Uses for beer
Featured Pinch Tips Video
1Beer. It refreshes and relaxes, it fuels sociability and cools the burn of spicy food. It is the most-widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and the third most common beverage overall (after water and tea, who knew?). It is the oldest alcoholic beverage produced–and in fact, the oldest known code of laws (the Code of Hammurabi ca 1750 B.C.) called for the death penalty for drinking-house proprietors found guilty of watering down their beer. Those Babylonians sure took their suds seriously.
But aside from the numero uno use for beer–drinking! woohoo!–it is one of the most over-looked components of many a DIY solution to common household conundrums. Here are nine alternative ways to put your brew to good use:
1. Bring on the Butterflies
Although in my perfect world butterflies live on nothing less magical than flower nectar, ambrosia, and an occasional marshmallow, the truth is that many butterflies feed on rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, carrion, urine, and other not-so-pretty, non-nectar sources of nutrients. You can allow fruit from your fruit trees to decay on the ground, leave your pet’s droppings where they drop, or place a bit of raw meat or fish in a discreet part of your garden. Sweet! Or you can use beer to make this awesome butterfly bait to get some flutter-action in your garden
1 pound sugar
1 or 2 cans stale beer
3 mashed overripe banana
1 cup of molasses or syrup
1 cup of fruit juice
1 shot of rum
Mix all ingredients well and splash on trees, fence posts, rocks, or stumps–or soak a sponge in the mixture and hang from a tree-limb. For other ways to invite over butterflies, try growing some of these plants.
2Boost Your Bounce
Limp, lifeless hair bringing you down? Drink a beer and maybe you won’t really care, or better yet, use a beer rinse to restore bounce and body. The vitamin B and natural sugars in beer add body and shine, while acting as a natural setting lotion that increases resilience, vitality, and hold. Pour one cup of beer into a glass and allow it to go flat and warm. Shampoo and rinse hair as usual. Pour the flat warm beer on your hair and work it through. Rinse thoroughly with cool water. For extra shine, try this formula.
DIY for Shiny Hair
Dry, chemically treated, or environmentally damaged hair calls for some extra-special love. Try this do-it-yourself treatment once a month, and you’ll be impressed by the results: shiny, thick, and luxurious hair. Adjust ingredient amount depending on hair length.
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 drops essential oil of choice, such as lemon, jasmine, rose, or rosemary
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the walnut oil and essential oils. Massage the mixture through your hair and scalp. Cover with a shower cap, plastic bag, or warm towel, then leave on up to an hour, if possible. To remove treatment, rinse well with warm water and then use a sulfate-free shampoo followed by a conditioner. Adapted with permission from Mary Beth Janssen’s Rejuvenation: Spa Secrets for Menopause (Chronicle Books, 2007).
3Say Sayonara to Slugs and Snails
I have a hard time snuffing out any creatures in the garden, but truth be told, slugs and snails can wreak all too much havoc on the green growing things. Rather than harsh chemicals or the old sizzle-with-salt method, beer may be the kinder option. Bury a clean container (like an empty juice carton cut length-wise in half) in the area where you’ve seen the pests, so the the top is at the same level as the ground, and pour in leftover beer. Slugs and snails will be drawn to it, fall in, and drown. Not pretty, I know, but neither are holes in your spinach. For some non-lethal methods, see this post below.
There’s a scene in the latest Harry Potter movie where Harry’s friend spits up slugs. Yuck! Doesn’t that just sum up the way most of us feel about slugs and snails? The very thought of the slimy little things is not a pretty one, and absolutely nobody wants them ruining their garden!
Stop destructive snails and slugs from snacking on your plants, but without using poisonous baits that can threaten the health of your pets and family. Alternative methods may take just a little patience, but with a bit of perseverance you will be able to rid your garden of these pesky creatures without using harmful chemicals.
Remove slugs and snails by hand. By night, use a flashlight and follow
their shiny trails to find them.
Transport them somewhere far from your garden, (not your neighbor’s
garden!) or squish or drown them in a jar of soapy water.
Wearing a face mask, spread natural or agricultural-grade diatomaceous
earth over the soil in flower beds or around individual plants. Diatomaceous
earth cuts the slugs and causes them to dehydrate. Reapply after each rain.
Deter snails and slugs by sprinkling cayenne pepper along their paths.
Place ceramic flowerpots upside-down to attract and trap snails and slugs
in the shade. Overturn them and remove the snails daily until they are gone.
Water your garden and lawn in the morning. Slugs and snails travel at night
more easily through wet plants.
4Conquer Stubborn Stains
Getting coffee or tea stains out of your rug may seem as feasible as getting water out of a rock, but beer can be a miracle worker in this field. Color test a small non-visible area first and allow to dry. If all looks well, then time to tackle the stain: douse it in beer, blot, repeat. For other types of carpet stains, try some of these tricks below:
Getting rid of Carpet Stains and odours
Soon we will be closing our homes up for the cooler weather, leaving us face-to-face with rugs and carpets that look and smell less than fresh: A wine spill here, a pet accident there—and you can end up with a real mess underfoot. But commercial carpet cleaners and fresheners can contain synthetic ingredients that can harm you and your pets.
Here are some great formulas that really work to remove grease stains, chewing gum, food and red wine stains, and even cat mistakes (Annie’s formula works better than expensive enzyme-based cleaners!). Find out how to have sweet-smelling, fresh-looking rugs, safely and naturally.
Always try these formulas on a bit of rug that is out of sight first, to be sure they won’t cause discoloration or fading.
Annie’s Fabulous Whipped Carpet-Cleaner:
This formula is fun to make and fun to use. Just mix equal parts water and liquid detergent and whip with a hand beater until it gets frothy. Use a sponge to scoop some onto a section of your rug, rub in gently, then wipe dry with a clean rag.
To Remove Red Wine Stains:
It’s easier to get rid of stains when they are fresh. First, blot, then dilute with warm water and blot again. Then:
Method 1: Pour on a bit of milk, white wine, or club soda. Blot and wash with warm water and liquid detergent.
Method 2: Mix equal parts liquid detergent and fresh hydrogen peroxide (it loses its effectiveness if it’s old) and apply to stain. Blot and reapply if necessary, then use warm water to rinse. Allow to dry.
To Remove Fruit Juice and Berry Stains:
Blot and dilute the stain, then apply straight white vinegar. Rinse with warm water.
To Remove Chewing Gum:
Remove as much of it as you can (some people swear by using a plastic bag to pick up the gum: evidently, the gum will adhere to the plastic). Then apply ice cubes to the gum still remaining on the carpet to freeze it: the gum becomes easy to pick out of the rug fibers.
To Remove Grease Stains:
First, blot away as much of the grease as you can. Then apply straight isopropyl alcohol to the stain. Blot, then wash with warm water and liquid detergent. If that doesn’t get it all, apply a few drops of fresh hydrogen peroxide and blot, then wash again with warm water and detergent.
Fragrant Carpet Freshener
Mix 2 cups of borax (in the laundry section of your grocery store) and 25 drops pure essential oil, making sure the oil is evenly distributed throughout the borax. Shake this mixture liberally over your carpet and allow to remain on for a few minutes, then vacuum.
5Put Out a Fire
Who needs 9-1-1 when you have beer? Kidding. Although certainly not as effective as a real fire extinguisher, a can or bottle of beer can be used in some cases. Because of the water content and pressure, you can shake a can or bottle and unleash the liquid on the fire. This is not for grease fires or electrical fires, really only for tiny paper fires or grill flare-ups–I’ve also heard of people who carry an emergency can in their car in case of engine fire.
6Marinate Meat and Mushrooms
Beer is slightly acidic and works as a great on-hand tenderizer that isn’t as acidic in flavor as wine or vinegar based marinades. Use a hearty-flavored beer like a stout or barley wine, poke a few holes in the meat or mushrooms, add any other herbs or spices, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. And tempted as you might be: do not drink the marinade.
In the past, dregs of beer from spent kegs was collected and used to polish the copper vats in breweries. Because of beer’s subtle acidity, it can help boost shine without staining the metal like a higher-acidity liquid would. Try an inconspicuous test spot first–dampen a soft towel with beer, and buff.
8Build a Beer Bottle Bungalow
Seriously? Many handmade houses employ the copious use of empty beer cans and bottles in their walls, like the amazing one built by Tito Ingenieri in Quilmes, Argentina. He used 6 million beer bottles, can you imagine? All that newly-produced structural material foregone, all those bottle put to fabulous reuse. So maybe you don’t have 6 million bottles to recycle, or, a house to build? This method can be translated to retaining walls, patio walls, or even a beer-bottle dog house.
9Trap Fruit Flies
They say you can catch more flies with honey? Maybe they haven’t tried beer. Anyone with an indoor compost bin or worm farm had probably experienced a plague of fruit flies at some point. But guess what, not only do fruit flies dig fermenting organic matter, they love them some beer. Try this: put some beer in a cup; cut the corner off of a sandwich bag and place the cut corner in the cup; folding the rest around the cup and securing with a rubber band. Place the cup in the bin and say good bye to little flying guys.
10Also check out Cheryl starker's recipe for butterfly bait