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Don’t Throw Out Your Leftover Rice Water– Use it on Your Plants Instead

Woman preparing rice water on table.

If you’ve ever made rice at home, you’ve likely noticed that a decent bit of starchy rice-tinged water often gets left behind in the pot or rice cooker. Like many of us, you probably strain your rice and pour this excess water down the sink without even thinking about it.

But if you have any houseplants at home, you’re better off saving that rice water and adding it to their soil instead. The rice serves as makeshift plant food/fertilizer and can thus lead to healthier plants.

Basically, the rice water retains some of the nutrients and minerals from the rice itself. These minerals are not only good for your plants but the starchiness promotes the growth of helpful bacteria in the soil, according to houseplant expert Tyler Cross.

Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Cool-Touch Rice Cooker

A rice cooker like this one is arguably the easiest way to cook not only rice but other grains as well.

All you have to do is strain or wash your rice over a bowl to catch the water rather than letting it wash down the sink. Then you can either pour it directly into your plants’ soil or, in the case of cacti and succulents, mist them with it. It’s a win-win scenario– you get healthier plants without spending extra money.

Just make sure you let the rice water cool first, as water that’s too hot may harm your plants. You’ll also want to avoid overdoing the rice water so too much bacteria doesn’t grow in the soil. Giving them rice water once a month should do the trick.

Pasta water will have a similar effect on houseplants for the same reasons. So if you cook pasta more often than rice, feel free to use your leftover pasta water to nourish your houseplants instead.


Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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