When it comes to uses for wine, ‘drinking it’ will always be our top answer, but that’ll be the last thing you want to do if you find your bottle’s gone bad, or a well-meaning gift-giver has bestowed upon you something truly awful. But before you pour it down the sink, consider putting it to use in one of these weird ways.
Kick-start your compost
Wine is completely compostable and can actually be helpful for new heaps in need of a little kick-start, thanks to the way its components interact with compost bacteria. Pour it on the pile before you ditch it down the drain.
Soften your skin
The antioxidants that give red wine its lauded health-boosting properties are equally good news for your skin, with fans – including actress Teri Hatcher – claiming the red stuff helps soften, smooth and tone skin. Use it as a facial toner, or dump a bottle in the bath for some serious ‘me-time’.
Clean up your five-a-day
Wine can be used as a natural fruit and vegetable cleaner, just like baking soda. The alcohol dissolves impurities and according to a study by Oregon State University, components in the wine can kill some types of pathogens, such as salmonella and E. coli.
If you can’t be bothered cleaning up after dinner or a party, use your laziness to your advantage when it comes to battling the inevitable invasion of fruit flies the morning after. Pop some cling film over a dregs-filled glass and poke a few holes in it – this will be just enough to catch and trap the little critters in the act. Dispose of them however you like, but don’t feel bad – their last meal was wine, after all.
Wine is rich in flavonoids – a type of antioxidant that can help relieve inflamed body tissue. Try treating bumps and bruises with a cotton pad soaked in red wine to soothe the skin.
Bad wine is halfway to becoming vinegar anyway, so instead of buying red wine vinegar from the store, make your own. There are loads of recipes online, and the good news is that you can use future unwanted wine to top up your supply, so you’ll always have fresh vinegar to hand – perfect for salads and seasoning.
Old white wine has a similar make-up to vinegar, which has long been used to etch out smears and streaks on windows and glass, so keep the vinegar in the kitchen and use a splash of unwanted white wine for a streak-free finish on glass instead.
Cooking with wine is no secret, but did you know that using red wine to prepare meat may reduce the cancer-causing compounds naturally found in red meat? Frying and grilling meat at a high temperature turns sugars and amino acids into potentially carcinogenic compounds, but marinating steak in red wine for at least six hours has been found to reduce carcinogens by up to 90% as well as making it extra flavourful.
Get rid of grease stains
White wine can make a handy cleaning detergent in a pinch, but it really shows its muscle on grease stains. If you have oily patches on your driveway or the floor of your garage, try pouring some white wine on the stain to help it dissipate – add some baking soda for an extra boost.
Use it as dye
There’s a reason why the dreaded red wine spill is so feared – it’s notoriously difficult to clean up: that stuff sticks. Use this to your advantage by rescuing wine-stained sheets, tablecloths and blankets with a thorough red wine dye job. Cover the article with a bottle of bad red, work the liquid through and let it marinate for a few hours. Give it a wash and voila! Your soft furnishings look good as new, just a bit more red.