8 Unthinkable Uses for Beer

Beer is one of the most over-looked components of many a DIY solution to common household conundrums.

Here are 8 alternative ways to put your brew to good use:

1.  Rejunvenate Your Hair

Limp, lifeless hair bringing you down?  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:

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.

2.  Conquer 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.

3.  Polish Pots

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.

4.  Put Out a Fire

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.

5.  Marinate 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.

6.  Trap Fruit Flies

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 bye to little flying guys.

There are a number of small adjustments you can make to greatly minimize fruit flies in your home.

First, flies lay their eggs in their food; which is always an organic material.  Eradicate access to moist organic material and you can see a 90 percent reduction in your fly population.  Make sure your trash cans have tightly fitting lids—also make sure to drain food waste, you can even wrap food scraps in newspaper or used paper bags before tossing it in the trash.  Doing this helps to dry out the waste—flies require moisture for breeding.  If you have a compost container in your kitchen make sure it is also tightly covered and transfer compost contents outside daily.

Preventing flies from entering the house is, obviously, important as well.  Check that your window screens fit tightly and repair holes and tears.  Don’t leave doors open unless they also have a barrier—either a screen door or a beaded curtain.

Taking these measures will greatly diminish a fly community —but some situations call for more drastic initiatives.  Although fly strips certainly don’t win any awards for their charm, they can be effective.  Since conventional pesticides and pesticide-impregnated hanging strips are toxic and should be avoided, we have an alternative recipe that is safe and effective.

All Natural Homemade Fly Strips

  1. Combine equal parts honey, sugar and water in a saucepan.
  2. Boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool
  4. Cut strips of brown packing tape, punch a hole on one end and loop a piece of string through the hole.
  5. Dip the strips in the thick honey mixture and hang outside to dry, about 30 minutes.
  6. Hang the strip in the area of worst infestation, and replace often.

7.  Bring on the Butterflies

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 in the butterflies, try growing some of these plants:

  • Asters: Late summer to fall.
  • Bee balm (bergamot): Summer through fall.
  • Butterfly weed: Summer through fall.
  • Clover (white or red): Summer to fall.
  • Coreopsis: Summer to fall.
  • Dianthus: Spring to fall.
  • Lavender: Summer.
  • Lupine: Late spring to early summer.
  • Mints: All summer.
  • Passionflower: Summer to fall.
  • Phlox: Summer to fall.
  • Purple coneflower: Summer to fall.
  • Sage: Summer to fall.
  • Salvia: Summer to fall.
  • Scabiosa “Butterfly blue”: Summer through fall.
  • Shasta daisy: Summer.
  • Thistle: Late spring through fall.
  • Violet: Spring.
  • Yarrow: Summer.

8.  Eliminate Slugs and Snails

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 that the the top is about one-half inch higher than ground level, and pour in leftover beer.  Slugs and snails will be drawn to it, fall in, and drown.

Credit: Melissa Breyer

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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