26 Uses for Rubbing Alcohol

Updated on April 17, 2019

Rubbing Alcohol Has Many Uses

Rubbing alcohol has some surprising uses. Because it can be purchased for just over a dollar, it is an inexpensive alternative for many other products. It is readily available in our bathroom medicine cabinets and usually gets little use, but it has a surprisingly high number of uses for cleaning and medical purposes.


Rubbing alcohol needs to be handled with some caution. It is a poison and needs to be kept out of the reach of children. Never put it in a glass—someone may accidentally think it is water. It may cause severe problems at a high dose, even possible death. Keep it from splashing in your eyes while using it. Keep it away from flames because it is combustible. This includes lit candles, pilot lights, gas stoves, and smokers. Don't inhale the vapors while using alcohol.

Rubbing Alcohol for Cleaning

Because rubbing alcohol is also antibacterial, it makes a great cleaning product. It drys quickly, so it doesn't leave streaks. It isn't recommended for everything, but here are some great ideas.

  1. It can remove the label from a glass jar or plastic. When I found this tip, I had a label that needed removing, so I gave it a try. On the first attempt, I found that the sticky goo was hard to remove. Then I found if you let the alcohol sit on the surface for a minute, it rubbed right off.
  2. Use alcohol to remove ink stains. This includes ballpoint and permanent marker. This is one of the best ways to remove ink. Just pour a little alcohol on the stain, and let it sit for a minute. Then blot with a paper towel or cotton ball. Repeat until all ink is removed, and then launder.
  3. You never want to use anything acidic on granite or marble countertops. It will make pockmarks and ruin them quickly. Ammonia is a no-no, but alcohol will do the trick. The recipe is simple. Just add 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol,1 drop liquid hand dishwashing soap,1 cup water, and a few drops of essential oil if desired. Then clean them.
  4. Stainless steel sinks will shine if cleaned with alcohol. It will remove fingerprints and water spots. Scrub stainless steel faucets at the same time. It will leave them with a beautiful shine.
  5. It is great to clean mirrors because it cleans them and with no streaks. The mirror will no longer steam over either. Use 8 parts water to 1 part alcohol and spray on the mirror. It will remove sprayed on hairspray too. To clean off hairspray, don't dilute the alcohol and clean with a paper towel. It will wipe it right off.
  6. Clean the windows with it to prevent steam too. Just add 8 parts water to 1 part alcohol and use a spray bottle. It works on car windows too.
  7. Use it to remove germs from your computer keys, doorknobs, telephones, or any place else that might have bacteria.
  8. Make hand sanitizer. Just mix aloe vera gel with a little alcohol.
  9. Use it to clean printer heads. It will remove built-up ink.
  10. It will remove build-up on VCR players.
  11. Try using to remove grease stains in carpet and upholstery. Check a spot that doesn't show first to be sure it won't remove the color. Just apply with a paper towel.
  12. Alcohol works to clean dry erase boards. It will clean any build-up on them.
  13. Use it as a degreaser. It works great in the kitchen because it drys quickly and won't leave chrome looking streaked. Don't use near gas stoves.

Using Rubbing Alcohol as a Beauty Aid

Don't use rubbing alcohol alone on the face. Even though it has been used for years for acne, it can cause irritation to the skin. If you do apply it to a pimple, use very little.

  1. Use alcohol to clean makeup brushes, combs and hairbrushes. Just add the alcohol to some sudsy water and let them sit for awhile. Then rinse out well. It will kill any built-up germs and bacteria.
  2. Use it as an astringent. It will make your skin feel refreshed. Mix with water first. Alcohol is drying, so don't use it on dry skin that needs more moisture.
  3. Use it to soak the backs of pierced earrings.

Paramedic Use for Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol for Medical Uses

We all know that alcohol is a good disinfectant, but it has other good uses too. Rubbing alcohol is meant for external use only. Never drink it! It is poison.

  1. Place a ziplock bag in the freezer. Just add two parts of water to one part alcohol mixture in the bag. It works better than an ice pack. Since it doesn't freeze, it conforms to the body part that needs it. Be sure the bag is closed tightly and set it upright in the freezer.
  2. Use it on insect bites to relieve itching.
  3. Use to rub on sore muscles. Alcohol is cool when it is first applied and will sooth them.
  4. Don't forget that it is a good antibacterial. Use it to clean out cuts and more. On open wounds, alcohol is not recommended. Use hydrogen peroxide instead.
  5. Small pads can be purchased to carry in your purse. When antibacterial wipes aren't available, use them to wipe cart handles. Use the pads in public bathrooms, restaurants or any other time you need to wash your hands or surfaces.
  6. Use it when someone is ill in your house. Keep surfaces clean to help prevent bacteria and germs from spreading.
  7. Put some alcohol on a cold sore to help it dry up more quickly.
  8. Use it on bruises. Apply the alcohol every day, and it will help the black and blue mark disappear more quickly.
  9. It will remove the adhesive left from band-aids and tape. Leave it on the adhesive for a minute and then scrub off.

Rubbing Alcohol for Pet Ticks

Don't forget that alcohol can be useful for pets too.

  1. Remove ticks. Dab some alcohol on the tick before you try to remove it. This should make the tick loosen its grip. Then pull the tick straight out from the animal's body. Use some alcohol afterward to disinfect the area.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      5 years ago from USA

      Irc7815, I'm happy I could give you some new ideas.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Great hub. I use alcohol for lots of things at home and now I have some new things to try. Thanks for sharing all these ideas in such a nice concise manner.

    • Eddie Dagstanyan profile image

      Eddie Dagstanyan 

      6 years ago from California

      HAHA! That's the story of my life, Barbara...

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      6 years ago from USA

      Eddie Dagstanyan, I know all these tips and then I forget them when I really need them. LOL. Thanks for voting it up.

    • Eddie Dagstanyan profile image

      Eddie Dagstanyan 

      6 years ago from California

      While I won't do much with these beauty tips, the cleaning info will come in quite handy. :D Voted up and useful...

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Lisa, Thanks for reading. Hello to a fellow Michigander!

    • lisasuniquevoice profile image

      Lisa Brown 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Barbara Kay,

      I'm going to use alcohol on my bathroom mirrors and on my car windows. Also, I know I'll need it some time in the future to remove sticky lables. Thank you so much.


    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Carly, Thanks for reading. I'm happy that you've found some ideas.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      Carly Sullens 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Great tips! I need to bookmark this hub and come back to it.

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      teaches1235, I'm happy that you found a new use for alcohol. Thanks for commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Great suggestions for a common household item. Going to try the cleaning brush method next time I need this done. Thanks!

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Esther, Thanks for reading and bookmarking. I'm happy you found some tips for cleaning with alcohol that you can use.

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 

      7 years ago from UK

      Great cleaning tips here and more. Will bookmark for future reference. Many thanks for sharing.

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      washbash annie and mailxpress, I'm happy I could give you some new ideas. Thanks.

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      billybuc, Thanks for reading. I'm happy to hear I taught you a few new tricks

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 

      7 years ago from New York

      Very interesting. The medical for sore muscles and bruises. I will keep in mind.

      Stainless steel sink and faucet fixtures. I will try it this week when doing heavy cleaning. I hope it shines.

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Vickiw, Thanks for reading. I'm happy you found it interesting.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 

      7 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Really excellent suggestions ... thanks much!

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      bloomsandbugs, I am doing that today, but they are just a photo of alcohol and alcohol swabs. Thanks.

    • bloomsandbugs profile image


      7 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Very useful article. I found some new uses for rubbing alcohol here. I just wish you had at least one pic in here so I could pin it on pinterest. That is my go to place to save useful articles.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very useful, Barbara! I was aware of many of these but I did learn a couple new tricks. Thank you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So many uses for rubbing alcohol! Never thought of most of them. Thanks, that is interesting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      You have some great information here, BarbaraKay! I especially enjoyed the cleaning ideas.


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