12 Unexpected Uses For Cinnamon Around Your Home

There is almost certainly a jar of ground cinnamon or a few cinnamon sticks in your pantry right now. You probably use them for baking cookies, pies, and other delicious treats. But, did you know that this ingredient most commonly associated with cooking and baking offers several uses outside of the kitchen? That's right, the flavorful and aromatic spice can actually come in quite handy for keeping a home clean, eliminating odors, repelling unwanted insects and rodents, protecting plants, and much more.

Cinnamon has a very distinct fragrance. It is often associated with fall and winter and cozying up by the fireplace, but its potent smell is also the reason it's so effective as a tool around the house and garden. Pests get confused by its scent, bugs recoil from it, and its molecular properties make it such a great cleaning agent. If you're ready to learn about some of the best ways to put cinnamon to good use in your home, keep reading. 

Repel pests from your home and yard

Believe it or not, that jar of ground cinnamon that you add to delicious baked goods can also help you keep pests away from your house. There are several insects, rodents, and other pests that are repelled by the scent of the spice. A few of these include slugs, spiders, silverfish, scorpions, cockroaches, and ants.

Using cinnamon as a repellent is not only effective, but it is also safe and natural. You don't need to worry about exposing yourself, children, or pets to harmful chemicals used to make insecticides. The best way to use the seasoning can vary depending on the type of infestation you're facing and where the bugs or animals are located. For example, if you want to use cinnamon to keep fruit flies away, place a few cinnamon sticks near your produce bowls or other areas where the flies are congregating. Once they pick up on the scent, they'll look to move on somewhere else to get away from it.

For repelling mice, try tying up sachets of cinnamon powder, misting some cinnamon oil, or placing a few cinnamon sticks where you store your food or have noticed evidence of rodents. You can even use cinnamon oil to repel snakes. The serpents will detect the strong scent of the spice and move on somewhere else so that it doesn't overpower their ability to smell their prey.

Make a DIY air freshener

While the scent of cinnamon may repel pests, many of us humans find it to have a fragrant and pleasant aroma. If you too love the way it smells, you can use it to make your home smell like fall by DIYing an air freshener. Simmering a pot of cinnamon with a few other key ingredients — or adding them to your slow cooker — will infuse the fragrance throughout the home. And, because of its stronger scent, the invigorating aroma should last for a few days at a time.

This DIY air freshener is incredibly easy to make, and once you get it going, you can just leave it simmering on the stovetop if you'll be home, or opt for the slow cooker if you'll be out of the house. Just add a few cups of warm water and some cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon if you don't have any sticks) to your pan. Add in some other fragrant fall items, such as orange slices, cloves, or nutmeg, and bring all the ingredients to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to leave the pan simmering throughout the day. If you notice that the water level in the pan drops too low, you can add a few more cups of warm water.

Deodorize your carpets and rugs

Those who love the way cinnamon makes their house smell may also want to try this next hack. The powdered version of this spice can actually be used as a carpet deodorizer. Over time, odors left behind from dust, pets, and other debris in our carpets can become more and more noticeable, leaving your home with an unpleasant smell. Try mixing some cinnamon with a little baking soda and Borax the next time you're planning to vacuum your carpets. Sprinkle the powder over your carpets and let it sit for about 20 minutes before passing the vacuum over them.

The vacuum tends to heat up when you run it, and that heat will activate the cinnamon oils embedded in the rug, sending their pleasant aroma throughout the space. It can also help refresh the vacuum itself, preventing it from contributing to other odors in the home. 

Make scented candles

There is yet another way to infuse the fragrant aroma of cinnamon throughout your home. This hack involves making your own cinnamon-scented candles that you can burn when you want to relax and unwind. These candles are relatively easy to DIY and can also make a great hostess, holiday, or birthday gift for a friend or family member. In addition to some ground cinnamon, you'll also need wax, vanilla extract, ground clove (or other fall-related fragrances), and candle wicks. Don't forget to make sure you also have a jar to hold the candle — you can clean out an old candle jar or use a mason jar or even a mug for this.

Once you have everything ready, melt the wax in a slow cooker, in the microwave, or on the stovetop. Then, prepare the wick by wrapping it around a popsicle stick or something similar and placing it over the cup or jar that you're using. Add the cinnamon and other spices to the wax and stir until fully combined. Then, you're ready to pour your candle mixture into the jar, taking care to keep the wick stabilized. Finally, let the wax harden before trimming the wick, and your candle is ready to gift or start using in your home. You can even give the jar a more festive look (while also enhancing the cinnamon fragrance) by gluing some cinnamon sticks around the outside of it.

Hide scratch marks on furniture

As you know, cinnamon has a deep brown color — much like many of the furniture pieces in your home. Its color makes it the perfect pantry staple to help you disguise scratch marks on wood furniture. The next time you notice a scratch or scuff on your end table or favorite rocking chair, take a deep breath and reach for that jar of cinnamon instead of worrying that the finish is ruined.

Sprinkle the cinnamon directly over the scratched areas of the wood. Use your fingers to rub it in over the mark. The cinnamon's darker brown color should start to stain the etched sections, effectively disguising them with the rest of the wood. If needed, you can always apply a bit more of the powder to fill in any remaining spots, then wipe away the excess while enjoying the satisfaction of saving a beloved piece of furniture. And, if your pet cat was to blame for the scratch marks you were trying to hide, using cinnamon powder can have an added benefit. Cats don't enjoy its scent, so they are less likely to get close enough to the furniture piece to scratch it again.

Add it to your mop water

If you love the fragrant aroma of this fall spice, why not start adding cinnamon to your mop water? Each pass of the mop over your hard floors will infuse more of the scent throughout your home, creating a warming and welcoming feel. Plus, you'll get the added benefit of keeping away unwanted guests. Remember, many pests do not like the way cinnamon smells, so by spreading it across your floors, they're more likely to stay away and look for somewhere else to call home.

There are a few different ways to add cinnamon to your mop water, and the right one for you will vary based on the types of floors you have in your home and how you clean them. Since you use less water when cleaning hardwood floors, add some powdered cinnamon or cinnamon oil to a spray bottle filled with water and mist the solution over a small section at a time before wiping it up with a microfiber mop. For tile and vinyl floors, you can bring a gallon of water and some cinnamon sticks to a boil on the stovetop. Let it cool, and then pour it into your mop bucket with your cleaning solution. Then, get to work making those floors shine — and making them smell incredible.

DIY place setting cards for your next gathering

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another special event, cinnamon sticks can help you create gorgeous place setting cards for your table. Your guests will appreciate the extra effort you took to give the table a festive look. They'll also enjoy the subtle aroma of cinnamon that blankets the table as they sit down to enjoy a meal.

There are a few different ways you can try this hack. For each option, you'll want to start by writing (or printing) your guests' names on small cards (about 1 or 2 inches wide by 2 or 3 inches long). If you're short on time or desire something simpler, hot glue gun two cinnamon sticks together to create a stand to hold each card. Place the card in the opening in the stick and set one at each spot on the table. For something a bit more elegant — especially if you're planning a more formal event such as a wedding — you can wrap burlap or other fabrics around five or six cinnamon sticks and tie a ribbon around the bunch. Then, attach the name card you made to the ribbon, and your place cards will be ready to set out.

Use it to fertilize your lawn

Cinnamon as a lawn fertilizer? Don't knock it until you try it. Cinnamon can actually be quite effective at helping grass grow. It delivers iron and other essential nutrients to the soil. With these added nutrients, seeds are better able to take root, encouraging strong growth. Moreover, cinnamon's chemical makeup also makes it an effective solution for getting rid of mold and mildew. This means that when you sprinkle it over grass, it can stop these fungi from growing and wreaking havoc on your once green and beautiful grass by causing problems such as root rot.

Using cinnamon instead of chemical sprays has other benefits as well. Many chemical-based fertilizers can be very harmful to wildlife and the environment as a whole. Unlike these fertilizers, cinnamon is all-natural. It won't increase greenhouse gasses or pollute rivers, streams, lakes, or oceans. It really is a win-win for everyone.

Keep moths from nibbling on your sweaters

Have you ever reached into your closet to pull out a favorite wool sweater only to realize that some pesky moths got to it first? If so, then you know the feeling of disgust and disappointment. Fortunately, moths, like many other bugs, do not like the way cinnamon smells. You can use this cooking spice to keep them from doing any more damage to your wool outfits, while also giving your closet a pleasant aroma. Try making some cinnamon potpourri and adding it to little sachets that you can hang with any natural garments that moths tend to enjoy.

Start by breaking a few cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces. Add some cloves and black peppercorns to the cinnamon sticks and stir to combine the ingredients. Then, add a small amount of the potpourri to each sachet, and hang several up in your closet. For added moth-repelling power, you can also place a bowl of the potpourri on a shelf in the closet.

Protect pruned plants against disease

While pruning plants can encourage healthier growth and increase the overall aesthetics of your yard, doing so also has the potential to make the plant more vulnerable to certain diseases. If the pruning cuts are left exposed, verticillium wilt or other diseases can form, threatening the health of the plant. Fortunately, a little cinnamon powder from your pantry can protect plants against these diseases. Apply some ground cinnamon over the cuts and let it sit to seal the opening. The sap from the plant should help it adhere, but if needed, you could mix the powder with some water and spread it over the affected section. Cinnamon offers antimicrobial properties, which can help prevent fungal diseases from causing problems as the plant heals. Its scent will also repel pests that could cause other damage to the plant.

In addition to sealing wounds with cinnamon, taking a few other precautions when pruning your plants can help minimize the chances of disease. Always make sure that your pruning tools are sharp to ensure clean and even cuts. It is also important to sterilize the tools with isopropyl alcohol before use to avoid transferring diseases between plants in your garden or home.

Give your furniture a vintage look

Metal patio furniture is affordable and can help you add style to a deck or patio. However, its new and "shiny" look may not match the vintage feel that you're trying to create for the space. And, unfortunately, antique pieces may not be in your budget or even easy to find.

Here's another way you can harness the benefits of a staple in your spice rack. Because of its rusty brown color, cinnamon can help you give furniture a vintage look. Spreading the spice over metal furniture or metal components will make them look rusty without actually damaging the material or making them sharp or unsafe, as is possible with real rust. Just spread a little Mod Podge over any areas where you want to apply some "rust." Then, sprinkle the cinnamon over the Mod Podge and let it dry. Voilà! Now you have created beautiful vintage furniture to decorate your outdoor space with.

Make festive holiday ornaments

Whether you're looking for something to help get your children in the holiday spirit or need an inexpensive gift for friends, family, or co-workers, making cinnamon ornaments may be the solution that you've been searching for. Not only are these ornaments easy to make, but they'll also add a fragrant scent around the house or tree, conjuring up feelings of warmth and happiness. The only ingredients you need to make the ornament dough are ground cinnamon and applesauce.

After mixing the two ingredients together, use your hands to form them into a few smaller balls. Roll each ball out over parchment paper or plastic wrap, and then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Poke a small hole towards the top of each shape using a straw before baking the ornaments in a very low oven heat for about 2 ½ hours. Once completely dry (give them at least 24 hours), tie a ribbon or string through each hole. Now they're ready to gift or hang. If desired, you can also use paint or icing to decorate each ornament.