10 Surprising Things You Can Clean with That Old Bottle of Vodka

published Aug 5, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Yes, I suppose vodka’s number-one use is cocktails. Even living in the heart of bourbon country as I do, a classic Moscow Mule does have a time and a place. But when I end up with vodka on my bar cart (like when I bought a cheap jug to make bitters with) more often than not the bottle ends up collecting dust. Until, that is, I find some handy use for it, like when I discovered you could use it to make your own essential oil diffuser.  

It turns out there are actually all kinds of ways to use vodka around the house — ways that don’t involve a shot glass. It’s basically just pure alcohol and water, after all, so you can put it to use in any number of cleaning jobs. Check it out!

Here are 10 surprising ways to use vodka around the house.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

1. Make an all-purpose deodorizer.

Got some smells lurking around the house? Tackle them with vodka; pour some into a spray bottle (with a couple of drops of essential oil for added smell-good powers) and spritz everything from your mattress and furniture to welcome mats and summer sandals. 

2. Clean a chandelier.

Here’s the easy way to clean a chandelier: First put down something to catch the drips, then spray the fixture with a solution of four teaspoons of vodka to one pint of water. Once it dries, you’re looking at a clean chandelier!

3. Get rid of that funky smell in your dish towels.

You know that musty smell your kitchen towels and dish cloths can get? Ugh. That doesn’t say clean. Add half a cup of vodka to the washer when you do that load of laundry, and voila! Funk banished. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

4. Get rid of kitchen grease.

Mmm, bacon. It’s all fun and games until your stove is caked in grease. Vodka, either straight or a one-to-one ratio with water, can de-grease your stovetop (and backsplash and countertops). Spray it on or dampen a cleaning rag to do the job. 

5. Kill mold and mildew in caulk.

If the caulk around your tub or shower is getting grungy, spray it with vodka. Wait a few minutes and wash it clean. 

6. Lose the soap scum.

Tired of the soap scum built up in the shower? Grab your vodka spray and douse the tub. Wait 10 minutes and give the tub a rinse. The vodka will take the scum down the drain.

7. Remove hair spray.

Charming how hair spray lands not just on your hair but also on the mirror, yes? Grab a soft, clean cloth and wet it with vodka, then use that to wipe away the overspray. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

8. Shine up chrome.

If it’s a sparkling chrome kind of clean you’re after, hit those faucets or fixtures with vodka, then dry them and use a lint-free towel to buff and make them gleam.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

9. Skip sticker residue.

Why do they still put price tags on things? If you’ve got a stubborn sticker, it’s vodka to the rescue. Just use a cotton ball or swab to dab it on and the sticker will give up the fight. This also works on leftover gummy residue from a sticker you already peeled. 

10. Make DIY window cleaner.

Keep that spray bottle handy to clean windows around the house, sans streaks. See ya, fingerprints!