Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Wonders of Vodka

When you think about vodka, what comes to your mind? I can think of several things. But a few months ago, I started thinking about vodka in a whole new a wonderful household cleaner! It turns out that vodka makes a magnificent multipurpose cleaner.

I originally set out to buy vodka to clean my kids' bath toys. They had started to get that scummy build up on them, and I was looking for a good way to get it off and disinfect them. Most people told me to just soak them in a bath of bleach water, but since I don't even allow bleach in my house (that's a different story, though), I knew that wasn't going to work. Not to mention, bleach can leave an unsafe residue, and since a couple of my children are still in the put-everything-in-the-mouth phase of life, I didn't want any harmful residue.

Then one day I stumbled upon an article that suggested cleaning kids' toys with vodka. Afterall, it's non-staining, low odor, and the high alcohol level makes it a good disinfectant. Not to mention, it deoderizes well. And, any residue left on the toys would be harmless since ethyl alcohol is consumable by humans. Side note: I've had a lot of people ask me, "Why don't you just use rubbing alcohol to clean the toys?" Yes, rubbing/isopropyl alcohol is much cheaper, however, it not meant to be ingested, and since my kids still put things in their mouths, we're back to the same problem as bleach. Not to mention, the strength of the isopropyl alcohol can make it quite damaging to some surfaces.

So, I set out to clean my kids' bath toys with vodka. It did a very nice job, too. I had a ton of vodka leftover, so I decided to try cleaning other things with it. I didn't want to walk around the house with a bottle of Smirnoff in my cleaning kit, so I poured it into a new spray bottle. With the vodka, I can clean a lot of things at one time. In the bathroom, for example, I can clean the mirrors (because alcohol evaporates quickly and cuts the grime, it makes a great mirror cleaner!), then I can spray down the sink and faucet. We have corian countertops throughout our house, and this type of surface is notorious for streaking. So the vodka cleans them up without streaking, and does a great job of getting up the dried globs of toothpaste out of my kids' sinks. The faucets are shiny and germ free as well. Then you can wipe down the toilet with vodka, which kills germs and deoderizes as well.

I've used the vodka for some little, random jobs as well. We have a lot of windows in our house, and I've found that a little squirt of vodka on the windows does a great job at keeping them finger print free. I have also found that soaking toothbrush heads in the vodka (and then rinsing!) is a good way to keep them clean--especially after sickness in the house. If I get something hard or gooey on the tile floor, I will spray it with the vodka and let it sit, then it will come right up when I mop.

The best thing of all is that it is a very cheap way to clean. You don't have to worry about flavor if you're just using it to clean, so the cheapest kind will do. And I got a big bottle back in October, I believe, and I still have some left. A little goes a long way. I have really loved using other natural cleaners and homemade cleaners, but the thing I love about the vodka is that it is very simple--no mixing needed.

Have you ever tried cleaning with vodka? If not, is this something you'd try?


Anonymous said...

I haven't tried this, but I do use vodka to make homemade vanilla and we love it for that. i'll have to keep this in mind! Amanda N.