Rubbing Alcohol Is More Than a Disinfectant: Learn All the Ways to Clean With It

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Home » Blog » Home Safety & Cleaning » Rubbing Alcohol Is More Than a Disinfectant: Learn All the Ways to Clean With It

Rubbing alcohol, commonly referred to as Isopropyl alcohol, is popularly known for its health and hygiene uses. This is especially true if you have ever received a shot or given blood at the hospital. But can you use rubbing alcohol to clean?

Absolutely! Rubbing alcohol is a general cleaner. It is a degreaser, disinfectant, sanitizer, and stain remover. Many people use rubbing alcohol not only for various tasks. Since it quickly evaporates, it efficiently cleans glass and stainless-steel material without streaking. It can also wipe off dirt, stains, and gum.

Rubbing alcohol is also great for cleaning electronics, especially your cell phone. Not only will it clean your sweat marks and fingerprints off the screen, but it will disinfect the germs it gathers from everywhere else you take it.

Overall, rubbing alcohol can be used as part of your cleaning routine. But even if rubbing alcohol is a popular cleaner, there are a lot of risks associated when using it as a cleaner. Let’s find out how you can properly use rubbing alcohol to clean. 

What is Rubbing Alcohol Used For?

Generally, rubbing alcohol is used for various healthcare and industrial applications. Its 70% alcohol and 30% water concentration are useful for skin and wounds. But, it should not be intended for extended periods because it can cause redness and dryness.

Due to germicide properties, rubbing alcohol is a good sanitizer. Typically, rubbing alcohol can sanitize and disinfect various surfaces in your house and your hands and works well for sanitizing your hands.

Is It Safe to Clean with Rubbing Alcohol?

Yes, it is safe to clean with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol contains 70% alcohol, making it an antiseptic that effectively kills viruses, bacteria, and germs. And like mentioned earlier, it contains disinfecting properties.

However, note that rubbing alcohol has a strong odor and should not be used for extended periods as it may affect the air you breathe. It is also highly flammable, so you do not use it near heat sources or open flames. And do not drink it! It will make you sick!

Read our post – Can You Drink Rubbing Alcohol? Find Out the Truth to learn the toxic effects of drinking rubbing alcohol.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Surfaces?

Absolutely! Rubbing alcohol is known to clean surfaces, most notably as a disinfectant. To use it, mix 50:50 water and rubbing alcohol to clean surfaces like granite, quartz, countertops, and even on and around the toilet.

However, don’t use rubbing alcohol on finished surfaces, as it can liquify finishes or varnishes. Also, avoid using the solution on painted, lacquered, shellacked, and treated wood.

Can Rubbing Alcohol Remove Stains?

Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Ink Stains

Rubbing alcohol is a degreasing solution, so it works great for removing stains. If you ever notice stains on your clothes or upholstered furniture, rubbing alcohol can help you remove the mess. Just pour some rubbing alcohol on the stained area, leave it for a few minutes, and wipe it.

However, not all types of stains can be removed by rubbing alcohol. They only work for ink marks, sap, grease, and grass. While rubbing alcohol treatment will work on your carpet, remember that some fabrics will not do well with it.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol as an Air Freshener?

Generally, rubbing alcohol is a strong solution, so using it alone as an air freshener may not be effective for someone with a sensitive nasal palate. However, rubbing alcohol is a deodorizer; thus, you can use it to remove odors in your home.

To safely use it, mix it with water and your favorite essential oil. The resulting mixture is an excellent disinfectant and air freshener. The antiseptic properties of rubbing alcohol can kill bacteria that cause foul odor in the house. 

Can You Clean the Kitchen with Rubbing Alcohol?

Yes, you can tackle the grease buildup on your countertops, stovetop, and cabinets with rubbing alcohol. This solution can cut through the dirt and grease and dry quickly, making the surfaces squeaky clean. 

To safely use rubbing alcohol in your kitchen, mix warm water and rubbing alcohol in a container. Dip a soft cloth or clean sponge into the solution and wipe the grease. Now, rinse the area with warm water and wipe it with a clean cloth to dry.

Can You Clean the Bathroom with Rubbing Alcohol?

It is ideal to use rubbing alcohol to clean the bathroom. It tends to be the most used spot in the house and it can also kill bacteria.

As mentioned, rubbing alcohol can clean surfaces, including the toilet, fixtures, bathtubs, mirrors, shower glass, etc. You can also use the solution to clean dirty tiles and grout.

To use rubbing alcohol to clean the bathroom, wet a paper towel with the solution and rub it firmly on the area you want to clean. You can also spray rubbing alcohol on the surface, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and use a scrub to remove dirt. 

To learn how to clean the glass in your bathroom, read our article – Five Ways to Use Alcohol for Cleaning Glass.

What to Avoid When Cleaning with Rubbing Alcohol


Indeed, when it comes to natural cleaners, the disinfecting power of rubbing alcohol comes in handy. But although it does a great job, there are things you should avoid while using the solution to protect you and the items you are cleaning.

Never Use Around Flames

As apparent in its name, rubbing alcohol contains alcohol, which means it is highly flammable. Hence, don’t use it near open flames or anything that is smoking.

Never Mix with Bleach

There are certain cleaning ingredients that you can not mix because they create toxic vapors. The same goes for rubbing alcohol and bleach. When these ingredients mix, they form chloroform.

If you watch mystery shows on TV, you should be familiar with the effects of inhaling chloroform to make someone unconscious. Inhaling chloroform can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, and more.

Don’t Drink It

Rubbing alcohol is different from alcoholic beverages. As mentioned earlier, drinking rubbing alcohol is dangerous and can damage one’s health. 

Don’t Use It in Unventilated Areas

Rubbing alcohol dissolves quickly, creating harmful fumes. Once you’re cleaning with this solution, keep the room as well-ventilated as possible. You can do this by simply opening the windows while cleaning.

Rubbing Alcohol on Your Skin

Rubbing alcohol can help cleanse your skin, but too much can also dry out your skin. When cleaning with rubbing alcohol, use gloves to avoid drying out your skin.


As you can see, rubbing alcohol is safe for cleaning surfaces throughout your home, removing stains, and deodorizing. But knowing where you can use it is just as important as remembering how and where not to use it, such as in unventilated areas or not drinking it.

So handle it with care, and it will help you clean, disinfect, degrease, and sanitize your home.

To learn how to use rubbing alcohol to clean electronics, check out our article – Tech Hygiene 101: Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics?