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The Many Uses of Rubbing Alcohol

The molecule isopropyl alcohol is commonly known as rubbing alcohol. This chemical has a close relative in the form of ethanol which is found in drinks like beer, wine, and hard liquor, or what we commonly call drinking alcohol. Although isopropyl alcohol and ethanol has many common chemical properties, rubbing alcohol cannot be consumed by humans. Rubbing alcohol is water soluble and has a low boiling point. Rubbing alcohol can be used in many household applications because of its chemical properties.

One of the most common uses of alcohol is for cleaning. If you look at the ingredients of your common toilet bowl cleaner or window cleaner, you will find that it contains isopropyl alcohol. If you use rubbing alcohol on sticky gum residue, it can dissolve it quickly. Sap or chewing gum is also difficult to remove by itself, but with rubbing alcohol, you can remove it from your hands or from any surface. If there are hairspray residue from mirrors and windows, then these can be removed by using rubbing alcohol. If you find too many fingerprints on your DVDs or CDs, just rub it with a little rubbing alcohol and you can completely wipe out the fingerprints without damaging the plastic of the disc.

If you love to swim, you know what it feels like to have water suck deep in the ear canal. It can really irritate you especially when your ears start to hurt. It is not easy to remove the water residue inside your ears and you will also find it difficult to hear. Swimmers’ ear is a painful ear condition which happens when pathogens infect the ear because of the moisture left deep inside.

Rubbing alcohol dropped inside the ear can actually prevent swimmers’ ear. It has been proven by scientific studies that it takes isopropyl alcohol lesser time to evaporate than it does water. So, if there is a puddle of water in your ear, it will take long for it to disappear but a puddle of rubbing alcohol can evaporate fast. So if you put rubbing alcohol inside your ear and it mixes with the water inside, then what you have is a mixture which evaporates faster than water. This can help dry the ear and prevent infection.

Disinfecting and sterilizing are the two other uses of isopropyl alcohol. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are killed with isopropyl alcohol. Pathogens die with alcohol so nurses rub their skin with this before giving an injection. Disease is not spread in hospitals if the surface are sprayed with isopropyl alcohol. In our homes, we can spray alcohol on our counter tops and other non-porous items which we commonly touch instead of using expensive antibacterial agents.

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