This inexpensive must-have first aid item can be found in any pharmacy. While great for disinfecting minor scrapes and killing germs, isopropyl rubbing alcohol has many wonderful "off label" uses in the health and beauty world!
Kill Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are disgusting little brown insects that love to live on the blood of humans and animals. Get rid of that yucky infestation with rubbing alcohol! Pest Central recommends putting rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and dousing the mattress, box spring and headboard liberally. The alcohol will kill the critters on contact! However, once the alcohol has dried, it is no longer effective. So multiple treatments will be required to kill all the eggs. Make sure not to sleep in the bed until the alcohol has fully dried, and use a new sheet every day.
DIY Ice Cold Gel Pack
Rubbing alcohol won't turn into a solid mass if you stick it in your freezer, because it just doesn't get cold enough in there. Why is this important? Because you can make a moldable gel pack that will easily fit around a sprained arm or ankle. To make the gel pack, mix one cup of rubbing alcohol and two cups of water in a Ziploc bag. Remove as much air as possible. It should only take an hour in the freezer to form a gel-like slush.
Nail Polish Remover
Most nail polish remover contains a harsh chemical solvent called acetone. Not only can it be drying to your nail bed, but according to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, acetone presents with moderate concerns for neurotoxicity and is an irritant for skin, eyes and lungs. Try using rubbing alcohol as an alternative. It will take a few more rounds with the cotton ball for the polish to come off, but you won't be exposed to as many harmful chemicals.
Zap Head Lice
Forget lice shampoos or other expensive remedies. Rubbing alcohol costs pennies per treatment, and you probably already have some in your medicine cabinet! Put rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Spray the scalp and hair liberally with rubbing alcohol, and make sure to do it outside or in a well-ventilated area. As you comb out the hair, you'll see adult lice fall out dead! But the treatment doesn't stop there. The Wisconsin Division Of Public Health recommends dipping used nit combs into rubbing alcohol for at least an hour to ensure any stray lice stay dead.
No More Razor Bumps
Every time you shave your legs, your skin can become irritated and slightly inflamed. Plus, let's not forget about those pesky razor bumps that appear soon after! According to Livestrong, razor bumps occur when the hairs on your legs curl back in towards your skin after they become irritated from shaving. That kind of defeats the purpose of trying to get smooth, silky skin! To prevent this from happening, dab rubbing alcohol on your legs to help relieve some of the irritation and inflammation.
Ear Wax Remover
That yellowish green goop that builds up in your ears can be quite an annoyance. However, you should nix the Q-tips! Per David Wolfe, Q-tips are not the most effective or safest way to clean your ears. They can be harmful to your ear drum and push wax deeper into your ear canal. Instead, turn your attention to rubbing alcohol as a natural ear wax remedy. All you need to do is mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar in a bowl, dip a cotton ball into the liquid and squeeze a few drops into your ear. The wax will start to dissolve naturally without further intervention.
Acne Skin Treatment
Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used over-the-counter acne treatment ingredient, but rubbing alcohol comes in a close second! Livestrong notes that rubbing alcohol can clear up acne-causing bacteria on your skin. Prolonged use may cause irritation, so only dab it on as a spot treatment until the acne flareup subsides.
Eliminate Cold Sores
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and can manifest itself anywhere on the body, though they are usually found on the lips. Cold sores aren't harmful, but they can be unsightly and uncomfortable. While there is no cure for herpes simplex, you can dry the blisters so they disappear off of your lips! The University of Michigan recommends that you apply 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol to the cold sore when it first appears, as this will immediately start to dry it out. You can dab alcohol on it several times a day until it disappears.
Deodorant In A Pinch
Have you ever run out the front door in a hurry, and forgot to put on your deodorant? Rubbing alcohol can work great as a short term deodorant in a pinch. Since it's found in many first aid kits, it shouldn't be hard to find one at your workplace. It's not something you'll want to use every day since it can be a bit of an irritant with long term use, but it definitely kills the odor-causing bacteria under your armpits.
Watch as Sara shows you how to use rubbing alcohol to make an easy DIY hand sanitizer.
Strange But Effective New Uses
While you may have only thought of rubbing alcohol as a first aid item, these alternative uses reveal how to use it in several different and useful ways. It's a great alternative for taking off nail polish or killing various bugs and germs. So go to your medicine cabinet and try one of these cool ways to use rubbing alcohol for health or beauty!