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18 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Vodka

Updated: Mar. 17, 2023

Vodka does a lot more than make a killer drink. This bar staple can be used to clean, cook, and so much more.

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Living room with part of sofa in sunny day and white curtain.
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Clean windows and fixtures

Time to ditch the chemicals! Banish soap scum and water spots by wiping down fixtures with a cloth soaked in vodka for extra sparkle, and spray the stuff on windows for a streak-free shine. Keep in mind that while vodka will get rid of soap scum, water spots, or streaks on your windows, the alcohol content is not high enough to completely disinfect any germs that may be lingering.

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Nothing more beautiful than the feminine form
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Deodorize your feet

Soak those smelly puppies in this natural deodorizer for an extra deep clean. You can even spray diluted vodka directly into shoes for an easy, natural refresher.

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Sticker trace and glue trace on grey wall texture. Perfect for background.
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Remove sticker goo

Peeling off a price tag often leaves an unwanted residue behind. Scrub the gunk with some vodka, then rinse for a smooth surface.

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Background of green grass on a summer day
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Kill weeds

Looking for a pesticide-free way to treat weeds? Mix vodka with water and a few drops of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle, and spritz directly onto your target.

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Closet Organization
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Refresh laundry

Oust odor in your closets by spraying your most musty-smelling clothes with undiluted vodka, then hanging them out to dry. Vodka is a lot more helpful when it comes to cleaning your clothes than these laundry products that waste your money.

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Curly hair woman
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Get shiny hair

Your hair could use a drink, too! Vodka can help de-frizz hair and make locks extra shiny and healthy, thanks to its low pH. Add an ounce of the spirit to your shampoo bottle to fight oily buildup with each wash.

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Tulips and shadow
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Make flowers last

Wilting bouquets perk up when you mix a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar with the water in the vase. And if your flowers do end up dying, here’s how you can revive them.

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Poison Ivy leaves
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Cure poison ivy

If you get this nasty rash, you’ll need a quick fix. Pour vodka directly onto the affected skin, and the alcohol will rinse away the chemical from the leaves that cause the itchy sensation (urushiol oil).

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Gold jewelry for personal accessories
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Clean jewelry

If your jewels are looking dingy, try soaking them in vodka for five minutes, and then rinsing them with water. It’s safe for diamonds and other gemstones, too.

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unhappy african american woman suffering from toothache and holding coffee cup
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Soothe toothaches

If you’re plagued by a toothache or mouth pain but can’t make it to a dentist right away, try swishing with vodka, a natural antiseptic. Not only does it kill bacteria, but it can also help to numb the area.

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Cleaned versus Dirty Grout Bathroom Tiles
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Banish mold

Stop that mildew growing between your bathroom tiles with a spritz of vodka. Let it soak for 15 minutes, then scrub thoroughly with an old toothbrush and rinse. Not sure you need this one? Here are 12 silent signs your house has a mold problem.

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Jellyfish washed up on a beach
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Relieve jellyfish stings

These sea creatures are known for their vicious sting, but they’re no match for vodka’s pain-relieving power. Use the stuff to disinfect the wound and heal the hurt.

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Three bowls with different jams on wooden table. Top view
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Infuse jam

“I use vodka to infuse jam and handmade marshmallows as well as DIY lollipops in our workshops,” says Mariana Leung, co-owner of Wicked Finch Farm. That’s right—vodka infused homemade jam! Learn how to make infused vodka.

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Home Made Apple Pie
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Make a crispy pie crust

Vodka can come in handy when making pie dough. “When mixing pie dough, using vodka in place of water can prevent the crust from becoming tough. Toughness is the result of gluten formation, which occurs when wheat proteins are mixed with water,” says Freida Hirsch, Chef at EveryPlate. “Vodka binds the butter-flour mixture without contributing to excessive gluten formation.”

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Businessman examining bill
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Make homemade spy gear

“Those who are into spy movies and books or general espionage history might be interested to learn that vodka is one of the key ingredients in a homemade microdot,” says Aliza Bran, media relations manager at the International Spy Museum.  A microdot is an extremely small photograph or document. According to Bran, to make a homemade microdot, you take a developed photo, prepare a plate by pasting cellophane on glass, and coat the glass with a combination of silver nitrate, potassium bromide, and a pyrimidone-and-vodka solution.

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Ice cubes translucent background.
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Clear ice cubes

“You can add a small amount of vodka (about 1oz.) into a gallon of water before freezing into ice cubes, and it will help them not come out cloudy and make the ice blocks clearer,” says Justin Greenwood, bar manager at 619 Spirits Distillery & Tasting Room.

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Honey pouring on wooden spoon and dripping from spoon
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Make syrup last longer

Vodka commonly acts as a preservative. If you throw an ounce of vodka into a syrup, it makes syrup last longer, according to Greenwood.

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mixed fried fish
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Make tempura batter

Vodka can be helpful when making tempura-style fried dishes because it makes the batter crispier. “It works because the alcohol evaporates quicker than water, but doesn’t impart much flavor as other liquors would,” says Lauro Romero, executive chef at King Tide Fish & Shell. Shocked? Here are some more extraordinary uses for household staples you already own.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest