Even the regular “use” of alcohol might take us to some unexpected places—on top of a bar, in the chair of a late night tattoo parlor, crouched in a bathroom stall making tearful calls to our best friends from 8th grade band camp.
But alcohol itself has some unexpected applications beyond the obvious —and as you’ll see below, this seems to be the case especially for vodka. So if you ever find yourself with some excess hooch and a disinclination to drink it, here are a few other ways you can put it to good use around the house:
Make an Herbal or Floral Tincture: Find a trustworthy recipe first, but you can use Everclear to make a tincture of anything from rosemary and lavender to, well, weed.
Get Healthier Hair: Add a bit of vodka to your Pantene Pro-V, or shampoo of choice, for even healthier results.
Treat Poison Ivy: If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll probably encounter poison ivy at some point in your life. But if you’re the drinking type, you might also be carrying a bottle of vodka, which supposedly washes away the urushiol oil. (Probably best to check with your doctor on this one.)
Keep Cut Flowers Fresh: Vodka seems to have a lot of plant-related uses. Not that you should soak your dozen roses in a bottle of Smirnoff, but you can add a bit of vodka and sugar to the water your cut flowers are in to keep them fresher and happier, longer.
Stain Removal: If some thoughtless guest spills red wine on your snowy white carpets, don’t despair—just soak a cloth in vodka and pat the stain out.
Soothe a Sore Throat: We often call upon whiskey to help us forget our emotional pains, but how about physical ones? Add a tablespoon or two of whiskey to some warm water and gargle to soothe your sore throat. Whether you spit or swallow is up to you (although if you’re legit sick, it’s usually recommended to stay hydrated). You also can make a Hot Toddy (see our Hot Toddy recipe).
Calm a Toothache: A toothache requires a dentist, first and foremost. But if you’re in a pinch, or the pain is just pinching in the waiting room, you can swish some vodka around the painful area. It’ll numb the pain and, if you swallow, chill any dentist-anxiety nerves. (Of course, if he tries to do emergency procedure, let him know you just drank alcohol…)
Freshen Your Laundry: Most of us don’t really like the smell of vodka, but apparently when you spray your laundry with the stuff, it just kills odor-causing bacteria and leaves not a trace of itself behind.
Polish: Like drinking and owning classy, shiny stuff? You can polish things like chrome, porcelain, and glass with booze. Light, neutral spirits work best since they’re not imparting any color compounds.
Disinfect: Rum is actually a good pitch-hit disinfectant, since it’s antiseptic.
Make Your Own Perfume: Everclear is supposedly a good neutral base upon which you can layer all the elements of your “signature scent.” Theoretically it should not smell like you just came from the saloon.
Get Rid of Rust: You can get the rust off household metal items by soaking them in vodka.
Shine Your Diamonds: Or other sparkly gemstones, just soak them in a bowl of vodka for several seconds and remove.