Beer is loved by many and it’s difficult to imagine doing anything with it other than drinking it. However, as well as its surprising health benefits, beer has a number of other useful purposes you can put into action around the house and garden. And best of all, most of them can be done using the leftovers and dregs from the bottom of bottles and cans, so you don’t have to sacrifice your precious drinking nectar! Here are 16 clever and surprising uses for beer for you to try…
1. Trap Slugs
If you are tired of slugs munching their way through your precious plants, then place some dishes or jars of beer around corners of the garden. Slugs absolutely love it, but once inside your trap, they can’t get back out so they will either drown or remain there until you deal with them in the morning. The beer can be re-used until it evaporates.
2. Give Your Hair Some Bounce
Beer makes for a great shampoo-conditioner that can add life to tired, matted hair. The vitamins and minerals in beer help infuse strands with helpful nutrients, while the alcohol performs well as a clarifying agent, and the acidic properties add an extra dose of shine. This three pronged attack system will leave your hair shiny and revived (there are actually beer based shampoos on the market).
3. Make a Delicious, Tenderizing, Toxin-Fighting Marinade
Of course, there are various ways you can cook with beer, and marinating your meat before you throw it on the grill is one of the best. It works with any meat and you can be creative by using other ingredients such as marmalades, hams, soy sauce and fruit to add an extra dash of flavor. It will not only add taste, but also soften the meat better than industrial tenderizers. As an added bonus, it will fight the harmful toxins released when you cook meat over charcoal.
4. Give Wooden Furniture a Spruce
If you have a few half empty beer bottles left over after a party, use the dregs to revive wooden furniture. You should only use flat, leftover beer for this job, and apply it using a microfiber cloth. It will add color and polish to lifeless furniture.
5. Distract Bees and Wasps
Anyone who has drank beer outside will know that wasps and bees descend on any abandoned dregs very quickly. Use this to your advantage at a garden party by placing some glasses with small amounts of beer left in them away from your guests to keep the wasps away. You can even use this to trap them, as well as other flying pests like fruit flies and mosquitoes (amber beer is best for the latter).
6. Polish Your Pots
In the past, breweries used beer dregs to clean copper vats, and for good reason. Again, the gentle acidity of beer makes it great for this job – it will shine up pots without staining the metal. Try buffing a small area of the pot using beer dabbed on a cloth, and see how much of a difference it makes.
7. Fertilize Your Garden and Pot Plants
Your garden will love the yeasts and sugars that are found in beer, so you can use half finished leftovers to make great fertilizers for your grass, vegetable patches and flower beds. This is a great way to treat brown spots on your lawn or you can use it in plant pots to encourage your indoor plants to grow more quickly.
8. Ease a Minor Tummy Ache
This is not crazy (as it might sound) but slowly sipping on a beer can ease minor stomach upsets because the carbonation and sugars can banish tummy rumbles. Of course it should only be used on random upsets, not on ulcers or serious stomach complaints (or by children)!
9. Loosen Rusty Bolts
Rust is an enemy of us all and can cause metal fasteners to become permanently fixed to their host hardware. If you’ve ever tried to wrench out a bolt that is stuck firmly in place, you will be glad for some help, and here’s where a splash of beer can come in handy. Apply it, leave it for a few minutes to allow the carbonation to break down the rust and then try and remove the screw again.
10. Liven Up Rice
If you haven’t tried beer soaked rice, then you have missed out on a tasty treat! Add something extra to your standard long grain, jasmine or basmati rice by cooking it in a dark beer. The rice absorbs the beer and produces a lovely flavor.
11. Soak Your Feet
This one is best done with freshly opened beer, rather than dregs, but before you look on in horror at this waste of good drinking beer, you should know that there are spas in Europe where you can immerse yourself entirely in beer. We don’t recommend you take a beer bath (it’s a bit too expensive) but using the beer mixed with some white vinegar can really refresh your feet. The many antioxidants and nutrients are great for your skin!
12. Help Pass Kidney Stones
If you have a kidney stone, then many old timers will recommend drinking a beer a day until it passes (you have a fair excuse to drink a bit more than that if you want though). There is evidence that drinking beer in moderation can also help reduce the risk of stones in susceptible people – although binge drinking will have the opposite effect.
13. Remove Stains
Beer can be used instead of chemical cleaners if you have a stubborn tea or coffee stain on your clothing or rug. Apply the beer directly to the spot and let it soak in before washing it well with a cloth or soap (you can put clothes through the washing machine afterwards) but always spot test the fabric first.
14. Make Beersicles
Here’s a delicious, adult-only twist on the popsicle. Grab a simple popsicle mould from your local store and instead of adding fruit, add a selection of beers. Use different beers for different popsicles and make a great post-dinner treat for your next summer party. Just make sure you keep the kids away from them!
15. Clean Your Jewelry
Beer is a great means of giving rings, bracelets and other trinkets a quick shine. Just drop the items into a small pot of beer and let them soak, before removing and polishing to bring back some lost sheen.
16. Attract Butterflies
What better than butterflies to bring some color and joy to your garden. Butterflies actually feed on some pretty bizarre things, including rotting fruit, dung and tree sap, and there’s a mixture you can make that will attract them. You will need to mix the following ingredients, and splash the results around fence-posts and rocks, or soak sponges in it and hang them from trees or plants:
- 1 pound of sugar
- 1-2 cans of stale beer
- 3 mashed, overripe bananas
- 1 cup of syrup
- 1 cup of fruit juice
- 1 shot of rum