Most of us have rubbing alcohol in our medicine cabinet. But how often do you actually use it? A lot of us only pull out that dusty bottle once in a while to disinfect a wound or clean something. The rest of the time, it languishes in the cabinet.
If that describes you, you may want to think about dusting off that bottle and setting it out somewhere where you’ll remember to use it. Because there are a lot of uses for rubbing alcohol, many which will surprise you. Seriously, this stuff is awesome for everything from doing your nails to creating fine works of art. Check it out!
1. Make your own air freshener.
Tired of your synthetic chemical-based air freshener? It doesn’t exactly smell fresh, does it? If you want to replace it, you can make your own air freshener using a few simple ingredients:
2 cups of water
½ cup of rubbing alcohol
2 tablespoons of baking soda
15-20 drops of essential oils of your choice
This stuff is totally natural, actually smells fresh, and is a lot healthier to use around the home. Be sure to check the source link for a full tutorial. Recipe: kidsactivitiesblog
2. Or you can try this alternative recipe for DIY air freshener.
If you like the idea above but want to try something a little different, here is another way you can make DIY air freshener using rubbing alcohol and other household supplies:
Enough water for a 32-ounce spray bottle
¼ cup white vinegar
½ cup Downy Unstopables
2 caps full of rubbing alcohol
Check the source link for the full directions! Source: inspirationalmomma
3. Get the marbled look for your manicure.
It turns out that rubbing alcohol has all kinds of awesome artistic applications, and one of those is in doing your nails. If you enjoy the “marbled” look, you can actually create it quite easily using nothing more than sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Start with your nails painted white, draw on them with the sharpie, and then go over them with the alcohol and the colors will bleed beautifully.
4. Clean your microfiber furniture.
If you own any microfiber furniture, you know that cleaning it is an absolute time-consuming pain. Rubbing alcohol may actually be the most efficient way to get it clean. It is tough on stains—and best of all, it dries really fast. If you click on the source link below, you will be taken to a full tutorial.
5. Make a DIY ice pack.
Here is one of the more traditional uses for rubbing alcohol—but still probably not something you know. You likely have used rubbing alcohol to treat wounds before, but did you know you can actually use it as an ingredient in a DIY ice pack? Find out how at the source link.
6. Prevent swimmer’s ear.
If you get moisture trapped in your ear after swimming, you can go on to develop an ear infection. If you swim a lot, you are already more familiar with this syndrome than you care to be.
One way you can prevent it is by adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol into the affected ear or ears after you get back from the water. Make sure you use an eye-dropper to do this, not a q-tip (using a q-tip in your ear can cause wax impaction). The rubbing alcohol will help your ears to dry out more quickly, reducing discomfort and the chance of an infection.
7. Get rid of ticks.
There is a common myth that the best way to remove a tick is by “painting” it with a substance it does not like (such as rubbing alcohol, petroleum jelly, or even heat) so that it will detach its mouth-parts. This is actually not the best approach. The CDC advises that you use a pair of tweezers and pull the tick out of your skin as quickly as possible.
Once you have done that however, rubbing alcohol still has a couple of uses. First of all, you can use it to disinfect the bite area and your hands. Secondly, you can use it to kill the tick of it is still alive. You shouldn’t crush the tick, because this poses a disease risk. Instead, submerge it in alcohol and then place it inside a sealed bag. Wrap it up securely using tape and dispose of it.
8. Speed up the healing of a cold sore.
Cold sores can be ridiculously stubborn, and they are no fun to deal with. If you want to speed up the healing process, just dab on a little rubbing alcohol.
9. Heal stubborn acne.
If you have a stubborn zit or boil and you are desperate to dry it out, dabbing on a little rubbing alcohol may do the trick. Just be careful with this method—do not apply the rubbing alcohol for too long to your skin or you can cause a kind of “burn” which may leave a scar behind. And whatever you do, keep it away from your eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes.
10. Get rid of nail fungus.
If you have nail fungus, you know how hard it can be to get rid of it. Standard athlete’s foot treatments do not always do the trick. If you are desperate to kill the fungus, you can try making a foot soak out of water and rubbing alcohol in a 1:1 mixture.
11. Treat athlete’s foot.
While you are at it, if you are suffering from athlete’s foot, you may be able to cure that itch with the same soak. If you do not want to soak your feet, you can alternately just rub them down quickly with alcohol once a day.
12. Create your own laminate floor cleaner.
Need to clean a laminate floor? You can use the simple recipe in the image below to get your floor shiny and spotless quickly.
13. Remove labels cleanly from jars.
Sometimes you find a jar that you want to upcycle into something cool—but it has a stubborn sticky food label attached to it. You throw it in the dishwasher hoping that this will remove the label, but instead it just makes a mess. The fastest and most effective way to get the label clean off? Rubbing alcohol of course! Check out the source link for a full tutorial.
14. Sterilize items.
Have a thermometer you need to sterilize after a flu? What about a pair of tweezers that you just used to pull out a tick? You can use rubbing alcohol to make these items hygienic again.
15. Control the spread of staph.
Staph infections have become quite tough to kill over the past decade, to the point where we now have antibiotic-resistant strains (MRSA). If someone in your household has staph, you can reduce both the spread of the infection and the chance of re-infection by regularly wiping down frequently-used surfaces (like your keyboard) with rubbing alcohol.
16. Make your own hand sanitizer.
If you look at the label on your commercial hand sanitizer, you will find that rubbing alcohol is one of the main disinfecting ingredients. That means that you can easily make your own hand sanitizer using rubbing alcohol! Visit the source link for a full list of ingredients and directions.
17. Make your own window cleaner.
Just as rubbing alcohol is great for cleaning microfiber and laminate flooring, you can also use it to clean your windows. For this application, just combine ¼ cup rubbing alcohol with 3 ½ cups water, 2 tablespoons of ammonia and several drops of dish soap.
18. Remove scuff marks from your floor.
Earlier I talked about using rubbing alcohol to clean your laminate flooring. Going back to that use, if you have some tough scuff marks, you can really get great results scrubbing away at them with rubbing alcohol. It takes less elbow grease than you might imagine. Before long, your floor will look awesome!
19. Clean (some) jewelry.
The general rule with washing jewelry to stay on the safe side is to use warm water and a gentle dish soap. You should avoid harsh chemicals or cleaning methods.
Rubbing alcohol isn’t a bad way to clean and disinfect jewelry in many cases—it can lend it a nice shine. But you shouldn’t use it on all jewelry. It is a bad idea if you have pearls or opals for example, or stones which are glued into their settings. Stones which have been dyed also should not be treated with alcohol. Be sure to look up whatever you are planning on cleaning to make sure alcohol is a safe solution.
20. Wipe down your dry erase board.
Dry erase boards are some of the most versatile, awesome writing surfaces ever—so much nicer than chalkboards. But sometimes they can have some really stubborn smudges. If you want to get your dry erase board shining white again, try using rubbing alcohol. Visit the source link for a tutorial.
21. Get rid of that stink in your shoes.
You already know that rubbing alcohol can be used to treat athlete’s foot. Did you know that it can also be used to get rid of foul odors in your shoes? Just rub down the insides of your shoes with alcohol and it will work its bacteria-killing magic. You will achieve the best results if you then leave the shoes out in the sun to dry.
22. Get rid of onion or garlic odor on your hands.
Another unpleasant odor which can be tough to get rid of is the residual smell of onion or garlic which can linger on your fingers long after you finish cooking a meal. You may have noticed in the past that hand sanitizer can help to get rid of this smell. As it turns out, rubbing alcohol is the reason—so you can just apply it directly for the same great results.
23. Create washes for blending colored pencil.
Coming back to the artistic world, colored pencils are fun to work with, and you can achieve some great effects using them on their own, but sometimes you want to create more of a blend than is possible through simple layering. Rubbing alcohol can actually help you to achieve this more perfect blend while also increasing saturation of your colors. The final effect looks a lot like watercolor. Click on the source link below to learn more.
24. Make decorative art tiles.
If you are up for another fun and creative art project, you can try making decorative art tiles. Just read through the supplies and directions on the image to find out how it is done!
25. Shine up your stainless steel.
Have water spots in your stainless steel sink or on your taps? You can wipe your steel surfaces down with alcohol to get rid of these spots and restore that stainless appearance. Also try using it on your fridge or freezer to get rid of fingerprints.
26. Get rid of ring-around-the-collar stains.
If you own a lot of white shirts, you may be familiar with “ring-around-the-collar,” which is a common shirt stain caused by sweat and other forms of buildup. It is hideous to look at and notoriously tough to get rid of, but you can actually do it using rubbing alcohol. You need to do this by hand; add some rubbing alcohol to a washcloth and then get scrubbing. The stain should lift off.
27. Get rid of grease.
If you have a buildup of grease on your stove-top or other surfaces, you can grab a lint-free cloth, wet it with rubbing alcohol, and scrub it right off.
28. Make De-Icing Spray for Your Car
Nothing is more tedious than climbing into your car, already late for work, only to discover that your windshield is totally iced over and now you have to wait for it to defrost. If you want to get around this problem, you need something to speed up the process, and that’s where de-icing spray comes in! You can make your own using nothing more than water and rubbing alcohol. How awesome is that?
29. Make Your Own Alcohol-Based Paint
Sharpies and rubbing alcohol were made for each other when it comes to creating art. Did you know you can actually use them to create a kind of paint which you can use for a washed-out watercolor-like effect? It is an incredibly easy process; just check the source link to learn how to do it!
30. Remove acrylic paint from your clothing.
Speaking of paint, have you ever gotten acrylic paint on your clothes? If so, you know that the stuff is almost impossible to remove once it sets in. If you act fast though, you can take care of it using rubbing alcohol. Soak the stained section of the garment in rubbing alcohol, and then scrape off as much paint as you can before throwing it in the washing machine.
31. Clean your makeup brushes and disinfect them.
It is all too easy to forget totally about cleaning your makeup brushes, but you really should do it every now and again to stay sanitary—especially if you have recently had an infection. The best way to do it is simply to soak them in rubbing alcohol for a bit and then let them dry off. They will emerge germ-free!
32. Restore broken eye shadow.
It takes next to nothing to break your eye shadow in its container—and once you do, it is such a mess and such a pain to deal with. Apparently you can restore it to its original smoothness by using a little rubbing alcohol. I do feel dubious about this one because putting alcohol anywhere near your eye seems like a bad idea, but in theory it should be safe once it is totally dry again. Visit the source link for the tutorial.
33. Clean streaks off your mirrors.
Remember when I told you that you can use rubbing alcohol for cleaning your windows? You can also predictably use it to scrub your mirrors. All you have to do is combine rubbing alcohol with water in a 1:1 mixture in a spray bottle and have at it.
34. Stop frost from building up on your windshield.
Just as you can use rubbing alcohol to remove frost from your windshield, you can use it to prevent buildup in the first place. If you know that frost is likely, spray your windshield with a water/alcohol mixture ahead of time. This will make it harder for the frost to adhere.
35. Clean your candle jars.
If you have a candle in a jar and the jar is all scuffed up from candle soot, you can restore its appearance by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
36. Make cloudy glass clear again.
Speaking of cleaning glass, do you have any glass jars or vases which have become cloudy over time? If so, one way you can make them clear again is to use rubbing alcohol. It does an outstanding job, as you can see from this photo!
37. Clean nail polish off your carpet.
Do you have a kid who likes to stain your carpets and walls with markers and so on? If your toddler ever gets her hands on your nail polish and decides your carpeting looks like a canvas, you’ll be sorry you didn’t store the stuff on a high shelf. It is very hard to get out—but it turns out that rubbing alcohol presents an ideal solution.
38. Make your own eyeglasses cleaner.
If you wear glasses, you know that you need to clean them regularly, often multiple times a day. Sometimes water does the trick, but other times it seems like you need something a little more potent. You can make your own eyeglasses cleaner using rubbing alcohol, water and dish soap in a small spray bottle. Check out the tutorial at the link to learn how it’s done. Note that I am not sure if this is for plastic lenses, glass lenses or both.
39. Make scented rainbow beans for sensory play.
Sensory play is very important for young children to learn sensory and motor skills. One fun activity which you can put together is a simple bin full of rainbow beans scented with essential oils. You will be amazed at how entertaining this is to a young child. Click on the source link and you will find a tutorial; as you will see, rubbing alcohol is involved in creating the beans.
40. Clean your granite.
Have granite countertops? Get them sparkling clean again by wiping them down with your own DIY granite cleaner. Just combine ¼ cup rubbing alcohol with 1 cup water and 3 drops of dish detergent. You can add a few drops of essential oil if you want a nice scent in your kitchen.
41. Turn a plain pillow into a breathtaking work of art.
Have some boring plain white pillows you want to transform into OOAK delight? Check out the visual tutorial below.
42. Shine your fixtures.
Just as you can use rubbing alcohol to restore a spotless shine to your faucets, you can also use it to buff up an array of metal fixtures around your house: doorknobs, candlesticks, lamps, and so much more. You don’t even need to wipe off the alcohol after you apply it; it will evaporate quickly. As a quick note, if you use rubbing alcohol on any wood surface, make sure first that the surface doesn’t have a lacquer or other finish which alcohol may ruin.
43. Clean your blinds.
Seriously, what a pain it is trying to get the slats of your blinds clean, right? Well, you can make it a much easier job if you just use a little rubbing alcohol.
44. Replace your deodorant.
Okay, so you probably don’t want to use this as a full-time solution (there are better natural alternatives to your deodorant). But if you don’t have anything else on hand, it can dampen unwanted odors nicely.
45. Clean the backs of earrings.
If you have pierced ears, you should regularly be cleaning and disinfecting the backs of your earrings. One of the fastest and best ways to do it is using rubbing alcohol—just remember my cautions about cleaning certain types of jewelry this way.
46. Prevent sweat stains on clothing.
Previously I mentioned how you can use rubbing alcohol to remove sweat stains from the collars of your shirts. You can also apply rubbing alcohol to prevent stains from forming in the first place. Just wipe the alcohol on your skin before you get dressed in areas where you tend to perspire.
47. Make spray for your shower.
Glass doors for your shower are awesome; they are superior to curtains in so many ways—but if you have hard water, they can start to look pretty dubious pretty fast. You can make a simple spray to combat this problem using rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Use it every day for the best results—visit the link for directions.
48. Remove permanent marker from most surfaces.
Permanent marker is so-named because it is supposed to be … well … permanent—and it usually is. But thankfully if your kid scribbles all over your clothes or walls or something else inappropriate, you can usually get it out if you just use some rubbing alcohol. Visit the link below for a comprehensive post on this topic over at One Good Thing by Jillee.
49. Replace your windshield washer fluid.
Here is another use for rubbing alcohol by One Good Thing by Jillee—DIY windshield washer fluid. It is a great idea to replace your commercial fluid because it contains toxic chemicals. Visit the link to view the full tutorial.
50. Make a pair of shoes look totally amazing.
If you have some canvas shoes that are totally boring, you can jazz them up using rubbing alcohol and permanent markers. The “universe shoes” in the linked tutorial look totally awesome, but you could come up with any pattern you wanted and get a really cool effect. This would be a fun project for kids or adults.
51. Tie-dye a T-shirt.
If you thought the project to spruce up your shoes was rad, you will love this idea for die-dying a t-shirt using rubbing alcohol, sharpies and a few other basic supplies. This is another fun activity for kids and grown-ups!
52. Get fruit flies out of your house.
Apparently fruit flies do not respond well to rubbing alcohol. So put some in a spray bottle and go after them.
53. Clean and disinfect your garden tools.
Just as you probably guessed, rubbing alcohol does an incredible job removing all the debris from your gardening tools. It is a particularly smart option for cleaning tools you have used working with blighted plants. The disinfecting properties will protect the rest of your plants from the blight.
54. Chase away your bedbugs.
This is a stopgap measure only, but rubbing alcohol may be a useful weapon in your fight against bedbugs. It does kill both the bugs and their eggs on contact, but it also evaporates fast. So you probably cannot kill off the entire infestation with rubbing alcohol alone, but you may at least be able to clear up your mattress and sheets a bit before you crawl in to (try to) sleep.
55. Restore a dried-out sharpie marker.
You know now there are a lot of uses for rubbing alcohol and sharpies. But did you know you can also use rubbing alcohol to inject new life into a sharpie that has dried out? Just pour a little into the cap, close the sharpie, and let it sit for a moment. If there is sufficient ink, you may be able to get it to start coming out again. Pull off the cap, dump out the alcohol, close the marker again, and check it in another 15 minutes. With any luck, it will work again.
56. Make acrylic spray paint.
Love working with acrylics, but wish you had the option to spray paint with them? You can create your own acrylic spray paint quickly and easily. Get a spray bottle and fill it with a mixture of 1:1 rubbing alcohol and water. Make sure you only fill about half the bottle, because you will then need to fill the other half with the acrylic paint. Shake it and it is ready to use.
As you can see, rubbing alcohol has many uses beyond the medicine cabinet. It’s downright amazing stuff, so pull your bottle out, dust it off, and have fun!