Green alternative uses for beer

(First published May 2009, last updated July 2013)

Many of us would have experienced the morning after syndrome where you awaken to find your home looking and smelling like a bombed brewery.

What to do with all those flat, warm half empty beers laying around? Well, I used to drink them, but that’s another story for another time and for a completely different web site. However, I would like to state I haven’t engaged in that practice for quite some years now :).

There are so many uses for beer aside from drinking it, using it in cooking or wasting it; and beer can sometimes replace more environmentally unfriendly products for a variety of applications. Here’s a few ideas gathered from around the place:

Dealing with snails and slugs

Snails and slugs love beer. A beer trap can be made which is just a small dish or jar with beer poured in and then buried in affected areas up to the rim. The snails and slugs drop in but can’t get out. Another interesting variation on this is to spray beer on weeds so the snails eat those instead of your plants – using a pest to control a pest. Of course, once you’re out of weeds, then you’ll need to still deal with the snails and slugs.

Dealing with fruit flies

To get rid of fruit flies in your compost heap or worm farm, put a little beer in a cup. Then cut the corner off of a sandwich bag and place the cut corner in the cup; folding the rest around the cup and securing with a rubber band. Place the cup in the bin. The flies go in and then cannot get back out. (I also use vinegar to catch fruit flies and other gnatty creatures).

Rodent trap

Mice and rats are said to be also attracted to the smell of beer. A little poured into a bucket with a ramp leading to the lip can be used as a bucket trap. Of course you still need to deal with the critters; who will also likely be drunk and possibly argumentative by that point :)

Compost booster

Sprinkle the beer over your compost pile and then turn it over – it’s said to give the micro-organisms a real boost.

Plant fertilizer

A little beer splashed around the base of plants will provide them with additional nutrients; but don’t drown them in the stuff.

Wood furniture cleaning

A little beer on a cloth rubbed into your wooden furniture will help remove dust and grime and revive the grain patterns.

Copper cleaner

Apply to copper items, let sit for a bit and then buff off (spot test first of course)

Gold polish

Dump your gold jewelry into the beer, then buff with a soft cloth

Beer shampoo

Many swear by it – and here’s how to make your own beer shampoo. Flat beer can also be used as is as an after shampoo rinse.

Bee deterrent

Places shallow dishes of beer on the outer boundary of the area where you are having a BBQ or a picnic to entice bees to those spots rather than where you are gathered.

I’ve seen variations on this tip bandied around as a beer trap intended to capture and kill bees. Given that bees are critical to food production and are facing enough challenges at the moment through Colony Collapse Disorder; I’d strongly recommend not trying to kill the little critters. Bees are our friends :).


Beer drinkers – go green, save cash, brew your own at home.
Alternative uses for vodka