Instructables
Picture of 15 Unusual Uses for Cheap Vodka
Contrary to popular belief, cheap vodka is not only for boozehounds and college freshmen. There are many legitimate ways to use vodka that go beyond mere consumption: cleaning, baking, deodorizing, and even drinking (with a few tweaks for flavor.)

Inexpensive vodka makes an excellent replacement for pricier products that do the same thing. Sure, a cabinet full of McCormick's vodka is more difficult to explain than some Windex. But the savings should make up for the worried looks and shaking heads you'll get for buying the cheap stuff by the case. At your intervention, you can teach them all these unusual uses for cheap vodka. Read on to learn more...
 
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Step 1: Forget Expensive Dry Cleaning Bills

Picture of Forget Expensive Dry Cleaning Bills
Spritz down your garments with a vodka dilution between dry cleaning to remove odors!

Unfortunately, this does nothing for stains, so once you've spilled red wine on your favorite white coat, you've really got no other option but take it to the professionals.  Or, you know, just soak the whole thing in red wine and make it new again!

Step 2: I Can See Clearly Now

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A small spray bottle with vodka and water is the perfect solution for cleaning your glasses.
Don't get ripped off by those greedy optometrists - make your own at home!  One optical employee told me they make their own cleaning solution by combining water, alcohol, and a drop of dish soap.  Give it a try!
(May not be suitable for lenses with special coatings - try and your own risk.  And the tell us how it went!)

Step 3: Goo Be Gone

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Vodka is a great solvent for sticky residue.  Maybe you have a tiny spray bottle that used to hold overpriced lens cleaning solution that you've decided to repurpose into a homemade lens cleaning solution spray bottle, but it has sticky residue from the label that used to be on it.  Problem solved!

Step 4: Mouthwash

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Kill the germs that cause bad breath!  Combine cheap vodka with a few drops of cinnamon, spearmint, or tea tree oil and let sit for two weeks.  You've got your own high-octane mouthwash.  Just make sure to spit after you rinse.

And next time you've had too much vodka, you can use the vodka mouthwash to freshen your breath!  No one will be the wiser.

Step 5: Keep Flowers Fresh

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Add a teaspoon each of vodka and sugar to water to keep freshly cut flowers looking great.  The vodka kills the bacteria that would otherwise grow in the water, and the sugar provides nutrients the flowers need to thrive.

Step 6: Flakier Pie Crusts

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Swapping ice cold vodka for water in pie crust recipes ensures a flakier crust.
The liquid makes the dough more pliable to work with, and then evaporates while baking, giving you a lighter result than water.
Try this recipe for the perfect pie crust!

Step 7: Homemade Extracts

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Vodka is a perfect base for flavored extracts, including chocolate and vanilla.  Add vodka and flavoring to sanitized bottles and let sit to develop flavor.

Step 8: Window Cleaner's Best Kept Secret

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A vodka dilution makes a great window-cleaning solution.  Combine vodka and water in a spray bottle and use newspapers for a perfect, streak-free finish!

Step 9: Odor Eater

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Mist stinky shoes with vodka between wears to cut down on the smell.  Feet can also be soaked in vodka to remove odors, as proven on Mythbusters!

Step 10: No More Flakes

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A vodka rinse is a great solution for dandruff or dry scalp.  Mix one cup of vodka with two teaspoons of rosemary and let sit for two days.  Strain and use as a rinse to remove shampoo build-up, or as a leave-in scalp treatment.

Step 11: Re-Usable Ice Pack

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Combine equal parts vodka and water in a sealable freezer bag for a slushy ice pack to nurse injuries.

Step 12: Hand-Sanitizer

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If you're someone who deals with germy kids all day, you know the importance of having hand sanitizer within arms reach.  Vodka is a natural enemy to bacteria, so reach for that small spray bottle and mist your hands generously.  And if the kids are really giving you a hard time, no one will notice a few spritzes down the gullet too.

Step 13: Natural Astringent

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Dampen a cotton ball with vodka to use as a facial astringent to cleanse and tighten pores, or dab onto cold sores to help dry them out.

Step 14: Treat Wounds!

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Vodka acts both as a local anesthetic and disinfectant, so is perfect for treating open blisters and other minor wounds.  It's even great for treating aching teeth!

Step 15: Drink It!

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To enhance (remove) the flavor of cheap vodka, run it through a charcoal filter multiple times.  The charcoal will get used up quickly, however, and if you're using brand-name filters, it may end up costing as much as a nicer bottle of vodka in the long run.  Instead you should refill your charcoal filter at home!

Step 16: Infuse it

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If the filtered vodka doesn't do it for you, remember, vodka makes great infusions!  Just add fruits, herbs, bacon or skittles to round out your liquor cabinet with specialty home-brewed custom liqueurs.
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louis.m2 years ago
No more weird mysterious chemicals, with flamboyant names, I am making my own cosmetic products for years now. !

I use vodka with ordinary kitchen herbs and/or spices added as an aftershave.

One of my most successful recipes is with a combination of parsley nutmeg cloves and lemon. I add a bit of alum to take care of little shaving cuts and just a pinch borax to prevent spoilage (both of which I purchased at a local pharmacy, and dissolved in some hot water).

I even use vodka with nettle tops (Urtica dioica), as a lotion for my scalp and hair.
Boil young tops (Urtica dioica), picked just before flowering (use gloves or just plastic shopping bags over the hands when picking), with a little water, then pour through a cloth, add borax (see above) and vodka to the liquid, ready.

Very refreshing!
P.Bechthold2 years ago
(removed by author or community request)

Makes sense.

Your dentist forgot basic chemistry and/or doesn't understand alcohol.

Jack Daniels is bourbon, and Vodka is (well...vodka). Both typically are 80 proof (aka: 40% alcohol by volume). That other 60% doesn't include sugar, or the drinks would be liqueurs. Now, if you tried to brush your teeth with say, Gran Marnier, then yes, there would be some residual sugars in the liquid.

My only issue with this idea is that your breath WILL smell of vodka afterward if you've used the cheap stuff. Run your vodka through a Britta water filter first to remove that cheap Stoli flavor, and you could do this.

Heck, do it anyway. It makes your cheap hooch taste and smell better.
clewis213 months ago

Awesome with just the vodka cause then you can swallow it after swooshing!

arivera112 years ago
Vodka mouthwash would be great in a pinch - especially if you've had a wonderful lunch involving raw onions - but many dentists (including my own) advise against regular use of alcohol based mouthwashes because they use a "scorched earth" method, killing all the bacteria, good and bad. When the bacteria repopulate the mouth, the bad bacteria get a chance to flourish, and bad breath returns in a big way.

As far as the fierce comment battle going on regarding colloidal silver - I worked for years at a holistic wellness center, and have no ties to any product (the center had no brand loyalty either). I've found that for short term use, it can be beneficial. Quantity and quality of the product matter - I would not feel comfortable with a patient making thier own, taking it daily for life, but using a commerical product where PPM is known - for fighting microorganisms when you are sick (internal use) or externally for skin infections or wounds, colliodal has worked well. Alternatively, for those of your uncomfortable with silver, GSE (grapefruit seed extract) may be preferable - just make sure it is well diluted.
bo88y arivera114 months ago

Those silver-ion burn bandages are awesome. I had some serious 2nd-degree burns on my hand, and they healed up in a few days, for the most part.

Thanks for the info about using a vodka mouthwash often.. I had been using a diluted one that I had made, and it seemed to do a good job, but I don't like the idea of a scorched earth strategy.. I guess I will go back to trying to flavor apple cider vinegar.. which doesn't taste as mouthwashy, but did seem to do a better job..
I've been using cheap vodka to disinfect reusable water bottles for some time now. Swish and rinse. Effective, cheap, and (relatively) non-toxic.

Baking soda solution, and shake. Or, for some fireworks, baking soda solution, shake, and then toss in some vinegar. Both have antibacterial properties.

Keep in mind you are probably not disinfecting them. Alcohol doesn't really work well as a disinfectant below 70% or 140 proof. If you are buying the 40%, 80 proof vodka then you're just wasting money.
wastubbs lucek2 years ago
Which is why I keep some 'shine around for my Nalgenes. You can drink it, after, or use it to light your charcoal grill!
Zimminger4 months ago

Rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) works as well and is cheaper, except for anything intended for consumption. Even the cheap stuff at 70% is nearly twice as strong as vodka at 40%. I read of a construction crew that had to bore holes in concrete and keep them from filling with water and freezing overnight so they bought cheap vodka, filled the holes and taped over them. Rubbing alcohol diluted by half would have been cheaper, not that cheap matters in construction. I haven't found any alcohol to work well as an adhesive remover; it works some of the time. If you need pure alcohol, add a few spoons of table salt to rubbing alcohol and shake it up. Let it sit, shake. Do that a couple of times. Unlike ethanol (drinking alcohol), isopropanol is insoluble in salt water. You can see the boundary layer--pure isopropanol on top and salt water below. Beats distilling if you only need small quantities, like a few quarts at a time. It's more available than denatured alcohol.

Jesse USMC4 months ago

I'm not 100% certain but I thought tee tree oil is poisonous to take internally?

mlevitt4 months ago

Vodka is also a great way to hold a pet who's ingested anitftreeze over until you can get it to the vet.

nice photo!
nwhyte1 year ago
If you added enough vodka to a large cut could it make its way into your blood system and get you drunk. You'd forget about the cut pretty quickly! ;)
bpfh nwhyte1 year ago
If a wound was big enough to absorb 1 shot glass of vodka, I think you have bigger problems to worry about than getting drunk :)
AmyCat591 year ago
Your last line reminds me of advice my partner's mom's doctor gave her when he and his sister were teething:
"Pour a shot of rum. Dip your finger in it, and rub it on the baby's gums... then drink the remainder of the shot. Repeat as needed..."
:-)
Pilgrimm2 years ago
Ordinary Isopropyl alcohol purchased at the drug store for 78 cents per pint (16 oz) consists of alcohol at 70% by volume, or 140 proof. Your cheap vodka probably costs $3.00 per pint, and proofs out at 80 proof, or 40% by volume. So buy a bottle at the drugstore (isopropyl alcohol), add an additional 16 oz of water, and use that for anything in your 'ible' that is NOT for human consumption. Your end cost will be about 78 cents for a whole quart! Seems like you went to a whole lot of trouble..... Only difference is that you can't drink isopropyl alcohol, but you can use it for everything else!
Denatured alcohol is even cheaper, 90+%, and much more guaranteed not to leave residues. The iso 70 often leave a film. Iso90 is relatively pricy.

The other point being: It's pretty easy to pick up a handle of vodka for $6 or so in many states, which comes out to 42 cents a pint.
Hexpigge2 years ago
It doesn't work like that, vodka only gets worse as it gets through charcoal filter. Even mythbusters have tried that.
I've done this several times and it works VERY well--mythbusters agreed!
Commercial Vodka produced outside of the primary Vodka countries often is purified by running it through activated carbon filters. In the countries that have long been traditional Vodka producers they don't use it.
Illegal importation involves mixing it with dye, shipping it here as something similar to glass plus or rubbing alcohol, then running it through a reverse osmosis filter then an activated carbon filter
That episode of Mythbusters proved that each time they filtered it, the vodka got BETTER, and the vodka expert and Jamie both ended up putting all of the shots back in the correct order, while everyone else was close, but not quite spot on.
heysonnie2 years ago
Alcohol kills skin cells, especially vulnerable wounded ones. Same is true of witch hazel and hydrogen peroxide. It's better to use soap and water -- or just water.
Infections also kill skin cells. In my experience, my cuts seem to heal faster when disinfected with something than when just washed with water. I'd be interested if there's a study or a medical opinion somewhere in favor of just water.
there was a study that showed rinsing a wound with just water healed faster than rinsing a wound with hydrogen peroxide, sure it can be found online somewhere.

Generally, a bleeding cut is already cleaning itself out.
I know in first aid courses we are taught to use just water, This is because disinfectants can kill the wounded cells as well as infection cells, and could lead to law-suits. The reason is purely because we live in a Pass the Blame world.

If I forget to run my cut under-water or my bandaid wasn't adhering correctly, The wound will start to grow hot itch, this is the sign of an impending infection. At this point, It will heal faster if you put a drop of alcohol or detol on it.
The doctor in the ER recently was the one who told me this. He said soap and water. He also said to use a triple antibiotic salve and loose bandages. My family member who was wounded quite badly recovered well -- without infection or major scarring.
We were taught in the emergency department, you should wash 'clean' wounds with sterile saline solution (or water). 'Dirty' wounds should be cleaned with some sort of antiseptic. But most antiseptics do kill cells. It's a matter of judgement.

I don't know what the medical literature is to support that. But that's what we do at my hospital.
MsJaxFla2 years ago
So far, the only one I would even think of using. I don't know where you live, but I can not get a bottle of vodka for $2.
Alright then. Here the cheapest vodka is like $80. I wonder if you can use rum?
vonna kjackman12 years ago
Rum has FAR MORE sugar than vodka, so you may end up with a scorched crust. Where do you live kjackman1?
Distilled rum has 0 grams of sugar in it, just like all pure distilled spirits.
kjackman1 vonna2 years ago
I live in Barbados, in the Caribbean. White rum is an abundant commodity here, since it is manufactured on the island
Rum might just work if its white rum and has a proof similar to vodka. Vodka tends to work best because it is clear (doesn't discolor the crust) and usually doesn't have much flavor (all depends on the vodka).
Idun2 years ago
I use soft soap for this.
Idun2 years ago
I would not recommend doing this. First of all the alcohol will completely dry out your skin. Commercial hand-sanitizers usually contain glycerol to prevent this.

Secondly the alcohol will not clean your hands if they are in any way visibly dirty or wet. Also the ethanol only kills bacteria and will not protect you from virus such as influenza. Actually, regular use might completely wipe out the natural bacterial flora on your skin making it more receptive to infections in the long run.

In other words: use water and soap.
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