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Everyday Uses of Rubbing Alcohol

written by: Prerna Malik•edited by: BStone•updated: 5/24/2011

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is an easily available product in most homes and can be used to not only clean and disinfect wounds and injuries but also to clean and disinfect objects and areas around the house. Learn more about the everyday uses of rubbing alcohol.

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    Also known isopropyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol is a medicine cabinet must-have in most homes. Used to “rub down" cuts and scrapes and hence, the name, this useful and versatile liquid can be used in a variety of ways around the house. From disinfecting phones and keyboards to removing ticks from your pet, this simple household essential has a range of applications. Here are 15 ways to use rubbing alcohol for everyday uses.

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    Using Rubbing Alcohol to Clean and Disinfect

    One of the most common and easiest ways to use rubbing alcohol is to clean surfaces with it. Here are 8 everyday ways to use rubbing alcohol to disinfect and clean.

    1. Bathroom Mirrors and Chrome Fittings: To make chrome fixtures sparkle and shine, simply use a soft cloth dipped in alcohol to wipe clean. No rinsing needed since the alcohol evaporates. Bathroom mirrors, too, can be spritzed with rubbing alcohol and wiped clean. This is also a good way to remove any hairspray residue from bathroom mirrors. Spraying it onto mirrors also prevents them from fogging up.

    2. CDs, DVDs and vinyl records: Floppy disks, CDs, DVDs and vinyl records can be cleaned gently with a soft cloth dipped in alcohol.

    3. Venetian Blinds: The slats of venetian blinds can accumulate dust over a period of time. Clean them easily by wiping with a cloth-wrapped butter knife or flat wooden spoon dipped into the alcohol.

    4. Children’s Toys: Kids’ plastic toys get grimy as well as germ-prone. Clean and disinfect them by spraying them lightly with rubbing alcohol and wiping clean to get rid of any dust or grime.

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    Keep Keyboards Clean with Rubbing Alcohol 5. Laptop or Computer Keyboards: Office goers will benefit from keeping a bottle of rubbing alcohol stashed in the desk drawer to disinfect and clean computer and laptop keyboards. Even, if you work at home, you can use it to clean the keyboard and get rid of any finger marks.

    6. Disinfect Phones, Doorknobs and Other Germ-Prone Areas: Surprisingly, many areas in the house tend to become germ magnets. Simply spritz areas such as the phone or the doorknobs, TV remotes and other frequently-touched items with rubbing alcohol or wipe with a cloth dipped in the liquid.

    7. Clean and Defrost Windshields: In winter, save time and effort by simply spritzing rubbing alcohol on your car’s windscreen and wiping clean to get rid of all the frost easily.

    8. Clean Windows and Appliances: Use a solution of one-half cup rubbing alcohol in a liter of water to clean windows and keep them frost-free. Use a scrunched up newspaper to polish them and make them sparkle. De-grease and clean appliances, in the kitchen and family room easily by wiping them with a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol. Items such as contact pins, lasers in CD and DVD players as well as tape heads can be easily cleaned with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.

    Photo Credit: DeclanTM via http://www.flickr.com/photos/declanjewell/517966692/

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    Stain Removal with Rubbing Alcohol

    Stain removal is easy and hassle-free with rubbing alcohol. Here are 5 ways to use this liquid to remove stains from clothes and other surfaces.

    9. Remove Ink Stains from Clothes: Ink stains have a way of getting onto clothes. Get them out easily by soaking the stained area in rubbing alcohol and then, washing it as usual.

    10. Prevent Collars from Getting Stained: In summers, especially, the neck area tends to sweat a lot and leaves a ring around the collar. Prevent this by wiping your neck with rubbing alcohol before you put on your shirt each morning.

    11. Remove Permanent Marker Stains: Permanent markers and nail polish stains on countertops and fabrics can also be removed with rubbing alcohol. Rub kitchen countertops made of laminate or marble to get rid of any permanent marker marks.

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    12. Get Rid off Sticky Stains: Clean hands made sticky by honey, sap or any other really sticky stuff by simply pouring it on your hands. Sticky marks left by price tags and labels can also be removed with rubbing alcohol.

    13. Clean Wax and Grease Stains from Carpets: Remove beeswax stains and grease spots from carpets with rubbing alcohol. For grease spots, simply rub a cloth dipped in alcohol gently and in circular motions until the spot disappears. For beeswax, remove pieces of the wax and then, dab the carpet with a paper towel dipped in alcohol to dissolve any remnants.

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    Rubbing Alcohol, Pets and Bugs

    Keep Pets Tick-free with Rubbing Alcohol Here are 4 everyday uses for rubbing alcohol to get rid of pests and bugs that find their way into our homes.

    14. De-Tick Your Dog: Use cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab the tick before pulling it away. This makes them loosen their grip and the de-ticking less painful for your pet. Then, dab again with the cotton ball to disinfect the wound.

    15. Get Rid of Fruit Flies: Mix a cup of rubbing alcohol with a liter of water. Decant into a spray bottle and spray at fruit flies to get rid of them easily. Use a cloth saturated with the alcohol to rub door frames and windowsills to prevent other bugs from coming in too.

    16. Soothe Mosquito Bites: Soothe and dry out a mosquito bite by gently rubbing it with cotton wool dipped in alcohol.

    17. Kill Weeds: Spraying weeds with a mix of rubbing alcohol and water is bound to get rid of them. However, one must be careful since this can kill off good plants too.

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    Using Rubbing Alcohol Safely

    Although rubbing alcohol is easy and economical to use, it is important to remember that it is an alcohol and therefore, toxic as well as combustible. So, be very careful while using it. Keep it away from children and fire. Also, always test surfaces and fabric before using rubbing alcohol on them.

    This inexpensive family essential is a blessing to have around the house. Being able to use rubbing alcohol for everyday uses makes it a must-have not only in the medicine cabinet but also in the kitchen, living room, and pretty much everywhere else. Just remember to keep it locked and away from kids.

    Photo Credit: sarah may scott via http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunnymay/2529273197/

    References:

    Reader's Digest : http://www.rd.com/home-garden/12-ways-to-use-rubbing-alcohol/article24001.html

    Siepel, Sharon B. Essential Survival Guide to Living On Your Own.