Need reasons to keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol at home? Well, we can provide you plenty. If you have a busy household, rubbing alcohol can assist you in a lot of ways.

intro use rubbing alcohol for cleaning

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Rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is the one multi-functioning chemical that you can safely use at home. It’s helpful for a host of cleaning needs. It acts as a degreaser, stain remover, disinfectant, odor-removal agent and much more.

A handful of rubbing alcohol-based DIYs can help you keep your distance from a variety of expensive cleaning products that likely contain toxic chemicals.

Read on to learn how to use rubbing alcohol for cleaning and stain removal.

Contents

Cleaner and Shiner

Rubbing alcohol is an effective cleaning agent that works like a charm in most cases where detergent is not applicable or proves to be ineffective.

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Method 1: All-Purpose Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner contains rubbing alcohol along with vinegar, a dash of dish soap, lavender essential oil and hot water. This solution acts as a degreaser, general stain remover and shines up dull and cloudy-looking surfaces.

Other than making your kitchen counters clean and shiny, you can use this solution to clean and shine metal and cloudy glass surfaces like windows and mirrors. It will cut through the film of deposits on the surface and give them a clear, sparkly shine.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol for all purpose cleaner

  • Rubbing alcohol (cleaning and disinfecting agent) – ¼ cup
  • White vinegar (cleaning and stain-removal agent) – ¼ cup
  • Liquid dish soap (cleaning and degreasing agent) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Lavender essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 5 to 10 drops
  • Hot water – 1 cup

Step 1. Combine all the ingredients

combine rubbing alcohol vinegar and liquid soap

  • Pour ¼ cup each of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar into a container.
  • Put in a couple drops of liquid dish soap.

add essential oil

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  • Add 5 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Pour in 1 cup of hot water.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Pour the DIY cleaning solution into a spray bottle for easy use

pour the solution in a spray bottle and use

  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle and put the spray nozzle back on. You may use a funnel for pouring to prevent spills.
  • Use this DIY cleaning solution to clean and shine your kitchen counters, sinks, mirrors and glass surfaces.

Method 2: Clean Eyeglasses and Electronic Screens

A simple solution of rubbing alcohol and distilled water is enough to clean the lenses in your eyeglasses and other delicate surfaces like phone and tablet screens, flat-screen TVs and monitors.

Eyeglasses and electronic screens often have antireflective or other protective coatings that can easily be damaged by ammonia or vinegar-based cleaners. So instead of Windex, use this DIY rubbing alcohol-based cleaner.

Single-Step Method: Make your own screen cleaner with rubbing alcohol and distilled water

add rubbing alcohol to distilled water

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  • Fill a small spray bottle halfway with distilled water.
  • Fill up the rest of the bottle with rubbing alcohol.
  • Put the spray nozzle back on and shake it to mix the ingredients.
  • Your DIY screen cleaner is good to go.

Method 3: Clean a Dry-Erase Board

If your creativity has left a mark on your dry-erase board, straight rubbing alcohol is your one-ingredient solution.

A little wipe down with rubbing alcohol can easily remove the leftover ink smudges from previous projects, making your white board look good as new. This will also take care of any accidental permanent marker stains on your white board.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to clean dry erase board

  • Rubbing alcohol (reactivates the ink)
  • Clean rag

Single-Step Method: Wipe down the dry-erase board with rubbing alcohol

clean the dry erase with rubbing alcohol

  • Pour some rubbing alcohol on a clean rag and wipe the board clean.
  • Do not apply rubbing alcohol directly on the white board, as you would with Windex on glass. Always put it on a rag or other cleaning cloth first.

Disinfectant

Rubbing alcohol is not only an effective disinfectant but also quite easy to work with. It can be safely used in situations where other disinfectants like bleach cannot be used.

Method 1: Disinfect Makeup Brushes

If you’re suffering from recurring acne and can’t figure out the source of your breakouts, dirty makeup brushes and sponges or pillowcases might be part of the problem.

Washing dirty pillowcases is easy, and disinfecting makeup brushes is not rocket science either. Rubbing alcohol can eliminate the acne-causing bacteria breeding in your makeup brushes. Following that with a swirl in a mild soapy solution will take care of the rest of the gunk hidden in the brushes.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol to disinfect makeup brushes

  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfectant)
  • Water
  • Liquid hand wash (cleaning agent)
  • Soft, lint-free towel

Step 1. Dilute rubbing alcohol with water

combine rubbing alcohol with water

  • Pour 1 part rubbing alcohol into a glass and dilute it with 2 parts water.

Step 2. Swirl the bristles in the diluted rubbing alcohol

swirl the dirty brush in the solution

  • Swirl the bristles of the makeup brushes in the diluted rubbing alcohol.
  • Keep the ferrule out of the solution to protect the glue that holds the bristles together.

Step 3. Make a mild soap solution

add liquid hand wash

  • Add a couple drops of liquid hand wash to a glass of water to make a mild soap solution.

Step 4. Further clean the bristles in the soap solution

swirl makeup brush in soapy water

  • Swirl the bristles of the makeup brushes in the soapy water to further deep clean them. Again, be sure to keep the ferrule out of the solution.

Step 5. Rinse the brushes

rinse the brushes

  • Rinse the bristles thoroughly in running water to remove the cleaning solutions along with dissolved makeup and pigments.

Step 6. Dry the brushes

dry the bruses

  • Soak up the water from the dripping bristles with a folded paper towel.
  • Lay the brushes on their side, resting the bristles over a soft, lint-free towel.
  • Elevate the handles to facilitate the flow of water from the bristles onto the towel.
  • Let the makeup brushes completely air-dry before using them.

final clean makeup brushes with rubbing alcohol

Method 2: DIY Hand Sanitizer

If you’re wary of the cocktail of chemicals disguised as ‘perfume’ and preservatives in your hand sanitizer, this DIY hand sanitizer offers a good alternative.

While rubbing alcohol is the main sanitizing agent here, this formula also contains aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil. The essential oils, especially tea tree oil, complement the rubbing alcohol by acting as antimicrobial agents.

The aloe vera gel base keeps the alcohol from drying out your hands, and the vitamin E and lavender oils provide additional moisturizing properties.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol as hand sanitizer

  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfectant) – 1 tablespoon
  • Aloe vera gel (hydrates and moisturizes) – 3 tablespoons
  • Vitamin E oil (hydrates and moisturizes) – ½ teaspoon
  • Tea tree essential oil (antimicrobial agent) – 15 or 16 drops
  • Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial agent) – 8 to 10 drops

Step 1. Combine all the ingredients

combine aloe vera gel rubbing alcohol and vitamin E oil

  • Pour 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel into a container.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into it.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of vitamin E oil.

add essential oils

  • Add in 15 or 16 drops of tea tree oil and 8 to 10 drops of lavender oil.
  • Stir well to mix the ingredients completely.

Step 2. Store the mixture in an old hand sanitizer bottle

store and use

  • Pour the mixture into an empty hand sanitizer bottle or other similar container for convenient use.

This DIY hand sanitizer should stay good for 1 month. The vitamin E oil in the recipe helps to extend the shelf life of the fresh aloe vera gel.

Stain Removal

When it comes to stain removal, rubbing alcohol often saves the day. A safe solvent to dissolve permanent marker ink, rubbing alcohol also works on other pigments like acrylic paint and nail polish stains. It can also be used to remove grease and oil stains.

Method 1: Permanent Marker Stain Remover

You can successfully remove permanent ink markings from fabrics as well as plastic and glass surfaces using rubbing alcohol. While you can also use it on your skin for the same purpose with effective results, it can be quite drying.

#Remove Permanent Marker from Cloth

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from clothes

  • Rubbing alcohol (reactivates the ink)
  • Paper towels

Single-Step Method: Blot out the ink stain with rubbing alcohol and paper towels

blot the stain with rubbing alcohol and paper towel

  • Place a paper towel underneath the fabric. It will absorb some of the ink once it is dissolved.
  • Pour a little rubbing alcohol on the stain to reactivate the ink.
  • Blot up the ink with another paper towel as soon as it begins to run upon dissolving.
  • Repeat the process until you get the stain out. Keep changing the paper towels as they get soiled to avoid staining the cloth again.
  • Rinse the fabric and launder the item as you normally would do.

#Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from plastic

  • Rubbing alcohol (reactivates the ink)
  • Soft towel

Single-Step Method: Clean the ink stain with rubbing alcohol and a towel

clean the ink stain with rubbing alcohol and a towel

  • Pour a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol on a soft towel, soaking it.
  • Wipe the permanent ink marking with the alcohol-soaked end of the towel.
  • Keep working on the stain until it’s completely gone.

#Remove Permanent Marker from Glass

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from glass

  • Rubbing alcohol (reactivates the ink)
  • Paper towels

Single-Step Method: Remove the ink stain with rubbing alcohol and paper towels

remove the ink stain with rubbing alcohol and paper towel

  • Soak a paper towel liberally with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use it to rub off the permanent marker stain. Replace soiled paper towels with fresh ones as needed.
  • Keep working at it until the stain vanishes.

Method 2: Acrylic Paint Remover

Acrylic paints may be water-soluble, but getting them out of your favorite piece of clothing once they dry is quite the pain. Rubbing alcohol makes your work easier by breaking down the resinous buildup of the dried acrylic paint.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol to remove acrylic paint

  • Rubbing alcohol (breaks down the stain)
  • Cleaning brush

Step 1. Pour out rubbing alcohol in a bowl

pour out rubbing alcohol in a bowl

  • Pour some rubbing alcohol into a bowl to soak the stained cloth.

Step 2. Soak the stain in rubbing alcohol

soak the stained fabric in rubbing alcohol

  • Immerse the stained area of the fabric in it.
  • Let the stain soak for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the rubbing alcohol to break down the paint.

Step 3. Scrub out the stain

scrub and rinse the stain

  • Scrub out the stain with a soft, nylon-bristle cleaning brush. You can even use your old nail brush or an old toothbrush for this job.
  • Rinse the fabric with plenty of water.
  • Repeat the process until most of the stain comes out, then launder the clothing as usual.

final remove acrylic paint from cloth

Method 3: Grease and Oil Stain Remover

With this DIY rubbing alcohol cleaner, you can easily tackle that greasy oil stain buildup on your kitchen counter. Caring for your marble and granite countertops was never easier!

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol as grease and oil stain remover

  • Rubbing alcohol (degreaser and stain-removal agent) – 1 tablespoon
  • Liquid dish soap (cleaning agent) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Citrus essential oil (masks the smell of alcohol) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Kitchen towel
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle

Step 1. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle

combine the ingredients in a spray bottle

  • Pour 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into a small spray bottle.
  • Add a couple drops of liquid dish soap to it.
  • Add in a couple drops of any citrus essential oil. You can use lemon, orange or tangerine.
  • Close the spray bottle and give it a shake to blend the ingredients well.

Step 2. Use the DIY rubbing alcohol spray to degrease your countertops

clean the stain with the diy spray

  • Spray the DIY cleaner on the stubborn grease spots and let it sit for 1 minute.
  • Scrub out the stains with a kitchen towel.
  • Buff the area with a microfiber cloth for a clean, lint-free finish.

final clean oil and grease stain

Method 4: Nail Polish Stain Remover

Getting your favorite nail polish on your clothing is a common problem, especially if you like doing your nails yourself. Rubbing alcohol can help you keep your stained clothing from going into the garbage can. It reactivates the pigments in the nail polish, so the stain can be blotted away.

Step 1. Place paper towels under the stained fabric

position the stained fabric over a paper towel

  • Put some paper towels underneath the stained area of the fabric. They will absorb some of the pigments of the nail polish when it’s reactivated with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2. Soak the stain with rubbing alcohol and rub the polish out

soak the stain with rubbing alcohol and rub the polish out

  • Pour some rubbing alcohol directly on the stain.
  • Rub the saturated stain with a cotton swab to lift out the reactivated nail polish pigments. Some of the pigment will also transfer to the paper towel underneath.
  • Repeat the process with clean cotton swabs and paper towels until the entire stain is gone.
  • Launder the clothing as you would normally do.

final remove nail polish stain

Odor Removal

Rubbing alcohol works well as a deodorizer. You can use it to get rid of the stink in your shoes or just to freshen up your surroundings.

Method 1: Deodorize Smelly Shoes

If your favorite pair of shoes have become unbearably stinky, there is still hope for them. You can easily banish the stink with rubbing alcohol, which will destroy the bacteria that’s producing the foul odor. Add a hint of your favorite essential oil for additional antibacterial properties and to make your shoes smell great.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol for deodorizing smelly shoes

  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfects and deodorizes)
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Essential oil (antibacterial agent and imparts fragrance)

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine rubbign alcohol, water and essential oil

  • Fill a small spray bottle halfway with water.
  • Fill it the rest of the way with rubbing alcohol.
  • Add a couple drops of any essential oil to it. You can use citrus essential oils like lemon, wild orange or tangerine for a lovely fragrance.
  • Close the spray bottle and shake it a few times to mix the ingredients.

Step 2. Use the DIY spray to defunk your shoes

spray the insides of the shoe

  • Spray the insides of your stinky shoes liberally with the solution to banish the stink.
  • Let them air-dry before wearing them again.

Method 2: DIY Air Freshener

An essential oil-based DIY air freshener is a far better choice than the cocktail of chemicals present in many commercial air fresheners. We used orange, peppermint and lavender essential oils in this formulation. You can use different blends for a personalized touch.

The rubbing alcohol present in this air freshener will eradicate bad odors and also allow the solution to dry up faster without leaving any residue. This spray can also double as a mosquito repellent.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol in DIY air freshener

  • Water – 1 cup
  • Rubbing alcohol (deodorizing agent)– ½ cup
  • Orange essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 5 or 6 drops
  • Peppermint essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 5 or 6 drops
  • Lavender essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 5 or 6 drops

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine water rubbing alcohol and essential oils

  • Pour 1 cup of water into a container.
  • Add ½ cup of rubbing alcohol to it.
  • Add 5 or 6 drops each of orange, peppermint and lavender essential oils.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Store the DIY air freshener in a spray bottle for easy use

transfer to a spray bottle and use

  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle for convenient use.
  • Use the DIY air freshener to revive your surroundings.

This DIY air freshener should stay good for 1 week under refrigeration. You can extend its shelf life for up to 1 month by using distilled water instead of tap water.

Label Remover

Rubbing alcohol is an effective solvent. Not only does it work to reactivate a variety of pigments, it can also be used to dissolve many adhesives – even superglue! This makes rubbing alcohol an effective agent for removing labels from bottles and jars.

Step 1. Soak the label in rubbing alcohol

soak the label in rubbing alcohol

  • Fill a container with rubbing alcohol. The container should be big enough to hold the item that you need to remove the label from.
  • Place the bottle or jar into the container, so that the label is fully immersed in the rubbing alcohol.
  • Let the label soak in it for 5 to 10 minutes. If the label is affixed with a heavy-duty adhesive, you can soak it for up to a few hours to loosen up the label.

Step 2. Scrape off the loosened label

scrape off the loosened label

  • When the adhesive is diluted, the label should be fairly loosened up. Manually pull off as much of the loosened label as you can.
  • Scrape off the remaining label with a butter knife or similar flat-surface instrument until the entire label comes off.

DIY Cleaning Wipes

Instead of buying expensive cleaning wipes that are probably loaded with harmful chemicals, you can make your own all-purpose DIY cleaning wipes with rubbing alcohol. You can use these wipes to clean kitchen counters, the inside of your fridge or even the keyboard on your laptop.

The rubbing alcohol along with vinegar do most of the disinfecting and cleaning, while Dawn dish soap further aids in cleaning. Essential oil is mostly for fragrance, and water dilutes the mixture and moistens the wipes.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol as cleaning wipes

  • Rubbing alcohol (cleans and disinfects) – ¼ cup
  • White vinegar (cleaning agent) – ½ cup
  • Water – ¼ cup
  • Dawn dish soap (degreaser)– 1 teaspoon
  • Citrus essential oil (fragrance) – 8 to 10 drops
  • Roll of paper towels

Step 1. Make the cleaning solution and set it aside

mix rubbing alcohol, white vinegar and water

  • Pour ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol into a container.
  • Pour ½ cup of white vinegar into it.
  • Pour in ¼ cup of water.

add liquid dish soap and essential oil

  • Add 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap to the mix.
  • Put in 8 to 10 drops of any citrus essential oil.
  • Stir well to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

Step 2. Cut the paper towel roll in half

cut the paper roll in half

  • Cut the roll of paper towel in half with a sharp knife.

Step 3. Soak one half of the roll in the cleaning solution

soak the roll in the cleaning solution

  • Put one half of the paper towel roll into a small container that fits the roll snugly. You can use a PET jar or an empty coffee can.
  • Pour the cleaning solution over the paper towel roll, so that it is completely saturated.
  • Put the lid back on and let it sit for a while.

Step 4. Remove the cardboard roll before using your DIY cleaning wipes

remove the cardboard roll before using

  • Remove the cardboard roll from the center of the paper towels. Being soaked, it can be easily pulled out.
  • Pull out the end piece of the DIY wipes from the center of the roll to have easy access every time.

Tips

  • To make a more effective eyeglass cleaning solution, add a drop of mild dish soap or hand wash to diluted rubbing alcohol. Make sure that the dish soap is not citrus-based.
  • Cut the lid of the DIY cleaning wipes container in the shape of an ‘X’ and pull the first wipe through it. This will give you easy access to the wipes.
  • You can also make your DIY cleaning wipes reusable, just substitute paper towels with wash rags and old kitchen towels.
  • You can also use rubbing alcohol to sanitize floors.
  • A solution of 1 part rubbing alcohol diluted with 2 parts water acts as a fabulous window defroster. Keep a bottle handy to defrost your car windows on the go.
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