Sugar isn’t just delicious. It’s also a workhorse. Perhaps this is the real reason the British originally called sugar "white gold!" Best of all, where other options for a particular fix might be a little (or a lot) toxic, sugar is perfectly safe—even for households with pets and youngsters.

1. Ease pain

Sugar not only helps medicine slip down sans bitterness (or complaints)—it also treats surface wounds quite effectively.

Here are some common ways sugar can ease pain

  • Tongue burn: Just suck on a sugar cube or take a teaspoon of sugar and let it melt on your tongue.
  • Kill wound bacteria: Sugar is a great anti-bacterial agent. Just sprinkle some on an open sore, bite, sting, or wound and the bacteria growing there will soon be no more (as a bonus, you should notice any pain or itching lessening as well).
  • Reduce spice overload: If you ever take a mouthful of something that proves hotter than you can handle, chase it with a sprinkle of sugar…no more spiciness.
  • Ease needle stings: A recent Pediatrics study has shown that mild ingestion of sucralose (sugar) eases the pain of injections for infants. Here, you want a one-part sugar to four parts water solution administered through a pacifier or sippie cup. And heck, no reason not to try it for yourself as well before your next routine immunizations!

2. Kill pests

Whether you’re struggling with "indoor" or "outdoor" pests (or both), sugar can actually become an invaluable ally!

Here are some ways to use sugar to kill pests

  • Trap wasps: Just boil four tablespoons of sugar with enough water to make a sticky, viscous liquid. Cool, then pour the liquid into a couple of mason jars. Leave where you normally see wasps. They’ll fly in—lured by the sweetness—then won't be able to get out again.
  • End flies: Flies like their sweet with some spice. Here, combine two cups of water, a teaspoon of pepper (black or red), and a few tablespoons of sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cool, then pour the liquid into a bowl. Flies will dart in…and stay.
  • Kill roaches: There's no polite way to say this—roaches are gross! But they like sugar just like every other pest, so here’s what to do. Combine one part sugar with one part baking soda. Place in a low, small dish (or jar lid). Let the baking soda do its work (this can also work for other kinds of unwelcome household pests).
  • Foil nematodes: If you have droopy-looking garden plants, nematodes (tiny plant-eating worms) could be to blame. Work some sugar into the soil around each droopy plant—this helps the soil make more of the "good" bacteria that can keep nematodes away.

3. Keep baked goods fresh and tasty

There's not too much in life worse than biting into a very fresh and plump-looking cookie, brownie, biscuit, or cake slice…only to feel it crumble like sawdust in your mouth. To make matters worse, the more humid your local weather, the faster your baked goods lose their freshness.

Here are some ways to use sugar to keep baked goods fresh longer

  • Place a few sugar cubes in the tin where you store your biscuits, cookies or other baked goods.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top of fresh, piping hot breads and cake slices.

Note: While not a baked good, cheese also stays fresher longer when you add a sugar cube to an airtight container and store the cheese there.

4. Eliminate odors and stains

Sugar makes a great natural stain and odor-eliminator.

Here are some ways to use sugar to remove stains and erase odors

  • Grass stains: Mix equal parts sugar and water together (add more sugar if you need to so you have a thick paste). Layer the paste over the stain, then let it sit for 12 hours (or overnight). Wash and repeat if needed.
  • Kitchen odors: Whether you can still smell last night's fish or today's broccoli, boiling water with some sugar will erase unpleasant odors.
  • Appliance odors: Scoop up a half cup or so of sugar (adjust to the size of the appliance) and run the sugar through it. Then sniff your appliance and appreciate the strong waft of…nothing.

5. Freshen up skin and lips

As it turns out, in addition to sugar's many other talents, the sweet granules are also fabulous additions to your at-home beauty routines.

Turn your home into a beauty spa with sugar

  • Remove even the toughest grit and grime: Sugar is naturally abrasive—making it great for removing grit, grime and dirt, whether from tilling your garden or changing your oil.
  • Exfoliate your skin: Sugar scrubs don't sell for $20 a tin for no reason. Sugar is a natural exfoliant par-none. To make your own, just combine a cup of sugar with several tablespoons of olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Rub over skin, then wash away with warm water and a soft cloth.
  • Soften and smooth lips: Combine equal parts sugar with olive oil, then smooth on lips. Wait a few minutes and then wipe away with a soft cloth.
  • Make lipstick last longer: After painting your lips, dip them into a shallow bowl of sugar. Enjoy licking off the sugar. Then enjoy the longest-lasting lip color you've ever had.
5 Surprising Ways Sugar Can Make Your Life Easier