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What Should I Know About Cleaning with Rubbing Alcohol?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Isopropyl alcohol, better known as rubbing alcohol, has a lot going for it. In addition to being a refreshing muscle rub, rubbing alcohol can also be utilized as an inexpensive cleaning product. If you are not familiar with the idea of cleaning with isopropyl alcohol, here are some ideas on what you can do with this product to keep your home clean and fresh.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy cleaning with rubbing alcohol is to use the substance to freshen the look of switch plates, doorknobs, and telephones. By soaking a clean dry cloth with the rubbing alcohol, it is possible to quickly remove oily deposits and dust from these surfaces. Not only will the alcohol remove dirt and grime, it will also act as a disinfectant, leaving the surfaces with fewer germs.

Bathroom cleaning is also among household rubbing alcohol uses. Stubborn rings around the bathtub drain as well as the toilet bowl can be removed by spraying rubbing alcohol on the rings and allowing it to permeate into the area. From there, using a scrub brush will complete the job. Along with bathtub ring cleaning and toilet bowl cleaning, it is also possible to spray rubbing alcohol on tile to help minimize the presence of buildup on the tile grout. Be sure to have the bathroom well-ventilated before beginning to clean with the rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning tips involving rubbing alcohol also include freshening patio furniture. Metal or resin chairs and tables can be disinfected and given a bright finish with a simple rub down using a clean cloth and a little of the product. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol will cut through a good bit of the grime that builds up on outdoor furniture during the winter months and will also make it possible to quickly refresh the furniture just before hosting an outdoor party.

Rubbing alcohol cleaning can also involve candles. Dust tends to collect on wax candles with a great deal of ease. Candle cleaning with rubbing alcohol is a great way to quickly remove the dust. In addition, the alcohol is less likely to damage the wick than water. Make sure to allow the alcohol to completely dry before lighting the candle.

Window cleaning with rubbing alcohol and water is a breeze. Mix one part alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle. Spray down the window and wipe with a clean cloth. The rubbing alcohol will leave a streak-free shine and may also help to repel dust slightly.

There are many other cleaning tips involving the use of rubbing alcohol. However, it is important to remember that the alcohol is flammable. This means it is not appropriate for use on appliances such as stoves or toaster ovens. It is also important to always do your cleaning with rubbing alcohol in an area that is well-ventilated. Following these simple safety measures will allow you to effectively clean porcelain, plastics, and glass objects around the house for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase cleaning products from the store.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon1001809 — On Jun 30, 2019

@989031 The statement about buildup and gloves doesn't make a lot of sense. The body knows how to get rid of isopropyl alcohol within hours or days. It can't build up to a significant level if it isn't breathed or swallowed continually.

By anon989031 — On Feb 16, 2015

Use gloves when cleaning with rubbing alcohol. People with cancer have a build up of this in their system. The body stores it, and unfortunately its also in a lot of beauty products.

By anon971030 — On Sep 22, 2014

Living with three roommates, I find alcohol to be a necessity. I use it on the toilet seat, sink, doorknobs, countertops, mirror and floors. It cleans great getting up dirt and grease as well as kills germs. I have it in a spray bottle diluted 1:1 with water.

For a tough job, I use some full strength onto a cloth to clean with. It works, is easy to use, kills germs, and no need to rinse. It is a frugal way to keep a clean environment.

By anon353960 — On Nov 04, 2013

My cleaning lady said that rubbing alcohol will cause metal surfaces to discolor Is that true?

By anon325791 — On Mar 18, 2013

Alcohol is also good for cleaning computer keyboard. Use also to wipe the steering wheel and door handles and supermarket trolley handles.

By anon265498 — On May 02, 2012

I have been using isopropyl alcohol to clean many surfaces in my home, including vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, and well as countertops and birdcage, computer keyboard and mouse, and remote controls.

My logic has been that when the fumes dry down (I do not allow the bird near where I am cleaning wet), this will result in a nontoxic surface. Please advise as to whether you agree with this. Thank you!

By anon187701 — On Jun 18, 2011

I live in a duplex. The neighbors (before eviction) left us with a cockroach infestation of biblical proportions. I mix (in a spay bottle) 1:12 anti-bacterial dish soap to alcohol to easily kill them and then clean the scene of the crime (one could use a squirt gun to complete the fantasy). Anyhow, this behavior led to the realization that I could economize on dish soap in a squirt bottle. It is now the most common cleaner in my house. Do not use on vinyl as it makes it brittle due to leaching of a main component of the material.

By anon178938 — On May 22, 2011

Can I use alcohol to clean stove as long as stove is not on, it's cooled down, and don't use the stove at all until the alcohol has evaporated? Or just don't use it on the stove? Would alcohol be better to use on the countertops near the stove or should I find another recipe for an all purpose cleaner?

By SalmonRiver — On May 15, 2011

Since rubbing alcohol evaporates so quickly, I have found it to be a good, relatively non-toxic way to clean surfaces. I have a small child, so I don't like products that stay wet for long. I'm not suggesting the rubbing alcohol go on something that your baby may put in their mouth. I do like it for plastic surfaces. I have used it to remove smudges from my cell phone. After reading this article, I am going to try the uses suggested for cleaning the bathroom.

By mantra — On May 14, 2011

I have used rubbing alcohol for cleaning my floors. It works well when mixed with water to clean the laminate floor in my kitchen. I agree with the article, it is a good inexpensive cleaner.

By oopart28 — On May 11, 2011

I never thought about cleaning candles having an affect on the wick, good to know. My favorite way to use isopropanol in cleaning is to remove sticky adhesive. You just want to be sure and test an area first to avoid damage.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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