Rubbing alcohol, as a disinfectant, is effective in killing bacteria and viruses. However, it could also be harmful if you use it in the wrong ways because of its unique chemical properties. Read on carefully to find out 8 mistakes you might make when using rubbing alcohol.
1. Do Not Mix Rubbing Alcohol With Bleach
The mix of bleach and alcohol is definitely one of the most dangerous chemical combinations you should avoid at all costs. When mixing with bleach, ethanol and isopropyl in rubbing alcohol will create chloroform, which is a toxic compound that emits toxic and corrosive fumes. As stated by CDC, inhaling chloroform can cause severe issues with (to?) the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys, in addition to irritating the skin, lungs, and eyes and causing nausea and dizziness.
2. Do Not Use Rubbing Alcohol When Smoking Or Near Flames
Because of its apparent alcohol content, rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. You should be very careful and avoid using it when smoking or around any flames in your home; otherwise, there might be an explosion. You’d better make sure to snuff out all your candles before disinfecting with any alcohol products.
3. Do Not Use Rubbing Alcohol In Unventilated Areas
Isopropyl in alcohol is a volatile chemical, so it evaporates very quickly and generates potentially harmful fumes. If you’d like to clean your house with rubbing alcohol, remember to open your windows, keeping the area as well-ventilated as possible.
4. Do Not Clean Finished Surfaces With Rubbing Alcohol
Although rubbing alcohol is a super disinfectant on counters, toilets, or even your laptop and cell phone, which is strong enough to destroy E.coli bacteria and the flu virus, you still need to avoid sterilizing any painted, shellacked, lacquered, or varnished surfaces with it. The ethanol in alcohol, which is a solvent, can literally liquify varnishes or finishes, doing significant damage to your furniture.
5. Do Not Clean Certain Fabrics With Rubbing Alcohol
The isopropyl in alcohol can be an excellent stain treatment on fabrics, and it can easily remove all evidence of difficult stains like ink, grass, grease, or sap. Despite cleaning your carpet effectively, alcohol can also destroy delicate or synthetic materials, such as acetate, rayon, wool, and silk.
6. Do Not Dilute Rubbing Alcohol Too Much
According to the CDC, alcohol’s effectiveness at killing germs will drop sharply when diluted below 50 percent concentration, and the optimal concentration for killing bacteria is between 60 and 90 percent. However, you don’t need to worry about dilution, as rubbing alcohol sold at stores is generally already diluted with water in a concentration written on its label, which is commonly 70 percent or 90 percent.
7. Do Not Use Rubbing Alcohol On Wounds Or Sensitive Skin Conditions
Due to the antiseptic properties of isopropyl alcohol, doctors always sterilize medical equipment with it, like sanitizing the tweezers before removing a splinter and cleaning small cuts on the skin. However, using large amounts of rubbing alcohol directly on the skin can cause severe damage. It can delay healing and lead to even worse skin irritation, so don’t use it to clean wounds or use it on sensitive areas like sunburned or dry skins.
8. Do Not Ingest Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can’t be used internally, for it is toxic when ingested even in small amounts according to the National Capital Poison Center. Isopropyl alcohol is extremely irritating to the digestive tract, and drinking a lot of it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and bleeding in the stomach and intestines. Keep your rubbing alcohol out of reach from children, and never put it in a glass or another container, since it might be mistaken for water.