Rubbing Alcohol Safe to Use for Green Cleaning?

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Isopropyl Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol, otherwise known as isopropyl alcohol, is cheap and easy to find. It is something we often already have in our homes as it is a popular choice for disinfecting purposes, such as earrings and skin. Prior to my research, I considered it a safe and green cleaner. But, because it is a chemical that is unsafe to drink, is flammable, and can cause skin irritations, I no longer feel comfortable including it on the list.

Rubbing alcohol is made from petroleum and additives to prevent people from drinking it. Stores typically carry this liquid in 50%, 70% or 91% strengths diluted with distilled water. I found the 50% strength at the Dollar Store but 70% is most effective as a disinfectant. Be sure to keep it out of the reach of your children, ​as it is toxic ​since the body metabolizes it into acetone.

Often, I see it being used as an ingredient in homemade cleaners because it has antiseptic qualities, dissolves dirt and oil, and evaporates quickly. A cleaning spray made from rubbing alcohol and water works well on shiny surfaces such laminate floors, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and windows. Dabbing it on ink, paint and permanent marker stains also seems to have success with some effort on your part. Using a tiny bit in homemade room sprays works to help disperse the oils in water and act a preservative.

Given its toxicity, I still feel comfortable using it occasionally and in small doses until I can find a safer alternative. I always make sure that when I use it, it is in an area that is completely ventilated. Although I do not reach for it often, I do find that it is much safer than some of its commercial alternatives. But that is a choice you need to make on your own. I will continue to research better, safer alternatives for laminate floor cleaners and paint (marker) removal and keep you updated. Let me know if you have had any success with any safe products that work in the comments below!

Isopropyl Alcohol Safety

Some Safer Alternatives to Use In Place of Rubbing Alcohol:

Witch Hazel​ – It is produced naturally from a plant and works similarly to rubbing alcohol. Thayers sells an organic, alcohol-free variety that I often use as an astringent in my beauty routine.
Vodka ​- Another good substitute although a more expensive choice. It is safe for human consumption and something many of us keep around in our liquor cabinet. Like rubbing alcohol, it evaporates quickly and disinfects.
Microfiber Cloths​ – I prefer to use these to clean windows, glass, and stainless steel cleaning. I find they work amazing with just a bit of water that no cleaning sprays are needed. Read my article about them HERE.
Hydrogen Peroxide​ – It is my go to for hard core disinfecting. I don’t need to ventilate the room when I use it so I feel it is much safer. Read my article about it HERE.

Is rubbing alcohol something you will consider using in your cleaning routine? Or will you consider an alternative? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Until next time,


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  • Angela Tolsma

    October 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    huh I’ve never used rubbing alcohol to clean just disinfect. I prefer witch hazel to it though. Never would have though to use Vodka though!

    1. Mel

      October 22, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Witch hazel is the perfect alternative.

  • Ellie Augustin

    October 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for so much for this post. I actually starting using the mircofiber clothes and witch hazel as well.

    1. Mel

      October 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      That is a great start! Microfiber cloths and witch hazel are definitely great products!

  • Monthly Green Beauty Favorites – November – Essentially Mel

    November 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    […] mention Thayers Witch Hazel as a safe alternative to rubbing alcohol in my article HERE. Thayers is made from the extract of the Witch Hazel shrub and is combined with aloe and fruit […]

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