What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? (2022)

Isopropyl alcohol, also known as isopropanol, propan-2-ol, or 2-propanol, is a flammable and colorless chemical compound with a very strong odor.

The chemical formula of isopropyl alcohol is CH3CHOHCH3, and it is very similar to Ethanol in its properties. This makes it an effective cleaning agent which is used in many domestic and industrial purposes.

This guide aims at reviewing the different ways in which Isopropyl Alcohol can be used effectively, where you shouldn’t be using it, and other necessary details revolving around the compound.

Let’s get started!

What is Isopropyl Alcohol?

You can find isopropyl alcohol in drugstores by the name of rubbing alcohol. This chemical comes under secondary alcohols, which means that it has two carbon atoms bonded with one alcohol atom.

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? (1)

Isopropyl Alcohol is a liquid that is used extensively for cleaning and disinfecting purposes in households. It is highly effective at removing grime and germs, whether on toilet seats, cleaning counters, or sanitizing toilet brushes. Isopropyl alcohol also contains a variety of antimicrobial properties including being effective against viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol

In this section, we are going to discuss a few of the many uses of isopropyl alcohol.

1. Disinfecting and Deodorising Shoes

Smelly shoes can be very annoying.

Your shoes can develop a powerful and unpleasant odor upon regular use, especially if you’re using them to perform any physical activity.

(Video) What is Isopropyl Alcohol and How to use it

So to get rid of the smell, you can spray some rubbing alcohol on your shoes and it will kill all the smell causing bacteria.

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? (2)

After that, you can keep the shoes under the sun to help them dry, as it’ll give the best results.

2. Whiten and Brighten Hard to Reach Areas like Grout on Tiles and Cracks on Walls

If you’ve ever used bleach on your tiles or walls you’ll know that if done incorrectly can leave a white, chalky mark. Bleaching bathroom tiles sounds like a simple task, but often the final product doesn’t look right.

So for that you can use Isopropyl alcohol as that is highly effective in cleaning walls and areas that are hard to reach. You can use it to brighten dirty places, and you can also use it to clean grout present on tiles. Cracks on walls can also be cleaned by using this chemical compound.

Note: Pure Chem co. offers 99.9% Food Grade Isopropyl Alcohol that you can buy from our online store, available in sizes: quart, gallon, 2.5 gallon, and 5 gallon. Check it out now!

3. Remove Dark Stains from Clothes

Disinfection of kitchen sponges and bathroom, cleaning cloths, and removing dark & filthy stains is another use of isopropyl alcohol. If you want to clean clothes or sponges, you can soak them in isopropyl alcohol in a sealed container for a while and then dry them.

4. Polish Metals and Leather Boots

Although it is often overlooked, using some isopropyl alcohol on metal surfaces can actually help prevent tarnishing.

A lot of the time your silverware will come with some sort of anti-tarnish protection on it, but sometimes it doesn’t. Isopropyl alcohol acts as a desiccant so that moisture in the air won’t spread around and touch the metal you want to keep nice.

So you can use it to polish metals for getting that spotless shine. It will also remove all the water spots by disinfecting everything.

(Video) 5 Ways To Use Isopropyl Alcohol | Bunnings Warehouse

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? (3)

To polish metals & leather boots, you should take a microfibre cloth and soak it in isopropyl alcohol, and then use it to perform the job.

5. Remove Hairspray Residue from Hair

Hairsprays are very sticky. Their residue may stay in your hair even after you’re done removing it. You should use an isopropyl alcohol-soaked cloth to remove hairspray from hair.

6. Cleaning Glass Surfaces

To get that crystal clear shine on all the glass surfaces present in your home, you should be using this incredible chemical compound that will leave no unwanted spots.

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? (4)

7. Removing Sticky Labels from Bottles

It can be a tricky task to get rid of sticky labels from bottles. Those labels leave a weird sticky feeling behind, along with unwanted marks. You can saturate the sticky labels by using isopropyl alcohol.

Dipping the bottle in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes will help you get rid of the label without leaving any marks behind.

8. Removing Scuff Marks from Tables and Floors

Scuff marks can be very annoying as it becomes a little challenging to get rid of them. You can use a cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol to remove the marks from the floors and tables at your home. Doing so will leave behind clean tables and floors.

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? (5)

9. Cleaning the Bathroom Sink and Unclogging Drains

Isopropyl alcohol can bring that shine back in your bathroom by cleaning the sink, and it can also be used to unclog drains. Once you’re done cleaning it with alcohol, you won’t have to rinse it with water because the alcohol will evaporate.

(Video) What is isopropyl alcohol used for? Isopropyl Alcohol As a Cleaner

What Not to Use Isopropyl Alcohol For?

Now that we’ve discussed the various uses of Isopropyl alcohol, in this section, we are going to jot down a few things that you should not be using it for.

Acne

Isopropyl alcohol tends to turn your skin very dry. Using rubbing alcohol on your skin to get rid of acne will push your skin to produce more oil, which will further aggravate acne. The use of isopropyl alcohol can also increase the frequency of acne breakouts.

Rubbing alcohol may also burn the open areas on your skin. So to get rid of acne, you should see a dermatologist instead.

Fever

isopropyl alcohol has the property of giving a cooling sensation when applied to the skin. It can give you that cooling effect, but it does not hold the ability to lower your body temperature. It is not only an ineffective way of treating fever, but it can also prove to be highly dangerous, especially for children, as their skin can absorb alcohol, which can be toxic for them.

Moreover, adults can also have heart and neurological problems because of using rubbing alcohol on the skin.

Inhalation of rubbing alcohol can also cause other health issues like neurological issues, cardiac problems, coma, and alcohol poisoning.

Lice

Rubbing alcohol does have the ability to kill lice, but you should never do that because it can lead to chemical burns on your head. You should consider using a lice shampoo, or you should visit a doctor to get proper treatment for the same.

Sterilizing Medical and Surgical Equipment

As per CDC, you should not be using rubbing alcohol to sterilize surgical & medical equipment. This is because rubbing alcohol cannot kill bacteria spores, which is a layer that protects bacteria.

Consumption

Consumption of isopropyl alcohol can have a bad impact on your body. Some side effects of consuming isopropyl alcohol are as follows:

  • Shock
  • Dehydration
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Bleeding in intestines
  • Sedation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unsteady walking

Is Isopropyl Alcohol Effective Against Fungus and Fungal Spores?

When it comes to fungus, isopropyl alcohol can be moderately effective in getting rid of it, but it is not at all effective in getting rid of fungal spores. Fungus and mold make an appearance where there is moisture. And using a surface cleaner such as isopropyl alcohol will not help in removing fungus and fungal spores.

(Video) Is Isopropyl alcohol safe?

Hydrogen peroxide or bleach are the main components that are often used to remove mold and fungus. However, the EPA does not recommend the use of bleach to get rid of mold.

Final Thoughts

Isopropyl alcohol is one of the most versatile chemicals you’ll ever find, but it’s also one of the less understood (and used) products on the market.

So we hope after reading this guide, you will know how you can use isopropyl alcohol when it comes to personal hygiene, home cleaning and medical purposes. You can also read our guide on most popular FAQs related to Isopropyl Alcohol.

We at Pure Chem co. offer professional-grade 99.9% Food Grade Isopropyl Alcohol that you can buy directly from our online store. The 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol is available in following sizes: quart, gallon, 2.5 gallon, and 5 gallon.

FAQ

What is isopropyl alcohol good for?

When mixed with water, isopropyl alcohol makes for an effective antiseptic. Other uses of rubbing alcohol include its use in making cosmetics, hand lotions, and aftershave creams. It is also commonly used as a solvent. Moreover, isopropyl alcohol is used to denature ethyl alcohol.

Can you use isopropyl alcohol on the skin?

It is safe to use isopropyl alcohol on the skin but only in small amounts. If you use it for prolonged periods or in large quantities, this chemical compound can prove to be toxic for your skin.

What does isopropyl alcohol kill?

As isopropyl is a powerful germicide, it can quickly kill various fungi, viruses, bacteria, and germs. It is also used to disinfect multiple surfaces and even our hands. You’ll also find it in the ingredient list of most household cleaners available in the market.

What can you clean with isopropyl alcohol?

Using isopropyl alcohol, you can clean various things such as stainless steel, hairspray residue, cloths, sponges, sinks, metals, permanent marker stains, cars, walls, and glass.

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DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this guide are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

(Video) Four Important Things To Know About Isopropyl Alcohol? | What is it used for?

FAQs

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol And What Is It Used For? ›

Isopropyl alcohol is mixed with water for use as a rubbing-alcohol antiseptic. It is also used in aftershave lotions, hand lotions, and other cosmetics. In industry it is used as an inexpensive solvent for cosmetics, drugs, shellacs, and gums, as well as for denaturing ethanol (ethyl alcohol).

What is difference between rubbing alcohol and isopropyl alcohol? ›

The main difference between isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol is the concentration. The concentration of isopropyl alcohol is 100%, while the concentration of rubbing alcohol is less because of the addition of water. Otherwise, the two liquids have similar properties. They are antibacterial and antiseptic.

What can isopropyl alcohol clean? ›

10 Great Uses for Rubbing Alcohol
  • Homemade Disinfectant. ...
  • Stainless Steel Cleaner. ...
  • Remove Hair Spray from Mirrors and Tiles. ...
  • Remove Frost from Car Windows. ...
  • Refresh Sponges and Cloths. ...
  • Clean Sinks and Chrome. ...
  • Really, Truly, Clean a Dry Erase Board. ...
  • Remove Ink and Permanent Marker Stains.
Mar 13, 2020

Can I use isopropyl alcohol to clean wounds? ›

Using hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean an injury can actually harm the tissue and delay healing. The best way to clean a minor wound is with cool running water and mild soap. Rinse the wound for at least five minutes to remove dirt, debris, and bacteria.

Is isopropyl alcohol safe for skin? ›

In summary, wiping or rubbing the skin with small amounts of isopropyl alcohol is safe. Prolonged soaking in large amounts increases the risk of absorption and toxic effects. Above all, don't use rubbing alcohol soaks or sponge baths for children with fever.

What can you not clean with rubbing alcohol? ›

Avoid using any rubbing alcohol on painted, shellacked, lacquered, or varnished surfaces, including treated wood. Certain fabrics: The isopropyl in alcohol can be a great stain treatment on certain fabrics, removing all evidence of difficult stains like ink, grass, grease, or sap.

Why should you spray your bed with alcohol? ›

Alcohol works two ways to kill bedbugs. First, it acts as a solvent, which means it eats away the bug's outer shell. The dissolving action might be enough to kill some bedbugs, but alcohol delivers a one-two punch. It also acts as a desiccant, a substance that induces drying out.

Can you clean a toilet with rubbing alcohol? ›

Rubbing alcohol for public toilet cleaning. - YouTube

Can isopropyl alcohol be used as rubbing alcohol? ›

You can buy rubbing alcohol with a concentration of 70% or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Even though you may think the higher concentration is more effective, experts say 70% is actually better for disinfecting. It has more water, which helps it to dissolve more slowly, penetrate cells, and kill bacteria.

Why is isopropyl alcohol called rubbing alcohol? ›

History. The term "rubbing alcohol" came into prominence in North America in the mid-1920s. The original rubbing alcohol was literally used as a liniment for massage; hence the name.

What is 40% rubbing alcohol used for? ›

This product is for further commercial manufacturing, laboratory or research use, and may be used as an excipient or a process solvent for pharmaceutical purposes. It is not intended for use as an active ingredient in drug manufacturing nor as a medical device or disinfectant.

What can I use instead of rubbing alcohol? ›

5 Alternatives to Disinfecting with Alcohol
  • White Vinegar. If you are looking for an accessible alternative to alcohol, head to your kitchen and take a bottle of white vinegar and you are all set. ...
  • Hydrogen Peroxide. ...
  • Chlorine Bleach. ...
  • Lemon. ...
  • Soap.
Jun 29, 2021

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