If you’re looking for a quick disinfectant rubbing alcohol is a great option. We rounded up ways to clean with rubbing alcohol that goes beyond disinfectant.
Rubbing alcohol is a cleaning product that is avoided by a lot of households simply because there are so many other cleaners available for purchase, and it’s not found in the cleaning isle either!
The fumes are powerful so people do avoid it for this reason, but if used in a well ventilated area, this is a great cleaning solution.
If you are having a tough time finding cleaning products, or are in a pinch, don’t forget about rubbing alcohol. It has amazing disinfecting properties and can be used all over the home. While it does take 30 seconds to truly start disinfecting, it is an effective way to get areas that don’t absorb liquids quickly germ-free.
We put together this guide so you can learn why rubbing alcohol is great for cleaning and what kind of surfaces you can clean with it around the house. Remember to read the warnings on the bottle and test surfaces around the home before spraying it to avoid damaging anything in your house.
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Why Rubbing Alcohol Is Great For Cleaning
Better than most other items in your home, yep even baking soda and vinegar, rubbing alcohol is a great cleaning solution.
Vinegar is an acid which means it is great for cleaning off buildup from coffee makers, loosening up carpet stains and washing grimy windows, but it is not registered as a disinfectant.
Vinegar is not as effective to killing bacteria, though there are definitely effective ways to use it around the home for cleaning. But it is best to use it for removing build up rather than disinfecting.
Rubbing alcohol was invented in the 1920s and was first used in WW1 to prepare smokeless repellent.
Now it is an effective disinfectant for body and house.
This cleaner has the ability to clean the entire kitchen, freshen fabrics and remove hard stains too.
The reason this alcohol is effective is its ability to dry quickly without leaving film or a residue which a lot of store-bought cleaners do not do a good job of. The last thing you want is to clean a surface, just to re-clean it again with water because of residue left behind by the original cleaner.
Before using rubbing alcohol (or any cleaners) on surfaces, be sure to test them out to ensure the area will not be damaged. While rubbing alcohol is safe for all surfaces, there is always a possibility of ruining something you love with any cleaner which is why it is important to test out an area that is usually hidden from sight before using it.
Ways To Clean With Rubbing Alcohol
Homemade Disinfectant: I love to use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the home and it is easy to do so for even the germiest areas. Add 1 part water and 2 parts rubbing alcohol to a spray bottle and spray your germy surfaces. Leave the solution on for 30 seconds before wiping it up with a cloth.
Refresh Sponges and Cloths: Sponges and cloths get grimy and grow bacteria on them after each and every use. You can clean your sponges and cloths by soaking them in a bowl of rubbing alcohol for 10 minutes. After the soak, simply rinse them out and use them right away. A great tip you should follow is to either microwave your sponge for 3 minutes before you wash your daily dishes or spray your cloths and sponges with rubbing alcohol before each use.
Clean Sinks and Chrome: Just like stainless steel, chrome products and sinks often get stained and worn out looking, especially in the kitchens which we use daily. Spray your rubbing alcohol into your sink after cleaning to disinfect it and shine it up. You can buff it out with a microfiber cloth to make the chrome finishes shine if you like. You can use this trick to clean your boat as well.
Remove Hair Spray from Mirrors and Tiles: Hairspray can get everywhere, and it leaves a stain on walls, mirrors and tiles too! Simply add some rubbing alcohol to a cloth and wipe away the mess to reveal spotless mirrors, tiles and walls.
Remove Frost from Car Windows: While it’s not a cleaning hack, frost on windows is annoying, especially when you’re in a bit of a rush and it’s the dead of winter. Simply mix 1 part rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water and then spray the solution onto your windows. Repeat every few weeks, especially if you live in a very cold climate.
Stainless Steel Cleaner: Stainless steel appliances can show smudge marks and stains easily. Simply use a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol to wipe down your stainless steel appliances and remember to go with the grain when wiping your appliance.
Clean Off The Dry Erase Board: Dry erase boards become difficult to clean over time, especially if writing was left on the board for a long time. Simply spray the rubbing alcohol onto the board and wipe away with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.
Remove Ink and Permanent Marker Stains: Permanent marker is difficult to remove from many surfaces, but rubbing alcohol makes it easy to blot up the stains off clothing and other surfaces too. There are different ways to clean with rubbing alcohol whether it is fabric or walls that you are cleaning. When cleaning clothing, simply soak the stained area with rubbing alcohol for a couple of minutes and then blot it up with a towel before laundering as usual. If you are cleaning a wall with permanent marker on it, then simply put rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wipe away the marker marks.
Clean window blinds: A lot of cleaners will leave a residue on window blinds, especially the wooden kind and the rubbing alcohol dissolves dust without leaving the residue (or even water marks) behind.
Rubbing Alcohol Warnings
Do not drink rubbing alcohol as this can be deadly. Never let children use it without supervision and only use it on your skin. It should not be used for reducing fevers.
Rubbing alcohol is a flammable substance and should not be left near high heat or open flames.
Call 911 immediately if you’ve used rubbing alcohol and experience troubles breathing, hives, swelling or other unusual symptoms.
Should You Disinfect Surfaces With Rubbing alcohol?
Yes you should be disinfecting objects that do not absorb liquids around the house using regular rubbing alcohol.
You can find rubbing alcohol in stores or online and it is commonly made using isopropyl alcohol which has a strong odour and is colourless.
You should look for rubbing alcohol that is at least 70% alcohol and you can neutralize viruses if you leave the alcohol on hard surfaces for 30 seconds before wiping it off for best results.
It can be tougher to disinfect the entire home with rubbing alcohol because of the 30 second wait period for the disinfecting to take effect. When you leave the solution on some surfaces, it could dry before the 30 seconds are up, leaving the germs neutralized on that surface, rendering the cleaning attempt ineffective.
Toilet handles and house keys can handle staying wet for 30 seconds whereas the coffee table could dry off much more quickly.
The bottom line is, while you could disinfect your entire home with rubbing alcohol, you must ensure the solution stays wet for 30 seconds before wiping it off in order for it to be effective.
Is Cleaning With rubbing alcohol the Same As Cleaning with Liquor?
Unfortunately not, the liquors that you use to make your favorite drinks do not contain the concentration required to disinfect and remove bacteria and germs.
Vodka for example does not usually contain more than 40% of alcohol whereas rubbing alcohol has a much higher concentration that is not safe for human consumption.
The bottom line is, do no use Vodka to clean your home, but you can use rubbing alcohol for effecting cleaning.
6 things You Should Not Do With Rubbing Alcohol
Don’t mix rubbing alcohol with bleach: You’re basically going to create a chloroform if you mix rubbing alcohol and bleach together, Chloroform can cause some health issues and can irritate skin, lungs eyes and affect the whole central nervous system.
Don’t use rubbing alcohol near flames or high heat: alcohol is flammable, so rubbing alcohol is not an exception. Keep it away from flames, high heat and don’t smoke near an open bottle of it.
Do not use the rubbing alcohol in a non ventilated area: Keep your windows and doors open when cleaning with rubbing alcohol to prevent inhalation of the product.
Soft surfaces should not be cleaned with rubbing alcohol: If you’re cleaning your home with rubbing alcohol do not clean the couch and expect it to disinfect. while you can certainly remove stains from fabrics, the disinfecting properties soak into the fabric and do not eliminate the germs effectively.
Avoid Rubbing Alcohol On finished Surfaces: Rubbing alcohol can liquify varnishes and damage your furniture. Avoid using any rubbing alcohol on painted, shellacked, lacquered, or varnished surfaces, including treated wood.
Don’t ingest it: Rubbing alcohol is toxic if ingested, even the smallest amount. So don’t do this.