7 Things you Can Clean with Vodka

A bottle sitting in ice.

While vodka is certainly best known for its use in many cocktails, it also doubles as a household cleanser. Since alcohol naturally kills germs (think rubbing alcohol and the base of hand sanitizer), vodka can leave things sparkly, clean, and new. Use it on a variety of surfaces as your general household cleaner or if you run out of your favorite cleaning solution. It’s so cost-effective and has such an array of uses that you’ll be wondering why you never thought of using it before.

1. Deodorizer

Someone cleaning a couch with a sponge and a spray bottle.

Vodka can be used to create an odor-removing spray for fabrics, carpets, clothes, and linens. In a spray bottle, combine 2 ounces of vodka for every cup of water. To give the spray a light, refreshing smell, add a few drops of essential oil, such as peppermint, orange, or lavender. Spray the solution onto the fabric and let it dry completely.

2. Mildew Smell Remover

Get rid of that musty, mildew smell using vodka. If clothes have been left in the wash too long or you’ve found some old clothes and linens in your basement with that damp smell, add just ½ cup of vodka to that load of laundry. Just as it deodorizes as a spray, vodka also can work with your laundry soap for extra smell-removing power. Give it a try on fabrics with other strong odors, as well—such as pet smells. You’ll be surprised just how powerful vodka can be at removing them.

3. Shine Enhancer

Someone cleaning a stainless steel dishwasher with a green cloth.

Just about any surface can be shined right up with vodka. From stainless steel and chrome to silver and gold, vodka can clean these surfaces and restore some of their original luster. Use it as a jewelry cleaner by applying a small amount to a soft-bristled toothbrush and then scrub the jewelry lightly. You can even leave a piece of jewelry in a small bowl or cup of vodka for a few minutes before scrubbing. Vodka can also be used to wipe steel or chrome surfaces for a streak-free shine. Be sure to always buff jewelry and shiny surfaces with a soft cloth after cleaning.

4. Stain Remover

For tough stains, apply vodka directly, as you would any other stain remover. The alcohol helps to lift stains from clothing—this is a great tip if you’re out on the town. Even really tough stains from makeup, ink, and wine can be removed using vodka and by dabbing at a stain with a cotton cloth instead of rubbing.

5. Glass and Mirror Cleaner

A woman cleaning a mirror with a yellow rag and a spray bottle.

For streak-free windows and mirrors, use pure vodka in a spray bottle and wipe the surface clean with paper towels. Dilute the vodka with a few ounces of water when cleaning hot surfaces or on a hot day, so it doesn’t evaporate too quickly.

6. Goo Remover

Having a hard time removing a label from a new product you’ve brought home or pulling a sticker off a glass surface? Vodka can battle that sticky goo! Rub a small amount of vodka over the sticky surface to remove the goo as well as the label using a cotton cloth or your finger. Add additional vodka to saturate the sticker, if needed. The remainder of it should come off easily.

7. Mildew and Soap Scum Remover

A person cleaning a bathtub with yellow gloves.

That dark stuff in the creases of the caulking in your bathroom and kitchen and the white, flaky residue that builds up on faucets, shower heads, and shower doors are mildew and soap scum. Battle them using vodka! Get rid of both mildew and soap scum by spraying vodka directly onto the affected surface and letting it sit for 10-20 minutes. After the time is up, scrub away mildew and soap scum with a soapy water solution.