Mottainai! 5 Ways to Reuse Rice Water

Mottainai! 5 Ways to Reuse Rice Water

If you read our post about The Heart of Kintsugi, or if you are familiar with Japanese culture already, you know that Japanese can’t stand to waste. Throwing away anything that still has a potential purpose is “mottainai,” such a waste! There are all kinds of clever life hacks for reusing 再利用 common items. What was trash to you yesterday might be a treasure to you tomorrow! In today’s post, let’s look at how to reuse “okome no togi jiru” お米のとぎ汁.

Okome no togi jiru is the cloudy water that results from rinsing uncooked rice. We normally pour it down the drain like dirty dishwater, but it is actually full of revitalizing B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium. Here is how to collect it.

How to Collect Rice Rinsing Water

  1. 1. Quickly pre-rinse rice to get rid of any dust or impurities on the surface and drain

2. Rub the moistened rice together with your fingers for 2-3 minutes (you will notice a milky liquid forming)

3. Add water and give a quick stir to gather up all the goodness

4. Pour cloudy rice rinsing water into a clean container with a lid

Okay. Now that you have collected your rice water, here is how to reuse it!

1. Natural Dish Detergent

Rice water works like a charm on greasy dishes, its chemical makeup helps to break down oils and grime. Save yourself some scrubbing, and use less dish detergent! (Rice water doesn’t contain any antibacterial components, so use regular dish detergent for surfaces that have come in contact with raw fish or meat.)

2. Natural Deodorizer

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With its natural deodorizing effect, rice water is perfect for soaking tupperware containers or lunch boxes that have been stained with the smell of garlic or other strong smelling food. It can also help remove the “fishy” smell from fish before cooking.

3. Floor Cleaner

Rice water can also give wooden floors a beautiful glossy finish. For best results, soak a rag in a bucket of diluted rice water, and ring out before using. Cleaning the floor by hand is a very Japanese practice, but depending on your floor space, it may not be practical. In this case, dilute and pour into a spray bottle to be used with a floor mop.

4. Bath Soak

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Add to a hot bath with a dash of Japanese sake for a really exotic bath time. The vitamins and minerals will give your skin a radiant glow. Interestingly, Marie Claire women’s magazine listed a Japanese sake bath soak as one of the 19 best bath products of 2021.

5. Face Wash/Toner

Putting it in a shallow container makes it easier to apply to your face.

Since the Edo Period, rice water has been used as a healthy face wash and natural toner. It’s known to moisturize the skin and tighten pores. For best results, dilute 150% with warm filtered water. Note that rice water does not keep, so it’s best to use the same day. Before applying to your skin, be sure to do a patch test to avoid any allergic reactions.

What about you? Did your grandpa or grandma do any of these? Which do you want to try?

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