If you have been searching the web for homemade cleaning recipes or a stain remover, you may have come across people mentioning rubbing alcohol. If you have never heard of rubbing alcohol, you may have a few questions. What is rubbing alcohol? Where can I buy rubbing alcohol in the UK? What is rubbing alcohol used for?
In this guide, I will show you what rubbing alcohol is, and where to buy rubbing alcohol in the UK. It is a very handy product to have lying about, and I will also go over some ways that you can use it in your daily cleaning routine.
What is Rubbing Alcohol?
Rubbing alcohol is a versatile product that can be used in a variety of cleaning situations. It is a powerful disinfectant, and its bacteria-killing properties make it a great natural surface cleaner.
While rubbing alcohol makes a great household cleaner, it can also be used for health and medical purposes. It is important not to drink rubbing alcohol as it is toxic, read the warnings below for other things to be mindful of when using rubbing alcohol.
Is Surgical Spirit the Same as Rubbing Alcohol?
Rubbing alcohol has a few different names, but they are all essentially the same thing. When shopping for rubbing alcohol or reading up about cleaning with rubbing alcohol, you may see it called isopropanol, IPA, surgical spirit, or cleaning alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol is available in different strengths, also known as the percentage or purity. Common percentages are 70%, 90% and 99%. If you are using rubbing alcohol as a cleaning solution then a weaker solution will be sufficient. If you need rubbing alcohol for its disinfectant properties, then it needs to be at least 50% pure to kill bacteria and viruses.
Rubbing alcohol that is 70% will usually be mixed with 30% distilled water. 90% solutions have a lower water content, so they will dry faster. The 70% solutions are gentler on the skin as they contain more water.
Where Can I Buy Rubbing Alcohol?
There are many places to buy rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol in the UK. The easiest way to buy some rubbing alcohol is on Amazon. There are lots of different brands and strengths on Amazon, however, always read the reviews before you buy.
There are some bottles of isopropyl alcohol that are marketed as 70% when in actual fact they are only 30%. This is not strong enough to kill bacteria, so always ensure you know exactly what you are buying.
You can also buy rubbing alcohol in pharmacies, supermarkets, and Boots.
What is Rubbing Alcohol Used For?
Rubbing alcohol is a versatile product that has wide-ranging uses. Below are some ways that you can use rubbing alcohol as a cleaning agent, and also as a disinfectant.
Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant
Mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle. Use to clean any germ-prone surfaces, such as kitchen worktops and sinks, door handles and bannisters. You can also pour some rubbing alcohol straight onto a clean cloth and wipe dirty surfaces.
Disinfect Kitchen Sponges
The sponges in your kitchen are one of the most germ-prone items in your whole house, harbouring millions of bacteria. To disinfect them, place them in a bowl of undiluted isopropyl alcohol and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse completely, and your old dirty sponges will have a new lease of life.
Clean Stainless Steel and Chrome
After you have washed stainless steel and chrome items, such as sinks and refrigerators, spray them with rubbing alcohol. Not only will this disinfect them, but if you buff them with a clean cloth they will come up shiny and polished.
Remove Dried Ink Stains
Dried ink is one of the hardest stains to remove from clothes and upholstery. Simply spray the stain with rubbing alcohol which will rehydrate the ink, and then it will be easy to just wipe off.
Disinfect Computer Keyboard and Mouse
Did you know that your keyboard and mouse are two of the dirtiest items in your home or office? Pour some rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth and rub the surfaces of the mouse and keyboard. Use a high percentage solution of rubbing alcohol, it will dry faster and you won’t have to worry about water damage.
If the kids have stuck stickers everywhere and they are proving difficult to remove, spray or wipe them with rubbing alcohol. It will dissolve the adhesive and the stickers will be easier to remove.
Deodorise Smelly Shoes
Spray some rubbing alcohol on the inside of shoes to disinfect them and remove any foul smells. Putting the shoes in direct sunlight to dry can aid the alcohol in killing the bacteria.
Remove Hairspray from Mirrors
When you use hairspray, you often get a film like covering over mirrors and sinks. Spray the mirror with rubbing alcohol and wipe with a clean cloth to remove the hairspray film.
Rubbing Alcohol Alternative
Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is a great disinfectant but it can be harsh on your skin. There is some advice that says to use rubbing alcohol on your skin as a sanitizer, but it can dry out your skin. A safer alternative is to use a hand sanitizer. These will often contain moisturising properties as well as disinfectant properties, and they are much better for your skin.
Distilled white vinegar is another alternative to rubbing alcohol, as it also has disinfectant properties. It may not be as good at killing bacteria, but it is safer and reduces the chances of health risks from accidental ingestion. You can use vinegar as a replacement for rubbing alcohol in most homemade cleaning sprays.
Rubbing Alcohol Warnings
Even though isopropanol is alcohol, you must never drink it. It can be deadly if swallowed, and it is important to keep out of the reach of children. You should also never use rubbing alcohol to cool down fever symptoms, it does not work and it is dangerous.
Rubbing alcohol is very flammable and you need to take extra care when using it. Never use it near and open flame or any heat source such as an oven or toaster.
If you use rubbing alcohol and start showing signs of an allergic reaction, stop what you are doing and immediately call 999 and seek urgent medical attention.
What not to use Rubbing Alcohol for
While surgical spirit, or rubbing alcohol, is a versatile and useful cleaning product, there a number of things that you shouldn’t use it for.
Don’t use rubbing alcohol on acne-prone skin. It has been said that rubbing alcohol can help with acne, but the reality is that it dries out the skin and can lead to it producing even more oil.
Never take a bath which contains rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol can be absorbed by the skin and cause toxic symptoms.
Don’t use alcohol-soaked cloths to cool down a child suffering from a fever. The alcohol can be absorbed into the skin and will cause toxic symptoms.
Rubbing Alcohol: Final Thoughts
Rubbing alcohol is a useful cleaning and disinfecting product and it is easily available to buy in the UK. There are a number of ways it can be used that will save you money and also help the environment. If you choose to use rubbing alcohol for cleaning, remember to never drink it, keep it away from open flames, and keep it out of the reach of children.