Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol: Overview

Alternative names: Isopropyl alcohol, Isopropanol, Dimethyl carbinol, Propan-2-ol, Surgical spirit

Rubbing alcohol is commonly found in the medicine cabinet, used for disinfecting wounds or sterilizing objects such as tweezers.  It has many other uses, both medical and not.

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Why it is Recommended

Rubbing alcohol can be used in the following ways:

  • Antimicrobial surface disinfectant (it is commonly used in hospitals)
  • Antiseptic (used for killing bacteria in wounds and on the skin's surface)
  • Hand sanitizer (used as a surgical scrub in hospitals)
  • Pain reliever (applied over painful areas, it reduces pain and inflammation by increasing blood flow)
  • Kills nail fungus (soak the nails in it; sometimes combined with vinegar)
  • Astringent (tightens body tissues; stops bleeding in minor injuries)
  • Dries out cold sores (just dab a little onto the sores)
  • Helps dry out water in the ears (useful for preventing otitis externa – "swimmer's ear".  Adding a few of drops of vinegar also creates an acidic environment against bacteria.)


Rubbing alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and can be toxic to humans in amounts of more than 1gm per 5kg of body weight when swallowed, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled.

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Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing Alcohol can help with the following:


Athletes Foot

Diluted rubbing alcohol can be dabbed on the affected area with cotton balls and allowed to dry.

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