14 household uses for beer

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Aug 09, 2011 | Cris Carl

inaquim/stock.xchngMost of us don’t usually think of beer as an earth-friendly alternative for improving our gardens and lawns or dealing with a host of pests. However, if you can bring yourself to part with your favorite brew, or at least invest in some of the cheap stuff, you’ll be surprised by beer’s many uses.

1. Trap slugs and snails: Place dishes or jars of beer around your garden, especially in the evening. By morning, the slimy critters, which have been drawn by the beer’s aroma/fermentation, will have drowned. The beer can be reused until it evaporates for garden pest control.

2. Trap fruit flies: If you keep a compost pail in your kitchen, you will also likely have fruit flies. Just place a jar or can of beer on the kitchen counter. Cover the top with plastic wrap or paper, leaving a small opening for the flies to get into. They won’t be able to get back out.

3. Distract bees and wasps from your outdoor gathering: Beer placed in cups around the outskirts of your picnic or barbecue will attract bees and wasps. It's not a long-term wasp control tactic; it’s more like placing difficult relatives at the furthest table.

4. Get rid of mice: Take care of a mouse problem in a humane fashion. Just put an inch or so of beer in a pail and add some type of ramp, such as a piece of wood, for the mice to crawl up. Attracted by the beer, mice will fall into the pail, whence you can remove the inebriated critters to a safe place outside.

5. Cockroach trap: Put a piece of bread soaked in beer in a jar. Smear Vaseline around the lip of the jar. Roaches are attracted, get in, and can’t get out.

6. Fertilize your gardens: The sugars in beer are also enjoyed by your garden vegetables and flowers.

7. Fertilize your indoor plants: Yep, they like beer too. You don’t want to overdo it with indoor plants since they are contained and not subject to the cleansing distribution of rain. Use flat beer, just a small amount at the base of the plant.

8. Get rid of brown spots in your lawn: The acids in beer kill off fungi and pests, and the fermented sugars feed the grass.

9. Stain removal: Instead of pulling out a chemical cleaner when you’ve dribbled tea or coffee on your clothing or rug, soak the stain in beer. Let the beer sit for awhile then dab with a clean cloth. Wash well with soap and water once the spot has soaked. Always spot-test the fabric first.

10. Spruce up wooden furniture: Rub flat beer gently onto furniture using a soft cloth. The beer will help restore some of the polish and color.

11. Clean gold jewelry: Similar to how you would use commercial gold-cleaning chemicals, just place your gold jewelry in a dish of beer. Let it soak, then remove, rinse, and gently polish with a dry cloth.

12. Polishing brass pots: Using a soft cloth, gently rub beer onto the pot. Let the pot sit for awhile, rinse, and dry with another soft cloth. The acids in beer work wonders on most metals.

13. Loosen rusty bolts: Using beer to loosen bolts is a bit “MacGyver-ish,” but the acids in beer may dissolve enough rust to allow you to get those darn bolts loose.

14. Insulation: Lastly, for the truly adventurous and creative: if you use full, unopened cans of beer in construction of walls, the beer will apparently act as insulation once your home remodel or addition is complete.

Updated January 18, 2018.

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