Alternative Uses of Sugar that You May Not Know

While sugar has a received a lot of negative hype in recent years, we sometimes forget that it can do much more for us than sweeten our food and beverages. Here are some alternative uses of sugar that may surprise you.

What Types of Sugar Are There?

You may have only seen that refined sugar is the only one that is sold most frequently. These are the small white grains that are used for tea, coffee, cakes, etc. However, there are other kinds like:

  • Table or common sugar: as we said earlier, it is the one that is used the most, the one that everyone knows, the grain is small or medium sized.
  • Extra fine sugar: it is not known in many countries, like in Spain, but there are various English-speaking recipes for sweets and desserts that use it as an ingredient. It is a very small grain.
  • Sugar glass: it is the same “common” sugar that has been ground until it turns into a fine dust. It is used to sprinkle on cakes or sweets so that the powder is not seen.


  • Cane or nib sugar: it is round and bigger than traditional sugar. It is popular in Northern and Central European countries. You can find it in German and Scandinavian bakeries and is known as “Belgium waffles”.
  • Crystal sugar: it is bigger than what is found in stores and is used more for decoration or esthetic reasons or for sweetening tea or coffee. It almost always has a non-uniform square shape and is taken as a small pinch. It does not dissolve as easily as the granulated kind.
  • Invert sugar: many people say that it is not in the same category as the rest of the sugar but it earns its given name. It is not composed exclusively of sucrose but rather is mixed with other kinds like syrup. It is obtained by being heated up and is used in industrial sweetshops because it keeps the pieces tender for longer.


“It’s Like a Pharmacist Without Sugar”

This was an old saying and it was because pharmacists used sugar to cure various diseases and illnesses once they discovered and realized its advantages. Some people say that it was used to treat respiratory system problems, and that it was great for injuries. Almost everyone agreed that sugar has medical abilities and that it cures.

If you mix it with a lot of water, it produces syrups that can be added to other essential herbs. These will treat flus, colds, etc., if you mix it with strong alcohol, like moonshine, which is also used to lower fevers.


Pharmacists always had it on hand because they did not want to lose it right away. It was also common for these people to work in the same place as their home. They could always resort to their wife’s supply in order to get a little bit of this sweetener.

Alternative Uses of Sugar that Will Surprise You

To Soothe Babies

If your child has problems sleeping or is in pain after getting any of the various vaccines during the first months of their life, you can give them a solution made with one part sugar to four parts water before the immunization.

To Treat Injuries

As we said before, sugar is used to kill bacteria that causes pain in injuries, cuts, or ulcers. Just rub a little bit on top and let sit.

To Soothe a Burnt Tongue

If you burn your tongue from drinking an infusion, coffee, or soup or from taste testing a sauce, suck on a sugar cube or even pour a few grains on it.


To Reduce Spiciness in Foods

If you are making a condiment or sauce and you have made it too spicy, just add in a teaspoon of sugar. It can also be used when a hot tomato recipe is too acidic.

To Exfoliate Skin

By mixing sugar with olive or almond oil, you can create a great exfoliant for eliminating dead cells from your entire body.

To Make Lipstick Stay

One of the problems of women is that their lipstick does not stay on for the time she would like. It disappears from drinking, smoking, licking your lips, or greeting someone. To get it to stay a little longer, rub a little bit of sugar on your lips after you put lipstick on. Leave it on for a few minutes and then lick it off completely.

To Clean Dirty Hands

This is good for men that work with grease or oils (mechanics, for example) or after painting. Just add a little bit of sugar and wish with soap like usual so that it becomes abrasive.sugar-11

To Improve Your Garden’s Appearance

Mix three tablespoons of sugar with two of vinegar and a fourth tablespoon of warm water. Apply it to the dirt around the plants. The sugar will nourish the stems and the vinegar will prevent bacteria from developing.

To Clean the Coffee Maker

Pour a fourth cup of of sugar in the ground holder and let sit for 3 minutes as if you were making coffee. Clean with plenty of water.

Remove Grease Stains

If your favorite piece of clothing, blanket, or curtains get grease stains, you can make a sugar and water paste and apply it directly. Let sit for at least an hour and then wash like usual.

Keep Cookies or Desserts Fresh

Put them in a sealed container along with a few sugar cubes so that they last longer. You can do the same with grated cheese so that it does not get hard.

Have these alternative uses of sugar surprised you?

Images courtesy of Uwe Hermann, David Eccles, Betsy Weber, Jody Mcintyre, goodmami, Javcon 117, Joel Kramer.