How to Clean with Vodka
There seems to be more natural cleaning recipes that include vodka, so let’s look at why people are choosing vodka to clean with and how vodka compares to isopropyl alcohol.
Isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol is different from vodka, or ethyl alcohol (also known as ethanol), because it is toxic and cannot be consumed. The kind of isopropyl alcohol you can buy in any grocery or drug store is 70% isopropyl Alcohol By Volume (ABV)/30% water, and is a potent antiseptic, a substance that inhibits the growth of germs especially in or on living tissue. Vodka can range from 35 to 95% ABV but the most common is 40%. In the US, proof is twice the ethyl Alcohol By Volume number, so 40% ABV is 80 proof.
Both isopropyl alcohol and vodka are solvents that can mix with water. Isopropyl alcohol is used in commercial glass cleaners to help cut greasy soils and keep them from freezing in cold weather. Both isopropyl alcohol and vodka are good grease cutters. Both are known to be effective at killing germs, mold and mildew. Soil can inactivate the sanitizing effect of both isopropyl alcohol and vodka, so the solid surface area you want to sanitize should be cleaned of dirt first, then let the isopropyl alcohol or vodka dwell on the surface until it dries. Both are effective on grass stains, vomit, indelible pencil, some inks and a number of dye stains. Both are flammable and should be kept out of reach of children.
For best results, look for isopropyl alcohol without dyes or perfumes. Isopropyl alcohol has a strong odor and should be used in a well-ventilated area. Since isopropyl alcohol is toxic to consume it should be used on non-food surfaces. The scent of vodka is less noticeable than that of isopropyl alcohol and it can be used in food preparation areas. Vodka is, however, much more expensive than isopropyl alcohol and not as accessible for purchase.
So, if you are going to clean with vodka or use it in a natural home recipe, choose a cheap bottle of at least 80 proof.
Daily Shower Spray for Marble or Granite:
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 cup water
- 10 drops of essential oil
- Mix and store in spray bottle. Spray shower or tub daily after bathing. No rinsing required. This cleaner won’t keep your shower or tub clean over the long run, but it will make it easier to clean by keeping the soap scum at bay.
- Aslett, Don. The Cleaning Encyclopedia: You’re a to Z Illustrated Guide to Cleaning Like the Pros! Dell, 1993.
- Rapinchuk, Becky. The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself – the Natural, Chemical-Free Way. Adams Media, 2014.
- “Alcohol by Volume”, referenced 10/12/2018
- “When is 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol better than 91%?”, referenced 10/12/2018
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