We love tips that make good use of inexpensive household items. Vinegar, lemon, and baking soda are all excellent home cleaners and are more affordable than a lot of store-bought options. Combine them with easy methods to clean microwaves, dishwashers, and even mattresses. And if you happen to have some hiding out under the sink, we’ve got 20 uses for rubbing alcohol that you may not have considered.
Now when you think of the words rubbing alcohol, it probably makes you think of a liquid that feels aggressive. While the stuff is definitely not drinkable (seriously, don’t) or gentle (it can be abrasive), when used with caution it can be used as a disinfectant to kill germs and bacteria. Plus, it evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave a residue.
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1. One of the most cost-effective uses for rubbing alcohol is cleaning makeup brushes.
Makeup brush sanitizer and cleaner can cost between $10 and $20. That works out to $2 to $3 per ounce in some cases! Rubbing alcohol is usually around $3 for 32 ounces, which works out to a much more affordable $0.09 per ounce. A huge money saver!
Sanitize and clean your makeup brushes by soaking them in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes, then allow them to air dry. Repeat each month for clean and fluffy makeup brushes that feel like new. Alcohol also comes in handy for cleaning your hair brush or your beauty blender!
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2. Make an ice pack.
Mix one part rubbing alcohol with three parts water in a plastic zipper bag. Freeze for several hours. The rubbing alcohol helps prevent the water from freezing solid.
3. Get rid of windshield frost.
Mix the rubbing alcohol 1:1 with water and then screw on a spray top from another empty bottle. Spray the rubbing alcohol solution onto your frosty windshield. It will help melt the frost or ice more quickly. We think it’s also worth noting that the alcohol will not damage your car’s paint, but it can remove wax.
4. Use as a jewelry cleaner.
Let your jewelry soak in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes before wiping it clean with a cloth. You likely don’t have any jewelry that’s painted or coated, but if you do, avoid using rubbing alcohol on these items as it can be damaged by the substance.
Related: There are even more ring-cleaning hacks you can do yourself with household items.
5. Clean blinds.
This is one of those chores you always forget about until you notice some unsightly dust get cozy on your blinds. Wrap a flat tool in cloth, secure it with a rubber band, and dip it in alcohol to clean your blinds.
While you’re at it, take a look at the best home cleaning hacks of all time.
6. Use as a deodorant.
If you’re in a pinch, use rubbing alcohol mixed with 10-15 drops of essential oil instead of deodorant. The alcohol can help kill odor-causing bacteria, leaving you smelling fresh and clean for pennies. However, if you have any open wounds on your skin in this delicate area, skip this tip!
7. Air freshener for the home.
Mix one cup of rubbing alcohol with 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Use a spray bottle to mist your home and make it smell fresh and clean.
Related: There are even more ways to use essential oils that you’ll absolutely love.
8. Fix cracked pressed powder, bronzer, and eyeshadow with rubbing alcohol.
Use a spoon to crush the remaining cracked makeup into a powder, and add just enough alcohol to make a thick paste when stirred. Level out the paste and let it sit overnight. This will allow the alcohol to evaporate, leaving the powder solid and whole again.
Alternatively, you can fill an empty spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, then spray your cracked eyeshadow with the alcohol. Smooth out the mixture in the eyeshadow pan using either your finger, a spoon, or a wooden stick. Wait a few hours for the shadow to harden completely, and it will be as good as new!
9. DIY hand sanitizer.
Mix together three parts rubbing alcohol with one part aloe vera gel. Use this as a moisturizing sanitizing gel that you can keep at home or throw in your purse.
10. Repel bed bugs.
Spray rubbing alcohol over your bed or other furniture, let dry, and vacuum. The rubbing alcohol acts as a repellent for pests like bed bugs, and can also kill them and their eggs.
11. Make homemade Goo Gone.
Use rubbing alcohol mixed with orange-scented essential oil to remove store tags, sticker residue, Band-Aids, or other sticky things around the house.
12. Make glass and mirror cleaner.
Mix two cups water, two tablespoons white vinegar, two tablespoons rubbing alcohol, and five drops peppermint oil. This acts as a fresh-smelling glass cleaner for your windows or mirrors.
Want more? Check out other household cleaning products you can easily make yourself.
13. Clean light switches and plates with rubbing alcohol.
These surfaces are like a magnet for germs. Spray a cleaning cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe the surface of your light switches (don’t spray cleaning solution directly on the switch!). Get into the crevices with a Q-tip. This will remove stuck-on dirt and dust and make your switch plates shine like new.
14. Dust light bulbs with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.
Clean dingy, dusty light bulbs by using a cloth dampened with a little bit of rubbing alcohol to wipe them down. By removing the layer of gray dust covering light bulbs, more light will shine through and make rooms brighter.
Less light bulbs needed to brighten a room = less electricity = money saved.
15. Dip a towel in rubbing alcohol to remove lipstick stains.
But here’s something that’s key to using this hack: Avoid saturating the stain with rubbing alcohol by applying it to a towel first. Then just dab the lipstick away!
Related: 13 Easy Ways to Clean Your Glass Stove Top That Actually Work
16. Soak natural corks in rubbing alcohol, and use them as fire starters.
Fill a mason jar with wine corks and 90% rubbing alcohol, letting the corks soak for at least a week before using. If you’re in need of fire starters ASAP, the alcohol-soaked corks should work after soaking for two days. Just make sure the corks you burn are made from all-natural cork. Synthetic corks won’t burn as easily.
Take a look at more wine cork hacks that will blow your mind.
17. Clean wiper blades with rubbing alcohol to prevent smears on your windshield.
Use a cotton ball or cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol to wipe your car’s blades. This will help remove any dirt or debris so they can clean your windshield properly, making it safer in the rain or snow.
18. Create nail art with strips of newspaper and rubbing alcohol.
Paint your nails with a clear base coat or a light shade of nail polish, and allow them to completely dry. When your nails are completely dry, dip each finger into rubbing alcohol.
Then, evenly press a newspaper strip onto each nail, being careful not to shift the nail in order to avoid smudges. When you peel the newspaper strip off, you’ll see newsprint ink overlaid on your nail polish.
Paint over the newsprint with a clear coat, and admire your clever manicure!
Learn about other genius things you can do with old newspaper.
19. Clean computer keyboards.
Isopropyl alcohol is less harsh than ethyl, which can remove the letters and numbers from your keyboard, so be careful with this one! Lightly dampen a soft cloth to wipe germs and dirt off the surface of your keyboard (dol not use too much liquid!). Use a moistened cotton swab to clean in between keys.
20. Clean your smartphone.
There are 10 times more bacteria on your smartphone than most toilet seats…gross.
To clean your phone, fill a small spray bottle (about 80% of it) with water. Use isopropyl alcohol for the remaining 20% and shake the bottle lightly to mix the two liquids. Spray the solution onto a soft, microfiber cloth, and wipe away the germs. Use a Q-tip to clean the crevices.