10 "Sober" Alternative Uses for Alcohol at Home

It's the perfect accompaniment for an exquisite meal and close friends, but drink too much of it, and you may find yourself slipping and stumbling into a heap of trouble—literally. Make no mistake, alcohol is one potent substance. In fact, its solvent properties give this versatile potable dozens of uses besides consumption. You can find alcohol in cleaning products, polishes, and even fuels, so it's not surprising that it has a bunch of practical uses around the home. Pop open your cabinet to see what you've got, then try out some of these 10 household tasks that can be tackled with drinkable alcohol.

  1. Polish Metal with Beer

    Polishing Metal

    Before you polish off a six-pack, save a can and use the frothy quaff inside to polish your home's metal surfaces. You can use whatever you have on tap for faucets, sinks, and shower heads too. Follow up by rinsing with water to prevent a sticky, bar-counter-like film from lingering.

    Related: How To Clean Brass


  2. Clean Mirrors with Vodka

    Cleaning Mirrors

    One way to make your mirrors as crystal clear as vodka is to actually spray your mirrors with vodka. It's best to first dilute your proof with water for a gentler solution—but hold the rocks! Then load up a spray bottle, give your reflection a spritz, and wipe dust, dirt, and residue away.


  3. Clean a Pipe with Whiskey

    Cleaning a Pipe

    Old-timers know that nothing goes better with a tobacco pipe than a bottle of whiskey. Fittingly, whiskey can also be used to clean that tobacco pipe. Simply soak a pipe cleaner in Jim or Jack, then brush off burnt ash and gunk. A cleaner, smoother smoke is sure to follow.


  4. Grow Plants with Beer

    Use Beer in Garden

    Those same sugars and minerals in beer that make potbellies grow big can help houseplants grow big too. You can put this gardener's trick of the trade to the test by pouring a little shot from your can into the soil every couple of days. Watch as your potbelly shrinks and your potted plants flourish.

    Related: How To Plant a Vegetable Garden


  5. Clean Jewelry with Gin

    Polishing Jewelry

    Faded silver and filmy diamonds hardly reflect their true value. Make them look like the precious possessions they really are by giving them a little rub with some gin (no tonic needed). Then rings will sparkle and necklaces will shine, and the wearer of either will look mighty fine.


  6. Remove Sticky Residue with Vodka

    Remove Sticky Labels from Bottles

    Vodka not only puts hair on a man's chest, it'll also help remove an adhesive bandage that gets stuck to that very hair. The same goes for gum under a table and gunk left over from a label. You need only a tiny splash or two to do away with sticky residue.


  7. Clean a Chandelier with Vodka

    Cleaning a Chandelier

    A dusty, cobwebbed chandelier can make even the newest home seem derelict and haunted. Before the ghosts move in, you can use vodka to help bring your chandelier back to life. Simply dilute a few teaspoons in a quart of water, dip in cloth or rag, and gently revitalize your fixture.

    Related: 11 Eye-Popping Chandeliers Made from the Everyday


  8. Clean Wooden Furniture with Beer

    Polish Wood with Beer

    If you happen to spill some beer on a wooden table at the local saloon, don't feel so bad. Beer is great for cleaning antique wooden furniture. A fine cloth or rag and some flat beer are all you'll need for the job. Of course, as with any cleaning agent, always start with a small patch for a test.

    Related: How To Clean Wood Furniture


  9. Vodka for Mold and Mildew

    Cleaning Grout

    Although drinking vodka in the tub sounds at best like a furtive pleasure, if that tub has mold and mildew, scrubbing it with that vodka might be a pretty good idea. It will clean up the grout and make the tiles all shiny, so you can delight in a tub free from anything grimy.

    Related: How To Clean Porcelain Tile


  10. Make a Deodorizer Spray with Vodka

    Deodorizer Laundry Spray

    Sometimes the laundry just doesn't get done, but you still have to go out into the world fully clothed. If you've been avoiding the laundry room lately, before you pull that outfit out of the hamper, try stanching the stench of sweat with a spray of vodka and water. Fellow passengers in the car, train, or bus will be very thankful.


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