Rubbing Alcohol: 17 Essential Household Hacks and Tips

A versatile household hero that can do it all, from cleaning and disinfecting to removing stains and making DIY projects.

Growing up, a multipurpose solvent was always a staple in my family’s DIY cabinet. I remember my mom reaching for it to clean everything from kitchen countertops to bathroom tiles, remove stains, create homemade cleaning solutions, disinfect surfaces, and even freshen the air. That go-to item? Rubbing alcohol. Now, as a parent juggling life’s messes — literal and metaphorical — I’ve come to rely on this old-school solution for a variety of cleaning and disinfecting tasks.

Rubbing Alcohol Hacks and Tips

What is Rubbing Alcohol and How Is It Good for Daily Life Hacks

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, isn’t just some clear, nose-twitching liquid you pass by on your way to the aspirin. This household essential is very effective in cleaning, disinfecting, and tackling stubborn stains that just won’t budge.

Beyond its affordability and broad availability—from pharmacies to big-box retailers—it can simplify many household tasks. This colorless solvent is often the missing link that takes your crafting to the next level, makes your DIYs more efficient, and enhances your daily life hacks.

Uses of Rubbing Alcohol in DIY Projects

Rubbing alcohol is a versatile go-to for a plethora of DIY projects and household tasks. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your living space, clean your possessions, or even create your own cleaning solutions, rubbing alcohol has you covered. Here’s how:


  • Cleans and disinfects the inside and outside of your shoes
  • Lifts away various stains like ink and grass with ease
  • Banishes scuffs from leather shoes for a polished look
  • Brightens shoelaces for that brand-new feel
  • Eliminate unpleasant odors, leaving your shoes smelling fresh


  • Erases stubborn stains from clothing, making them look new again
  • Brightens white clothes by soaking them in a special alcohol-water solution
  • Keeps your wardrobe smelling fresh with a homemade fabric freshener
  • Easily strips away unwanted vinyl designs for a revamped look


  • Revitalizes and sanitizes furniture, leaving them both looking and smelling fresh
  • Lifts stains from fabric or leather surfaces with just a cloth or sponge
  • Acts as a polishing agent for wood furniture, making your pieces shine like new


  • Sanitize and rejuvenate surfaces for a sparkling, germ-free finish
  • Lift stubborn stains like coffee and tea effortlessly


  • Degreases and purifies stainless steel surfaces, eradicating fingerprints and grime
  • Lifts stubborn stains with just a sponge or cloth


  • Serves as an effective cleaning agent, offering a streak-free shine
  • Loosens adhesive to simplify the task of sticker removal


  • Cleans and sanitizes for a crystal-clear finish
  • Removes smudges and fingerprints with ease


  • Disinfects and cleans hard floors like tile and laminate
  • Lifts difficult stains, such as ink and wine, with minimal effort


  • Disinfects and cleans screens and device exteriors for a safer, smoother user experience
  • Erases screen smudges and unsightly marks in a flash


  • Decontaminates and wipes down tools, preparing them for their next use
  • Loosens rust for easy scrubbing and restoration


  • Sanitizes and shines jewelry pieces, making them look brand new
  • Removes tarnish to bring back the original luster of your items

Makeup Brushes

  • Cleans and disinfects bristles for a more hygienic makeup application
  • Allows for easy rinse and air-dry, making maintenance a breeze


  • Sanitizes and cleans plastic toys for worry-free play
  • Suitable for softer toys when sprayed lightly, followed by air drying

Sports Equipment

  • Sanitizes and refreshes a wide range of sports equipment, from yoga mats to gym weights, ensuring a healthier workout environment.


  • Thoroughly cleans the interior touchpoints like steering wheels, handles, and dashboard controls, making your drive more pleasant.
  • Effectively tackles stubborn stains on seats and carpets, rejuvenating your car’s interior.


  • Dissolves adhesive residues, facilitating the easy removal of stickers and labels from multiple surfaces.
  • Revitalizes old paint brushes by loosening dried paint, extending the lifespan of your art supplies.
  • Lightens ink stains on paper, saving important documents from the recycling bin.

Make Air Freshener with Essential Oils and Rubbing Alcohol

Make Your Own Air Freshener

Why spend on store-bought air fresheners when you can whip up your own with a few simple ingredients? Create a custom room spray using rubbing alcohol, water, and a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils. to make air fresheners with essential oils and alcohol:

  • Start with the Base: Fill a misting bottle three-quarters full with water and top it off with rubbing alcohol to make up the last quarter.
  • Add Aroma: Add anywhere from 10 to 20 drops of your chosen essential oil to give your room spray that personalized aroma.
  • Mix It Up: Seal the bottle and give it a good shake to blend all the elements together seamlessly.

Feel free to get creative by blending different essential oils to create a unique scent that’s perfect for you and aligns with the current season. Now you have a DIY air freshener that not only smells amazing but is free from chemicals too!

12 More Unique DIY Extras

DIY Rubbing Alcohol

Who knew rubbing alcohol could be such a multitasker? Here are some unique ways you can harness its power for everyday life:

  1. Extend Flower Freshness: Add a splash of solvant to your vase of water. It’ll stave off bacteria, helping your cut flowers stay vibrant longer.
  2. Fog-Free Mirrors: A quick wipe-down will leave your mirrors fog-free after you shower. Just make sure to let it dry fully.
  3. DIY Window Cleaner: Mix its one part with two parts water in a spray bottle. Add some essential oil for that extra touch of aroma.
  4. Spick-and-Span Makeup Brushes: A quick soak in rubbing alcohol, followed by a water rinse and air-dry, will leave your brushes as good as new.
  5. Say Goodbye to Sticky Residue: Dab a cotton ball soaked in solvent onto adhesive leftovers and watch it dissolve.
  6. Safe Cutting Boards: Wipe down your cutting boards with rubbing alcohol to knock out bacteria and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  7. Homemade Insect Repellent: Blend one part alcohol and three parts water, add a few drops of insect-repelling essential oils like citronella or peppermint, and you’ve got a bug spray that’s gentle yet effective.
  8. Erase Ink Stains: A cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol can work wonders on stubborn ink stains on your clothes.
  9. Pet-Friendly Sanitizer: Your fur baby’s bedding and toys can be soaked in rubbing alcohol for a quick sanitize. Just rinse well and let them dry.
  10. Natural DIY Deodorant:
  11. Combine two parts water with one part of it, and add a couple of drops of antimicrobial essential oils like tea tree or lavender. Shake well and spray on as a natural deodorant.
  12. Crystal Clear Eyeglasses: A spritz of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth makes for the perfect lens cleaner.
  13. Keyboard Cleaner: For a cleaner, less germ-infested workspace, lightly dampen a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and gently scrub your computer keys.

From extending the life of your fresh flowers to keeping your computer keyboard clean, rubbing alcohol is a household must-have with plenty of unique uses. Enjoy experimenting!

Tips for Using Rubbing Alcohol Safely

It is a flammable liquid, so it’s crucial to handle it with care. Below are some tips for using rubbing alcohol safely.

  • Keep Away from Heat: Store rubbing alcohol away from heat sources and open flames to prevent accidental fires.
  • No Smoking: Do not smoke or use open flames when you’re working with this solvent. The fumes are flammable.
  • Ventilation is Key: Always use in a well-ventilated area to disperse fumes and reduce the risk of inhalation.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Don gloves and eye protection to avoid skin and eye contact.
  • Avoid Skin Contact: Try not to get it on your skin. If it happens, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
  • In Case of Ingestion: It is not for internal use. If you or someone else accidentally ingests it, seek medical attention immediately.

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