10 Household Uses for Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol: A Miracle Cleaner

Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
Photo © Angela Palmer

Just about everyone has a bottle of rubbing alcoho in the medicine cabinet. You need it for its antiseptic properties, but you can use it lots of other ways. It's time to put that bottle to work. Here are 10 handy household uses for rubbing alcohol.

  • 01 of 10

    Toddler drawing on wall
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    Permanent marker isn't as permanent as the name suggests. Use rubbing alcohol to remove it from hard surfaces like countertops, plastic, and a myriad of other places. Just dab it on the spot and wipe clean. This is a great tip to keep in mind when you come across a yard sale find that someone has put their name on.

  • 02 of 10

    Woman sitting with ice pack on knee
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    Save some money by making your own ice packs. All you need is rubbing alcohol and water.

  • 03 of 10

    Clean Mirrors

    Man Cleaning a Mirror in a Bathroom
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    Bathroom mirrors have a way of collecting build-up of hairspray and splashes of toothpaste. Just spray the mirror with rubbing alcohol and wipe it clean. It'll take off all the gunk and leave you with a streak-free shine. You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove hairspray from your bathroom sink, floor, hairbrushes, and any other styling tools.

  • 04 of 10

    Woman standing in a hotel bathroom in front of mirror, cleaning sink.
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    Rid faucets and stainless steel sinks of water spots by wiping them down with rubbing alcohol. If you have stainless steel appliances, you can also use it to remove fingerprints and smudges.

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  • 05 of 10

    Keep Car Windows Frost-Free

    Scraping snow and ice from the car windscreen
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    Scraping frost off your windshield is one of the biggest irritants of winter in a cold climate. Rubbing alcohol can keep the frost away. Just mix 1 part rubbing alcohol together with 8 parts water and apply the solution to your car windows to prevent frost from forming on them. To maintain effectiveness, repeat the process each time you wash your car and after heavy rainstorms.

  • 06 of 10

    Remove Grime

    Woman cleansing laptop with duster
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    Wipe cellphones, computer keyboards, and other high-use gadgets down with a rag that's been lightly moistened with rubbing alcohol to remove all that built-up dirt and grime from the keys and to keep germs to a minimum.

  • 07 of 10

    Hand Washing, using sanitizing gel
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    Using hand sanitizer is an all-around good idea. You can easily make your own at home with rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. Just mix 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1/3 cup of aloe vera gel, and voila. If you like, add a few drops of essential oil for a more pleasant fragrance. 

  • 08 of 10

    Woman cleaning kitchen
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    Tackle that grease build up on your stove, countertops, and cabinets by wiping them down with a sponge or rag that's been soaked in rubbing alcohol. It's quick, easy, and effective.

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  • 09 of 10

    Woman spraying perfume in air
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    Freshen the air in your home with an all-natural room spray that you made yourself. Start with rubbing alcohol and add any fragrance you like.

  • 10 of 10

    man doing the chores and cleaning house
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    Combine rubbing alcohol with water and vinegar, and you'll have a glass cleaner that performs just as well as anything you can buy at the store. Use 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon vinegar, combine in a spray bottle and you're good to go. Just be careful not to use vinegar products on stone surfaces.