23 practical uses for Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a surgical spirit solution that can be found in most pharmacies and online retailers like Amazon for as little as £3 for 250ml. Commonly used to treat minor scrapes, its got a whole host of secret uses. Find out now what you can do with it…

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Rubbing Alcohol is an essential for any home.
Rubbing Alcohol is an essential for any home.

Use rubbing alcohol for all purpose cleaning

1. Clean your candles. You know when you haven’t lit them for a while and they look old and dusty? Give it a good clean with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol and they’ll be good as new.

2. Remove sticky residue left behind from price tags, plasters and stickers. Soak the area with rubbing alcohol or dab lightly onto skin then wipe clean. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting that shiny new item home and removing the sticker only to have a horrible layer of sticky stuff left on it.

3. Clean your eyeglasses by dabbing some rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth. It will have a deep clean effect and get rid of any germs. Eyes are sensitive and easily susceptible to infection so ensure you’re regularly getting rid of dirt.

Clean and disinfect your glasses with rubbing alcohol.
Clean and disinfect your glasses with rubbing alcohol.

4. Make your mirrors shine like they’ve never shined before! Squirt some onto a clean cloth and buff your mirrors using circular movements. You can also use this solution to make your sink and taps super sparkly.

5. Clean venetian blinds by covering a flat tool – like a spatula – with a clean cloth and securing with a rubber band. Dip in rubbing alcohol then clean each slat. It works a treat!

6. Use it as an all-purpose de-greaser on everything from greasy stove tops, sinks and even teapots. It dissolves almost instantly so there’s minimal rinsing required. No fuss cleaning at it’s best!

7. Cleaning your gardening tools with rubbing alcohol will remove any nasties from dead, diseased and rotting plants that can harm your healthy plants. Firstly, clean the tools with soap and water then let some rubbing alcohol soak in for 1-2 minutes. Wipe clean with a clean rag and they’ll be clean and ready to use.

Use rubbing alcohol as a smell and stain remover

8. Get rid of stinky smells from your hands like chopped onion or garlic by rubbing some onto your hands much like a hand gel sanitiser.

9. Remover permanent marker from non permeable materials like plastic laminate and marble by applying some rubbing alcohol onto the area. It will dissolve the marker back to its liquid state again making it easy to wipe off.

10. Deodorise your shoes by spraying rubbing alcohol into the inside of your footwear then leaving them to dry, preferably in a sunny spot. The rubbing alcohol will soak up any sniffs and will also have a deodorising effect on the material so your feet shouldn’t be as stinky or wet on your next wear.

Keep both your feet and shoes as fresh as a daisy.
Keep both your feet and shoes as fresh as a daisies.

11. Rubbing alcohol can stretch your shoes out a little so be careful when deodorising. However, this is a useful trick for when you need your shoes to feel a bit more snug on your feet.

12. Keep dirty collars at bay by wiping some rubbing alcohol on your neck each morning. It’ll help prevent your collar from staining and acts a mild antiperspirant, too. A heaven-sent tip during those sticky Summer days.

You can also use this little trick anywhere you get sweat stains – knees, underarms and inner elbows for example.

Health & beauty uses for rubbing alcohol

13. Clean and disinfect your make up brushes by soaking them in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes and allowing them to air dry. Do this every month to keep germs at bay and your brushes in tip-top condition.

14. Help those cold sores heal quicker by dabbing a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol onto the area every night.

15. Fix a broken eyeshadow, blusher or bronzer by spraying the sections with rubbing alcohol and gently pushing the pieces together. Leave to set for a few hours and they’ll be as good as new.

Mend broken make up compacts by moulding the pieces back together with rubbing alcohol.
Mend broken make up compacts by moulding the pieces back together with rubbing alcohol.

16. Remover nail polish with rubbing alcohol when you’re all out of nail polish remover. It will take a lot of rubbing but it will shift!

17. Make a home-made ice pack by mixing 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water in a seal-able plastic bag. Next time you have a sore area or injury just get your ice pack out – it moulds to your body too!

18. Soothe a twisted ankle or similar minor injury by applying some rubbing alcohol directly onto the area. It will help bring blood to the area and calm down the swelling.

Rubbing alcohol for around the home

19. Remove dog ticks by dabbing a small amount onto your dog’s tick. They hate the taste of rubbing alcohol and loosen their grip slightly making it easier for you to pull them off. Grab the critter as close to the skin as possible and pull it off then dab again with rubbing alcohol to disinfect the wound.

20. Get rid of fruit flies by mixing rubbing alcohol with water in a spray bottle and spraying them. They’ll soon drop so you can clean them away.

21. Keep your car windows frost free by mixing a solution of 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 1/4 cup water. Take a sponge and wash your windows with this anti-frost solution and the next time the temperature drops you should have less frost to scrape away.

Keep frost away and easily dissolve it with rubbing alcohol.
Keep frost away and easily dissolve it with rubbing alcohol.

22. Remove frost quickly from car windows by pouring some rubbing alcohol into a mini spray bottle and giving it a good squirt. It helps dissolve frost so you should be able to remove it with just a quick wipe with the wiper blades.

23. Make your own air freshener by mixing 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 10-15 drops of your favourite essentials oils in a spray bottle. I love lemon and peppermint for the bathroom and relaxing lavender in the bedroom.

Thanks for reading! If you have any good uses for rubbing alcohol please let us know.


Please also feel free to share this article if you found it useful!


A keen money-saver and fan of all things natural, Anushka enjoys making her own beauty products and is partial to a bit of crafting. Never short of a clever tip or two, she's always looking for new ways to make her money go even further.

  1. 1 Elaine Reply

    These are great tips….although I did spot a typo: you’ve written ‘skin’ instead of sink in tip 4 😉 It would be great if it did leave skin super sparkling =D

  2. 5 Shekhar Reply

    Anushka, can surgical spirit be used to clean knives, stainless steel spoons, crockery & cutlery. E.g. when one’s traveling and has minimum access to cleaning soap or liquid? Can it also be used to disinfect / sterilise surfaces? E.g. Handles, toilet seat etc. Am thinking what else? ☺

    1. 6 Anushka F Reply

      Hi Shekar surgical spirit can help kill bacteria so yes you could use it for the purposed you listed. I would be careful of using it in public places as they come with a caution to jeep it out of reach of children and to avoid broken skin.

  3. 13 James John Moreton Reply

    Greetings from Perth, Western Australia,
    I use it to dry out and quickly heal skin blemishes like pimple sores after picking those black/white heads. But most of all I use it to thin enamel paint like humbrol hobby paints or thin out your liquid paper correction pen and it’s great for getting old dried out Artline pens to work again just place a few drops inside the pen by screwing the front plastic nib off and you’ll see the coloured felt ink sponge inside just give it a few drops depending how dried out it is sometimes you may have to give like 15 drops but they’ll will work like new with thick flow of ink once again… these tips can be achieved also with thinners, methalyated spirits, and other solvent type chemicals but surgical spirit or Rubbing Alcohol do just as good a job and easier to handle with the smaller bottles…
    hope this helped somebody

    1. 14 Anushka F Reply

      Greetings! Thanks for sharing, really interesting. I will pass your advice on to my friend who may benefit from the tip 🙂

  4. 19 Gillian Vella Barberi Reply

    My podologist suggested wiping the feet with surgical spirit to minimise sweating and stinky feet. I also use it to dry out mosquito bites.

        1. 22 Stephanie C Reply

          Hi Anita. Yes you can! Surgical spirit is an excellent disinfectant. I would, however, recommend wearing gloves and spraying it onto the surface using a spray bottle.

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