We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Rubbing alcohol is either isopropyl alcohol or an ethanol-based surgical spirit, primarily known as a topical antiseptic. It has several household and industrial uses.
It is a useful compound to have around the house. An astringent and antiseptic, it is known to kill bacteria. It is also sometimes used to soothe and nurse aching muscles. Aside from the medical aspect of having rubbing alcohol handy, it is especially beneficial as a cleaning agent.
Surprisingly versatile, it can be used to clean and disinfect almost any texture and type of surface. It also gets rid of stubborn stains.
Is Rubbing Alcohol Safe?
An alcohol-based compound, rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. Never use or store around an open flame or a stovetop.
Gloves are recommended when using rubbing alcohol to clean, as continued use without any protective layering can cause the skin to burn and peel. Rubbing alcohol is also dangerous when inhaled, and thereby is used in work environments with adequate preventive cover- like safety goggles and masks.
Rubbing alcohol has also been known to cause allergic reactions- facial swelling, hives, and an unprecedented swelling of the lips, nose, or throat. If these conditions are observed, medical attention must immediately be sought.
The following list is comprised of 21 uses of rubbing alcohol around the home- predominantly encompassing the aspects of cleaning and deodorizing.
1. Cleaning Blinds
Blinds are rather cumbersome to clean, and taking them off every time one attempts to do the same is particularly unrealistic. This is where rubbing alcohol comes to the rescue.
Use a washcloth, and dip it in the liquid. Proceed to use the fabric to clean the blinds, one at a time. The best part? Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, so there usually is no need for a follow-up rinse.
2. Cleaning Erase Boards (Dry)
Dry Erase boards are often quite difficult to clean. Even a rigorous scrubbing down with water may not fully eliminate marks, which tend to superimpose themselves on older marks.
Rubbing alcohol can be used, even though one would need a variety with a 90 percent concentration of alcohol to fully get out all the etchings.
3. Cleaning Sinks and Bathroom Equipment
Rubbing alcohol is often deemed the supreme of all cleaning liquids, owing to two factors. The first is the simplicity of application, and the second is the effective results it shows on almost any surface.
Needless to say, rubbing alcohol works very well on sinks, bathtubs, and shower knobs. All you need to do is spray or lather the area with rubbing alcohol and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a bristled brush to gently scrub the area. This will get out soap scum, food stains, and hard water stains in a matter of minutes.
4. Deodorizing Shoes
A lesser-known but just as important use of rubbing alcohol is, its ability to deodorize. Rubbing alcohol has a distinctive, but mild scent- sweet, and slightly sharp smell.
Smelly shoes can be treated by the application of rubbing alcohol, preferably overnight. The evaporation tends to coalesce with the offending odor and thereby eliminates it.
Pro Tip: Setting the shoes out into the sun after application also helps the alcohol kill bacterial growths.
5. Cleaning Brushes
The following method can be applied to all kinds of brushes.
All one needs to do is pour a certain quantity of the rubbing alcohol into a cup or bowl, and proceed to dip the brush. Swirly gently, so the alcohol has a chance to seep into hidden crevices. Rinse with warm water, and then lay out to dry.
This gets most of the paint/powder lodged into the brushes out and also softens the bristles.
6. Disinfecting Electronics
Rubbing alcohol makes for a safe and easy to use disinfectant for electronics, owing to their innate ability of fast evaporation. [Think phones, tablets, computer screens.]
Use an alcohol-soaked cotton swab or a microfiber cloth to get the best results. A thin, diametrically small fabric helps to reach the narrow corners. Alternatively, spraying the alcohol onto the surface and quickly wiping it down works as well.
7. Dissolving Frost
If you are a native of a cold country, you probably already know this. It came to me as a surprise when I first learned it, but I swear by it now.
Window frost or windshield frost is quite difficult to get rid of. The latter can be quite dangerous if not tended to in time. A quickly defrosting solution comprising one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol does the trick.
Spray liberally onto the affected area. This makes the frost easier to remove.
8. Cleaning and Disinfecting Jewellery
A rubbing alcohol soaking solution works wonders for old, lackluster jewelry. Add some quantity of water in order to dilute it, if required.
Wipe off with a clean microfiber cloth afterward.
9. Banish Fruit Flies
Rubbing alcohol has quite the banishing effect on fruit flies. Spraying the liquid at them causes them to scatter and disperse, while the lingering scent keeps them from returning.
This is however a cautious exercise because one must be careful to not aim the alcohol at the actual fruit. If the fruit comes in contact with rubbing alcohol, it may get spoiled.
10. No more Collar Rings
Collar rings are an annoying phenomenon that, try as hard as you might, are astonishingly difficult to prevent. And understandably so, given the rising levels of pollution.
An effective and smart way to combat this is by rubbing the neck and shoulders with diluted rubbing alcohol, before putting on a shirt. This removes sweat and grime and also prevents the shirt from sticking to the skin later in the day.
11. Remove Ink Stains from Clothes
Ink stains, I have found, are surprisingly difficult to remove from clothes. A rubbing alcohol soak prior to laundry might help. Soak the concerned garment in rubbing alcohol, for a quarter of an hour at the very least before putting it in the wash.
12. Remove Hairspray from Mirrors
This, I can personally attest, is an absolute lifesaver. Frequent hairspray users are no stranger to the annoying phenomenon of the sticky compound fogging up mirrors. And this fug, like steam, does not dissipate. It stays and forms a thin film on the mirror until one can barely see their own reflection anymore.
To combat this, use an alcohol-soaked cloth to wipe off mirrors and bathroom tiles after you have employed the use of hairspray. This prevents buildup and keeps the floating particles from sticking onto the surface.
13. Cleaning Stainless Steel
Use a rubbing alcohol-soaked microfiber cloth to clean stainless steel equipment of any stains or water spots. It is simple, quick, and readily available.
14. Rubbing off Stickers
Now, this is a common issue. Sticker removal rarely ever goes as anticipated, especially in the case of older stickers. One expects the sticker to come off easily, leaving no residue behind. This, of course, does not happen.
Saturate the sticker with rubbing alcohol before you attempt to remove it. After a sufficient waiting time, peel it slowly away. The rubbing alcohol facilitates easy removal and also loosens the material of the sticker.
15. Refresh Sponges and Tea Towels
Sponges and tea towels are often rather susceptible to acquiring a generally grimy appearance and with good reason.
Refresh them by soaking the articles in an isopropyl alcohol solution. It extracts the dirt particles and restores original coloring.
16. Dealing with Permanent Marker Stains
As any homeowners with small children will know, permanent marker stains are unusually difficult to remove. Rubbing alcohol, though, might be able to be of some help.
Use a rubbing-alcohol soaked cloth to gently rub the stains off of the surface. Use only soft fabrics for walls, as they are particularly vulnerable to scratches. Other more hardy surfaces, one can use steel wool or a bristly brush on.
17. Get Rid of Water spots and Fingerprint Smudging
Get rid of pesky water spots and fingerprint smudges by wiping down sinks, surfaces, faucets, and phones with rubbing alcohol. The use of microfiber cloth is recommended.
18. Fashion a Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Make your own hand sanitizer by using the following recipe- two-thirds parts of alcohol mixed with one-thirds aloe vera gel. The aloe vera gel gives the finished product a much-needed viscosity.
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
An effective hand sanitizer is always worth the effort.
19. Degrease your Kitchen
Kitchens get greasy very quickly. If you think that the grease is restricted to the cooking area alone, then you are mistaken. It somehow just makes its presence known on the countertops, cabinet handles, and on every available surface in the vicinity.
A regularly scheduled wipe down of the kitchen with rubbing alcohol is important, if one wants to eliminate the grease.
20. DIY Glass Cleaner
This recipe works for any and all glass surfaces- windows, tabletops, sculptural elements, and crockery. It contains rubbing alcohol and vinegar- 1 cup of the alcohol mixed with a spoonful of vinegar, in water. Bottle it and use it when required.
Disclaimer: This does not work for stone surfaces.
21. DIY Car Freshener
Make your own car freshener spray by putting together rubbing alcohol and your favorite essential oil. A few drops ought to suffice.
You can also make a freshener gel by adding to the mix some aloe gel.
Rubbing alcohol, as I am sure is amply clear by now, is versatile, efficient and a sure-fire fix to most cleaning maladies. All you need to do is have a bottle of it in easy reach!