Housework. It's enough to make us lunge for the liquor cabinet. But maybe not for the reason you think.

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Hands-On Home Cleaning Bottles
Photo credit: Charity Burggraaf

As it turns out, vodka has "solvent qualities" that clean mirrors and glass without streaking. Of all the spirits, vodka's a great choice for cleaning because it's clear and lacks impurities; it won't leave any residue behind. So save some for polishing the shiny chrome, stainless steel, and mirrors in your house.

This super-smart tip comes from Erica Strauss's new book, The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping.

Erica Strauss's Recipe for DIY Glass Cleaner:

2 cups vodka (no need for the top-shelf stuff)

2 cups distilled water

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

30 drops peppermint essential oil

Add all of the ingredients to a 32-ounce heavy-duty spray bottle. Screw the lid on tightly and shake to combine ingredients.

Optional: A drop of blue food coloring turns your clear liquid into the universally accepted color of glass cleaner.

To clean with your DIY glass cleaner: Shake it up well, then spray away. Erica recommends that you spray it "onto a clean lint-free towel or the surface you wish to clean. Wipe the glass, mirror, or polished metal clean, then polish the surface dry with a soft, lint-free rag (old cut-up cotton t-shirts are great for this)."

For more DIY home-care essentials, check out Erica's book, which includes creative, money-saving tips covering just about every aspect of homekeeping, including even more recipes for eco-friendly DIY cleaners: bathroom and all-purpose cleaners, grease-cutting sprays, and more.

Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss
Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss

OK, cleaning's done! Time to reward yourself -- with a vodka cocktail you'll actually want to drink. Explore some classic vodka cocktail recipes.