Surprising Uses For Vodka

Before it was shaken or stirred vodka was used as an antiseptic and a painkiller. Back in the 1400s when it was created, antiseptics were hard to come by, and painkillers were no easier. Though we do have more refined uses for vodka now, in a pinch it will work as well or even better than it did in the late Middle Ages (vodka is purer now). So here are some excellent alternative uses for vodka that you might not have thought of. They make a good argument for bringing a bottle along on vacation for "utility purposes".

1) Clean glass

A few drops of vodka makes for an excellent glass cleaner, and it works especially well on eye glasses. Dip your napkin in a straight shot of vodka and swab it on your glasses. Your glasses will be cleaned and disinfected. You can also use vodka to clean jewelry, so long as the jewels involved are crystals. That means diamonds and emeralds are okay to clean with vodka, but pearls are definitely not okay.

2) Kill weeds

The alcohol in vodka is a good solvent, which means it can be helpful in breaking up wax and that it has drying properties. Because of this, if you spray vodka on weeds that are in direct sun, you will strip off the wax covering their leaves. They will not be able to retain water and will die. It may take a day or so, and the weeds must be in full sun -- partial shade may not work. But if you do not want to use pesticides near children and animals, vodka is an excellent substitute.

3) Keep flowers fresh

Cut flowers fade because their stems get plugged up with bacteria, so they can not draw water and nutrients up to the rest of the stem above the blockage. Because vodka kills germs, if you mix a teaspoon or so of vodka into flower water, your cut flowers will last longer. Also add a teaspoon of sugar to give the flowers an extra perk.

4) Make vanilla extract

This is an excellent hostess gift. Get a high-quality real vanilla bean (it will cost between $5 and $10), cut it lengthwise and drop it in a small sealable jar. Pour in 3/4 of a cup of high-quality vodka. Seal the jar. Let the jar sit for 4-6 months. Shake it once or twice every month or so. After the six months have past, strain the liquid through a coffee filter and then pour the extract into a decorative glass jar or a vial.

5) Remove stickers and band-aids

If you do not have a bottle of "goo-gone", use vodka to get stickers and their goo off. This also works well for band-aids that are in tender spots. Pour vodka over the band-aid until it is saturated, wait 5 minutes, and then gently pull the band-aid off. There will be no pain with the glue sticking to the skin, and because vodka kills germs, you have also killed quite a few germs.

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