Almost everyone has a bottle of rubbing alcohol in at least one cupboard in their home. It’s typically in the medicine cabinet for use in disinfecting stuff, and over the years I’ve also used it many times to rescue various surfaces in my home after one of my kids got ahold of a permanent marker!
But there is SO much more that homely little bottle can do! It’s time to take it out of the bathroom cabinet and put it in a place of honor! This humble mixture of denatured alcohol and water is usually less than $2.00 a bottle and can help you out in an amazing array of situations in the kitchen, the bathroom, the craft room, and beyond!
Dissolve windshield frost – No need to go searching for your ice scraper! Grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol, screw on a spray top from another empty bottle and spray. Your windshield will be completely frost-free! You can also keep it in the trunk, it won’t freeze!
Keep windows frost-free – If you want to do a little frost prevention, wash them with a 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol mixed with 1 quart water. The next time the temperatures dip you shouldn’t have to do ANYTHING!
Hairspray remover – If your bathroom mirror and countertops get covered with hairspray, like mine do, a quick wipe with some rubbing alcohol will remove it and leave them sparkling clean.
Window cleaner – to make your own, mix 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons ammonia, 3 1/2 cups water and a drop of dish soap.
Granite cleaner – Vinegar and other acidic cleaners corrode granite, so use alcohol instead! 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 3 drops of dish detergent, 1 cup water, and a couple drops of essential oil, and you’ve got yourself a great DIY granite countertop cleaner.
Silk plant/flower cleaner – fill a spray bottle with 1/2 water, 1/2 rubbing alcohol, spray on, and let air dry! Dust disappears!
Laminate floor cleaner – Use 1/3 water, 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 1/3 vinegar and 4 drops of dish soap for an effective and quick-drying laminate floor cleaner. Spray it on. Wipe it with either a damp mop or a damp sponge.
All-purpose de-greaser – pour some rubbing alcohol onto a cloth and wipe down greasy stove tops, vents and teapot. No need to rinse afterwards because the rubbing alcohol dries almost immediately.
Remove ink stains – If you get ink on your clothing, try soaking the spot in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes and then wash as usual. Hairspray & hand sanitizer, which also have alcohol in them, will work in a pinch as well.
Erase permanent markers – Rubbing alcohol will dissolve marker back to a liquid state so you can wipe it right off. Believe me, it has saved me numerous times!
Clean (and shine) fixtures – To remove residue and bring shine back to lamps, candles, faucets, doorknobs, etc., pour some rubbing alcohol onto a soft, absorbent cloth and buff to a shine. No need to rinse — the alcohol just evaporates.
Jewelry cleaner – If you need to clean the alkaline deposits off your jewelry, let it soak in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes and clean with a cloth. It will restore the lustre to your jewelry.
Removing stickers – To remove stickers without leaving the sticky glue behind, pour some rubbing alcohol on it and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rubbing alcohol is a dissolvent and stickers will peel off easily.
Clean dry erase boards – Rather than purchasing dry erase board cleaner, just spray rubbing alcohol on the board instead and wipe away the marker marks with a paper towel.
Electronics surface cleaner – Laptops, computers, and especially your cell phones, are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria.. They all should be disinfected regularly. Dab some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and use it to clean the surface of your cell phones, keyboards and mouse.
Clean blinds – Rubbing alcohol does a terrific job of cleaning the slats of your blinds. Wrap a flat tool in cloth and secure with a rubber band. Dip in alcohol and get to work.
Microfiber sofa stains – To deal with microfiber sofa stains, spray some rubbing alcohol over the stained area and wipe with a clean sponge or cloth and allow to dry. Unlike water, which will stain the microfiber, rubbing alcohol won’t penetrate the fabric and evaporates quickly.
Stainless steel cleaner – It’s a great way to remove fingerprints and smudges, and it dries to a streak-free shine.
Carpet – to remove greasy stains, apply rubbing alcohol to a rag and lightly rub the stain. To be safe, try on an inconspicuous part of the carpet first.
Health and beauty buddy
Odor removal – Applying rubbing alcohol to your hands after after chopping onions or garlic will remove the odor just like a sanitizer.
Astringent substitute – Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol with water and apply with a cotton ball. Let it dry, then wash after 15 minutes. Follow-up with aloe vera gel. Do not use for prolonged periods and always test for skin sensitivity.
Soothe body aches – Rubbing alcohol brings blood flow to the skin’s surface. It instantly cools and relaxes muscles.
Itch Relief – Dabbing a little rubbing alcohol onto an itchy bug bite will dry out the area, relieving itchiness.
Deodorant – In a pinch, you can use rubbing alcohol instead of deodorant. Add 15 drops of essential oil to a fine-mist spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol. Just make sure you don’t apply it immediately after shaving! ouch!
Nail fungus – Soaking your hands or feet in a tub filled water and rubbing alcohol can help get rid of bacterial growth under nails. Do this daily until fungus vanishes.
Nail polish remover – Rubbing alcohol can substitute for nail polish remover and clean the backs of pierced earrings as well.
Makeup Brushes – to sanitize your brushes, soak soak them in alcohol for 30 minutes and allow them to air dry. Repeat every month.
Prevent sweat stains – Sweat stains are often found on shirt collars (ring around the collar), armpits, inner elbows and knees. To prevent these stains, wipe skin with rubbing alcohol before dressing. It works like a natural antiperspirant.
Make a shapeable ice pack – Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water in a plastic zipper bag. The rubbing alcohol prevents the bag from freezing solid.
Head lice treatment – Dip your comb in rubbing alcohol each time you use it through your hair. Or you can simply apply some to your hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. The results are instant.
Earwax removal – If you have trouble with excessive accumulation of earwax, mix equal parts rubbing alcohol with vinegar, and dab into your ear with a cotton swab. This solution will dissolve the wax. Clean with a soft cloth.
Reduce swelling – Rubbing alcohol can help soothe and reduce swelling. It helps bring blood to the area to reduce swelling.
Hand Sanitizer – mix together 3 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 part aloe vera gel.
Cold Sores – to help heal and dry up stubborn cold sores, dab a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol on it.
Miscellaneous around the house helper
Air freshener – to make your own custom air freshener, mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol with 10-15 drops of an essential oil of your choice. I love grapefruit and lavender together!
Get rid of fruit flies – The next time you see fruit flies hovering in the kitchen, fill a fine-misting spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spray the suckers. The alcohol knocks them out so you can sweep them up and out of the house.
Removing stickers – Remove sticky residue left behind from price tags, band aids and stickers. Soak the area for a few minutes, and wipe clean.
Gardeners friend – rubbing alcohol can be used to clean garden tools that have been used to remove dead, diseased and rotting plants.First clean off the tools with soap and water and then let soak in rubbing alcohol for about a minute. Wipe the tools with a clean rag that has also been soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Dust mites and bed bugs – To kill, spray a light mist of rubbing alcohol on bed, allow to dry and vacuum.
Stinky shoes – to remove odors, spray the inside of shoes with rubbing alcohol and place in a sunny spot to dry.
Shoe stretcher – Rubbing alcohol can help you increase your shoe size. Apply a thin coating on your shoes and inside the soles and let them work the magic.
Disinfecting eyeglasses – Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect and clean your glasses. Eyes are very sensitive and can easily catch an infection from dirty glasses.
Tick removal – Ticks hate alcohol and will immediately loosen their grip from the skin. Before pulling a tick off Fido, dab the critter with rubbing alcohol to make it loosen its grip. Then grab the tick as close to the dog’s skin as you can and pull it straight out. Dab again with alcohol to disinfect the wound. This works on people too.
Give jewelry a vintage look – Use Sharpies and rubbing alcohol to give new rhinestone jewelry a vintage look. CLICK HERE to find out how.
Fix a broken eye shadow – Fill an empty spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, then spray your eyeshadow with the alcohol. Smooth out the mixture. You can use your finger, a spoon, a wooden stick. Then wait a few hours for the shadow to harden completely, and it will be as good as new!
Fix a dried out Sharpie – Pour some rubbing alcohol into the pen cap and then dip the tip of the Sharpie into the cap. Let sit until you can see a bit of ink swirling out, then put the cap back on the Sharpie and leave it for 15+ minutes. (Won’t work for all markers.)
Make your own reed diffusers – Add 1/4 cup carrier oil (almond, safflower or mineral), 12 drops essential oil, and a splash of rubbing alcohol.
Make your own acrylic spray paint – fill a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 rubbing alcohol and shake. Then mix that with 1/2 acrylic paint.
DIY Sharpie pillow – Draw on plain pillows with colorful sharpies, and then spray with rubbing alcohol for a watercolor/tie dye effect
Warning: while it has ALCOHOL in the name….whatever you do….. don’t drink it! Rubbing alcohols are mixed with poison (often Methanol) and bitter-tasting additives to prevent human consumption. It can cause death or permanent injury if consumed.
What is your favorite use for rubbing alcohol?