Refined white sugar isn’t the healthiest option, but it is a staple in many households. If you’re trying to move away from using refined white sugar in your kitchen but don’t want to waste the sugar you already have, check out these six uses for sugar for some innovative ways to use this kitchen staple around the house without adding it to your diet.
1. Make a body scrub. Sugar is a great natural exfoliant, making it a good substitute for conventional exfoliating scrubs, many of which are made with tiny bits of non-biodegradable plastic. (Read more about the environmental impact of conventional exfoliating scrubs.) A basic homemade sugar scrub is just one part sugar and one part oil. (Jojoba, olive and almond oil all work great.) For a fancier homemade sugar scrub, try one of these recipes for body and facial scrubs.
2. Get dirty hands clean. Naturally abrasive, sugar can help remove dirt, grease and oil like a champ. Try rubbing dirty hands with equal parts olive oil and sugar, then rinsing.
3. Make cut flowers last longer. Preserve the life of freshly cut flowers by sprinkling a tablespoon of sugar into the vase water. Sugar provides nourishment for the flowers, helping them to live longer. Sugar also provides food for bacteria; to prevent bacterial growth in your vase, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the mix, too. (Read more about how to keep flowers fresh naturally.)
4. Keep baked goods fresh. Keep biscuits, cake or other baked goods fresh by placing a lump of sugar in the bottom of the storage container. The sugar will absorb moisture in the container, helping to keep your goodies fresh for longer.
5. Heal wounds. A small study at a hospital in England showed that sprinkling sugar on bed sores, leg ulcers and amputations can help heal injuries that otherwise are unresponsive to conventional treatment. Sugar draws water from the wound, prohibiting the growth of bacteria and preventing infection. The study was spearheaded by a nurse raised in Zimbabwe, who used to watch his father apply crushed sugar cane to villagers’ wounds.
6. Naturally trap pests. Wasps, fruit flies and other insects are attracted to sweet things, so setting out a lure of simple syrup (made by boiling sugar and water together) can help draw them in. Make a homemade fly trap by boiling sugar, honey and water in equal proportions, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Dip pieces of kraft or brown packaging paper in the mixture, the hang them to try with a drip pan underneath. For roaches, mix equal parts sugar and baking powder then sprinkle over infested areas. Roaches are attracted to sugar, but baking powder is toxic to them. For smaller insects, check out these instructions for making a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap.
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