Rubbing Alcohol, otherwise known as Isopropyl alcohol, isopropanol, propan-2-ol, 2-propanol or simply IPA is the common name for the chemical compound C3H8O. It is the simplest form of a secondary alcohol; colorless and flammable with a strong odor.

If you are scratching your head at this point, wondering why an Eco segment is talking about the versatility of rubbing alcohol, allow me to explain. Isopropyl alcohol is unlike denatured alcohol, in which poisonous additives reside, is simple to produce and has a relatively low incidence of residual toxic residue due to its evaporative nature. In addition it is economically ideal and as previously states, versatile.

How versatile is it? Very. Rubbing alcohol can be used as a topical disinfectant, as a massaging lubricant to soothe sore muscles, as a water drying aid for swimmer ear prevention, as a slushy ‘ice pack’ (mix 1 part isopropyl alcohol to 3 parts water in plastic baggie), an electrical device cleaner (DVDs, magnetic tape), can remove sticky residue from labels, used as a water stabilizer in gas tanks, stain remover for natural fibers, removes oil stains, removes ink stains from leather, effectively removes ticks (they hate the smell), all-purpose cleaner (hard surfaces), glass cleaner and chrome shiner-upper.

Fun Fact: Isopropyl alcohol reacts with aluminum metal and titanium tetrachloride. Unless you hold a chemistry degree, I wouldn’t recommend playing around with it.

Rubbing alcohol is inexpensive, around $2 per 16oz. and is a heavy hitter when it comes to household chores. Use with care as you would any other cleaner and be aware that is it flammable. No need to panic, crack a window  and avoid use around a heat source. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

DIY Glass Cleaner

1/2 C. rubbing alcohol
1/2 C. vinegar
1/2 liter water
capful of lemon juice

Note: Some recipes call for food coloring to be added to give off the ‘look’ of store-bought cleaners. This Eco-Mama finds this step both wasteful and unhealthy. Food dyes contain a number of chemicals that have been linked to numerous health and neurological problems.

DIY Glass & Bathroom Fixture Cleaner

1 bottle rubbing alcohol
1 spray nozzle

Remove lid from rubbing alcohol bottle, replace with spray nozzle. Spray on windows, mirrors or bathroom fixtures. Wipe off with clean cloth (natural fibers). Note: Both my husband and I have worked cleaning hotel rooms, this is what they use to get that sqeaky streak-free shine.

DIY Spray Deodorant

1 bottle of 99% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
1 small spray bottle

Pour alcohol into spray bottle and spritz on under arms. The alcohol kills bacteria and other odor causing culprits that reside there resulting in no B.O. Will you still sweat, yes, and that’s a good thing. Sweating removes toxins and cools the body.

DIY Daily Shower Spray

1/3 C. rubbing alcohol
3 1/2 C. water
large spray bottle

Mix together in bottle. Shake gently before each use. Spritz shower, while wet, after each use. Note: Using a squeegy can also help prevent the build up of soap scum.


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