How to Use Old Spices

The author of this article must have peeked into my kitchen cabinets. I am notorious for not doing an inventory before I leave for the grocery store and picking up additional spices “just in case.”

The article reveals that spices older than a year or two will not do much to flavor your food. You can use this helpful chart to determine if the spices in your pantry are past their prime. Earth also gives alternative uses for spices that have seen their better days. I have included my favorite tips….

Clean Your Carpet

Believe it or not, old spices can be used to freshen your carpet and vacuum. Simply sprinkle spices like  rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, cloves or nutmeg on your carpet and then vacuum. Just be sure to check to make sure the spices’ colors won’t stain your carpet before applying them to the entire rug.

Keep Animals Out of the Garden

Next time rabbits, squirrels or other neighborhood critters are eating more of your garden than you are, try sprinkling hot spices including chili powder, red pepper and cayenne pepper to keep them away.

Add to Laundry

Adding a few teaspoons of black pepper to your load of wash, may help extend the life of your clothes, keeping colors bright and preventing fading.


Over time, spices begin to lose their volatile oils which makes them less beneficial in cooking. Try using old spices on the grill, the higher temperatures may help release any remaining volatile oils and flavor your food.


Perhaps not surprisingly, spices can neutralize odors, making them a good candidate for freshening up your house. Placing spice-filled sachets in drawers can help eliminate stale odors.

Spices can be used to remove unpleasant smells from bottles and thermoses and boiling spices like whole cloves or cinnamon sticks can freshen your whole kitchen.

Grow Them

If you have whole spices like anise stars, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dill or plenty of others, you can try planting them to see if they grow. Since these types of spices were seeds all along, they may germinate, though success may depend on how old those seeds are.

With any spice, it’s important to store it properly to maintain freshness as long as possible. Storing spices in airtight, glass containers is ideal, and keeping them in the refrigerator can make them last longer as well. Whatever you do, the article advises readers not to store spices above the stove, because the heat will destroy the spices’ oils.





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