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Homekeeping · Natural Remedies · Cleaning · Laundry · 21 “Sweet” (Non-Food) Uses for Sugar

21 “Sweet” (Non-Food) Uses for Sugar

Sugar is one of those kitchen staples we always have on hand (you never know when you might need to make an emergency batch of cookie dough!) But sugar can actually do a lot more than just satisfy your sweet tooth.

From beauty treatments to fighting grass stains, regular table sugar can pinch-hit for a number of other concoctions, often times taking the place of more costly or possibly toxic solutions.

Check out these sweet ways to use sugar around the house that don’t involve eating it:


Soothing baby.

Studies have proven that babies who were given a 1 to 4 sugar/water solution before immunizations handled the pain of the shots better than children who received only water. Lending credibility to Mary Poppins’ advice that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

Healing wounds.

Studies show that sprinkling sugar on bedsores or ulcers before cleaning and dressing can help kill bacteria that prevents healing. Bacteria needs moisture to survive, and sugar draws water from the wound. A 6-month English study conducted on 21 patients whose wounds did not respond to conventional treatment showed that sugar was effective in curing painful infections.

Cool a burning tongue.

Hot coffee? Sizzling hot pizza? The next time you inadvertently burn your tongue (or eat something too spicy!) suck on a pinch of sugar or a sugar cube to help quickly relieve the sting.

Bee stings and bug bites.

To soothe painful stings and bites, mix equal parts sugar and water and apply to the area. Leave it on for about 20 minutes. It works beautifully!

Cure hiccups.

Eating a spoonful of sugar helps halt the hiccups because its graininess could slightly irritate the esophagus, causing the phrenic nerves to ‘reset’ themselves and forget all about the hiccups.


Body scrub smoother.

Sugar is a wonderful exfoliating agent for body scrubs. Make your own simple body scrub by mixing sugar with oil (coconut oil, almond, jojoba or olive all work well) to create a loose paste. Add some essential oils if you desire. Gently rub on your skin and then rinse off in the shower.

Another option: mash a very ripe banana with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Gently rub on your skin and then rinse off in the shower.

Lip scrub smoother.

Blend a little coconut oil or olive oil with sugar and a drop of peppermint essential oil. Place some of the paste on your lips, massage and lick off. CLICK HERE for my post – Edible Peppermint Lip Scrub & Breath Freshener.

Make lipstick last longer.

Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on your lips after applying lipstick, wait a minute, then lick it off. The sugar draws moisture from the lipstick and will extend the color.


Hand de-gunker.

For extra dirty hands, add sugar to your soap to act as an abrasive. Or try making my Gardener’s Hand Scrub. My FAVORITE way to clean up after digging in the dirt!

Battle garden pests.

If the plants in your garden have unsightly knots at the roots, they may have fallen prey to nematodes. To combat them naturally, sprinkle plants and the soil around them with handfuls of sugar. The sugar will feed microorganisms which will increase the organic matter in the soil while making it a hostile environment for the nematodes.

Keep cut flowers fresher, longer.

Add 3 teaspoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar per quart of warm water, then add fresh-cut flowers. The sugar feeds the stems and the vinegar restricts the growth of bacteria. Replace the water every other day.

Related:  How To Make Your Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer

Trap wasps.

Make a simple syrup by mixing two parts sugar with one part water and bringing it to a boil. Once it cools, pour the syrup into a jar and set it outside. The sticky mixture will attract the wasps and trap them.

Make your own natural fly strips.

Bring equal parts sugar, honey and water to a boil, until thick. Let it cool and dip strips of paper bags into the mixture. CLICK HERE for the complete instructions.

Banish bugs and roaches.

Mix equal parts sugar and baking powder and sprinkle the mixture over any place you suspect bugs are hanging out. Sugar attracts the buggers, the baking powder exterminates them. Reapply as needed.

Another option: dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of borax in a cup of water and soak cotton balls in the mixture. Again the sugar attracts the bugs, and borax is a popular pest control ingredient renown for killing all kinds of nasty bugs like ants and cockroaches. Place the soaked cotton balls around the area where you discovered the bugs.

Feed the butterflies.

ButterflyRescue.com recommends the following formula for attracting and feeding butterflies in your garden:

Make a simple syrup by adding 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. To mix up the butterfly solution – take 3 ounces of water or Gatorade, add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup to it, then add about 6 drops of soy sauce.

Paint the mixture on trees, fence posts, rocks, or stumps — or simply soak a sponge in the mixture and hang it from a tree limb.

Lighter fluid substitute.

Once sugar is exposed to a flame, it decomposes rapidly and releases a fire-friendly chemical that can help ignite that stubborn charcoal. Simply apply a light dusting of sugar to the coals before you light them.

Fight grass stains.

Combine sugar and warm water to create a thick paste; apply directly to the grass stain. Let the mixture sit on the stain for about an hour or two, then wash the garment as usual.


Clean your coffee or spice grinder.

To clean and eliminate odors…pour 1/4 cup of sugar into to your grinder and let it run for a few minutes. It’ll break down and clean out all the excess oils that have built up in the machine over time. Dump out and wipe clean.

Keep baked goods fresh.

Add a few sugar cubes to the airtight container holding your baked goods. The lumps will absorb the moisture and keep your bread, cakes, cookies, and biscuits fresher, longer.

Eliminate cooking odors.

To rid your kitchen of cooking smells, “burn” some sugar in a pan. Cook it to the point of medium dark caramel color, when the aroma still smells sweet. Caramel is a natural fragrance and you’ve turned your pan into a natural air freshener.

Also….add 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar to the water before cooking “smelly” vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. Your nose will thank you.

Prevent cheese from molding.

To keep your favorite cheese from turning fuzzy, place a sugar cube with the cheese in an airtight container.

And a couple more than DO involve food…but that you might not have thought of!

Better berries.

Nothing beats fresh berries! “Macerate” berries for a quick no-cook dessert topping, by stirring in a teaspoon of sugar and a squeeze of lemon for every cup of sliced berries. Let sit for 30 minutes. Serve alone, with ice cream or whipped cream, on top of cakes, bread pudding, etc.

Make vanilla sugar.

Split a vanilla bean in half and bury it in a jar full of sugar, let it sit for a week, and you have vanilla-infused sugar. Stir it into your coffee, tea or hot cocoa, add it to homemade vanilla ice cream, use it to decorate holiday cookies, or sprinkle it on top of cupcakes or muffins.

Make rock candy.

Stir 2 1/2 cups sugar into 1 cup hot water until sugar is dissolved. Pour the syrup into open containers and add a grain of sugar to each dish. Store in a cool, dry place and check after a few days for crystals. As they form, scoop them out and let dry on a paper towel. A simpler candy does not exist! Rock Candy Recipe

Hopefully after reading this list, you’ll never think of sugar as just a sweetener again!

Do you have a creative use for sugar?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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