12 Surprising Uses for Rubbing Alcohol You Might Not Know

Friday, May 12, 2017

12 Surprising Everyday Uses for Rubbing Alcohol You Might Not Know

Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl or ethyl) is a staple item in every household medicine cabinet. We mostly use it for disinfecting our hands when we don’t feel like washing them or disinfecting cuts and wounds. What most of us didn’t know is that the inexpensive bottle of rubbing alcohol has a variety of uses beyond disinfection.

1. Erase permanent marker

If your kids have just turned your walls into an art gallery with a permanent marker, then don’t worry because you can use rubbing alcohol to wipe them off cleanly. If you also accidentally used permanent marker on a dry erase board, then you can also apply the same solution.

2. Remove odor

I dread chopping garlic because its scent lingers on my hands for hours even after washing with soap and water. I just apply rubbing alcohol on my hands and the garlic odor will be gone in a few seconds. How about stinky shoes? No problem. Just spray rubbing alcohol into the inside of your shoes until saturated and leave them to dry overnight.

3. Make your own homemade ice pack

Instead of buying expensive ice pack, why not just create your own? Just mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 2 parts water in a plastic zipper bag (e.g. Ziploc), preferably the kind that is safe for freezer use since it can withstand very cold temperature (unlike the thinner sandwich zipper bags). Lay the zipper bag flat in the freezer. The rubbing alcohol prevents the bag from freezing into a solid block of ice – it’s magic! See the following video for a visual instruction.

4. Nail polish remover

If you run out of acetone, you can also use rubbing alcohol to remove your nail polish but it will take a lot more rubbing so be patient. Acetone is a powerful solvent so it can be more drying to your cuticles compared with rubbing alcohol.

5. Hand sanitizer

Who would have thought that making a non-toxic antibacterial hand sanitizer is so easy? Just mix 3 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part aloe vera gel and add a few drops of tea tree essential oil.

6. Kitchen de-greaser

If you love frying food like me, then you know how hard it is to clean oil splatters on your kitchen countertop and stove top. You can make an all-around kitchen de-greaser by pouring some rubbing alcohol onto a cloth and wipe down all the greasy areas of your kitchen. Rubbing alcohol is a solvent that’s why it’s perfect for dissolving oils. It is also non-acidic so it’s safe to be used on granite countertop. Just don’t use this on toaster and oven because rubbing alcohol is flammable.

7. Remove stickers

Whenever I’m trying to remove a sticker label off a container that I want to recycle, it always frustrates me to see sticky residue left behind that is really hard to get off. In order to remove this sticky residue, all you need to do is to pour some rubbing alcohol on it and wait for a few minutes as the rubbing alcohol dissolves the glue. After that, rub the surface either with your finger or cloth until the surface is clear from any sticky residue.

8. Clean the surface of your electronics

With everyday use, our computer, laptop and mobile phone will accumulate dust, bacteria and fingerprints. Just dab some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball (make sure it’s not dripping wet) and use it to clean the surface of your mobile phone, keyboard and mouse. You do not need to wipe it dry as the rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly.

9. Underarm deodorant

In certain emergency situation that you forgot to apply a deodorant, you can use your clean hands to slap some rubbing alcohol on your underarms. Rubbing alcohol is effective in fighting odor-causing bacteria though it will not completely prevent perspiration.

10. Fix a broken powder makeup

It breaks every woman’s heart to have their beloved and expensive powder makeups (e.g. eyeshadow, face powder, etc.) crack after accidentally dropping them on the floor. There is a quick solution to this dilemma. Using a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol, spray a small amount onto your powder makeups and use the back of a spoon or your clean fingers to smooth it out. Wait for a few hours until the powder makeup completely harden before using it again. This method will definitely save you money from buying new powder makeup every time you cracked one.

11. Clean and shine stainless steel and bathroom fixtures

Pour some rubbing alcohol on microfiber cloth and use it to buff stainless steel appliances and bathroom fixtures in order to remove smudges and to bring back its glorious shine.

12. Remove frost from car windshield

Instead of using your arm muscles to scrape off the frost from your car windshield and side mirrors, the easier way is to fill a spray bottle with 2 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 part water, spray the solution to all glass surfaces of your car. In a few minutes, your windshield and mirrors will be frost-free.

Do you have other uses for rubbing alcohol that didn’t make this list? Share it on the comment section below.

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