Uses for Rubbing Alcohol That Aren’t…......Rubbing

There are certain things in this world that are just mind-blowingly useful, and rubbing alcohol is one of them. Isopropyl alcohol came onto the market in 1920 as an antiseptic. While that alone makes it pretty useful, there’s a long list of other things you could use it for, but may not know about. A few quick cautions, though, because some people see the word “alcohol” and think it’s perfectly safe…….it’s not. If you use it with a tiny bit of common sense, it’s fine. It doesn’t need to be said that you shouldn’t be drinking the stuff — it will absolutely kill you — but did you know that it’s also dangerous to get too much of it on your skin? A small amount as an astringent, antiseptic, or cleanser is fine, but if your skin absorbs too much of it, it can be pretty toxic. It’s also flammable, so keep it away from flames. It must also be noted that it will produce poison gas if it’s mixed with bleach, so don’t do that. With the safety lecture out of the way, here are some of the ways you can use rubbing alcohol to make your life better. 


  • • All the stuff you use to shave, clip, and beautify can be disinfected with a brisk wipe-down using rubbing alcohol. 
  • • You can use rubbing alcohol to clean most of your kitchen surfaces, including your countertops (unless they’re natural stone), chrome fixtures, glass, and stainless steel. It will kill germs and leave behind no spots or residue. Keep it away from natural stone (like granite), wood, and other porous stuff, though — it can damage those materials. 
  • • Have you looked at your keyboard and mouse recently? They can be filthy, and so is your phone, by the way. Luckily, you can clean them very effectively with a cloth and some rubbing alcohol. 
  • •Jewelry is often overlooked at cleaning time, but it sits in contact with our skin all day and experiences every bit of dirt and grossness our bodies do. Give it a good spritz with some isopropyl alcohol and it will shine like new. 
  • • As it turns out, permanent marker isn’t so permanent after all. If you accidentally mark up a surface, rubbing alcohol can make it go away with a little persistence. It can also clean up dry-erase boards that have become clogged with the shadowy ghosts of past presentations or grocery lists. 
  • • If your furniture needs to be cleaned with a water-free solvent, you can make your own with rubbing alcohol. Just spray it on stains and gently rub with a soft brush. 
  • • The sponge you’re using to wash your dishes and clean your kitchen is filthy. Soak it overnight in rubbing alcohol and it will be bacteria- and stink-free. 
  • • If you’re trying to bring some greenery into your home but your plants are under attack from mealybugs, whiteflies, or aphids, wiping them down with rubbing alcohol can clear up that infestation very quickly, saving your poor plants. 
  • • If you’ve got a label, sticker, or extremely stubborn bandage that refuses to let go of your jars, windows, or flesh, take a paper towel and soak it in rubbing alcohol. Then drape the towel over the adhesive or its residue and let it sit for a few minutes. The alcohol will dissolve the adhesive and you can just scrape away what’s left behind. If the first try doesn’t quite do it, just repeat until it’s all gone. 
  • • Did a pen break and stain your favorite shirt? If you act fast, you can clean it up with isopropyl alcohol. The trick here is to act before the ink dries out and sets in. Dampen a pad, sponge, or even a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and let it sit on top of the stain for a few minutes. When the pad is visibly darkened from having absorbed ink, replace it with a fresh one. Repeat until all the ink has been sucked out.