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6 Unexpected Uses for Beer — Besides Drinking It

Try these ideas to get the most out of your favorite brew

spinner image 6 Unexpected Ways to Use Beer – Besides Drinking It
From home projects to marinades, beer can be used in several surprising ways.
Jack Andersen/Getty Images

Summer is finally here, which means plentiful barbecues and backyard parties featuring America’s preferred alcoholic beverage — beer. The downside is all those half-empty bottles or cans of brew scattered around after your cookout. Don’t toss them out, though, because beer is a versatile beverage that can be used for everything from home improvement projects to adding flavor to your favorite foods. Here are six surprising ways to put that stale beer to good use.

1. Get the Bugs to Stop Bugging You

Are you one of those folks who can’t stop insects from eating you alive? Well, if your usual bug repellant isn’t cutting it, try some beer. Instead of wasting a nice cold brew, take the stale portion and pour it into buckets, and then place them around the perimeter of your backyard gathering. Flies and mosquitos like beer, too, and will be drawn to it, downing the suds just like your guests do. Bonus: Some will perish in the beverage. Doesn’t matter as long as the beer keeps the bugs away.

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2. Use Your Brew as a Stain Remover

You’re probably used to guests spilling beer on your carpet (and elsewhere), but did you know you can use it to remove stains from your rug? To get out those tough coffee and tea spots, pour flat beer over them and rub it in. If the stain is stubborn, repeat until the discoloration disappears; then blot the area with a clean dry cloth. To get deep into the stain, put your foot over the cloth and twist it back and forth into the carpet, pulling the stain and the beer into the cloth.

3. Bring Your Wood Surfaces Back to Life

Contrary to the common belief that beer will ruin wooden surfaces, this type of alcohol can be used to restore dull wood that has seen better days. Indeed, beer will restore color and add a new luster to your furniture. Pour some stale suds onto a clean cloth and rub the piece with it. Take another dry cloth and wipe the surface again.

4. Remove Rust From Metal

OK, this may make you think twice about what beer can do to your insides, but it can loosen rust from hardware, bolts or metal surfaces. Just apply some brew to the item and wait a few minutes. The carbonation will begin to break down the rust so you can turn that bolt or wipe the rust away.

5. Marinade Your Barbecue Meat

Studies are mounting about the dangers associated with outdoor grilling. Toxic chemicals can form on meat grilled over charcoal. Marinating your meat in beer before putting it over the coals can reduce the potential for harmful hydrocarbons to form during the cooking process.

6. Make Your Hair Shine

Women have been using beer as a conditioner for years, leading to gorgeous locks. The reason: The vitamin B and sugars in beer can add shine and volume to flat hair. Simply saturate just-washed hair with beer and wait several minutes. Rinse the suds out thoroughly with cold water and style your strands as you desire.

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