Chemical Free Home – The Benefit of Alcohol Based Cleaners and Solvents

Alcohol makes an excellent household cleaner. Denatured or isopropyl alcohol can be used as a selective cleaner around the home on a variety of surfaces.

Alcohol of this type can have a drying effect on the skin. It is recommended you wear protective rubber gloves when physically handling this cleaning product.

Some of the the things around the home worth having a go at cleaning with Alcohol include:

Grass stains

Rubbing alcohol on grass stains on clothes can help prevent the stain from penetrating the fibres and sticking to the material permanently. Grass stains on Lino, Vinyl or tiled floors can be easily removed by adding a few drops to a cloth and rubbing the stained area until the mark is gone. Carpet can also be cleaned in a similar way. Before using on carpet or textile (clothing, linen etc.) test a small area to make sure it does not discolour the fabric.


Ink seems to be attracted to the material in a white business shirt. If you are in the unfortunate situation of finding a pen has leaked its contents all over your clothing Rubbing alcohol may help lift the stain. Be careful however, you may end up bleeding the stain throughout the area making it worse than it was to begin with. When the stain has lifted rinse the alcohol from the garment and wash independent of other clothing to remove any excess alcohol.


Dyes such as hair dye will stain anything they come in contact with. Soaking towels or protective coverings in a mixture of alcohol and water may help remove dye stains. Alcohol may also remove dye stains from hard floors, bench tops or other areas where a spill is likely to occur.


Streak free windows can be achieved by mixing denatured alcohol in a 50:50 mix with water. Using a spray bottle (similar to a commercially available window cleaner) simply spray windows as you normally would and wipe over with a piece of paper towel or lint free cloth. This mixture can be used both indoors and outside. Be careful around window sealing rubber as the alcohol may loosen some types of silicone or may smear black rubber seals which could stain window trimmings or, timber weather boards and brickwork.

Grease and grime

Isopropyl alcohol is ideal for removing grease and grime from several types of material. It can be used to clean surfaces prior to painting with enamel based paints. Grease and tar can also be removed from automotive paintwork with isopropyl alcohol.

When using Denatured or Isopropyl alcohol as solvent or household cleaner always test to ensure no further staining will result from its use. Some stains such as ink may cause further running of the stain. Since the item is probably damaged anyway (due to the stain) its always worth a try. But don’t expect miracles. Prevention, as the saying goes, is always better than cure.

© Eric J. Smith