Household uses for rubbing alcohol
Its disinfecting properties come in handy in the garden, for starters.
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Although it's not perfect for every cleaning job (hello, washing dishes), rubbing alcohol is a fairly cheap and relatively environmentally friendly solution to some tough cleaning challenges. Most people keep a bottle of it in the bathroom, but if you don't it would behoove you to keep one in stock for cleaning tasks. One of rubbing alcohol's more attractive attributes is how fast it evaporates. Although it has that initial "hospital" smell, rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly and does not leave a lingering odor, unlike vinegar. It is also suitable for cleaning surfaces that cannot be cleaned with acids, such as granite counter tops.
Although rubbing alcohol off gasses quickly, prolonged exposure to isopropyl alcohol fumes is not recommended. Bear in mind that it's not drinkable, and should be stored out of reach of children. Also, do not use it to clean near open flames or near extreme heat; it's flammable. With all that said, here are 10 ways to use rubbing alcohol around the house.
DIY granite cleaner: The always charming blogger Made From Pinterest described her success making DIY granite cleaner out of rubbing alcohol, dishwashing soap, water and essential oil. Since acidic cleaning agents can cause pock marks in granite, and ammonia-based cleaners can strip their seal, rubbing alcohol solutions are an inexpensive, effective way to clean granite counter tops.
Remove nail polish from wood floors: I am not sure how frequently people spill nail polish on laminate floors or wood floors, or how often flooring contractors get called to repair wood that nail polish has spilled on. Apparently it happens enough that blogger Anna Mosely posted a tip on Hometalk.com about how to use rubbing alcohol to remove nail polish stains from wood or laminate floors. She claims (with pictures!) that it works better than acetone or oil-based substances.
Clean garden tools: Plant diseases can be transmitted from one plant to the next by garden tools. Four Season Garden and Landscaping, a landscaping company in Atlanta, suggests disinfecting garden tools like pruners with rubbing alcohol when changing between plants.
Clean windows: Whether you use it mixed simply with water, or mixed into a custom DIY window cleaning solution, rubbing alcohol cleans windows like a champ. There are more rubbing alcohol window cleaning ideas out there than I can link to. Google it and find one that looks good to you.
Clean Venetian blinds: Reader's Digest suggests cleaning Venetian blinds with rubbing alcohol. They say you can easily remove dirt and dust by wrapping a paint scraper in a cloth, securing the cloth with a rubber band, and dipping the cloth into rubbing alcohol.
Clean your cellphones: Your smart phone probably harbors some nasty germs. I clean my smart phone with rubbing alcohol pads, you know, the ones that diabetics use to prep their fingers with before doing home blood tests. Rub an alcohol pad or two over the surface of your smart phone, then let it dry. Buff off any weird white film with a paper towel. Alcohol prep pads are very handy to keep around for small cleaning jobs like this.
Bust grime and sticky goo: Sometimes it is enough to rub an alcohol pad on sticker goo. For bigger jobs, soak the goo-covered object in a bowl of rubbing alcohol, then scrub with a scrub pad. The label goo should slide right off.
Clean a pipe: Apparently, people still smoke pipes. If you are inclined to look and smell like Sherlock Holmes and your pipe cleaner isn't cutting the mustard, quite a few commenters in the Pipes Magazine forum suggest cleaning a pipe with rubbing alcohol.
Remove permanent marker: Rubbing alcohol is a decent solvent for permanent marker graffiti. Rub a cloth saturated in rubbing alcohol on permanent marker graffiti on wood surfaces.
Clean Electronics: Crunchy Betty, an experienced DIY cleaning product maker for both home and body, posted a detailed article on how to clean computers with rubbing alcohol. You basically make a solution of rubbing alcohol and distilled water, and you spray it onto a soft cloth and then gently wipe the screen. Never spray directly onto electronic equipment, and use only distilled water in the solution.
Related stories on MNN: