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.

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


Sue H
Sue H2 months ago

Helpful ideas, thanks.

Telica R
Telica R1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Dennis Hall
Dennis H2 years ago


Laura K
Laura K2 years ago

Sugar scrubs are marvelous on the skin! I use sugar in my homemade dishwasher soap blend to help scrub the dishes clean. Works well! I also use it to dissipate the heat in my mouth from eating hot salsa!

Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 years ago

Thanks for the stain remover tip.

Carl R
Carl R2 years ago


Ingrid H
Past Member 2 years ago

thank you

Carl R
Carl R2 years ago


Julie B
Julie B2 years ago

I do actually use suger unreined ~sparingly. I like to use natural cleaners etc. Shall be trying the cleaner on a white top alittle later. Perhaps be useful to clean stainless steel sinks?

Christine Dunbar
Christine Dunbar2 years ago

Thanks for putting these together, I had no idea!