DIY: Tried and True Uses for Cheap Vodka

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Cheap vodka has a lot of uses. It can wipe your memory clean, keep you warm on cold nights, and make most experiences exponentially more interesting than they would have been. Is it coincidence that Vladimir Vodka is not only the top selling liquor in West Virginia and also crucial to my early days of binging and purging?, I think not. Still, at what usually equals out to be the same price as a six-pack of beer, it’s still the best deal in town.  Not being a natural DIY person, unless you count taking out the trash, I get very excited when I learn about new uses for things I often have any hand anyway.  So if you’ve got some extra Vlad on hand, or another classy substitute, here are some ways to put it to use on other things than destroying your liver.

Magic Cleaning Potion

Nobody wants to spend their cold-hard cash on cleaning products, but you also don’t want your home to resemble a truck-stop bathroom. The next time you’re doing some hard-core cleaning, put some vodka in a spritz bottle and let it go to town on all the mildew and grease on your floors and counter surfaces. If you want to get OCD about it, go army-style and get an old toothbrush for those mystery grout stains that never seem to go away. You can also mix it with your dish soap to degrease pans. It also acts as a kind of Goo Gone, for tackling sticky surfaces. So if you have any old wine bottles lying around, you can re-purpose them for vases, water carafes or whatever your heart desires by removing the labels and desticky-ifying them with a couple spritzes of vodka.

Smell the Flowers

Not to get all Martha on you, but fresh flowers really are an instant pick me up. My old roommate used to always buy sunflowers but they would wilt and die within only a few days. When your funds are limited, flowers seems like a fleeting indulgence.  Even if you refresh the water everyday (which is a pain in the ass), they still seem to whither away quickly and attract more fruit flies than Chinatown on garbage day. But ever since I started adding a couple capfuls of vodka to the water, my flowers will last for weeks.  I recommend avoiding those weird dyed bouquets at the delis and get some cheap bunches at a green market to liven up your space.

De-Stank Your Clothes

We’ve already discussed how much we hate: ironing, dry-cleaning, and just laundry annoyance in general.  Just because you wear something once doesn’t mean it has to be washed. But what about those items that still smell a little musty/funky sitting in your clothing heap. To give clothes a little freshening up, spritz some vodka on it and let it hang dry. Unlike beer, vodka doesn’t leave you smelling like an OTB outpost after it dries. So even if you go a little overboard on your spot-treatment, it will still kill any lingering odors and dry without a scent. So the next time a drunk tosses a martini your way, just think of it as saving you a trip to the laundromat.

Get Your Hair Did

Don’t let those hair flipping, Pantene shilling models fool you, the key to shine reflecting hair is straight booze.  It seemed like every teen magazine I ever read growing up recommended coating your hair with all kinds of ridiculous shit to no avail. And I was a sucker for all of them. Raw eggs? No problem. Beer, honey, olive oil, mayo, I tried them all and probably grossed out my family and classmates in the process.  While the beer thing really does work, again it leaves you smelling slightly of a brewery and a dash of alcoholic grandpa in the morning, so again Vodka has the advantage here again.  Add a shot glass worth to a 12 oz bottle of shampoo and it will help to clean up the mineral build-up from your water and boost shine.  It also lowers the ph level of your hair, which apparently closes the cuticles and gives the appearance of a smoother finish.

And now for the most important step. Pour yourself a celebratory cocktail, drink, and repeat.

Photos Courtesy of: Taryn Cox, Oh Joy, Drink Stuff

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Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).

1 Comment

  1. daniel
    October 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    A great way to drink cheap vodka (without using it as a mixer) and a fun party: get some pop rocks (or the German brand “Ahoi Brause-Pulver”) in different flavors.
    Chill the vodka in the freezer until it is ice cold.
    Then pop the pop rocks into your mouth and follow them with a shot of cheap vodka, which will be flavored by the pop rocks.
    Fun for the whole family! ;¬)