Champagne may be good for toasts and christening ships, but do you know what vodka’s good for? EVERYTHING!
- Cold sores: dab a cold sore with a cotton ball that’s been dipped in vodka. The alcohol will help dry it right up.
- Jellyfish sting: vodka will disinfect the sting and help take the pain away.
- Poison ivy: as soon as possible after exposure, pour vodka over the affected area to remove the poison oil from your skin.
- Toothache: swish a shot of vodka over the sore tooth. Allow enough time for your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.
- Fever: use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back. Allow to air dry.
- Yellow jackets: Spritz them with cheap vodka in a sixteen-ounce spray bottle to keep these pests away.
- Pain, bruises, swelling: pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water in a Ziplock freezer bag, and freeze for a slushy, reusable ice pack. Because vodka doesn’t freeze solid, the packs will mold around your injured body part way better than a bag of ice cubes.
- Blisters: if a blister opens, pour vodka over the raw skin as a local anesthetic that also disinfects the wound.
- Earache: put a few drops of vodka in your ear. Keep your head tilted for a few minutes to keep the vodka in, then drain. The vodka will kill the bacteria that’s causing the pain.
- Hangover: clear spirits have fewer congeners (the impurities that are created as part of the fermentation process) than brown spirits, and vodka is filtered more times than any other clear spirit. Congeners are a big part of the reason you feel like death in the morning after you’ve had a few the night before. This makes vodka your best choice for avoiding hangovers.
- Shaving irritation: splash vodka on freshly shaved skin. It will calm any redness and prevent razor bumps.
- Too much perfume: you can tone down a too-strong perfume or cologne with vodka. Just dab a little at a time to your pulse points, or wherever you applied the perfume in the first place, until the fragrance is as mild as you want it to be.
- Bad breath: make your own mouthwash by mixing nine tablespoons powered cinnamon with one cup vodka. Seal in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks. Strain through a coffee filter then mix fifty-fifty with water. Swish, don’t swallow!
- Breakouts/blackheads: Use vodka full strength to kill pimples, and use diluted vodka (half water, half vodka) as a cheap skin toner. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face to clean your skin and tighten pores. The high alcohol content gives it antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. But you have to do it consistently to see results.
- Limp, lifeless hair: add a jigger of vodka to a twelve-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol removes buildup from your hair and scalp, and stimulates the growth of healthy, bouncy hair.
- Dandruff: mix one cup vodka with two teaspoons crushed rosemary. Let sit for two days, strain through a coffee filter, and massage into your scalp after your next shampoo. Don’t rinse, just let it dry on your scalp.
- Excess weight: vodka is carbohydrate-free and has only sixty-four calories per ounce. Drink it neat, or mixed with tonic water or club soda, to keep the calorie count low.
- Foot odor: the alcohol that gives vodka its antiseptic qualities will also go a long way toward killing whatever odor-causing bacteria is on your feet. Rinse your feet in one cup of vodka to a few quarts of water. Or, you can just soak a washcloth in vodka and wipe your feet down, too.
- Dirty implements: Put some vodka in a cup and soak your razor, tweezers, and nail clippers in it; it will disinfect them and keep them from rusting.
- Lipstick stains: spray vodka on the stain, scrub with a brush, then wash the garment as usual.
- Moldy grout: to kill any mold or mildew around bathtubs and showers, fill a spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. Works great on soap scum, too.
- Smelly clothes and shoes: vodka contains ethyl alcohol, as do most commercial air fresheners. Ethyl alcohol works by killing odor-causing bacteria. Just fill a spray bottle with undiluted vodka and spritz until your clothes are lightly misted, then let air-dry. You won’t smell the vodka after it’s dry.
- Goo from stickers and labels: rub the residue with a soft, clean cloth soaked in vodka.
- Wilting flowers: when a bouquet has been sitting around for a while, bacteria attach to the cut ends of flower stems and plug them up so they can’t draw water. Fill your vase with one part vodka to 5 parts water to stop the growth of bacteria without harming your flowers.
- Dirty glass: moisten a damp cloth with vodka and wipe glass surfaces clean for a streak-free shine on eyeglass lenses, windows, and mirrors; it also works great on chrome and porcelain surfaces. Alcohol dissolves the oils that cause most smudges.
- Tough pie crust: In 2007, Cook’s Illustrated came up with a recipe for foolproof pie dough where vodka, not water, was the liquid used to bind all the ingredients together. Since it’s only 60% water, vodka forms less gluten when it comes into contact with flour, resulting in a more tender crust.
- Weeds: mix one ounce of vodka, a few drops of dish soap, and two cups of water in a spray bottle. This solution breaks down the waxy coating that protects the leaves and dehydrates them. It works best on weeds that grow in direct sunlight.
- Aphids: wash off houseplants with tap water then dab the leaves with a cotton ball dipped in vodka.
- Dusty chandelier: spray the chandelier right where it hangs with a solution of four teaspoons of vodka to one pint of water. Put down some towels, a plastic tablecloth, or a shower curtain to catch the drips.
- Cloudy jewelry and cutlery: soak it in vodka for five minutes, rinse and dry.
- Can’t find good vanilla extract: cut three vanilla beans in half, and split them open to expose the vanilla seeds inside the pods. Put them in a small glass bottle and add vodka up to the top. Close the bottle tightly. Store in a cool, dry place for five or six weeks. Every few days, gently shake the bottle to mix the contents. When you start to run low, just fill the bottle with vodka again and start over. Vanilla extract forever!
- Too busy: vodka makes fantastic Bloody Marys, as you’re well aware, but if you’re short on time, you can still whip up a yummy vodka cocktail in 5 seconds flat. In a glass filled with ice, add 2 parts vodka to 3 parts cranberry or grapefruit juice. If anybody asks, these are called the Cape Cod and the Greyhound, respectively.
Booze breath: Vodka is, to date, the only alcoholic beverage that is colorless, odorless, and flavorless. That means that you can tip a few vodka cocktails before that uncomfortable family reunion, performance appraisal, or cha cha competition, and no one need be the wiser.