The Surprising Drink You Can Use To Clean Your Camping Gear In A Pinch

Believe it or not, on a camping trip, alcohol has several potential uses that go beyond the drink cooler. As long as you don't mind spraying it on yourself, whiskey mixed with water, for example, can be used to keep bugs away. You can even use it — with caution — to accelerate a campfire.

However, for cleaning your camping gear, it's vodka that comes in handy if you're short of actual cleaner and need to improvise a quick solution. You can put it in a spray bottle to clean camping supplies like tents and backpacks, but again, you'll want to mix in water, just as you would if you were using whiskey as a rough and ready insect repellant. Even some home improvement specialists recommend vodka as a makeshift cleaner.

Waterproof camping gear is still subject to possible mildew and mold from rain, to say nothing of body odor or the smell of charcoal or campfire smoke seeping into it. A mist of unflavored vodka and water, however, should help remove tent odors. As notes, you can also get creative with it and add in some essential oils. Then, you can leave your gear out to dry with some air freshener if need be.

Other cleaning uses for vodka while camping

Lemon juice and vinegar are also good for cleaning outdoor gear, but really, where's the fun in that? When you've just had the camping adventure of a lifetime, you might as well apply the same adventurous spirit to the cleanup part. If you're out of actual cleaning supplies, vodka can furthermore be used as a glass cleaner, so if your SUV or jeep has mud-flecked windows from driving through the great outdoors, you can wipe them down with it, too.

With camping clothes or hiking boots, try spraying vodka on the material or the insoles to help counteract the smell. Since it doesn't leave an odor of its own, you shouldn't have to worry about your clothes reeking like you've been off on some lost barhopping weekend (as opposed to just weekending at a campground).

Using vodka as a cleaning agent could get expensive, obviously, so it's best to keep saving that $1,500 bottle of Absolut Crystal Pinstripe that you bought at the airport years ago for a special occasion. Again, if you're on the go and don't have regular cleaning materials, go with a cheap vodka brand instead and maybe save it as a DIY last resort for your camping trip.