While refined white sugar isn’t the healthiest ingredient to include in our food, it’s still a staple in many pantries. Whether you’re looking to rid your home of refined sugar without wasting your supply, or just looking for simple ways to use it around the house, try these handy ways to use sugar outside of food.
1. Naturally exfoliate skin
Sugar is naturally abrasive, making it a good substitute for conventional exfoliating scrubs, many of which use tiny beads of nonbiodegradable plastic that cause major problems for aquatic life. A basic homemade sugar scrub is simply one part sugar and one part oil, such as jojoba, almond or olive oil. To make a fancier homemade sugar scrub, consult the these recipes.
2. Clean your coffee grinder
Coffee and spice grinders pick up oil and dirt that can be difficult to clean with soap and water. Fortunately, an electric grinder can be easily cleaned by running 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup of sugar through it. In addition to cleaning the machine, the sugar will also absorb odors.
3. Scrub your hands
Sugar helps remove dirt, grease and oil like a champ. Try rubbing dirty hands with equal parts olive oil and sugar, then rinsing.
4. Sustain a bouquet
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 live longer. Note, however, that sugar also provides food for bacteria. To prevent bacterial growth in your vase, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the mix.
5. Heal wounds
In a study at an English hospital, sprinkling sugar on bed sores, leg ulcers and amputations helped heal injuries that were unresponsive to conventional treatments. Sugar draws water from wounds, helping prevent infection. Always consult a physician when treating these serious conditions.
6. Store baked goods
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 keep goodies fresh longer.
7. Naturally trap pests
Fruit flies are attracted to sweet things, so set out a lure of simple syrup, which is made by boiling sugar and water together. This will trap and drown the insects. Make a homemade fly trap by boiling sugar, honey and water in equal proportions, stirring occasionally until thickened. Dip pieces of brown packaging paper in the mixture, the hang them to dry with a drip pan underneath. For roaches, mix equal parts sugar and baking powder, then sprinkle over infested areas. To make traps for other insects, visit motherearthliving.com/fruit-fly-trap.
8. Feed hummingbirds
Hummingbirds thrive on flower nectar, which can be mimicked by mixing one part sugar to four parts water. Add it to a hummingbird feeder and wait for your winged visitors to arrive. Want to make your own hummingbird feeder? Find out how at motherearthnews.com/DIY-hummingbird-feeder.