Beer is great for drinking, of course, but there are a lot of special uses for beer that you can try around the house. From the garden to the kitchen to the bathroom, here are 12 special uses for beer that might have you picking up an extra 6-pack the next time you go to the store.
In the Garden
1. Both garden plants and houseplants can benefit from getting a beer sprinkle every now and then. Sugar and yeast help feed beneficial bacteria in the soil, which is good for vegetables, flowers and grass.
2. Mix a bottle of beer and a cup of ammonia in four gallons of water and put it in your compost bin to give it a boost.
3. Place shallow bowls of beer in the garden in the evening for an easy way to trap slugs and snails.
4. Temporarily keep bees and wasps away from an outdoor gathering by placing cups of beer around the perimeter of your yard.
In the Kitchen
5. If you have fruit flies, a glass of beer can help. Cover the container with plastic wrap, leaving a little opening so the flies can get in. They won’t get back out.
6. The acid in beer makes it a good cleaning solution, especially for brass and copper pots. You can also soak gold jewelry in beer; just let it soak for a while, rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.
7. Beer can also be part of a good cockroach trap. Soak a piece of bread in beer and put it in a glass jar. Put some petroleum jelly around the top of the jar. The creepy crawlies will be able to get in but not back out.
8. Beer is, of course, a great addition to marinades, barbecue sauces and batter recipes as well, but that’s still kind of close to drinking it. You can add it to water when steaming shellfish, cooking shrimp or even cooking rice, and there’s always the classic beer can chicken as well.
In the Bathroom
9. Wash your hair with beer to boost the shine. Some people recommend just dumping the beer on your head, letting it sit for a few minutes and rinsing it out. There are also more complex recipes that call for boiling the beer until it has reduced to about 1/4 cup, then mixing that with a cup of your regular shampoo and using it as normal. I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of either method, but it’s worth a try.
10. You can also take a bath in beer. Just add a bottle to the water and soak as usual. The hops in beer are said to be detoxifying, and as the pores open through the heat of the bath, the body can absorb minerals from the beer. It should make your skin softer and, if you like the smell of beer, it’s rather aromatherapeutic as well. You can also just soak your feet in beer, which again will soften the skin. Use icy cold beer for lots of carbonation, which is like a foot massage in a bottle.
Other Special Uses for Beer
11. Between the acid and the carbonation, pouring a little beer on rusty bolts could loosen them up enough so you can remove them.
12. Wiping down your wooden furniture with beer can also help boost shine and make it look a little less dingy.
For most of these purposes (other than cooking) you will want flat, room temperature beer, so pop open an extra can at the end of the night and in the morning you’ll be able to do lots of special things with your leftover beer.