11 Useful Things You Can Do With Rubbing Alcohol

A collage showing rubbing alcohol being used to blot out a stain on a skirt and being sprayed in a bathroom

There are a few household basics that I make sure I always have on hand, and one of those items is rubbing alcohol. I consider rubbing alcohol to be one of the most useful things you can keep around the house. I’d even go so far as to rank it right up there alongside white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in terms of household usefulness! It also doesn’t hurt that rubbing alcohol is inexpensive and sold in nearly every grocery store.

Today I’m going to share some of the best uses for rubbing alcohol that I’ve discovered over the past several years. You can use whatever isopropyl alcohol bottle you have in your cupboard, but for those who are curious about the different kinds available, here’s a quick overview. Rubbing alcohol usually comes in two grades: 70% isopropyl alcohol and 90%+ isopropyl alcohol. The 90%+ solutions have a lower water content, so they dry faster and can be better for items that aren’t supposed to get wet. The 70% solution is gentler on skin, and is generally a bit less expensive. Either one will work fine for the uses listed here in this post. :-)

So without any further ado, here are 11 “miraculous” things you can do with a little bit of rubbing alcohol!

Related: This One Easy DIY Will Save You A Fortune On Cleaning Products

11 Miraculous Uses For Rubbing Alcohol

A hand using a yellow microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol to clean hair spray residue off of a sink

1. Remove Hairspray Residue

If you use hairspray or other aerosol hair products on a regular basis, then you likely already know about the sticky residue it leaves around your bathroom. Luckily, rubbing alcohol can take care of it in a snap! Just dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol (or use an alcohol wipe) to wipe down your sink and countertop. They’ll be left sparkling clean with zero sticky residue!

Rubbing alcohol being used to blot out a stain from a magenta skirt

2. Erase Permanent Marker

Rubbing alcohol can rehydrate the ink left behind from a permanent marker, making it easy to wipe away. Just squeeze a bit of rubbing alcohol, let it sit on the stain for a minute, then wipe. This tip has saved me from permanent marker disasters numerous times!

Related: 19 Surprising Ways To Remove Permanent Marker And Save The Day

A bottle of isopropyl alcohol next to a hand cleaning sticker residue from the underside of a red crock using rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball

3. Remove Stickers

To remove a stubborn sticker with ease, grab your bottle of rubbing alcohol. Saturate the whole sticker and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The rubbing alcohol will help dissolve the adhesive, and you’ll be able to wipe the sticker and the sticker goo away in one go.

Related: 10 Common Products That Will Remove Stubborn Stickers Easily

Rubbing alcohol being sprayed onto a blue microfiber cloth, which is then used to wipe a computer screen

4. Clean Electronics

It’s important to regularly disinfect your electronics, especially the ones you use frequently like your phone or laptop. Rubbing alcohol is a great choice because it evaporates quickly, and there’s less of a chance that moisture will affect your devices. Just apply a bit of rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab, swipe it across your device, then buff it dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

Related: Make Your Own Electronics Screen Cleaner For Pennies!

A spray jar full of isopropyl alcohol sitting atop a microfiber cloth and next to a sponge on a green microfiber chair

5. Remove Stains From Microfiber

If you have microfiber upholstery on any of your furniture, rubbing alcohol is your new best friend! It’s the best and easiest way to remove stains from microfiber upholster. Just mist some alcohol over the affected area, then wipe it clean with a sponge or cloth. Get full details on removing stains from microfiber at the link below.

Related: How To Clean Your Microfiber Furniture The Safe And Easy Way

A spray mister next to a bottle of rubbing alcohol on a bathroom counter

6. Use As Deodorant

If you’re suddenly out of deodorant, you can use rubbing alcohol as a substitute in a pinch. Add 15 drops of a skin-safe essential oil (like lavender or Tea Tree) to a small, fine-mist spray bottle of alcohol. Just make sure you don’t apply it immediately after shaving—ouch!

A spray bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol being sprayed over a bowl of yellow lemons

7. Eliminate Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be a real nuisance in your kitchen! Fill a fine-mist spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and use it to spray the fruit flies the next time you see them. The alcohol should knock them out long enough for you to sweep them up and toss them outside.  Here’s another way to get rid of fruit flies if that doesn’t work or you want another way to get rid of them.

70% isopropyl alcohol being sprayed into a pair of canvas shos

8. Deodorize Smelly Shoes

To help deodorize smelly shoes, spray the insides with rubbing alcohol and set them out in the sun to dry. The combination of alcohol and sunlight will help kill the bacteria that are causing the odor.

A spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol next to a pair of leopard boots

9. Stretch Tight Shoes

Have a pair of shoes that’s just a bit too tight? Use rubbing alcohol to stretch them out! Rub or spray a light layer of alcohol on the outside and inside of your shoes, then pull them on over a thick pair of socks. Check out more tips for saving too tight shoes at the link below!

Related: 3 Easy Methods That Will Save Your Too-Tight Shoes

Rubbing alcohol being sprayed into a small container of dried eye shadow

10. Save Broken Eyeshadow

It can be heartbreaking to drop your favorite eyeshadow palette, but you can save those broken shadows! Place the broken bits back into the palette, then add some rubbing alcohol to the shadow a few drops at a time (or spray it, it that’s easier for you). Use a stick or a spoon to mix up and smooth out the remoistened mixture. Let it sit out for a few hours until the mixture dries completely, and it will be good as new!

A reed diffuser filled with a mixture of essential oils and rubbing alcohol

11. Make A Reed Diffuser

You can use rubbing alcohol to make your own reed diffuser! Add 1/4 cup of your favorite carrier oil (I like almond and safflower), 12 drops of your favorite essential oil, and a splash of rubbing alcohol to a small glass bottle. Drop in a few wooden skewers, and voila! You’ll have a reed diffuser that couldn’t have been any quicker or easier to make.

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • for god’s sake don’t put it on any screens. Specially Macbook screens. I have ruined one of these with 70% isopropyl alcohol. trust me you don’t want to see how it looks like.

    anything which says (coating, special coating) like glasses, screens, expensive watches; water is just fine.

    Also one thing to note is that some of the manufacturers may include acetone in their Rubbing Alcohol and using that on plastic means that you are going to see individual fibers coming out of it.

    So make sure what you are doing is not something which can’t be done by water and a fiber cloth specially if it is an expensive thing. Trust me I have wrecked a casio watch by rubbing it with acetone based spirit and ruined my Macbook with Isopropyl alcohol. Teaches me to treat chemicals as chemicals. Rest is your choice.

  • I keep at least 2 spray bottles around at all times. We use it for cleaning (great for kitchen grease) and most of the items in your tips. It’s also great for cleaning eyeglasses, cds, DVDs, mirrors, etc. I enjoy your tips!

  • I use rubbing alcohol (70%) in a spray bottle for sanitizing the bottom of my (and others) shoes and wiping on the doormat. It gives me peace of mind that dirt and germs are not getting in the house………………Of course, If the shoes are very dirty, muddy they are removed………….also, my husband uses a small spray bottle to sanitize himself before pricking his finger to take his blood sugar test………..I use rubbing alcohol in a lot of my cleaning sprays……………

  • Ir also does a great job on chrome faucets. I once had a chrome top stove and alcohol was the only thing that made it look shiny. sometimes you need to follow with a dry cloth but not a lot of elbow grease needed.

  • I’ve also used it in a spray bottle with a few drops of your favorite essential oil to mist your furniture. I use thieves. If you travel a lot it’s great to mist your bed.

  • Also the best way to get marks out of formal dresses without leaving water marks. Spot clean with a cotton swab for tiny spots or a soft rag for larger ones & blow dry on a low setting to help prevent the water marks on any formal dress. It’s never not worked and never let a spot.

  • I just step into the shower and spray my hair, it saves the floor and counters from the sticky stuff. You can buy shower mirrors to make it easier, if you like.

  • I use it to remove permanent marker from plastic food storage containers. I like to write the date it went in the fridge or the date the item expires in permanent marker rather than some stick-on label. Alcohol gets it off completely so you can re-label the container for the next item you’re storing.

  • I use it to clean my windows and mirrors – it works great for me. I also use it as a hand sanitizer when I need one. The store bought ones always leave a fragrance I really don’t like.

    Renee :)

  • It can also be used to prevent bed bug infestations. Just spray your luggage when you return home from travelling and let it sit in your garage or bathroom overnight. I was told to do this by a bed bug exterminator. I’ve also used it to spray down surfaces (bed frame, desk) and mattresses at in my kids’ college dorm rooms to make sure they don’t bring any critters home with them. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure!

  • Love all those tips and tricks. I use it to clean my scanner/ printer. I clean the bottom of my vacuum. This is wonderful for that. You wouldn’t believe how dirty it is there plus the inside!

  • Love the diffuser tip. I’ve used alcohol as a deodorant when I’ve had medical stuff where they didn’t want me to wear deodorant. It works great until I can use my regular one after the appointments.

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