What else can you do with Vodka besides make a White Russian? Lots! Vodka has many practical household and personal care uses from all-natural beauty potions to green cleaning solutions to jewelry cleaning. Check out these 10 smashing reasons to give vodka a shot in your lifestyle:
Green Clean Your House
It’s never too early to crack open a bottle of vodka. That is, if you want to get some serious cleaning done! Considering vodka is a clear, somewhat odorless alcohol, it has inherent antiseptic properties, so it’s a natural for green cleaning. Learn how to mix up your own non-toxic, cleaning cocktail that will smell great by checking out this recipe for “DIY Disinfecting Aromatic Vodka Spray Cleaner.” It’s useful for shining bathroom fixtures, cleaning mirrors, doing windows, disinfecting countertops, sanitizing bathroom surfaces, and more.
Make Herbal Tinctures
Like using herbal tinctures? Did you know you can make your own with fresh or dried herbs and some vodka? It’s great since you know what’s going in your product and you can save some serious cash. All you need is 80-100 proof vodka, a sterilized jar, herbs, cheesecloth, and about four to six weeks – that’s how long it takes for the properties of the herbs to be extracted into the alcohol. Check out this great video from Mountain Rose Herbs that shows you how to make an herbal extract using Valerian to help with insomnia.
Freshen the Air Naturally
Skip the Glade Plug-Ins and conventional air fresheners full of artificial fragrances, synthetic dyes, and other chemicals that harm your health, and try vodka as a natural air freshener instead. Simply whip up a solution of one part vodka and three parts water in a spray bottle and you’re set. To make it better, though, try some essential oils, which you can select to suit your mood. Lavender, lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, orange, and eucalyptus are popular ones to try, but the possibilities are limitless. Essential oils not only smell great, but they actually have natural antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. For more details on essential oils, check out my article, “Top 5 Essential Oils to Use in Your Green Cleaning.”
Eliminate Pet Odors
Has your dog or kitty overtaken your sofa? Spray a 1:3 vodka-water solution on your sofa fabric, not Fluffy! Give it a go on other areas where your pet loves to lay around, too. The vodka zaps bacteria, which helps freshen the place up, making it habitable for humans once again.
Spruce Up Stinky Clothes and Tennis Shoes
If you don’t quite have time to throw that stinky shirt in the laundry, give it a quick spray! Try a 1:3 solution of vodka and distilled water. Your hamper won’t stink to high heaven anymore. Just don’t get in the habit of spraying versus laundering. There’s a difference between dirt and odors, you know. The same goes for those well-loved tennis shoes. Of course, when you do have some time, consider using some eco-friendly laundry tips for finally getting things clean and fresh.
Freshen Your Breath
OK, I’m not suggesting straight vodka, but if you make your own mouthwash you’ll be good to go! Try this easy recipe for 8 ounces of herbal mouthwash: Mix together 7 ½ ounces of water, one tablespoon of vodka or an herbal tincture (e.g., one made with breath-freshening herbs & spices such as cloves, fennel, anise seed, etc.), and 2 drops of peppermint or spearmint essential oil. If you notice that your gums are feeling dry, substitute 2 ounces of water with aloe vera juice, which is available at most natural markets and health food stores. Enjoy your fresh breath and kiss someone!
Whip Up Beauty Spritzes
If you drink vodka, it will dry your skin out, but if you use it as a natural preservative, you can make your own awesome beauty sprays and customize them to suit your skin type! Depending on your skin, some herbs to try include green tea, white tea, rose hips, chamomile, rose buds, lavender, sage, thyme, etc. Add about 1/8 tsp. of vodka to 4 ounces of a strong herbal tea. Pour it in small glass spray bottle and keep it in the refrigerator if you want an invigorating spritz now and then!
Bring Shine Back to Your Hair
Got dull locks that have lost their brilliance? Well, give your hair a shot of vodka! Try adding some to your favorite deep conditioner. Due to the fact that it lowers the pH level of your hair, it helps the cuticles close, resulting in smooth, shiny hair. Check out this TLC article for all the details on how to do it.
Clean Your Jewelry
Just like vodka is great for green cleaning and shining fixtures, it’s great for cleaning your crystal gemstone jewelry, too. Your diamonds, rubies, and emeralds will shine once again! Simply soak them in a solution of vodka and water. If you have intricately designed jewelry and need to clean out all the nooks and crannies, grab an eco-friendly cleaning tool, such as an old, soft-bristled toothbrush. Then buff dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Note: Don’t do this with jewelry that doesn’t contain crystal gemstones, such as Grandma’s fine pearls.
Alleviate Skin Ailments
Even though I haven’t tried these personally, vodka supposedly helps alleviate poison ivy (I imagine the alcohol cuts through the oil which causes the rash) and soothe jelly fish stings (so if you’re drinking vodka martinis at the beach, why not try it?). It also sterilizes wounds, so if you’re out camping in the Russian wilderness and it’s all you got, give it a shot. Plus, it takes the ouch out of band-aid removal, since the alcohol dissolves the adhesive. Lastly, a vodka spray is helpful for preventing nasty skin ailments, like bites, from happening in the first place, since it kills insects dead.
Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2012. All rights reserved.
Photo © Karen Peltier