Life Hacks

25 Brilliant ways to use old spices for more than cooking

May 8th, 2020

Every kitchen has at least one cabinet dedicated to nothing but spices. For cooking Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern, and American food, plus everything in between, they make food more flavorful. Just imagine how boring recipes would be without spices.

But like other staples, spices begin to lose their potency over time. Fortunately, they last for years but at some point, they need to be replaced. It just seems sad to toss out items that serve such an amazing purpose. But what if you didn’t have to get rid of old spices.

The good news — you don’t. These clever ways show that you have plenty of possibilities. Some that’ll even surprise you.

1. Potpourri

Instead of buying expensive candles or spraying your home with an air freshener, here’s a better option. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then, add about one tablespoon of whatever spice you like best. Not only will your house smell amazing but the fragrance will last a long time.

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Pexels/Cottonbro Source: Pexels/Cottonbro

2. Freshen carpet

Especially if you have pets, carpeting can start to smell. An excellent way to freshen it is by sprinkling on a little bit of ginger or rosemary, followed by vacuuming. Just be sure to avoid any spices that could cause a stain.

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Pexels/Dids Source: Pexels/Dids

3. Keep cockroaches away

There’s nothing more disgusting than finding a cockroach in your house. If you spot one or suspect they’re inside your home, place dried bay leaves in dark places where these nasty critters like to hide. While this won’t kill them, it’ll certainly make them run the other way.

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Wikipedia Source: Wikipedia

4. Grow healthy plants

A lot of spices are rich in minerals and vitamins. So, by adding just a pinch to your plants, they’ll grow healthy and strong. One of the best options is a blend of ground thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and oregano.

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Unsplash/Paula Barreca Barnes Source: Unsplash/Paula Barreca Barnes

5. Make a nontoxic fungicide

If you’re dealing with fungi in your garden, mix one teaspoon of ground cinnamon with two cups of water. Let it sit overnight and then strain it through a coffee filter. Pour the liquid in a spray bottle and spritz on your plants.

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Unsplash/Luisa Schetinger Source: Unsplash/Luisa Schetinger

6. Handmade soap

Instead of buying soap from the store, a lot of people now make it at home. For this, you can use almost any spice you want or use more than one. Not only will you enjoy using it but this makes a great gift. Ginger, cloves, and cinnamon are favorites.

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Instagram/homemade_soap_candle_and_more Source: Instagram/homemade_soap_candle_and_more

7. Repel insects

With summertime just around the corner, you can expect to see all kinds of insects. Thankfully, old spices will keep them at bay. Anything with a strong fragrance like peppermint and sage work amazingly well. Just sprinkle a little bit around the window sills and doors.

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Unsplash/Mikhail Vasilyev Source: Unsplash/Mikhail Vasilyev

8. Infused oil

Whether you use infused oil in your bath water or as part of aromatherapy, you can create a concoction from old spices. For this, select the spice you like and then let it soak in jojoba oil for about six weeks. Then it’s ready to enjoy.

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Instagram/sacredwingscottage Source: Instagram/sacredwingscottage

9. Natural cleaning products

Just imagine cleaning your house with something that works, smells great, and doesn’t contain chemicals. When you make a product using old spices, that’s what you get. One example, dried mint leaves, baking soda, and salt work far better for scrubbing sinks than products sold in stores.

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Pexels/Yigithan Bal Source: Pexels/Yigithan Bal

10. Beautiful Easter Eggs

You can make gorgeous amber-colored Easter eggs. Simply add two tablespoons of turmeric powder to one cup of water, bring it to a boil, and then pour in two teaspoons of white vinegar. After stirring, use a slotted spoon to dye hard-boiled eggs as you normally would. The longer they sit in the liquid the darker they become.

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Unsplash/Elena Mozhvilo Source: Unsplash/Elena Mozhvilo

11. Easy-to-make paint

If you have kids at home who want to paint but you’ve run out…no problem. Old or new spices like turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, and cinnamon added to a small amount of water work great. Just be sure your children have on old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained.

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Unsplash/Senjuti Kundu Source: Unsplash/Senjuti Kundu

12. Homemade glue

Some people don’t think of garlic as a spice but it is. For lightweight items that have broken, here’s a cool trick. Squeeze the juice from raw garlic bulbs and then use it as an alternative to store-bought glue.

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Pexels/Engin Akyurt Source: Pexels/Engin Akyurt

13. Home decor

Whether you use old spices or buy new ones, you can tie whole herbs together and then hang them on drawer knobs or wall hooks. This is a fun way to add character to a kitchen while making the room smell great.

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Instagram/thevalewitch Source: Instagram/thevalewitch

14. Deter animals from getting in your garden

Although you probably love wild animals, you don’t want them to destroy your garden. Old spices like cayenne pepper, chili powder, and red pepper sprinkled on the soil will work wonders.

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Unsplash/Davies Designs Studios Source: Unsplash/Davies Designs Studios

15. Prevent a mouse problem

As cute as they might be, mice can be quite destructive. But here’s an interesting fact…they don’t like mint. So, either sprinkle old mint or plant fresh mint around your home’s foundation. Problem solved.

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Pexels/Monique Laats Source: Pexels/Monique Laats

16. Make spice sachets

A great way to make drawers smell better is by placing a sachet inside. Spice sachets are also ideal for deodorizing closets, a basement, and even the garage.

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Instagram/picocrafts Source: Instagram/picocrafts

17. Beautiful ornaments

Not only do old spices like cloves and stick cinnamon smell wonderful but when used to make Christmas ornaments, they also look incredible. Your home will smell more festive than ever.

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Instagram/m_a_monroe Source: Instagram/m_a_monroe

18. Make new blends

Mix different spices to make blends. For example, if you love cooking Italian food, mix oregano, garlic, salt, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. Even if the spices are old, you can still cook with them. You just might need to use more to get the flavor you want.

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Unsplash/Pratiksha Mohanty Source: Unsplash/Pratiksha Mohanty

19. Enhance candle fragrance

If you enjoy making candles at home, give them a wonderful fragrance by adding some oil infused with spices to the wax. You’ll love how great this works.

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Unsplash/Joanna Kosinska Source: Unsplash/Joanna Kosinska

20. Freshen up laundry

A lot of people have never heard of this but it works. When washing colored clothes, add two teaspoons of black pepper. This will keep the colors bright and prevent fading. Some people claim it even extends the life of the clothes.

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Unsplash/Alexis Antoine Source: Unsplash/Alexis Antoine

21. Use them for grilling

Just because spices get old doesn’t mean you can’t use them to season meat for grilling. Somehow, the heat brings the flavor out. So, you end up with flavorful and juicy meat to enjoy for dinner.

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Unsplash/Victoria Shes Source: Unsplash/Victoria Shes

22. Plant them in your garden

You can plant a lot of old spices and they’ll grow just fine. The best options include dill, cumin seeds, anise stars, and coriander seeds. Then, you’ll have new spices to add to your kitchen cabinet.

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Instagram/tonyp_bbq Source: Instagram/tonyp_bbq

23. Revive them

Don’t toss out your old spices…revive them. By toasting cumin seeds, black peppers, and even ground spices, their flavor will come alive.

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Instagram/karens_food_corner Source: Instagram/karens_food_corner

24. Ease pain

You can make all kinds of natural remedies for dealing with pain. As an example, if your feet hurt after standing on them at work all day, add mint to lotion and apply. The cooling sensation feels so good and helps alleviate pain. Rubbing coriander on aching joints is another natural solution.

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Unsplash/Billie Source: Unsplash/Billie

25. Make insect repellant

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you want to take measures to avoid bug bites. For this, you can either make an infused oil using jojoba with peppermint or lemongrass or add these spices to lotion. The strong scents keep pests away.

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Pexels/Ben Maxwell Source: Pexels/Ben Maxwell

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Source: Food Hacks, Earth 911, Bob Vila, Times of India