You know, besides drinking it. 

By Gillie Houston
Updated: April 24, 2019
Icelandic mule cocktail. photo: Reyka

While it’s common knowledge that vodka—a neutral distilled liquor made from just water and alcohol—makes for great cocktails (and occasionally even worse hangovers), this potent boozy beverage has a trove of hidden uses that extend well beyond the bar cart. 

Whether you’ve got a few extra bottles left behind after a party, or simply want to put that half-bottle that’s been lingering in your pantry to good use, there are a number of simple and effective household tasks that this water-based liquor can help you achieve. 

Although it might seem counterintuitive to soak, spray, or rub a hard liquor onto your possessions, this clear, odorless alcohol will help to clean your home, eliminate odors, fend off unwanted critters, spruce up your hair care routine, and more.

Watch: How to Make Greyhounds in a LaCroix Can

Making a Tender Pie Crust

In the culinary realm, vodka is good for more than crafting a great martini. In fact, this boozy beverage could be the key to your most tender pie crust ever. Next time you’re making a pie crust from scratch, replace one-third of the water with vodka. Since gluten develops when flour comes in contact with water, which can result in dense, tough crusts, replacing some of that water with vodka will make for a tender crust without throwing off the dry/wet ingredient ratio of your recipe. 

Removing Unwanted Odors

Whether you’re dealing with smelly shoes, musty couch cushions, or a garment you don’t have time to wash before the next wear, vodka is a quick solution for freshening up your fabrics. Simply fill a spray bottle with vodka and spritz some anywhere you’d use a store-bought fabric refresher, allowing it to dry fully in a well-ventilated area. The alcohol in the clear, odorless vodka will kill off bacteria without leaving any mess behind. 

Repelling Insects

Insects are naturally repelled by the high alcohol content of vodka. So, the next time you’re headed out for a picnic or camping trip, keep a spray bottle of vodka at the ready. Just a light spritzing will be enough to fend off mosquitos and other creatures, and keep your skin bite-free. 

Getting Rid of Label Residue 

Whether it’s residue from a poorly placed price label or a sticker that’s been stuck somewhere it shouldn’t be around your house, everyone knows the frustration of trying to rub off the messy residue left behind in these sticky situations. The next time you’re dealing with hard-to-scrub residue, pour some vodka onto a cloth and scrub away at the leftover adhesive to remove it in no time. 

Scrubbing Mold

When it comes to scrubbing away at moldy tile grout stains or bathroom fixtures, vodka could be your secret weapon. Fill a spray bottle full of the alcohol and spritz it generously on any mold you’d like to eliminate. Wait 15 minutes, and then use a cloth to wipe away the unwanted grime.

Making Vanilla Extract From Scratch 

This super simple life hack for making Bottomless Vanilla Extract requires just two ingredients— vodka and vanilla beans—and will keep you stocked up on vanilla extract for the long haul. 

Getting Shinier Hair 

There’s no need to drop tons of money on expensive hair treatments if you have leftover vodka at your disposal. To get shinier, frizz-free hair, add a shot of vodka to the bottle of your everyday shampoo and conditioner. This boozy method of hair care is said to help speed up hair growth, increase shininess, and eliminate toxins all thanks to the pH levels in vodka. 

Polishing Fixtures

Give your metal fixtures a little extra shine by giving them a quick clean with a cloth or sponge soaked in vodka. The alcohol will not only remove any grime, but also sanitize your faucet handles and other fixtures all at once. 

Killing Weeds

To eliminate pesky weeds invading your garden without a harmful chemical product, rely on a vodka mixture that will fend off unwanted weeds. Simply mix equal parts vodka and water with a few drops of dishwashing soap in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the weeds you’re trying to eliminate. 

Cleaning Windows and Mirrors

Give your mirrors and windows a quick touch up by spraying them with a mixture of equal parts vodka and water and wiping the area clean. Not only will you save money by using the leftover alcohol, but you’ll also be avoiding using harsh cleaning chemicals around your home.

Shining Silver

Whether you’re looking to give new life to a set of antique silverware or give your jewelry a quick shine, vodka can do the trick. Simply soak your silver jewelry or cutlery in the alcohol for a few minutes, rinse with water, and admire your newly shined silver goods. This technique also works to eliminate rust of all sorts, whether it’s on your silver or items like old screws. 

Eliminating Stains

To clear up stained material—from clothing, to tablecloths, to couch cushions—soak a cloth in vodka and blot away at the stain before throwing it in the washer. If it’s not an item that can be put in a washing machine, like a rug or couch cushion, dab away at the stain when wet and leave the alcohol soaked cloth sitting over the stain for 15 minutes to absorb as much of it as possible. 

Treating Rashy or Stinging Skin

If you’ve brushed up against some poison ivy on a hike, or encountered a jellyfish in the ocean, vodka can help ease the itching or stinging. Simply pour vodka over the rash or location of the sting, which will help to both disinfect the site and relieve the pain or irritation. 

Eliminating Cigarette Odors

Whether it’s your car upholstery or clothing that’s taken on the scent of cigarette smoke, freshen up by spraying the area with a mix of three parts water to one part vodka. Once the mixture dries, the unwanted scent will be partially or fully eliminated. 

Ripping Away a Bandage

To remove stuck-on bandages in a more pain-free way, soak the bandage with vodka before removing. This will loosen up the adhesive and make it easier to peel away the sticky material from the skin. 

Making an Ice Pack

When vodka and water combine in your freezer, it makes for the most useful moldable ice pack ever. Simply add equal parts of the two liquids to a freezer bag and let it cool for at least a few hours. The vodka will lower the overall freezing temperature of the bag, making for a flexible ice pack that you can mold to the body part that hurts. 

DIY-ing Aftershave 

Since most aftershaves are comprised of alcohol, this clear, odorless liquor makes for the perfect post-shave balm. Simply use vodka in place of your typical aftershave, and watch the irritation and inflammation be eliminated. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisement