Spring Cleaning: Uses for Vodka (Other than Drinking It)

Over the years my liquor cabinet has grown quite large and…doesn’t get much use wahh wahh wahh.  I know, sad story, right? I’ve accumulated a few bottles of liquor that I, myself, will never reach for.  I may have the occasional martini…like the once every 6 months kind of martini, and I’ll dust off the bottle of Ketel One to brew one up.
Occasionally, an opened bottle of “cheap” vodka will wind up at my house (following a little friend get-together) and sit on my liquor shelf for years accumulating dust.  Justin doesn’t touch vodka, and when friends come over they tend to reach for the good stuff too.
I cleaned out my liquor collection last month and decided to pare down my collection…beginning with the cheap vodka.  Don’t worry, I didn’t dump it down the drain.  I am still in my 20’s…. and that would just be considered alcohol abuse.  Instead, I found a few ways to repurpose it.
Dear friends, if you leave vodka at my house I will use it to freshen my sheets and deodorize stinky shoes.  PS – Tommy….your Rich & Rare is safe for now since I have yet to find a use for whatever this stuff is. 
Some of you may be very disappointed that you’ve been led here.  For those of you that would rather drink your vodka and don’t have such a sensitive stomach, please quickly scroll to the bottom of this post.  If you’re still reading and enjoy a little resourcefulness…please continue.
I think you’ll be surprised how great vodka is for use around the household.  Turns out that vodka is a great deodorizer, disinfectant, and is an antiseptic.  This is how you know you’re getting older.  You find resourceful uses for liquor other than drinking it.
1) Lavender Linen Spray
Vodka is a great disinfectant, which is perfect to spritz on sheets and towels between washings.  Not to mention a little spritz on the couch or carpet helps fend off the lovely scent o’ dog that tends to follow my two little pooches.
2 c. water (ideally, you’ll want to use distilled water.  I do not.)
1/2 c. vodka
50 drops lavender oil (or another essential oil you prefer)
Mix the above ingredients and store in a clean spray bottle.
I love lavender.  Any time I can make my house smell more like spring (and less like dog) in the dead of a Michigan winter always makes me a little happier.  Can I say how excited I am to throw open the windows!?  C’mon Michigan, heat up already!  Just maybe not quite to spider-lurking temps yet.
2) Homemade Vanilla

Making your own homemade vanilla is so easy.  It just requires a little bit of patience.

1 1/4 c. vodka
7 vanilla beans
Measure out 1 1/4 c. of vodka and pour into a clean and sanitized bottle.  Slice 7 vanilla beans down the center to expose the inner bean and then place the sliced beans into the bottle.  Seal the bottle well and store for 8 weeks before use.  Shake the bottle a few times each week to stir up the goodness.  At the end of 8 weeks remove the vanilla beans, seal up the bottle and use for all your vanilla-needing baked goods.
How about cooking up a batch of biscotti with your homemade concoction (and then send some cookies my way)?
3) Fragrance Oil
I am not a fan of strong scents, and often find that many candle scents or fragrance oils are too strong and irritate my sinuses.  Using vodka, I can actually make my own and I know that it’s pure and natural (and I can control the strength).
4 oz. any vegetable oil (do not use olive oil as it can become rancid – I use sunflower oil)
1 tsp vodka
20 drops (or so) of your favorite fragrance (I use lavender)
5 reeds (which can be found at craft stores)
Place ingredients in a bottle and shake up.  Do not place a lid on the bottle, instead insert reeds that stick about 2-3 in. out of the top and place in a room.  The reeds will draw the fragrance into the air.  Flip the reeds every week or so to keep the fragrance fresh.
4) Fresh-cut Flower Preserver
I look forward to spring so I can bring in the fresh peonies from the garden.  I love the look of fresh flowers, but am always sad about how long they last.  So I’m on the look-out for ways to keep my fresh-cut flowers looking fresher longer.  This recipe works great, but you do have to swap out the water mixture daily otherwise the water gets cloudy.
1 tsp sugar
a couple drops of vodka
Add the mixture to a vase filled with water.  Make a fresh mixture every few days and this should keep your flowers perky and fresh for longer.
5) Shoe and Clothing Deodorizer
I keep a little spray bottle of undiluted vodka near the shoe rack to help disinfect and deodorize my running shoes.  It only takes a few sprays after the gym to keep them clean.
For this use, you’ll want the vodka to be undiluted.  Spray the shoes (or clothing) until slightly damp and allow to air dry.  Vodka is a great deodorizer and is safe on “dry clean only” clothing.  I’ve never had an issue with colors fading, but you may want to test it in a small area before spraying the entire garment.
I did some additional research on vodka uses and found that it can be used in many other ways that I haven’t tried yet.  It can wash away the uroshiol oil from Poison Ivy to prevent a reaction if it’s applied immediately after exposure, it can be used as a bug repellent (so maybe it’s a good idea to enjoy a martini on those hot summer nights outside), can scrub away mold and can remove rust from bolts and nails.
Don’t forget to toast to your resourcefulness.  May I suggest a shaken dirty vodka martini with a few blue cheese stuffed olives?
I guess I can call this the sixth use of vodka.  Maybe consider using the top shelf stuff and save yourself the headache in the AM.  Unless you’re one of those lucky people who can enjoy a strong cocktail and not suffer the consequences.  
I am not one of those fortunate people.
Mary
Linking up this week with the Inspire Me Please Linky Party #6.  Thank you for visiting!  If you haven’t seen the other projects yet take a minute to browse the link party.

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