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Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Diane Hoffmaster
Do you have a bag of expired rice? Did you stock up on it months ago but don't need anywhere near as much as you have? If you are looking for uses for rice that don't involve eating it, you have plenty of options. Dry rice has a lot of uses you might want to consider.
Rice is pretty much a staple in my kitchen. We have about 4 different varieties of rice in the pantry at any given time and thankfully the kids will eat it happily no matter how I cook it.
Since I live in a rather large, international community, I can find rice in bags that weigh more than many toddlers. Indian, Chinese, and Hispanic grocery stores have great deals on rice if I really want to stock up.
But, what do you do with all that rice when you get sick of eating it for dinner every night? I decided to start looking for a few uses for rice besides eating it for dinner and thought I would share a few of my ideas with you.
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If you want to plan to try a few of these ways to use rice, I recommend you buy in bulk and look for cheap prices. Many international markets offer great deals on bulk rice. Don't use your organic wild rice blend unless you really have no desire to eat it.
Turn expired rice into a DIY Rice Compress.
Have a headache or a pulled muscle? One of the best uses for rice is as a hot or cold compress to get rid of the pain. Mix a cup of rice with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Then place the scented rice in an old sock or sew it into a tiny fabric pillow to create DIY Rice Bags. Store in the freezer for a cold pack or heat in the microwave for a minute for a heat pack.
Use dry rice to make rice glue.
Rice glue can be used in many of your everyday craft projects. Here is a quick explanation of how to make rice glue:
To make rice glue, also known as rice paste or rice adhesive, you will need the following ingredients and materials:
- Uncooked rice
- Blender or food processor
- Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- Bowl or container for storing the glue
Here's a step-by-step guide to making rice glue:
- Measure out the desired amount of rice. You can start with a small quantity, such as half a cup, and adjust as needed.
- Rinse the rice thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities. Place the rinsed rice in a pot.
- Add enough water to the pot to cover the rice completely. The water level should be about an inch above the rice.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and mushy.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the rice cool down for a few minutes.
- Transfer the cooked rice to a blender or food processor. Blend it until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. If needed, you can add a small amount of water to adjust the thickness.
- Set a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth over a bowl or container to strain the rice mixture. Pour the blended rice through the strainer, using a spoon or spatula to press it and extract the glue. This will help remove any solid particles and give you a smooth glue.
- Once you have strained all the rice mixture, you will be left with a sticky, glue-like liquid in the bowl or container. This is your rice glue.
- Store the rice glue in an airtight container in the refrigerator when not in use. It can typically be kept for a few days, but make sure to check for any signs of spoilage before using it again.
Rice glue can be used for various purposes such as arts and crafts, paper mache, or as an adhesive for lightweight materials. It's important to note that rice glue may not have the same strength or durability as commercial adhesives, so it's best suited for temporary or less demanding projects.
How to Clean a Dirty Vase with Rice.
After your flowers have been sitting in a vase for a while, there is a nasty film that tends to stick to the glass.
Put a small amount of rice in the bottom of your dirty vase, add a little water, soak for a few minutes, and stir vigorously. The grains of rice will scrub away the dirt!
Use it to dye Easter eggs.
Add a few drops of food dye to your dried rice and mix until evenly distributed. Place the dyed rice and a hard-boiled egg in a plastic zip-to-lock bag and shake gently until you have a pretty pattern on your eggs!
Clean your coffee grinder.
One of the uses for rice that I actually do quite often is to clean the coffee grinder with it. Sometimes I want to grind fresh herbs in bulk and don't want it to taste like coffee. Grind up a few handfuls of rice and your coffee grinder is amazingly clean!
How to Use Rice to Save Wet Electronics.
I can't be the only person who takes a bath with their cell phone nearby, right? Ever accidentally drop your cell phone in the toilet? Or mop bucket? Place it in a bowl of rice (uncooked of course!) for a few days to help draw out the moisture.
While this method CAN work, you are better off learning how to protect electronics from damage in the first place!
Keep salt from clumping.
Avoid annoying clumps in your salt shaker by adding a few grains of rice to it.
Turn it into rice flour.
Make a tablecloth weight.
Add some rice to a zip-to-lock bag and use it to weigh down the corners of your tablecloth so it doesn't blow away in the breeze.
Create a rice sensory experience for kids.
Use dry rice plain or learn how to dye rice in different colors and place it in a large plastic tub. Give your child measuring cups, spoons, and other toys to keep them entertained without electronics!
To dye rice for crafts or sensory activities, you can follow these simple steps:
- Uncooked rice
- Food coloring or liquid watercolors
- Ziploc bags or bowls
- Measuring cups or spoons
- Paper towels or parchment paper (optional)
- Baking sheet or tray (optional)
Here's a step-by-step guide to dyeing rice:
- Start by measuring the amount of rice you want to dye. You can start with a small quantity, such as one cup, and adjust as needed.
- Divide the rice into separate Ziploc bags or bowls, depending on how many colors you want to create.
- Add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors to each bag or bowl. Start with a small amount and gradually add more to achieve the desired color intensity. You can mix different colors to create new shades.
- Seal the Ziploc bags or stir the rice in the bowls to distribute the coloring evenly. Massage the bags or stir the rice until all the grains are coated with color.
- If using Ziploc bags, you can lay them flat on a baking sheet or tray to let the rice dry. This step is optional but can help prevent the rice from sticking together. You can also place paper towels or parchment paper underneath to absorb any excess liquid.
- Allow the rice to dry completely. This can take a few hours to overnight, depending on the humidity level in your area. Make sure the rice is completely dry before using it for crafts or sensory activities.
- Once the rice is dry, you can transfer it to a container or storage bag for future use. It's a good idea to label the containers or bags with the color name for easy identification.
Dyed rice can be used in various ways, such as in sensory bins, art projects, or as a decorative element in vases or jars. It adds vibrant colors and texture to your creations and can be a fun sensory experience for children. Remember that dyed rice is for decorative purposes only and should not be ingested.
Make noise makers for kids.
Place rice inside a closed container like a plastic egg or two paper plates that are glued together. Let your kid go crazy with their new maraca!
Help fruit ripen faster:
Place your unripe fruit in a paper bag with a handful of dry rice. The rice will help absorb moisture and your fruit will ripen faster than just sitting in the fruit bowl!
Do you have any other creative ways to use rice that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear your ideas. If you enjoyed this post, check out my tips on creative uses for baby powder.
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.