Eight Alternate Uses for Vodka at Home

Party Vodka
Photo taken by Matt Abourezk

Around for centuries, vodka has become a staple in bars and liquor cabinets across the world. From The Dude’s White Russian to Carrie Bradshaw’s Cosmopolitan, we consume vodka constantly, through both media and cocktails. According to Forbes, in 2019 vodka represented 31% of spirit volume in the US and brought in a revenue of $6.6 billion dollars. But, what else are people using it for? Surely it can’t be all Screwdrivers and Martinis. Let’s take a look at some uses for vodka, outside of standard consumption.

  1. Preserving Cut Flowers: Adding a few drops of vodka to a vase of flowers can help keep cut flowers fresh. Flowers produce ethylene gas which is what causes them to wilt or die over time. Adding vodka to their water slows the production of ethylene, in turn keeping your flowers fresher for longer.
  2. At Home Goo-Gone: With a little bit of elbow grease, vodka serves as a great stand-in for Goo-Gone. When that stubborn sticker residue just won’t come off, a vodka-soaked rag is a great way to do the trick. It may take a little longer than the commercial product, but this cost-effective alternative leaf surfaces cleaner than before.
  3. Jewelry Cleaner: If your diamonds have lost their shine due to dust and grease, skip the jewelry store. Fill a dish with some vodka, swish your diamonds around, and they’ll be good as new. The high alcohol content of vodka (usually around 40%) breaks down the dust and grease, leaving them with a brand new sheen.
  4. At Home Ice Pack: Freezing 2 cups of water and 1 cup of high-proof vodka in a zip lock bag is a great alternative to buying an ice gel pack. The vodka stops the water from freezing all the way and leaves you with a malleable ice pack. You can even add food coloring for an extra touch of color.
  5. Lighter Pie Crust: As seen in The New York Time’s Foolproof Pie Dough recipe, their secret ingredient is vodka. Adding vodka into a pie crust gives you a flakier, lighter crust. The alcohol cooks off while baking, so there are no additional or unwanted flavors. 
  6. Stain Removal: Vodka can help remove stains from clothing and furniture, and yes, even red wine. If you soak your entire stain in vodka, you’ll watch it fade away. Liquids like red wine contain anthocyanins (color pigments) that are easily dissolved by alcohol. 
  7. Insect Repellent: The high alcohol content of vodka is known for its ability to kill bugs, specifically mosquitos.  Before you spend an afternoon in your favorite booze-filled backyard, put together some vodka, water, and essential oils for eco-friendly insect repellent. Check out Joybilee Farm’s recipe for an easy vodka-based bug spray.
  8. DIY Face Toner: Vodka contains ethanol alcohol, which when applied to your skin makes it feel firm and refreshed. Mixing vodka with brewed teas, essential oils, or water creates a cost-effective alternative to facial toners, leaving your skin clean and toned. Just be sure not to use too much, as it can dry out your skin.
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