Rubbing alcohol is a preparation of 97.5% concentrated or 100% pure ethanol or isopropanol in water. The chemical formula of rubbing alcohol is C3H8O. It is absolutely undrinkable as it can cause poisoning, if ingested. It is inflammable and widely used in the medical world to disinfect skin and surgical equipment.
When applied on skin, rubbing alcohol has a cooling effect. It causes dilation of blood vessels and evaporates quickly. Its alcohol concentration may vary from 68% to 99%. Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is denatured with additive poisonous chemicals that render it unfit for drinking. So, rubbing alcohol or IPA is not taxed heavily and, hence, is available at a cheaper rate as compared to your drinking alcohol. You may have been traditionally using it in your households as an antibacterial cleaning agent for tables, kitchen slabs, floors, thermometers and kids’ toys. It’s also often used to disinfect wounds, cuts or bruises after washing with soap.
Uses of Rubbing Alcohol
Gadget surface cleaner
Did you know that your laptops, personal computers, screen, printer heads, magnetic tapes, Mp3 players and especially your cell phones, carry a lot of germs and bacteria on their surface. This is because they may be dusted but not disinfected regularly. This makes them a favorable breeding ground for germs. If you are getting acne only on one side of your cheek and it is the side you use to talk over the phone, it is because the bacteria on your phone get transferred on to your skin and cause break outs. You can dab some IPA on a cotton bud and use it to clean the surface of your cell phones, keyboards and mouse.
Mix equal parts of IPA with water and gently apply all over your skin with a cotton swab. Let it dry, then wash after 15 minutes. Follow-up with aloe Vera gel. Use this cheap astringent once or twice a week for normal skin and thrice a week for oily skin. It helps reduce oiliness and take off dirt from the skin’s surface. Do not overuse and do not use for prolonged periods else it can cause severe irritation, cracks and flakiness. Always do a patch test to check for skin sensitivity.
You can often end up buying shoes that are a size smaller because your feet changes sizes about 10% during the day. That is one shoe size. Did you know? Feet of lean people become longer during the day, while obese people have a widening effect on their feet. It is said that IPA can help you increase your shoe size. Apply a thin coating on your shoes and inside the soles and let them work the magic.
Cut down water weight
Mix a gallon of Epsom salt and 5 to 8 bottles of IPA in hot water. The temperature of the water should be as high as you can handle. Soak in the tub for 45 minutes and then head straight to bed. This is a secret used by wrestlers to get rid of excess water weight before a match. You will lose almost 4 pounds overnight.
It can have a drying effect on your hair and may weaken it. However, this is how rubbing alcohol should be used to get natural orange tinged blonde highlights in your hair. Mix rubbing alcohol with water and spray on your hair. Then, comb through it. Rubbing alcohol has a bleaching effect on your hair. The outcome of the highlights’ color depends upon your natural hair color. This method is best suited for dirty blondes. Do apply generous quantities of a conditioner or a heavy-duty oil like coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil, later.
Head lice treatment
Some people have been using rubbing alcohol to kill head lice with positive results. It is not recommended for children and you should absolutely avoid its contact with your eyes at all costs. Dip your comb in rubbing alcohol each time you use it through your hair. Or you can simply apply some to your hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. The results are instant.
If you have trouble with excessive accumulation of earwax, dab some rubbing alcohol with vinegar, in equal parts, into your ear. This solution will dissolve the wax. Clean with a soft cloth. Repeat once in every two weeks.
You can now clean your CD’s and DVDs by spraying some alcohol on its surface to wipe off any fingerprints that may cause them to skip often.
IPA can prevent athlete’s foot from worsening as it dries out the skin when applied and hardens it. Works for cold sores as well.
If your room windows or car windows have frosted, spray some rubbing alcohol to melt the ice instantly. In fact, you can use it to clean mirrors and glass windows in the winter to avoid fogging and also to give them a shine.
Disinfecting eye glasses
To clean eye glasses, use IPA to disinfect any germs or bacteria on it. Eyes are very sensitive and can easily catch an infection that your spectacles may carry.
Nail paint remover
If you have run out of your nail paint remover, you can dab on some rubbing alcohol on cotton to remove your nail paint. I just tried this one yesterday and it works like a charm.
Wash fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are cultivated with heavy use of pesticides which can throw your hormonal levels off the balance once ingested. Studies suggest that when rubbing alcohol was used to wash apples, it reduced the percentage of bacteria present on the skin of the fruits to as less as 5%. Spraying rubbing alcohol also helps prevent fruit flies.
IPA works as a safe insecticide to get rid of garden pests without harming your plants. In fact, you can spray some on you mattress to get rid of bed bugs too!
Dry out lesions
If excessive itching due to insect bite has caused lesions on your skin, dab a little on it to dry it out. You don’t even have to really wait for a bump after you have been bitten by an insect. Just apply some rubbing alcohol on that area. Also, you can use it to cure infection caused by piercings.
When applied to a swollen patch on your skin, IPA can help soothe and reduce it a bit. It is a rubefacient and will bring blood to that area to reduce the blue-black spots on the skin. Or, you may also use it to make an ice-pack in the ratio of 1:3 with water. It will prevent absolute solidification of water, making it slushy and more bearable on skin.
The above method can also be used to soothe joint pain and swelling.
To remove grim residue and bring shine back to lamps, candles, metal fixtures such as door-knobs and taps, clean them with rubbing alcohol.
If you need to clean the alkaline deposits off your jewelry, let it soak in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes and clean with a cloth. It will bring back the shine to your jewelry, it also works on metal.
Apart from cleaning the candle stand, IPA can also be used to wipe the dust off the candles which is otherwise difficult due to the waxy texture. Your candles will look as good as new.
If your clothes have ink, grease, wax or blood stains on them, let the spot soak in some rubbing alcohol for a while and then wash. It will completely remove the stains.
An alternative use is to remove ticks from your cat or dog’s coat. Ticks hate alcohol and will immediately loosen their grip from the skin. Use tweezers to pull them out. This is a less painful and safe method to remove ticks without bacterial infection.
Shoe stink removal
If your shoes have been stinking a lot lately, spray the soles with rubbing alcohol and leave it at a sunny spot.
Soaking your hands or feet in a tub filled water and IPA can help get rid of bacterial growth under nails. Do this daily until fungus vanishes.
You can use IPA to sterilize your Swiss knife, scissors, kitchen knives, chopping board and razors to prevent infection.
Prevent sweat stains
Sweat stains are often found on shirt collars, armpits, inner elbows and knees. To prevent these stains, wipe skin with rubbing alcohol. It works like a natural antiperspirant.
Stains on marble/granite
It easily dissolves stains of permanent markers and crayons on non-permeable surfaces like marble and kitchen counter-tops. It is also useful to clean the stickiness left if something sweet like honey or chocolate syrup is dropped on the floor.
To remove the price stickers off utensils and clothes without leaving the sticky glue on them, pour some rubbing alcohol on the tag and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rubbing alcohol is a dis-solvent and will peel tags off easily.
Disinfecting air freshener
Mix a tablespoon of fragrant oil with half a cup of rubbing alcohol and spray in your rooms for a long-lasting scent.
You can apply rubbing alcohol to your palms if they stink after chopping onions or garlic. It removes the odor just like a sanitize.
Soothing body ache
Since it brings blood flow to the skin’s surface, an alternative use of rubbing alcohol is as a substitute to massage oil. It instantly cools and relaxes the muscles.
If your white dry erase boards have blue-black spots from the use of markers, you can make them look as white as new by cleaning with rubbing alcohol. Isn’t this wonderful for classrooms too?
To Treat Dandruff
Most of you probably are unaware that your bottle of rubbing alcohol can also help you to cure dandruff, often in less than 3 uses. For this treatment, use 3% hydrogen peroxide and directly apply it on scalp. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Since hydrogen peroxide can be drying, I would recommend that you use coconut oil after sometime without the need of washing the liquid chemical first. After about an hour, wash with your normal shampoo. Repeat until dandruff is gone. A bottle will cost you only a dollar which is way cheaper as compared to expensive anti-dandruff solutions.
If you have trouble breathing at night, while sleeping, try adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to distilled water in the humidifier. Your respiratory problems, such as emphysema, will improve considerably.
Other household uses
Other uses of rubbing alcohol include cleaning the sticky grim and dust off chimneys and blinds. Dip cleaning cloth in IPA and wipe off the dusty area.
You can easily get your bottle from the chemist’s shop. Make sure you keep it away from children as they may ingest it. Drinking this stuff can cause blindness, nausea, severe headaches, ulcers, giddiness, drowsiness and may lead to coma. Also keep it away from fire-place, gas burner and other sources of fire as it is easily inflammable and can start a fire. Always remember to keep your bottle of IPA away from natural dyes, painted surfaces and lacquer or pearl-finishes. It is known to strip oil and moisture.