Don’t pour that unwanted booze down the drain—it can do much more than you think
The big bash is over, and the evidence is everywhere. At the bar cart you can find several half-drunk vodka bottles of, well, varying quality and taste. Lucky for you, there’s a lot you can do with that bottom-shelf stuff that doesn’t require suffering through several mediocre martinis again. These 15 surprising uses for leftover vodka will help you maintain a waste-free lifestyle while tackling your daily cleaning checklist.
1. Make a General Surface Cleaner
Mix a concoction of 2:1:1 white vinegar, vodka, and lemon juice, and then add 8-10 drops of an essential oil like peppermint or lavender. The spray can be used on most kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
2. Degrease the Kitchen
Sometimes soap alone can’t cut through extra greasy areas, such as range hoods and backsplashes. A spritzing of pure vodka on these tough spots, though, should be able to knock it out—and can also be applied to extra greasy plates or pans.
3. Remove Sticky Tags and Labels
No need to mess up your fresh manicure. You’ll be able to lift a sticky label off of a picture frame with ease after dabbing some vodka on it with a cotton ball. Just make sure to wait a few seconds before peeling the tag off so the liquor can soak in and do its job.
4. Mix Up an Essential Oil Diffuser
Room diffusers can be pricey, so why not make one with items you already have at home? Combine a quarter-cup of vodka, a quarter-cup water, and one-third of a cup mineral oil in a jar or decorative bottle. Then, mix and match different essential oils (30-40 drops in total) to find whatever intoxicating scent you wish for your home. Finish by adding a paper straw, bamboo skewer, or reed to the jar to help the scents diffuse into the room.
5. Refresh and Deodorize Musty Fabrics
If you don’t have time to take your favorite linen pants to the dry cleaner, spritz them with some vodka—add a few drops of lavender oil for a lovely scent—and let them air dry. The vodka will kill odor-creating bacteria and refresh your trousers. This trick can be used on linens as well, and is especially good at neutralizing stubborn smells from things like cigarette smoke.
6. De-Streak Glass
Fill a spray bottle with one-part vodka, one-part water, and a drop of dishwashing liquid, then spritz it directly onto any glass or mirror to get them smudge free. For the best results, wipe off the mixture with a microfiber cloth.
7. Disinfect That Mattress
Here’s another tip that required nothing more than a spray bottle and time. After vacuuming any lint, hair, and debris off your mattress, spritz vodka mixed with a few drops of essential oils—we recommend lavender, which has a calming effect—on it and let it air dry to carry away any funk. No need to soak it—a strong spray will do just fine.
8. Prevent Toilet Rings
Pour half a cup of vodka into your toilet once a month to prevent unsightly rings from forming. Use your vodka-based surface cleaner to disinfect the surface of the toilet (including the handle) as well.
9. Say Sayonara to Soap Scum and Mildew
If the hardware in your bathroom suffers from soap scum or marks left behind from mineral-rich hard water, spray vodka on it, let it sit for 20 minutes, and then wipe off with a damp rag. The same method can be used wherever you see signs of mold and mildew, including in the grout between tiles.
10. Remove Stains
Spilled a little cabernet on the carpet? Vodka is here to the rescue. Blot as much of the liquid as you can with a clean rag, then pour some vodka onto another cloth. Rather than rub the cloth into the stain, which can exacerbate the problem, dab it and then lay the cloth on top for a few minutes to loosen the stain before letting the area air dry. In addition to wine stains, vodka can also help get out marks left from grass, vomit, and ink. If the stains are persistent, consider hiring a local carpet cleaning company to do a professional cleaning.
11. Protect Houseplants
Diluted vodka can be a great insecticide, particularly effective against aphids and mealybugs, both of which can wreak havoc on your greenery. Add one cup of water for every cup of vodka, then do a test to make sure your plants won’t be sensitive to the concoction: dab a leaf or two with the mixture and check them every day for a few days, looking for signs of distress (e.g. wilting leaves or browning). If they don’t react, you can proceed to swiftly tackle your insect problem.
12. Keep Your Flowers Fresh
Add a teaspoon of brown sugar and a few drops of vodka to your vase filled with freshly cut hydrangea from the yard—the alcohol prevents the growth of ethylene, a gas that makes plants mature, and thus, wilt.
13. Polish Jewelry
Both gemstone-based jewelry (emeralds, rubies, and opals, for instance) as well as sterling silver can be soaked in vodka for 10 minutes to regain its luster and sparkle—just in time for the black tie soirée.
14. Kill Weeds
Add an ounce of vodka to two cups of water along with a few drops of dish soap and spray the mixture on any harmful weeds that are in direct sunlight. Your potent potion plus the power of the sun will dry them out in no time.
15. Make Boozy Popsicles
After you’ve done all that cleaning, you deserve a fun reward. Mix one and a half ounces of vodka with fruit juice (and some freshly-cut fruit, if you want), pour into a popsicle mold, and voila! You’ve got yourself a tasty TGIF treat.