DIY Cleaning & Organizing

17 Clever Household Uses for Rubbing Alcohol

The perfect elixir for your next DIY project or cleaning endeavor may already be in your medicine cabinet.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Multi-Use Marvel

Battling bacteria and treating wounds are all in a day’s work for rubbing alcohol, but it might surprise you to learn that the hardworking antiseptic is as handy around the house as it is at the doctor’s office. Dust off the bottle of rubbing alcohol in your medicine cabinet, and put it to work with these surprising alternative uses.

DIY Deicer

When temperatures dip overnight, you can expect frost on your windshield in the morning. Rather than remove it with ice scrapers or commercial deicers, try this DIY treatment. Secure a spray top to a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and then coat the wintery windshield. After thoroughly dousing the glass, watch the ice melt away, leaving you with a frost-free windshield and a streak-free shine.

RELATED: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter

Winter-Proof Windows

Your windshield isn’t the only glass surface where Jack Frost likes to lurk. Protect the windows in your house from winter’s worst by washing them with a microfiber cloth soaked in a solution of one-half cup rubbing alcohol and one quart water. The cleaning combo will do double duty by removing dirt and preventing frost from accumulating on windows.

RELATED: Drafty Windows? Solutions for Every Budget

Get Steel Spotless

Are your stainless steel appliances looking anything but stainless? Spray soiled surfaces with rubbing alcohol, and then wipe them down with a nonabrasive cloth to remove water scale and fingerprints so you can again enjoy stainless steel that lives up to its name.

RELATED: 10 Unusual Tricks for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever

Get Laminate Clean

Give laminate floors the royal treatment with a thrifty trifecta of household cleaners. Spray a solution of equal parts water, rubbing alcohol, and vinegar over the entire floor. Mop it up to remove dirt, stains, and pet hair, leaving you with a like-new high-gloss finish.

RELATED: 10 Handy Household Uses for Vinegar

Venetian Vanity

Turning a blind eye to the dust and dirt on your venetian blinds? Get cleaning the easy way by securing a small cloth to a drywall knife with a rubber band, and then dipping the cloth into rubbing alcohol and sliding it in between the open slats in the blinds. A few swipes across the slats is all it takes to bust the dust and ensure that your home passes the white-glove test.

RELATED: 9 Things You’re Doing to Make Your Home Dustier

Unsully the Sofa

If you accidentally spill your drink on an otherwise spotless microfiber couch, you may want to pour on a chaser of rubbing alcohol. Why? Rubbing alcohol won’t be absorbed by the sofa’s fabric, so when you spray it over a stain and sop it up with a clean sponge, the rubbing alcohol—and the spot—will evaporate to reveal like-new cushions.

RELATED: Sofa, So Good: 10 Creative Ways to Revive a Tired Old Couch

Flawless Fashion

The next time you find an ink stain on your favorite shirt, dip the stained fabric in a bowl full of rubbing alcohol, or use a spray bottle to spritz the offending spot. After letting the liquid sit on the garment for several minutes, give it a spin in the washing machine. Once the garment’s been laundered, you’ll never know the stain was there.

RELATED: 9 Potent Cleaners You Didn’t Know You Had

Marker Makeover

Who knew? Not even permanent marker is permanent if you give it the right treatment. Dip a clean cloth into a small bowl of rubbing alcohol, and then dab it over a marked-up spot. Use this trick on fabric, wood, carpet, or plastic surfaces around the house to erase the bad marks for good.

RELATED: 9 Brilliant Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Know

Label Lifter

Whether you’re removing the sticky residue left behind by a price tag or wiping away a stubborn label from a glass jar, rubbing alcohol should be your go-to solution. Pour rubbing alcohol directly over the stubborn label. Within 10 minutes, the label will start to dissolve and you can peel it off more easily.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Make Office Supplies Work Overtime

Fleeting Flies

Fruit flies may be attracted by the luscious seasonal pickings available in your kitchen, but you can repel them easily with a spritz of rubbing alcohol. Fill a fine-mist spray bottle with the potent liquid, and then unleash it on the pests to knock them out.

RELATED: Genius! Kill Off Fruit Flies with 3 Kitchen Basics

Airborne Aroma

Ditch indoor odors with this frugal yet fragrant homemade air freshener. Combine equal parts alcohol and water into a spray bottle, then add 15 to 25 drops of your favorite essential oil. Give the bottle a vigorous shake before spraying to dissipate unpleasant smells.

RELATED: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

Substitute Sanitizer

After dicing and chopping pungent veggies in the kitchen, remove lingering odors from your hands with this trusty cleaning companion. A quick application of rubbing alcohol to your hands quickly removes odors that soap and water can leave behind.

RELATED: 11 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Home

Tech Cleaner

Our smartphone screens are bacterial hotbeds, with one study showing that cell phones were 10 times dirtier than toilet seats. Many users, however, are wary of cleaning their phones and tablets with commercial disinfectants for fear of damaging their sensitive touch screens. Luckily, rubbing alcohol is safe to use for cleaning tech products because it evaporates quickly, leaving little moisture behind.

Sponge Disinfectant

Kitchen sponges can harbor potentially dangerous bacteria like E. coli and salmonella, and should be cleaned and replaced frequently to prevent that bacteria from ending up on dinner plates or drinking glasses. There are plenty of DIY hacks for sanitizing sponges, but one of the simplest is to soak them in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes before rinsing them with cool water.

RELATED: 11 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Kitchen Sponge

Jewelry Cleaner

There are plenty of products on the market that are designed for cleaning jewelry, but the perfect solution may be hiding in your medicine cabinet. Try soaking fine jewelry—like rings, necklaces, and bracelets—in rubbing alcohol for a couple of minutes. Rub the alcohol off using a lint-free cloth in order to restore jewelry’s original luster.

RELATED: The Best Jewelry Boxes for Storing Accessories

Makeup Brush Cleaner

Makeup brushes come into regular contact with our skin, so they must be cleaned and sanitized frequently. One easy way to clean cosmetic brushes without paying for a pricey dedicated cleaner is by using rubbing alcohol. Dip the brushes into a cup filled with alcohol, swirling them around to ensure the bristles are coated. Rinse the brushes in cool water and lay them flat to dry.

Shoe Deodorizer

Running shoes, ballet flats, and dress shoes can all develop unpleasant odors, thanks in large part to the buildup of bacteria. Since rubbing alcohol kills bacteria, it makes for an excellent DIY shoe deodorizer. Simply fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and give smelly shoes a few spritzes in the evening, allowing them to dry out overnight.