College students are notorious for having low standards when it comes to alcohol. But here at Spoon, we know how to navigate the wine aisle, use the right lingo and drink elegantly on a budget. These skills are certainly impressive on their own, but there’s always room for more in your repertoire. Try out these unusual uses for wine that don’t have to wait for the next dinner party to be employed.

1. Have fun with tie-dye

A new year calls for a new wardrobe. The typical college budget, however, doesn’t necessarily agree. Update what you already have with a quick trip to the liquor cabinet instead of hitting the mall for new duds. Simply bring a large pot of red wine to a simmer and lower in last season’s styles. Let your clothes sit anywhere between 10 minutes and 24 hours, depending on the depth of color you’d like. Then rinse your clothes well with cold water and hang them up to dry.

2. Throw a spa night


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Red wine is chock-full of antioxidants, nifty little molecules that exterminate free radicals, which play a role in aging the body. Red wine face masks are especially helpful when trying to prevent those premature wrinkles you swear become deeper with each new assignment loaded on by your professors. Make your skin glow by simply dabbing red wine onto your face with a cotton pad or by trying out one of these masks that uses ingredients you’re bound to have on hand.

3. Wash your windows

Left a bottle of white wine uncorked and now it’s beginning to smell a little unappetizing? That’s just because spoiled white wine becomes vinegar. This is great news for thrifty college kids who’d rather spend their money on more alcohol than something as mundane as Windex. Just add a few tablespoons of old white wine to a spray bottle of water. Then spritz on windows and wipe dry with newspaper.

4. Clean fruit and vegetables


Photo by Amanda Gajdosik

An apple a day only keeps the doctor away if no foodborne pathogens come along for the ride. The alcohol in wine dissolves impurities on the surface of produce and has even been found to kill disease-causing bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Hey, why not keep things simple and just whip up a big pitcher of sangria?

5. Trap some fruit flies

No one will be able to resist your now glistening bowl of squeaky-wine-cleaned fruit. This unfortunately includes pesky fruit flies. Keep your kitchen insect-free by using bugs’ love of all things sweet to your advantage. Pour a half-inch of wine into a glass and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Then poke a few holes in the wrap to allow flies in but not back out.

6. Heal bruises

Everyone knows the old trick of placing a bag of frozen peas on a bruise, but a slice of bread soaked in red wine does the same trick. The benefits of this classier alternative are a little questionable, but there is some science to suggest it works. Wine is rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that boasts many positive effects on the body, including soothing inflamed tissue.

7. Make a cancer-fighting marinade


Photo by Alexandra Hayes

Steak and red wine are often paired together because of their complementary flavors, but marinating your meat can provide more benefits to your body than just happy tastebuds. Cancer-causing carcinogens form from the sugars and amino acids in steak when it is fried or grilled at high temperatures. Research has found that marinating meat in wine for at least six hours before cooking can reduce the formation of carcinogens by up to 90 percent. Get your steak drunk on a red wine marinade like this one and stay safe this grilling season.

8. Boost your intelligence

What college student hasn’t come across a tricky calculus problem and wished there was a magic potion for increasing intellect? Red wine may be fermented in a barrel rather than brewed in a witch’s cauldron, but recent studies show that it could be the sip of magic you’re looking for. The polyphenols in wine boost cognitive ability by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Chocolate contains the same micronutrients; no wonder they’re a perfect pair.

9. Fuel your car


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This one requires a bit of a larger budget. Say, that of Britain’s Prince Charles who converted his vintage Aston Martin to run on biofuel made from surplus wine. Sounds extravagant but, hey, with all that money you’ll be saving on Windex now, there’s no telling what you can afford.

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