Vodka is often hailed as a miracle cleaning solution and can be used to clean a surprising number of household items. It isn’t perfect for every cleaning job, however, and it is sometimes necessary to spot-test vodka on surfaces to ensure it does no damage.
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Sometimes grass, ink and food make their way onto sofas, carpets, clothes and other fabrics. To remove them, dip a clean, lint-free rag in vodka and rub it onto the stain. Make sure you test the vodka on an inconspicuous area first to make sure the alcohol won't discolor the fabric's dye. Vodka also works as a fabric refresher when unwelcome odors find their way into fabrics. To freshen your fabrics or stinky shoes with vodka, pour it into a spray bottle and spritz it on the offending fabric. The alcohol will kill the odor-causing bacteria and then evaporate, leaving behind no odor.
Glass, Dishes and Other Shiny Surfaces
It can be difficult to clean shiny surfaces such as windows, doors, glassware, stainless steel and porcelain without leaving behind streaks. But vodka will do the trick. Simply mix equal parts water and vodka in a spray bottle and spray it onto glass windows, doors and mirrors. Wipe the solution back off with a lint-free rag or crumpled newspapers for a streak-free shine. For smaller jobs or oddly shaped surfaces like porcelain knobs, spray the mixture onto a clean rag and then wipe the surface down. Vodka can help you clean drinking glasses and other dishes, as well. Adding a splash to your dishwater before tackling greasy pots, pans and casserole dishes helps cut tough cooking grease and clear cloudy glass.
Mildew and Soap Scum
Although it’s far from the liquor cabinet, consider keeping a bottle of vodka in your bathroom, where you can use it to remove soap scum and mildew. Spray undiluted vodka onto your tub and shower walls and let it stand for 20 minutes. When time is up, soap scum can be removed with a damp rag or sponge and mildew swept away with a scrub brush. If the mildew is on grout, use a toothbrush or grout brush to better reach between the tiles.
Disinfectant: A Word of Caution
Vodka is often hailed as a disinfectant, and some claim it has the same antiseptic power as rubbing alcohol. To disinfect with vodka, you simply spray it onto the surface to be cleaned, be it a cutting board, kitchen counter or toilet seat. Allow the vodka to sit for a few minutes and then rinse it away with a clean, damp cloth. While this cleaning practice certainly won’t hurt anything, there is some debate about how much it helps. Vodka is 80 proof, which means it is only 40 percent alcohol. This may mot be potent enough to kill all germs. Rubbing alcohol contains a greater percentage of alcohol than vodka, so the claim that they both have the same disinfecting power may be inflated.