6 ways to clean with rice — bring sparkle to your home with this staple food

Discover how to clean with rice to tackle everything from jewelry to coffee grinders

Person cupping their hands, holding white rice in a heart shape - for article on ways to clean with rice
(Image credit: Oat_Phawat/Getty Images)

Knowing ways to clean with rice is a great trick for getting your home gleaming without the need for a cupboard full of commercial sprays.

From cleaning narrow-necked glass bottles to giving your jewelry that extra sparkle, our industry experts will reveal six simple but stunning rice cleaning hacks.

When it comes to cleaning your home, don't overlook the power of simple foods and ingredients you already have in your home.

6 of our favorite ways to clean with rice

When it comes to the best cleaning supplies, we all know about the more common ones such as bleach, baking soda and vinegar. But a bag of rice has a lot more to offer than partnering nicely with curry. 

With expert tips and tricks along the way, allow us to guide you through 6 ways to clean with rice, with step-by-step instructions and the science behind its magic. 

Where our pros have suggested products to combine with rice, we've sourced high-quality items from trusted retailers. 

All prices were correct at the time of publication.

1. Narrow-neck bottles

Glass bottles containing vinegar and oils in a row

(Image credit: RalucaHotupan/Getty Images)

Cleaning the narrow necks and intricate shapes of glass bottles and vases can be a challenge. Rice offers a simple solution.

Cleaning specialist Angela Rubin, of Hellamaid, says, "Begin by pouring one or two tablespoons of uncooked rice into the bottle or vase (a funnel helps to avoid spills). Add warm water until the container is about half full and squeeze in a few drops of mild dish soap. 

"Cover the opening with your hand or a stopper and shake it well for 2-3 minutes. The small, hard grains of rice act as a gentle abrasive, scrubbing away stubborn residues and stains from the glass's interior surfaces. Combined with soap, rice effectively dislodges dirt without scratching the glass."

Angela recommends Dawn Original Scent Ultra Dishwashing Liquid from Target for a fragrant and effective clean. It also comes with more than ten thousand 5-star customer reviews.

She adds: "To finish, empty everything out, rinse thoroughly with clean water, and let the bottle or vase air dry." 

2. Pots & pans

Copper pans hanging in a kitchen, going from smallest to largest, with shelf above filled with jars of different ingredients

(Image credit: therry/Getty Images)

Burnt-on food and stubborn residues on pots and pans can be frustrating to clean. Rice can make this task easier.

Simply place a handful of uncooked rice and enough water to cover the bottom into the pot or pan. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Use the rice water to scrub the surface with a sponge or brush — try these Great Value Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges from Walmart, which cost as little as 55 cents per sponge and come with more than four thousand great reviews. 

The boiling rice creates a mild abrasive slurry that helps lift and break down burnt-on food and residues. The hot water softens the debris, making it easier to remove.

Finally, rinse thoroughly with clean water.

3. Coffee grinders

Coffee pot with coffee brewing, with mug and candle to the side, in a kitchen

(Image credit: Tony Anderson/Getty Images)

There's nothing quite like a great coffee maker. But coffee grinders can accumulate oils and residues that are difficult to clean. Rice provides an easy, natural solution.

Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, says, "Add a handful of uncooked rice grains to the coffee grinder and grind the rice for about 30 seconds until it turns into a fine powder.

"Dispose of the powdered rice and any loosened debris from the grinder, then wipe the interior and exterior of the grinder with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

"The abrasive texture of the rice helps to dislodge trapped coffee grounds and the oils left behind by coffee beans from the grinder's blades and chamber, resulting in a cleaner and more efficient appliance."

Karina recommends long-grain white rice for a cheap, effective clean that doesn't leave behind any unwanted scent or residue. This Mahatma Extra Long Grain Rice from Amazon is 100% vegan, kosher, and great value at less than $3.

Karina adds, "One thing to avoid — be careful not to use too much rice at once as it can overload the grinder and strain the motor."

4. Plastic containers

Person holding rice in their hand with bowl of rice underneath

(Image credit: Philippe Lissac / Godong/Getty Images)

Plastic containers can retain strong odors even after washing. Enter: rice.

Karina says, "This method is so simple but highly effective at neutralizing unwanted odors. 

"Fill the container halfway with uncooked rice, seal it and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Rice's porous structure allows it to absorb odors effectively."

To enhance the process, add some baking soda, which further neutralizes acidic and basic odor molecules, leaving containers fresh and scent-free. At less than a dollar, this Good & Gather Baking Soda from Target is affordable, and super quality too.

Karina adds, "To finish, discard the rice and rinse the container or bottle with warm water. Allow the container or bottle to air dry completely before use."

5. Shower screens

Clean bathroom with gleaming glass shower screen in front of shower

(Image credit: John Keeble/Getty Images)

Soap scum and hard water stains on shower doors can be stubborn. Rice water offers an effective cleaning method.

Begin by cooking 1/2 cup of rice in 2 cups of water. Once the water turns milky, strain out the rice.

Let the rice water cool slightly, then add it to a spray bottle — at less than $2, this Mainstays Empty Plastic Spray Bottle from Walmart is great value and holds 24 ounces of liquid. 

Spray the rice water on the shower screen and clean it with a sponge, gently scrubbing in circular motions.

Rice water contains starches that can break down soap scum and mineral deposits. Its slight acidity helps dissolve the buildup, while the gentle abrasiveness aids in scrubbing without scratching.

Rinse off with clean water and dry with a microfiber cloth — these HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloths from Amazon come in a multicolored 12-pack and boast great reviews.

6. Jewelry

Person cleaning diamond ring with microfiber cloth

(Image credit: Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images)

Cleaning delicate jewelry can be tricky. Rice can help you keep your treasures sparkling.

Karina says, "For a great, environmentally-friendly way to clean your jewelry, begin by placing a cup of dry, uncooked rice in a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave the rice for about 30-60 seconds. The goal is to get it warm, not hot.

"Bury your jewelry pieces in the warm rice, ensuring they are fully covered. Allow the jewelry to sit in the rice for about 20 minutes. This gives the rice enough time to draw out oils and dirt.

"After 20 minutes, remove the jewelry from the rice and use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away any remaining dirt, especially in crevices. Rinse your jewelry under lukewarm water to remove any residual rice dust or dirt, then pat dry with a soft cloth or microfiber towel."

Rice water's mild abrasiveness and slight acidity help to dislodge dirt and grime from intricate jewelry designs. It provides a gentle yet effective clean, perfect for delicate pieces.

Karina adds, "For smaller pieces, you can use a small sieve or strainer to ensure you don’t lose any tiny parts while rinsing."

Meet our experts

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services. 

Profile photo of Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina is an Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a prominent cleaning company based in Arlington, VA. With over a decade of hands-on experience in the cleaning industry, she's honed her expertise in providing top-notch cleaning solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of clients effectively, and sustainably.

So there you have it — 6 ways to clean with rice. Embrace these rice-based cleaning methods to simplify your routine and keep your home sparkling clean.

Next, check out these household jobs you can do with vinegar and 10 ways to clean your home with citrus peels

Andy van Terheyden
Freelance Writer

I'm a senior writer with an English degree and NCJ qualification, plus years of experience writing news, lifestyle and consumer articles for the national and international press. I'm also a copywriter, working on a breadth of consumer and corporate projects, and a private education consultant. I live in the quiet of the countryside and spend my weekends mooching around homeware shops, completing DIY tasks to breathe life into my small, newly-built home.