How Does Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol Rate as a Cleaner?

How Does Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol Rate as a Cleaner?
Isopropylalcohol (isopropanol, 2-propanol) molecule. Used in disinfectant solutions and as solvent. Skeletal formula.

How Does Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol Rate as a Cleaner?

Rubbing alcohol is a common household item with versatile applications. People use it to clean ink and permanent marker stains, for example. But can you also use it as part of your regular cleaning routine, to remove accumulated dirt from household surfaces? Read on to find out what isopropyl alcohol is efficient against and when it’s better to opt for a different cleaning agent.

What is rubbing alcohol?

The 70% by volume on labels for isopropyl rubbing alcohol means the bottle contains a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol to 30% water. It has a strong odor and is considered a volatile organic compound, making it very uncomfortable (and dangerous) to inhale for any length of time and causing concerns with air quality. It also evaporates easily in open air. Similarly to vodka and other types of alcohol, it is highly flammable and unsafe to use near heat sources and sparks or open flames.

Can you clean with rubbing alcohol?

The good news is, if used correctly, isopropyl alcohol (70% by volume) is a good sanitizer. The bad news is it is a very poor cleaner. Although it has a small effect on some salts and grease, it has no detergent properties, which means it doesn’t clean well.

What is isopropyl alcohol used for?

At varying concentrations, it has industrial and healthcare applications as a surface disinfectant and a hand wash sanitizer gel. The 70% isopropyl alcohol/30% water concentration can safely be used on the skin, but it’s not intended to be used long-term because it could cause skin dryness and redness. Although isopropyl alcohol isn’t a good choice for cleaning, it’s effective as a sanitizer. However, don’t count on it to be as dependable or strong as a hospital-grade disinfectant.

How do you use 70% isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing?

The 70% isopropyl alcohol/30% water concentration is ideal for bactericidal activity, and it can also inactivate fungi and some viruses. One main disadvantage is that after the surface is cleaned, isopropyl alcohol takes about one to five minutes of dwell time on a surface to disinfect (it acts against different germs at different speeds). Unfortunately, it dries in 20 to 30 seconds, causing incomplete disinfection unless it is constantly reapplied for the whole five minutes. Another disadvantage is it can damage some surfaces like rubber, vinyl, and some plastics.

How to use rubbing alcohol as a surface sanitizer?

If you’d like to use rubbing alcohol to sanitize different surfaces around the house, here’s how to do it properly:

  • First, make sure that it can be used on your surface. Don’t use it on vinyl, rubber, some plastic materials as well as on painted or lacquered wood.
  • Clean the surface you wish to sanitize.
  • Spray the isopropyl rubbing alcohol on the surface. 
  • Keep the surface wet for five minutes by continuing to spray any areas that look like they are evaporating.

Is isopropyl alcohol safe?

Yes, if you take a few simple safety precautions:

  • Ventilate the room where you use it because the fumes could make you dizzy or give you a headache.
  • Don’t use it on your skin for too long as it could lead to redness and itchiness.
  • Never mix isopropyl alcohol with bleach. This combination could produce toxic fumes.
  • Never use it near open flames, including lit candles and cigarettes because of its flammability. 

Is isopropyl alcohol safe

Who can I hire to thoroughly clean my house?

Castle Keepers is an industry-leading provider of in-depth cleaning services. Pick the kind of cleaning you need and schedule the date and time – it’s as easy as can be. Our responsive staff is always at your disposal via phone or online. 

Kick back and relax while our trained team does the dirty work. We’ll scrub your floors until they shine, remove tough hard water stains from your toilet, eliminate dust in every room of your home, and make sure your space is freshly scented. Get in touch with us today and enjoy all the perks of an effortlessly hygienic home!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Tom

    Good article. We’ve had good luck in the past using alcohol as a solvent to clean things like whiteboards and to remove ink.

  2. Castle Keepers

    Great point. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Jesse Ford

    Thanks for mentioning that Isopropyl Alcohol at various concentrations can have industrial and healthcare applications. My wife is thinking about getting some for our home next week because we have four children who always play outside with our dogs and we want to make sure our home is properly sanitized and cleaned when they come inside. I think it’s a good investment to shop from a reputable store that has the best concentrations for cleaning homes with a lot of kids and animals.

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