (or Ten) Fantastic Household Hacks". Take some pictures of each of them as well. It would be so useful, and I know a lot of people would appreciate them. But if not, thank you for posting them here. I've copied all of the great ones from this page, and the comments, into a text file I save with things like this. But if you do make one, would you send me the link, please? :)

FlorinJ made it! (author)FlorinJ2016-09-16

I'm a programmer. One of he greatest virtues of a programmer is laziness ... you draw the conclusion. (Why laziness: a lazy but smart person does things so he does not need to do them twice.)

I'm completely ceding any intellectual property rights on these ideas to anybody willing to transform them into an ible.

nancyjohns made it! (author)2016-07-29

If you use the makeshift knife rack, make sure you either use a container that isn't glass or put something at the bottom(and maybe even sides) such as cardboard so that the blade doesn't become dull from being pressed into glass. It's probably not that much of a problem though.

dave316max made it! (author)2016-03-30

Beautiful ideas for rice thank you.

LynetteM made it! (author)2016-03-23

Who would have thought?. Dynamite ideas

bookfiend made it! (author)2016-01-07

I would also like to know what those copper/PVC squares are.

Finally found a good use for the leftover sock when the laundry machines "eat" one: use it as a heating/cooling pad!

Rich1953 made it! (author)Rich19532016-02-14

They look like common copper pipe elbows, connecting pvc pipe. Probably glued on and could be used as a trivet or something

jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2016-01-07

It's a wooden and copper trivet. They're fantastic and really easy to make. :)

bookfiend made it! (author)bookfiend2016-01-07

Copied the -ible for the trivets, awesome! Thanks

Thejesterqueen made it! (author)2016-01-08

I think I need more rice to try some of these. As far as using rice to dry your wet cell phone, I dropped my phone in the toilet , (I know lol) I quickly rinsed it off and placed it in a ziploc filled with rice, it took 2 days, but my phone was good as new. I also use the rice in salt shakers to keep it from clumping. Thank you for posting these.

paullyboy made it! (author)2016-01-02

In the first picture of the knife rack, what are the copper and PVC squares used for? Trivet?

jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2016-01-07

Yup, they're trivets! Here's my tutorial for making them:

Laurpud made it! (author)2015-12-29

Great Instructable! I have a question about #4- are you frying raw rice, or cooked? It looks & sounds very tasty ?

jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2015-12-30

It's raw! Definitely give it a go - it's like popcorn but better! :D

TiaRiaa made it! (author)2015-12-30

I see your point .

namora made it! (author)2015-12-29

Some great ideas here. I use silica sand as a scrubby for the inside of yucky bottles and such instead of rice. the sand doesn't scratch the harder surface and is reusable.

Just soak the inside with hot soapy water for an appropriate time, add sand and shake. If the bottle is opaque, dump the mixture into a glass, run water into the glass until it is clear and dump the glass of warm water and sand back into the bottle and add a bit of detergent, repeat until the water comes out clean.

crafty woman made it! (author)2015-12-28

Yes it does - you can leave rice to soak overnight as a par-cooking method. Really handy!

Yonatan24 made it! (author)2015-12-05

They both dry anyway...Duhh

The whole point of putting them in rice is because the rice will absorb the moisture faster than it would have evaporated in to air, This means that your device will stay wet for a shorter time and there is a smaller chance that it will ***die***

burzurk made it! (author)2015-11-04

Why is not important...It does work. I've used it on 2 phones and a laptop and other peoples also. So If you are suggesting 8 out of 8 successes all being a coincidence...I suggest you take a walk out into the real world every once in a while. sigh.

gkowski made it! (author)2015-10-24

Thank you for teaching me something new. One is never too old to learn.

mist42nz made it! (author)2015-10-17

which would be great ... except for the rice in the salt shaker trick actually works.

I'm sorry your "science" doesn't measure up with the effect which happens in observable real life.

(personally I think it has to do with minute amounts of starch rubbing off, and that starch powder absorbs moisture). And the electronics trick does work too...except normally you'll need a bit of warmth, as the moisture needs encouragement to move from cold places.

jbrune made it! (author)jbrune2015-10-17

The rice in the salt shaker works because of the physical action of the rice breaking up clumps of salt.

This illustrates why it is important to teach the scientific method in school. Correlation does not mean causation. Just because electronics dry in rice doesn't mean the rice helps. Others have done experiments comparing rice versus other materials, or nothing at all. Rice did not fare well.

swander made it! (author)2015-09-21

save wet electronics: Remove battery. Dunk in distilled water and follow with a >90% Isopropyl alcohol rinse. allow to air dry. distilled water doesnt leave minerals on the traces and alcohol carries the moisture when it evaporates. Electronics go through many washes during production. Few components are not waterproof.

mist42nz made it! (author)mist42nz2015-10-17

Isopropyl can have hideous affect of carbon components and many plastic parts.

A major problem is conductivity and eventual oxidation between metal tracks/leads

definingsound made it! (author)definingsound2015-09-22

"remove battery" is the difficult instruction in your mini instructable, for many electronics.

swander made it! (author)swander2015-09-22

I agree. Cameras come to mind as well as android cell phones and laptops.

ilo7phil made it! (author)2015-09-20

Rice is food... We don't use it for something else. Food is considered sacred. It's just our culture.

mist42nz made it! (author)mist42nz2015-10-17

My culture considers such restrictions as offensive (superstitions that limit the mind) although we prefer not to waste food (which is rude when others have none) and it can lead to disgusting behaviour like those american eating contests

pmsfo made it! (author)pmsfo2015-09-22

You can still cook and eat the rice after most of these.

FlorinJ made it! (author)FlorinJ2015-09-20

Not necessarily part of my culture (we have a similar attitude towards bread, though), but that was my feeling too.

JessicaMills made it! (author)2015-09-28

Great tips! I did put my make-up brushes in coloured rice and it look amazing.

jauncourt made it! (author)2015-09-21

Yes, it does. That is the principle behind using it to keep salt from clumping and also to provide moist heat via rice bag heat packs. However, it isn't as efficient at drying things out as, say, silica gel crystals, which may be what has you confused.


Sorry but jbrune is actually right here. I am a mobile phone technician and to those who think that rice 'saves the day,' it's actually a coincidence. The rice will release oils that can further damage the phone. The best thing to do is remove the battery (if you can) and take it in to a repair centre where they use chemicals to draw out the moisture in the circuit board

244 Jake made it! (author)244 Jake2015-09-27

drying cell phone is easy with normal wattage florescent tubes. The heat is low enough not to damage, and high enough to dry they out. Same for watches for those who still wear one.

Big Jake

joyce.clemons made it! (author)joyce.clemons2015-09-23

My phone was older so I felt the rice trick was fine and had no problems with it now for 6 months.

joyce.clemons made it! (author)joyce.clemons2015-09-23

I dropped my cell phone in the toilet and used rice ( a friend told me later that day) and it worked but I left it in two days.

jpjacob made it! (author)jpjacob2015-09-24

I hope you didn't cook the rice after.

fatcat17 made it! (author)2015-09-27

This is a great idea for fresheners in dresser drawers. Use an old sock for a super easy approach. I have also used this with cedar essential oil in my closets. Campers may also want to try using a rice-sock with citronella in their tent storage bag. It may help keep skeeters out and it sure smells better than musty tent

And if you do the neck heating pad, add lavender (or choice) essential oil to that as well. They make a frugal Christmas gift.

TomV4 made it! (author)2015-09-26

Rice did not save our phone. I'm with jbrune and jeremiahthebullfrog. Any phone rescue with rice is pure coincidence.

BeiL made it! (author)2015-09-24

It makes a great heating pad (such as when you're having a baby), to put rice in a tube sock, and heat it up in the microwave (after you tie the tube sock up w/ the rice inside).

gkowski made it! (author)2015-09-24

Nice hacks. i plan to use some of these!!!

gkowski made it! (author)2015-09-24

Not true. If you ever go to a restaurant in the south, you are likely to see rice in the salt shaker as It keeps the humidity from being absorbed in to the salt.

hamsterbilly made it! (author)2015-09-24

Cool ideas!

wdkdave made it! (author)2015-09-24

rice bags can also be used as doorstops & draft stoppers. Also as a desiccant for tools and such, I prefer kitty litter - (low dust variety)

JLsSpittlings made it! (author)2015-09-20

Hi, Not sure if you know this, but the rice wash is great for your plants.

When you wash your rice before cooking, keep the rice wash water and water your plants, they will thank you for it with lush green foliage. The explanation is simple, it's not the nutrients in rice that is important to the plant, but the rice wash feeds the good bacteria in the soil and enhances them to convert organic material to the necessary elemental compounds usable by the plant. This is more prevalent if you are into organic gardening and love using compost in your soil. Happy Trying.


I will definitely try this, thanks :)

JLsSpittlings made it! (author)JLsSpittlings2015-09-21

If you are really into this, you can also google Lactobacillus Serum and hasten this process. Easy to make great for your plants. This is a great read:

jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2015-09-23

Yeah! I really want to try to lactobacillus serum. My partner's an organic gardner, so he's been researching it for a bit and it sounds like it's handy for many thing.

He hasn't used rice wash on the plants so I'm not sure if he knows that trick - I'll have to pass it along. :D But he does use rice hulls to lighten the soil and I think he's used rice for compost tea a couple times, too. :)

JLsSpittlings made it! (author)JLsSpittlings2015-09-23

Jessy try this link. Its they most comprehensive and clear instructions I have found online so far along with the benefits.

I use rice husk as a soil amendment too. In Malaysia rain comes when ever it wants and when it rains it POURS!! So the rice husk helps with the drainage.

About This Instructable




Bio: part of the Instructables Design Studio by day, stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working on! ^_^
More by jessyratfink:How to Press and Dry Flowers (and Leaves!)How to Make Fluffy SlimeHow to Make Galaxy Slime
Add instructable to: