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9 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices

You already know that spices are indispensable in the kitchen. They make foods taste richer without any added calories, fat, sugar, or salt. Spices have also been proven to contribute to our health just as much as fruits and vegetables. If that wasn’t enough to prove the value of thyme, oregano, cayenne, and other spices, here are a few more reasons to stock up on spices. It turns out that these healthy food ingredients are extremely useful outside of the kitchen too! Read about 9 unusual ways in which the spices in your cupboard can come in handy around the home.

1. Protect your garden with cayenneUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen cayenne

Cayenne pepper can do more than enhance the flavors and aroma of a dish. This spice can help keep unwanted visitors away from your garden. Cayenne acts as a natural insecticide against some harmful bugs, like spider mites and lace bugs. It also deters cats, dogs, deer, squirrels, and rabbits too. 

All you have to do is mix a teaspoon of cayenne with a dash of liquid dish soap in a plastic spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Then, mist the plant leaves and the surrounding soil lightly. 

2. Use garlic juice to make glueUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen garlic

Garlic is one of the most useful vegetables in the kitchen. Nearly no dish is complete without it. But fresh garlic can also come in handy outside of the kitchen. Since garlic has adhesive properties, it can be used as glue. It won't be effective in bonding heavy objects, but it works well on small things, like fragile glass or porcelain items.

An average bulb should yield between ¼ cup and ⅓ of juice. Squeeze the juice out of a raw garlic bulb and use it in place of glue to mend broken pieces. 

Related: 14 Unusual Uses for Garlic

3. Repel rodents with mintUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen mint

A spring of mint can freshen up a glass of water, clear nasal passages, and refresh your breath. On top of all that, mint is also an affordable mice repellent. Mice have very poor eyesight, and they rely primarily on their sense of smell. According to pest control experts, the strong scent of menthol in mint can irritate the rodents’ nasal cavities and drive them away.

Place dried mint or peppermint oil on any gaps or cracks in the walls, or any other passages you suspect mice use to enter your home. Sprinkle it on the corners of the garage, the storage shed, the basement, etc. A whiff of mint is certain to keep the mice away. 

4. Use thyme as a disinfectantUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen thyme

If you want to avoid harsh chemical cleaners, savory thyme can be a great substitute when you’re wiping down kitchen counters or bathroom surfaces. That is due to the compound thymol that has antimicrobial properties. In fact, thyme has been used for thousands of years in Roman, Greek, and Indian medicine as an antiseptic agent.

To make your own thyme disinfectant, pour one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of dried thyme leaves and let the brew steep for eight hours or overnight. Strain, add two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and then pour the mixture into a spray bottle. And there you have it, a natural disinfectant that also smells great.

Related: Do Natural Cleaning Hacks Really Work? We Have the Answer

5. Soothe athlete's foot with oreganoUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen oregano

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs when one’s feet become sweaty from being confined in tightfitting shoes for a long time. The symptoms include a scaly rash that causes itching, stinging, and burning. In general, athlete's foot isn’t a serious condition, but it is irritating and can sometimes be hard to cure.

One effective natural cure is oregano. Oregano essential oil has anti-inflammatory and fungicidal properties. But you don’t have to purchase oregano oil to soothe the itching and peeling. Bring two cups of water to a boil, then add ¼ cup of dried oregano. Let the solution cool before straining, then add the infusion to four quarts of water in a foot bath. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and repeat daily until the condition clears up.

6. Protect clothes with pepper and cloveUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen cloves

Not only do cloves smell wonderful, but they also offer a great natural way to get rid of clothes moths. Before you pack and store away your seasonal clothing, prepare moth repelling sachets by combining equal parts of whole cloves and black peppercorns. Put one tablespoon of the spice mix in the center of a six-inch fabric square, and seal the corners with a ribbon to create a bundle. Place the aromatic sachets into every box of clothing to keep moths out. 

7. Mustard can be used to remove odorsUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen mustard powder

It may be difficult to associate mustard with a fresh smell but bear with us. If you’ve been chopping onions or garlic and haven’t been able to get rid of the smell even after a good scrub with hand soap, mustard may be the solution.

Make a paste of water mixed with mustard powder and rub it on your hands. This can also work with a teaspoon of condiment mustard. If you end up with some leftover mustard paste, it works great to remove odors from food containers and bottles too. 

Related: Try These 8 Naturally Cooling Herbs This Summer

8. Lavender refreshes laundryUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen dried lavender

Dried lavender is known to give baked goods and teas a heavenly aroma, but a lesser-known fact is that it can do the same for your clothes in the dryer. To make a lavender dryer sachet, cut six-inch squares of fabric from an old pillowcase or garment, and sew two pieces together to form a small bag. Add two tablespoons of dried lavender, and stitch the final end of your sachet together.

Simply toss your handmade lavender sachet into the dryer, and enjoy the lovely smell of the clothes when they come out dry. The best thing about this trick is that the sachets are reusable!

9. Get rid of mosquitoes with rosemaryUnexpected Ways to Use Spices Outside the Kitchen rosemary

Mosquitos are the plight of summer. If you want to enjoy summer evenings in your garden without the fear of being stung, you’d be happy to learn that rosemary has strong repelling powers against mosquitos. 

Add one cup of dried rosemary to one quart of boiling water, then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle, then spray yourself (and your pets) with the refreshing mist. Now you can enjoy mosquito-free outdoor activities!

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