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.
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!