5 Handy Uses for Beer (That Don’t Involve Drinking)

Beer is for drinking, right? Well, yes, but it’s also handy for lots of household uses. I picked a few of the most plausible and useful to try, and here are the results.

Get Rid of Slugs in Your Garden


slugs in beer in garden

I lured these slugs with beer last fall when they started munching on my cabbage plants. See them drowned in the booze?

I list this one first because I’ve tried it many times and, without a doubt, can testify that it works. If you’ve ever grown cabbage, Brussels sprouts or any plant in the cabbage family, you’ve probably met a slug you didn’t like. Slugs love these vegetable plants and can wreak havoc in your garden, munching a myriad of holes in the cabbage leaves until they’re inedible. They also love lettuce. But they love beer more.

Lure slugs away from your veggies by setting out a small, short bowl or Tupperware of beer near the plants where you’ve noticed their damage. (First, I’d pick off any noticeable slugs from your plants to get rid of the obvious ones.) In a day or so, the slugs will find the beer oasis and drown themselves in it. Harsh, I know, but it’s them or the cabbage.

Fix Brown Spots in Your Yard

spraying beer on grass

Apparently, spraying beer on brown spots in your yard may help bring the grass back to life. Please ignore our lawn full of weeds.

I honestly didn’t have a lot of hope for this tip at first. Supposedly, the sugars in the beer feed the emaciated grass and bring it back to its former green glory. So I filled a spray bottle with flat beer and sprayed it onto a few brown spots in my yard. I guess you could also just host a lawn party and ask each guest to sacrifice a drop or two for the good of the lawn.

Maybe it’s just my beer-soaked imagination, but after a week or so, the brown spots in my yard do look better. Hmm. Perhaps beer will become a regular part of our lawn care routine … I’m pretty sure my husband would be OK with that suggestion.

Clean Wooden Furniture

using beer to clean wood furniture

Beer can actually be used to clean wooden furniture. Who knew?

Who would intentionally wipe down their wooden furniture with beer? I mean, accidents happen, but why spill beer on your table or chairs intentionally? To test, I wiped down a section of our teak outdoor furniture. I figured it’s seen a drop or two of beer already and, without a doubt, this won’t be its last, so no harm. And boy did it work. The beer cleaned a layer of gunk from the tabletop, which was great, but the best part came a day later, when, after a rain, I noticed that the section of table wiped down with beer actually beaded up water rather than soaking it in.

Check it out.

beer results on wood furniture

The left side was not wiped with beer, while the right side was. See how water beads up on the right side? It could only be because of the beer.

Granted, this could be because I desperately need to rub this table down with teak oil, but nonetheless, the effects are pretty obvious. Disclaimer: I didn’t try this on expensive or antique furniture. Polish responsibly.

Make Your Hair Shinier

beer used on hair

Yes, that’s me pouring beer on my hair. I promise it was cheap beer. See? PBR.

I distinctly remember my mother using this one on us as kids — head bent over the sink, cheap beer pouring down. It worked then, and it works now. Apparently, the malt, hops and yeast in beer all benefit your hair, making it stronger and shinier and adding volume. Of course, beauty companies have recognized these benefits and started making products using beer-making ingredients. The Broo haircare line has an especially clever name. But you can also still just rinse your hair in the stuff, just like momma did, and get some nice results.

Draw Out a Red Wine Stain

beer and wine stains

Beer is reported to take red wine stains out of fabric, but this one didn’t work for me.

I know from experience that beer and wine don’t mix. Choose one or the other, and stick to it. But what about the tale that beer, like white wine, can actually help draw out a red wine stain from fabric or carpet? To find out, I sacrificed a dishtowel to some red wine, let it sit, and then tried applying beer to loosen the stain. Though it may have helped a bit, it didn’t remove that stain. I’d say this tip is worth a try — other than some lost beer, it couldn’t hurt — but don’t expect it to be a cure-all for your wine mishaps. Maybe next time I’ll try vodka.

If you’re really more into drinking beer than sacrificing it for your garden or furniture, check out this photo gallery for a stock-the-garage wedding shower featuring instructions for a craft beer tasting.

I also love this recipe for making beer popsicles and this plan for a brewer’s container garden. Cheers!

22 Responses

  1. Dingleberry says:

    Well, I was going to comment but I changed my mind.

    • dingleberry says:

      Oh, what the hey! Thanks for the beer tips. I would like to try the hair thing even though my hair is naturally shiny, and the grass thing, but I can't until my alchy boyfriend goes off the wagon again. Our grass needs it. If only I'd read this several weeks ago. I dumped 2 of his beers down the sink! With any luck, it'll be a while before I have the chance again. Now for the grammer thing. I'm pretty anal about not misspelling words and/or using the correct version of words such as the one pointed out by the first commenter, especially when it's done by a pro. I wanted to be a proofreader once, but you had to have some kind of degree to do so and I have none. I actually didn't notice the wrong their until it was pointed out. I'm disappointed in myself. The commenter was actually wrong. "Their" is spelled correctly, it's just not used correctly. See, we all make mistakes. And I'm not sure if I spelled commenter right, but I don't feel like looking it up.

  2. Keely says:

    Thank You! Marlene and Kelly, for making a comment that referred to the actual article, and not a human error! I was wondering the same thing about rinsing it out, and whether it would take the effect (shine) away, or if the smell would just evaporate after a bit. Have to say, I was getting pretty irritated, that with such an informative article, I had to wade thru so much "bad mouthing" to get to the answer to my question! I wonder with the way humans have become, and the government "crack downs" on people trying to grow their own food, and sell the extras, when some unlucky gardener is going to get arrested for their toddler finding the slug bowl, taking a sip, with a neighbor watching – and loses their kid?! I can already see the headline "Parent arrested for leaving beer in yard, within child's reach" . Wouldn't doubt it with all the critical, fussy people in this world. Geesh. Back to subject – If you didn't rinse it out, and happened to get pulled over soon after, how funny it would be convincing a policeman that you weren't "falling down drunk" from the smell – that you had actually poured it in your hair! Makes me want to try it, just for fun!!!

  3. Marlene says:

    when you rinse your hair with beer do you leave it in or rinse out like a conditioner?

    • Kelly Smith Trimble says:

      Hi Marlene, You should definitely rinse it out! You don't want to be walking around smelling like beer :)

  4. metalhead65 says:

    is there no end to the lengths grammar nazis will go to make themselves feel superior to others? we all know what the author meant and it took nothing away from the article. if you want to correct people then be a school or write your own blog otherwise just stop!

  5. Jon says:

    Maybe you all just need to drink a couple of beers and relax. People get all bent about the small things. By the way, great tips about beer.

  6. maunderer says:

    great – there was an error. make all the "other people are so stupid" types go nuts. Then, as a courtesy, the editor mentions that he corrected the error with a one word response that simply states "corrected". If he would have used two words, it would have read 'corrected, thanks'. And the hypercritical (also, hypocritical) reading public has to chastise him publicly for publicly correcting his own mistake.

  7. suzy says:

    english is my second language and i found that people with the worst grammar and spelling are the ones most driven to make puplic signs,posters or comments-it's a petpeeve of mine. If more and more asian students win spelling bees,that should be a wake-up call to americans-how embarassing!But the prevailing attitude is"so what,they know what i mean"and schools keep passing kids like that,it's the systems fault

  8. Jim says:

    And people who read incorrect grammar continue to not realize they're ignorant. It's a cancer. People in this line of work should know better.

  9. arktk says:

    Slugs do have a bit of fussiness to their beer taste. They have never gone for flat Lite beer in my garden.

  10. OrlandoGal says:

    Your article needs editing: "their inedible" in the second paragraph correctly reads "they're inedible." "Their" isn't a contraction for "they are." Not even spell check would catch a mistake like this. Most grammar school students know better. Poor editing in a very useful article!

    • Dave says:

      I see people making this mistake all the time- confusing their, there, and they're. It's annoying if you happen to be someone who knows the language but most people probably don't even notice these kinds of mistakes.

    • Watson says:

      Corrected.

    • Mainey says:

      Correcting people in public is very rude – to privately correct or criticize that particular person is more ethical – perhaps try emailing or writing a letter….

    • Reginald says:

      REALLY??? She was trying to offer some advice and tips and all that is all you can do is nit pick?? I have seen worse grammar and spelling errors on major news websites on more important matters…. try correcting them if you are just fishing for someone to feel superior over…

    • Am Frost says:

      Can somebody say anal (hope that was grammatically correct). Really petty of you to point something like that out, even when you said "this is a very useful article". I feel annoyed for the the article writer. Ungrateful, petty, and flat out rude!

    • MamaBunny says:

      My goodness! Don't you think you are being a bit snide? I believe in proper grammar; however, I also believe in manners. People make mistakes; I dare say, you do too. As to the writer of the article: try reading backwards. It will make it easier to catch mistakes. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    • joe says:

      Perhaps the reason for the mistake: The author was indulging in the BEST use for beer!

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About Kelly Smith Trimble 

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I grow vegetables wherever I can find enough sunlight and forage roadsides and hiking trails for plants that can be used to make natural dyes. You can find both vintage ...

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