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5 Non-Food Uses for Sugar

5 Non-Food Uses for Sugar

Refined sugars aren’t so hot for our health, but there are some household uses for the sweet stuff that might surprise you!

You may not put sugar in your tea these days, but it’s actually an effective degreaser, stain remover, and craft supply. From cleaning uses to DIY projects, there are lots of ways to use sugar around the house without eating a single granule.

Related Reading: Uses for Leftover Coffee, Cooking with Food Scraps, Turmeric Recipes

5 Non-Food Uses for Sugar

1. Clean Your Hands

Do you have greasy hands from cooking or working on your car? Put about a teaspoon of sugar into the palm of your hand before washing with soap as usual. The sugar helps cut the grease and scrub it away.

2. Make Sugar Scrub

Sugar is a gentle exfoliator that’s perfect for sloughing away dead skin. Combined with a little bit of oil, you’ve got yourself a skin scrub that exfoliates, moisturizes, and costs a whole lot less than commercial sugar scrubs. Even better? You can scent your homemade sugar scrub with essential oils rather than the chemical fragrance that you find in its store-bought counterpart.

5 Surprising Uses for Sugar

3. Sugar Sculptures

The tutorial linked above is for making Mexican sugar skulls, but you can use that same technique with different molds to create any shapes you like. Sugar sculptures use all food-based ingredients, but they’re not intended to be eaten. In the link above, she mentions that she made the skulls for her tutorial a full year before she got around to decorating them!

4. Clean the Coffee Grinder

Coffee beans contain natural oils, and sugar helps cut that grease while the grains scour your grinder clean. Like one commenter suggests, you can also use sugar to clean it out, then use the sugar to sweeten your coffee, if you’re so inclined. If not, just toss it into the compost bin.

5. DIY Stain Remover

Create a paste with water, white vinegar, and sugar to pre-treat stained clothing before washing. Let the paste sit for 10-20 minutes, rinse, then wash your garment in cold water. Before you stick it in the dryer, make sure that the stain is gone. If not, you’ll want to treat and wash in cold again. If you put the stained fabric into the dryer, the heat can set the stain.

Have you found any unusual uses for sugar? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Sugar Skull photo via Capital City Bakery, used with permission

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
4:26AM PDT on Oct 29, 2014

Thank you!

4:32AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

I have a shirt that I need to try the stain remover on right now!

7:11AM PDT on May 22, 2014

I didn't realize sugar is an degreaser and can be used combined with vinegar to remove stains. I am going to try it on the next stain!

1:12AM PDT on May 5, 2014


2:53PM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

In ant bait

1:01PM PDT on Apr 29, 2014

I use it as a body scrub :)

10:16AM PDT on Apr 29, 2014

Thank you.

8:09AM PDT on Apr 29, 2014

Noted sugar scrubs are great.

8:08AM PDT on Apr 29, 2014

Noted thanks for sharing.

9:55PM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

I used sugar to scrub the stains off a friend's toaster oven. When he came home, he thought I'd bought him a new toaster oven! I told him a little sugar, and a little baking soda, and a little elbow grease can make a number of things like new, again. :)

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