female hand in yellow rubber glove holding spray bottle of homemade cleaning solution

5 Fabulous Homemade Cleaning Products that Use the Power of Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is extremely useful around the house because it acts as both a solvent and a disinfectant. Add to that, it’s relatively cheap! All of this makes isopropyl alcohol nearly magical as an ingredient in so many useful homemade cleaning products.

female hand in yellow rubber glove holding spray bottle of homemade cleaning solution

Rubbing alcohol comes in varying strengths from 70%, which is most common, all the way to 99% strength. While any of these strengths will work well in the five recipes I have for you today, 70% is most common and least expensive—$1.29 for a 16 oz. bottle is typical*. Always label homemade solutions clearly and keep them out of the reach of children.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 1 tablespoon liquid soap, like Blue Dawn
  • 10 cups water

Instructions

Pour ingredients into a gallon-size plastic jug. Shake thoroughly to mix. Use in place of commercial windshield washer fluid in your car’s windshield washer reservoir. Always shake prior to adding to the reservoir. The alcohol speeds the drying time and prevents the solution from freezing in winter.

Eyeglasses Lens and Screen Cleaner

Ingredients

  • 1 part rubbing alcohol
  • 1 part water
  • 1 drop liquid soap like Blue Dawn

Instructions

Combine ingredients and pour into a small spray bottle. Spray onto a microfiber cloth rather than directly onto lenses, computer screens, or other devices. Rub to clean away all the fingerprints and other dirty grim. Look at that sparkle!

 

All-Purpose Liquid Cleaner

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, like Blue Dawn
  • 1 tablespoon household ammonia
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Instructions

Pour ingredients into a gallon jug. Fill with warm water and shake. You can put this in a spray bottle and use as you would Windex. Great for cleaning windows, chrome, and bath fixtures, too!

Heavy-Duty Window Cleaner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup household ammonia
  • 2 cups rubbing alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent, like Blue Dawn
  • Water

Instructions

Mix ammonia, alcohol, and detergent in a gallon jug. Fill to the top with water. Shake before each use. This solution is great in cleaning really dirty windows, taking tape marks off windows, and is also removes soap film from shower doors.

Granite Cleaner

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 8 drops Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 5 drops essential oil (optional, but makes it smell great)
  • water

Instructions

Pour rubbing alcohol, soap, and essential oil (if you choose) into a 16-oz. spray bottle. Add enough water to fill the bottle. Label and keep out of reach of children. Shake to mix. From now on, use this cleaner to keep your countertops beautifully clean and shiny without wrecking the sealant or causing any harm to the granite.

Pro Tip: Can also use to clean quartz, marble, Corian, Formica, and wood counters.

Bonus

Got a carpet stain? Lipstick on a blouse? Adhering to the adage of first, do no harm—use isopropyl alcohol straight up to remove that stain. Nine times out of 10, it’s going to work to remove it, and quite magically!

*A word on availability

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic of 2020, ordinary things can suddenly be in limited supply. So was the case for isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. For months, it was difficult to find, if at all! Should that be the case in the future, it’s good to know how we can substitute rubbing alcohol for another type of alcohol in these cleaning recipes.

Substitutes

You can reasonably substitute denatured alcohol or Everclear Grain Alcohol for the rubbing alcohol in these homemade cleaning products.

Denatured alcohol is not an exact match to isopropyl alcohol, chemically, but performs the same. It has a stronger odor and you certainly do not want to use this for medicinal purposes, as you might with rubbing alcohol. You will not find this in supermarkets or drugstores. Denatured alcohol is available in the paint aisle of Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other such home improvement stores. Also online.

Everclear Grain Alcohol is available in liquor and spirits stores. It is the strongest alcohol allowed for human consumption, and even so, I would suggest you never, ever come close to drinking the stuff. It’s bad, nasty stuff—190 proof! And that makes it perfect for homemade cleaning products.

Caution

Keep all alcohol products clearly labeled and out of easy reach of children and others. Treat them with the same respect you treat all flammable, toxics, and pest control products.

Revised & Updated 5-5-21


Up Next

More Homemade Cleaning Products

How to Make Disinfecting Wipes

How to Make Homemade Natural Furniture Polish and Get Rid of White Rings

Where to Find Basic Essentials When the Shelves are Empty


 

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3 replies
  1. Carol A Dunn says:

    Help Mary! June first our grocery is discoontinuing the single use plastic bags. I really use these bags for cat litter and general cleaning. Now what on earth do I do to replace them. I have no idea what to do with cat litter I scoop several times a week.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Start saving-to-recycle every other type of platic bag or packaging that comes into your house, i.e. bread wrappers, the “bag” around a package of toilet paper. The bag your community throwaway newspaper comes in, the plastic bags that most supermarkets continue to have available for free in the meat and produce departments; fast food containers, drink cups, or other similar that you may generally toss into the trash. Start seeing every bag or item of packaging as a potential reusable receptacle.

      Reply
  2. Connie says:

    I have been using the rubbing alcohol solution that you suggest for years. Over time, I saw that it really was not cutting through the grime on my bathroom mirror. I started using Glass Plus, and it has made a big difference. The mirror is completely clean. What is in Glass Plus that I need to add to your formula?

    Reply

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