9 Extraordinary Uses For Sugar [Explained]

Sugar, it’s a staple in almost every home. It’s so common that asking your neighbor for a cup of it is now seen as accepted neighborly etiquette! But, besides sweetening your tea or making cookies, do you know what else sugar can do?

As it’s so common, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that over time we’ve discovered many different uses for this versatile home staple. Sugar can be a valuable addition to your home toolkit from cleaning to pest control.

Below, I’ll dive into some of the most extraordinary ways to use sugar. So put down that artificial sweetener and keep reading!

Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

No one likes seeing their beautiful bouquet wilt and die within a few days. But did you know that adding sugar to the water can help extend the life of your cut flowers?

To do this, mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon bleach, yes bleach, in a quart of warm water. Then, add your flowers, and they’ll be good as new!

The bleach and sugar work together to create a low-pH environment that bacteria hate. This means that bacteria will be slow to grow on the cut stems, meaning your flowers will be able to absorb more water and stay fresh for longer.

Improve Outdoor Plant Health

Just like humans, plants can get sick if they don’t have enough sugar. In fact, a lack of sugar is one of the main reasons outdoor plants sometimes look yellow and unhealthy.

Luckily, you can use sugar to give them the boost they need! Just dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in a gallon of water and then pour it around the base of your plants. The sugar will help them absorb more nutrients and make them look lush and green.

This treatment should only be used on sick-looking plants to provide a quick boost to sugars the plant needs, and not a regular treatment as too much sugar can actually be harmful to them.

Keep Cookies Fresh

If you’re like me, you love having cookies around the house at all times. But, sometimes, they can go stale before you have a chance to eat them all.

To keep your cookies fresher for longer, add a half teaspoon of sugar to the dough before baking. This will help to absorb moisture and prevent them from drying out and becoming hard. (This is why sugar cookies stay so soft for so long!)

If you already have some stale cookies hanging around, sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar water (1 part sugar to 2 parts water) and then pop them in the oven, on relatively low heat for a few minutes. This will help to re-absorb some of the moisture and make them taste fresh again!

Keep Cake Fresh

The cake is one of those things that is just better when it’s fresh. Whether you’ve had to bake a cake in advance, or if you think you’ll have some leftovers that you’ll be picking at in the middle of the night for a few days, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t dry out and become crumbly and disappointing.

To keep your cake moist and delicious, simply brush it with a sugar syrup (equal parts water and sugar, which are boiled until the sugar has fully dissolved) while it’s still warm. This will help to seal in moisture and keep the cake fresh for days.

If you’re obsessed with baking shows like I am, you’ll see cake makers in the shows doing this all the time!

Hand Cleaner

If you work with your hands more than normal, or if you just like to keep them clean and soft, sugar can be a great addition to your hand-washing routine.

The coarse texture of sugar makes it great for scrubbing away dirt and grime, while the glycolic acid in sugar helps to break down dead skin.

It’s important to note that sugar should not be used to replace hand soap as it does not kill bacteria. But, it’s a great way to give your hands a little extra scrubbing power when you need it.

Soothe a Burned Tongue

If you’ve ever burned your tongue eating pizza way too quick, like I can be guilty of, you know how painful it can be. But did you know that a great way to soothe the pain is with sugar?!

Simply dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in a glass of water and drink it down. The sugar will help to draw the heat out of the burn and ease the pain almost immediately.

This works because sugar is a natural hygroscopic substance, meaning it absorbs moisture. When you apply sugar to a burn, it will absorb the heat and some of the water from the tissue, helping to cool and soothe the area.

Start a Fire

In a pinch, sugar can actually be used to start a fire. This is because sugar is highly combustible and will ignite easily when exposed to a spark or flame.

To use sugar as kindling, simply sprinkle it over some dry leaves or other tinder material. Then, apply a spark or flame and watch as the sugar ignites and helps to get your fire going.

Just be careful not to use too much sugar, as it can cause the fire to burn out of control very quickly! (Think fire lighters, they will burn more intensely when it catches so be careful!)

Wasp and Fly Trap

If you’re dealing with a wasp or fly problem, sugar can be used to trap and kill them.

To make the trap, simply mix equal parts sugar and water and pour it into a container with a small opening. The flying pests will be attracted to the sweetness of the sugar water, but they won’t be able to escape once they get in.

You can also add a little bit of dish soap to the mixture, as this will break the surface tension of the water meaning they’ll sink as soon as they land on the surface.

Kill Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most resilient pests out there, a nuisance in many homes. But cockroaches have a weakness, they can’t resist the sweetness of sugar!

To kill cockroaches, simply mix equal parts sugar and boric acid powder. Then, sprinkle the mixture around areas where you’ve seen cockroaches or think they might be hiding. The sugar will attract the cockroaches while the boric acid will kill them.

Just be careful not to use this method if you have small children or pets, as boric acid can be toxic if ingested!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long can you store sugar?

Sugar can be stored almost indefinitely! However, over time it may begin to clump together or harden due to contact with moisture. If this happens, you can simply break it up with a spoon or other kitchen utensil.

Does sugar get rid of bacteria?

While sugar does have some antibacterial properties, it’s important to note that it is not a replacement for hand-washing or other hygiene practices.

Do houseplants like sugar water?

Yes! A little bit of sugar added to your plant’s water can help it to grow faster and healthier. Just be sure not to overdo it, as too much sugar can harm your plants.


So, as you can tell from the above, there is a reason sugar has become such a household staple.

Beyond being delicious, and actually one of the healthier ways to add sweetness to food and drink, sugar is a versatile ingredient lending itself to more than just satisfying a sweet tooth!

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