DIY Repurposing

11 Weird Ways to Use Wine

“Leftover wine” may seem like a freak of nature, a mythical beast along the lines of fairies and unicorns. But sometimes, even the most dedicated oenophiles simply can’t polish off an entire bottle—and once a bottle's open, the clock starts ticking on the wine’s drinkability. But don’t let that unconsumed wine go to waste. There are dozens of ways to put it to good use, both in the kitchen and around the house. Here are just a few unusual applications for wine.
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"Ice" Cubes

Freeze leftover wine in a conventional ice cube tray. When you need a small amount of wine for sauces, gravies, soups, or stews, simply toss in the appropriate number of “wine cubes” to enrich the dish and give an extra punch of flavor.

Related: 10 Unexpected Things to Put in Your Freezer—And Why

Meat Marinade

Red wine is an especially effective marinade for all types of meats, tenderizing tough fibers and adding complex flavors. Some medical experts say that marinating meat in wine for at least six hours before grilling, broiling, or frying can reduce cancer-causing compounds naturally found in meats. Use any combination of your favorite herbs and spices along with equal parts wine and oil to create a tasty—and healthy—marinade.

Bacteria Killer

Who knew? Wine can be used as a natural cleanser to remove harmful bacteria from the surface of fruits and vegetables. The alcohol in the wine dissolves impurities found on the surface of your produce, and, according to a 2005 study by Mark Daeschel of Oregon State University, antimicrobial components in wine kill several types of food-borne pathogens, including salmonella and E. coli.

Related: 9 Health Code Violations Hiding in Your Kitchen 

Surface Sanitizer

The same properties that make wine an effective fruit and vegetable cleaner make it ideal for disinfecting kitchen countertops. White wine can even be used to remove tough stains on laminate counters. Avoid using wine on granite surfaces, however, because the natural acids in the wine can damage the stone.

Fly Trap

Fruit flies may have more in common with humans than you think: They, too, can’t resist wine. Pour a half inch of leftover wine into a glass and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic to lure the flies into the glass, where they will become trapped and drown. Then just pour the bugs (and the old wine) down the drain. 

Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Dish Soap Can Do

Wine Stain Remover

Got a red wine spill? Don’t panic: Pour white wine onto the fresh stain to thoroughly dilute the red wine, and blot immediately with a towel. Repeat as often as necessary until all of the red wine stain is gone, then saturate the area with water and soak up the moisture. Now that’s a party trick!

Fabric Dye

Red wine is a powerful dye. This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever spilled wine on cloth, which can result in a semi-permanent stain. Use wine’s colorful properties to your advantage by making a batch of red wine dye for fabrics. Heat leftover wine to a simmer in a large, nonreactive pot, then add whatever fabric or garment you want to dye. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes, then allow it to cool completely. Rinse the fabric well. The resulting color can range from pale pink to deep mauve.

Related: 12 Things You Never Knew Chalk Can Do

Compost Pile Supercharger

A little bit of wine can help turn your compost pile into beneficial fertilizer. Sprinkle leftover wine on the compost, and mix it into the pile with a rake or shovel. The wine helps activate beneficial bacteria, which in turn break down organic materials, leaving you with heaps of plant-friendly fertilizer.

Streak-Free Shine

Everyone knows that vinegar and water make a great glass cleaner. It turns out that leftover white wine works just as well. Pour a few tablespoons of wine into a spray bottle of water, and spritz it on windows, mirrors, and glass tabletops. Wipe dry with crumpled newspaper to achieve a bright, clear shine.

Related: 14 Clever New Uses for Old Newspapers

Grease, Go Away!

Leftover wine is great for removing grease and oil stains on garage floors, driveways, and sidewalks. The alcohol and acidity in the wine cut through the oil and grease. To make use of this grease-cutting magic, pour the wine on the stain, let it stand for an hour or so, and rinse well with plain water. Repeat several times if necessary. For really tough stains, sprinkle some baking soda on the greasy spot, then add enough wine to make a thick paste. Scrub with an old toothbrush until the stain is gone.

DIY Spa Treatment

The antioxidants in wine are not just beneficial for your insides, they are great for your outside too. You don’t need to shell out for pricey spa skin treatments when you can just pour a cup or two of red wine into your bathwater. The resveratrol and tartaric acid in red wine are said to tone and soften your skin, leaving it smoother and brighter.

Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Chapstick Can Do