Sure vodka makes a great cocktail. People have been using it to fuel parties for centuries. But this versatile spirit also has a long history as a medicine, as well as an ingredient in many home remedies and as an inexpensive replacement for harmful cleaners, chemicals and pesticides.
So instead of taking up space on your home bar, that bottom-shelf bottle you got as a gift last year just became your inexpensive, all-in-one around the house solution.
KEEP IT CLEAN AND ODOR-FREE
1. Stain Removal
What are some of the toughest stains to get out? Ink, grass and lipstick. Instead of paying your dry cleaner to remove the spots, let vodka take care of them for you. To get rid of ink and grass stains, dip a clean cloth in vodka and rub the spot out. Then rinse thoroughly. Came home with lipstick on your collar? (Again?) First blot the stain with vodka, then wash regularly.
2. Keep Clothes Fresh Between Washings
Need your lucky shirt for tonight, but don't have the time (or energy) to do laundry? You can freshen that shirt with vodka. Put some in a spray bottle and spritz your clothes. (I recommend doing a spot test first to see if it will leave a water spot or stain.) Then hang them in a well-ventilated area to dry. Vodka's alcohol kills odor-causing bacteria, but it doesn't leave any scent when dry. (So don't worry about driving after using this trick.)
3. Eliminate Odors
Just like it does with your clothes, vodka kills the odor-causing bacteria that cause foul stenches. So if she's coming over, and your place smells like a locker room, mix
one part vodka with three parts water in a spray bottle. Spritz all around and let dry. It will dry clean and scent-free, unlike many air fresheners that replace one smell with another.
4. Keep Tubs and Showers Mold and Mildew Free
Shower looking a little grimy? Fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka, and the alcohol will make sure mold and mildew are history. To clean the caulking around the tub and shower, spray with vodka and let set 30 minutes then wash clean. For tiles, let the vodka sit for 5-10 minutes, then scrub clean.
5. Clean Chrome and Porcelain Fixtures
Vodka as a polish? Yup. It works to brighten dull bathroom fixtures, and other chrome finishes, sparkle like new. Just soak a clean cloth in vodka and polish to a shine.
6. Streak-Free Glass Cleaner
The alcohol in vodka makes it dry completely and streak-free. Mix one teaspoon of vodka in a spray bottle with one cup of water and use it on your mirrors and windows. You can even dip a clean, lint-free cloth in vodka and rub each lens of your eyeglasses until crystal clear. And germ free.
7. Bring Back the Shine to Jewelry
Forget expensive jewelry cleaners, vodka does the job just as well. Just put about 1/4 cup vodka in a glass or bowl. Drop in your gold or silver jewelry and let it soak for about 5-10 minutes. Then rinse with water and dry. (Note: This doesn't work for all jewelry. Don't clean pearls, opals and other porous stones with vodka.)
8. Chemical-Free Weed Killer
Got weeds? Kill unwanted broad-leaf weeds (like dandelions and chickweed) safely with vodka, instead of harmful pesticides. Fill a spray bottle with an ounce of vodka, several drops of liquid dish soap, and two cups of water. Spray on the weeds until dripping wet. The alcohol in vodka breaks down their waxy-cuticle coverings, which will dehydrate and dry out the weeds, killing them. But this only works in direct sunlight, it won't work in shade. So make sure to do your weed killing mid-day.
9. All-Natural Pesticide
Why risk using dangerous chemicals on your plants? Especially your herbs and vegetables? Just mix four cups of water, four teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and four teaspoons of vodka in a large spray bottle. Shake well and spray on infested plants. The pests will die, and your plants will be unharmed.
10. All-Natural Bug Repellant
Fill a trigger-spray bottle and spray on flying insects to kill them. Or spray it on yourself as a repellent. Just don't spray and drive.
11. Harmless Adhesive Remover
Trying to get a label or price tag off something? Or remove a campaign bumper sticker from that guy who got caught doing that thing to that woman? Soak a cloth in vodka and rub it over the area. The sticker, and adhesive, will come right off.
12. Painless Bandage Remover
Vodka's adhesive removing power works with bandages too. Soak the bandage with vodka, and it'll come off pain-free.
13. Chemical-Free Antiseptic
Vodka is alcohol, and just like the alcohol and antiseptics you buy at the pharmacy to clean out cuts and scrapes, it kills germs. Soak razor blades, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, combs, etc. in vodka to keep them clean and germ-free. And vodka will not only disinfect your razor blades, but will help keep them rust-free and extend their life.
14. Relieve a Fever
Temperature rising? Soak a washcloth in vodka and rub on your chest and back as a home-made liniment.
15. Treat an Earache
With a clean eyedropper, put a few drops of vodka in your ear. Let it sit for a few minutes, then drain. The vodka will kill off the bacteria that's causing pain in your ear.
16. Numb a Toothache
Got a nagging toothache and no time to see the dentist? Take a shot of vodka, and swish it around in your mouth, over your aching tooth. Your gums will absorb the alcohol which will help numb the pain.
17. Ease Poison Ivy
Went camping and got a little too up close and personal to the poison ivy? Ease the itch by pouring vodka over the affected area. It'll remove the itch-inducing urushiol oil from your skin.
18. Alleviate a Jellyfish Sting
Not interested in having your buddy stop the pain of a jellyfish sting with that other remedy? Have him run to the cooler and grab the vodka instead. It will not only help stop the pain, but will disinfect the sting too.
19. Cure Foot Odor
Has she been complaining your feet smell like a New York City cabdriver in July? Wash your offending dogs in vodka. It'll kill off the odor-causing bacteria.
20. Cleanse Your Face
Those expensive astringents sold to cleanse your skin and tighten pores? Vodka does the same thing. Only much cheaper. Simply soak a cotton ball in vodka and apply to your face.
21. Get Healthier Hair
Fancy salon treatments? Leave those to the metros. Add an ounce of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. Vodka's alcohol will not only cleanse your scalp, but it will also remove toxins from your hair, and stimulate the growth of healthy hair. And some of us can use some growth stimulation.
22. Beat Dandruff
Got flakes, but don't want to be seen buying the blue stuff? You can treat your dandruff with vodka. Just mix one cup vodka with two teaspoons crushed rosemary, then let it sit for a couple of days. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter to get rid of the rosemary, then massage into your scalp and let dry.
23. Destroy Bad Breath
Run out of mouthwash? You can make your own with vodka and cinnamon. Mix nine tablespoons of powered cinnamon with one cup vodka. Seal in an airtight container and let it sit for two weeks. (Yeah, I know, not exactly helpful if you're out and she's coming over in an hour, but plan ahead.) Strain the mixture through a coffee filter. Mix with warm water and rinse your mouth to kill off bad breath-causing germs. (Tip: Do not swallow.)
24. Heal Cold Sores
Got a breakout? Dip a Q-Tip in some vodka and apply it to your cold sore. The vodka will help dry it out.
25. Help Blisters
First game in the new cleats leave your feet in a sea of blisters? If one opens pour vodka over the raw skin. Sounds painful, but it will actually act as a local anesthetic. And it will also disinfect the exposed skin underneath.
26. Relieve Aches and Pains
Here's an old home remedy our grandmothers used to relieve aches and pains, instead of popping pills. Take a clean glass jar and fill it with fresh lavender flowers. (Get them at most health food stores or flowers shops.) Then fill the jar with vodka. Seal the lid tightly and place the jar in the sun for three days or so, to let the vodka draw out oils from the lavender. Strain through a coffee filter, and you've just made tincture that you can rub into sore spots to stop aches and pains. Grandma would be proud.
27. Make a Homemade Ice Pack
Forget bags of frozen peas and that prime steak to put on bruises and black eyes. Just pour 1/2 cup of vodka and 1/2 cup of water into a zip-close freezer bag, and freeze. The result is a refreezable ice pack you can use on aches, pains, and various assorted bruises.