Surprising Uses for Whiskey and Bourbon

Have you ever wondered if there are other reasons to keep whiskey and bourbon around the house besides just sipping? Or have you heard some “old wives’ tales” about using these liquors to treat colds or clean household items? If you sometimes catch yourself questioning the uses of whiskey or bourbon beyond cocktails, this article is for you. Take a look through the list below and learn everything you need to know about some of the alternative uses for two of your favorite liquor varieties.

1. Mouthwash
Many people swear by the use of whiskey as a mouthwash. Although it’s usually better to stick to a mouthwash that’s actually made for this purpose, whiskey can work in a pinch. The alcohol in whiskey kills off the bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth, so it’s better than nothing if you run out of your favorite name-brand rinse. But since there are natural sugars in alcohol, whiskey isn’t a great long-term substitute for mouthwash.

2. Anesthetic
You’ve probably heard stories of Civil War soldiers being given whiskey or bourbon before having limbs amputated after the battle. You’re probably not going to encounter a situation that extreme in your lifetime, but whiskey or bourbon are nevertheless an option for taking the edge off of pain following an injury. These days, though, you may be better off just taking some pain relievers instead!

3. Antiseptic
Most types of alcohol work as well as antiseptics, and whiskey is no exception. There is enough alcohol content in whiskey to kill off bacteria on your skin, making it a good choice for cleansing wounds—even though it’s sure to burn. You can use it on cuts and scrapes that happen around the house on a daily basis, and you can also use it on more severe injuries until you’re able to get appropriate medical attention.

4. Cough and cold treatment
When you’re dealing with a cough or a cold, bourbon can help! Mix up a bourbon cocktail and sip it slowly. A Hot Toddy is your best option here since the warm drink will soothe a sore throat and the honey and lemon will help break up congestion. The alcohol serves as a decongestant and helps you heal even faster. And, as an added bonus, you’ll feel more relaxed and able to sleep after enjoying a warm cocktail.

5. Fire starting
Although you might not ever need to use bourbon to start a fire, you can, and it’s important to know-how in case the power goes out and you’re left in the cold for a long stretch of time. Whiskey and bourbon both can be used as a combustible to start a fire even with wet kindling, and both can be used as fuel for certain types of lamps, too. Just be careful, since alcohol flames differently than other combustibles.

6. Odor eater
Mix whiskey with water and use it as a spray for rooms or even on your body. Don’t overdo it on your skin, since it could be somewhat of an irritant, and be careful not to put on so much that you end up smelling like a bar. A little bit goes a long way and is sure to make you smell better and feel fresher in a pinch. Some people even use this type of whiskey spritz as an insect repellant, so if you find yourself camping with plenty of booze to spare but a lack of bug spray, whiskey may be the solution.

7. Solvent
Alcohol is useful for cleaning rust off of metals, and both whiskey and bourbon can be used in the same way. If you’re looking for a way to clean metal as well as electrical connectors around the house, whiskey and bourbon can help. Be very careful, however, not to clean anything that might become too hot, as alcohol is flammable.

8. Tobacco cleaning
Did you know you can even clean out a tobacco pipe with whiskey or bourbon? If you smoke a pipe, try soaking it in a little bourbon or whiskey for a short time. Use a pipe cleaning brush to simply brush away the broken-up grime and you’ll be ready to enjoy a much cleaner pipe. Best of all, it will smell and taste a little bit like whiskey the next time you use it.

9. Skin cleansing
Since whiskey is antiseptic, it can go a long way toward cleaning up your face and skin. If you have oily skin or are prone to acne, mix a little bit of lemon juice into a couple of teaspoons of whiskey and scrub your face gently with this mixture. Rinse with cold water and repeat this process nightly until your face begins to clear up. You might be surprised just how quickly your pores clear and your acne improves!

10. Hair conditioning
Last but not least, you can also use whiskey or bourbon—either one—as a base for a homemade hair conditioner. Start with some whiskey or bourbon, and stir a raw egg into the liquor. Slather this mixture all over your hair and let it stand for about 20 minutes, give or take a few. Rinse and wash your hair with your usual products after this. If you repeat this process once every week or so, you’ll see the benefits of healthier and shinier hair in no time, all thanks to the healing properties of the whiskey.

Ready to put your whiskey or bourbon stock to use around the house? While you might not necessarily want to use expensive, top-shelf liquors for some of these purposes, it’s always a good idea to know you can reach for your favorite alcoholic beverage when you’re out of other options in these situations. You might even want to pick up some less costly whiskey or bourbon to have on hand just in case you ever need it. After all, with so many different uses, you might be surprised just how often you’ll put your liquor to work for you!

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