how to use rubbing alcohol prepping

multi-use survival tool: rubbing alcohol

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Rubbing alcohol
How to use rubbing alcohol in prepping

Rubbing alcohol is among the essentials preppers stockpile, but
have you ever fully contemplated how useful this unassuming
bottle really is? It's a powerhouse! Discover the practical and
productive uses for rubbing alcohol.

  • Note: Isopropyl alcohol is found commonly in 70%, but left
    you'll find in 99% concentration. This concentrated form
    ships as a hazardous material. The stronger the percentage
    of isopropyl alcohol, the more fuel you will have for burning.
    The 99% variety pictured left is most often associated with
    drug production. It's difficult to source, usually behind the
    counter with the pharmacist also because no one wants you
    drinking it.

How to use Rubbing Alcohol Prepping
Here are 14+ ways to use rubbing alcohol in prepping:

Rubbing alcohol use #1: Prevent athlete's foot.
Remember, you don't have to be an athlete to get athlete's foot.
Athlete's foot is a parasitic fungus that's transmitted from one
person to the next. No one wants a foot fungus and it's easy to
minimize the problem by using rubbing alcohol if your feet ever
get exposure to questionable surfaces such as public showers,
locker rooms, gym floors, or swimming pools.

Not only will direct application of rubbing alcohol after exposure,
kill the fungus, but it will help prevent a secondary bacterial
infection from occurring!

Rubbing alcohol use #2: Make a slushy ice pack
Improvise a squishy cold pack to sooth aches and pains with
rubbing alcohol and water in a zip lock bag. Unlike a hard ice
block, the compress made with rubbing alcohol will bend and
shape to comfort you. Best of all, you can re-use your inexpensive
compress. When it gets a little too slushy, just return it to

  • Here's how to use rubbing alcohol to make a compress:
    The recipe is simple. Mix 1-1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup
    rubbing alcohol into a quart sized freezer bag, then freeze
    the bag for three hours. If you need more, just remember to
    use one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water.

Here's how to make gel packs made with a food saver.

Rubbing alcohol use #3: Create a cheap and natural
hand sanitizer.
Rubbing alcohol is among the ingredients of hand sanitizers, but
often made in China, you're not sure what you're really getting.
Feel better by
making your own hand sanitizer with rubbing
alcohol, your favorite essential oil, and aloe vera gel. For better
smelling, more effective hand sanitizer, it's a natural to make it

    Recipe for Do-it-yourself hand sanitizer:
  • 2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • 10 drops essential oil (lavender or sweet orange -- both are
    antiviral and antibacterial, plus they smell wonderful)

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an important method to
prevent most bacterial and viral infections,

Rubbing alcohol use #4: Use it as a fire accelerant.
Did you know that you can light a wet alcohol swab pad? It
makes a clever little fire accelerant that you can tuck away in
your bugout bag. Here's another fire accelerant made of rubbing
alcohol: bugout balls. (These are also ideal for camping or for
inclusion in your bugout bag.)

How to make your own bugout balls
You'll need just three things: 100% cotton balls, Vaseline (or
generic petroleum jelly) and a zip-lock baggie.

  1. Saturate a handful of cotton balls in the petroleum jelly.
    Make sure they're soaked by rolling them and massaging
    them into saturation.
  2. Store your bugout balls in the air-tight zip-lock bag until
    you're ready to light.
  3. To accelerate your fire, fluff up the fibers before igniting.
    These are great for the bugout bag, camping, or lighting your
    outdoor fire pit.

Rubbing alcohol use #5: Devise a defroster.
Wake up to thick frosted windshield on your morning commute
and need to make a speedy getaway? Then get out your do-it-
yourself defroster made of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle!

  • How to use rubbing alcohol to defrost your windows. Fill a
    spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, then simply mist your
    windows and the rubbing alcohol will warm the frozen sheet
    off your windshields, so you can then rub away the remaining
    frost and moisture. Soon be on your way. You may as well
    keep some in your car, because it won't freeze and it has so
    many purposes!

Rubbing alcohol use #6: Improvise deodorant.
Did you know that body odors are the result of bacteria? Rubbing
alcohol can wipe away problem.

  • How to use rubbing alcohol as a deodorant: Pour rubbing
    alcohol onto a cotton swab or cloth and wipe away odor
    causing bacteria directly at the source of trouble: your arm
    pits. Beware that freshly shaved pits will cause a slight
    sting. Think of alcohol swabs as your mini deodorant pads.

Rubbing alcohol use #7: Prepare for pruning.
Pruning is an unusual use for rubbing alcohol, but here's why it's
important: dirty outdoor pruners may have fungus spores on them
or spider mites, not to mention the bacteria, all of which are
harmful to the open wound you leave in pruning. You should also
wash your hand both before and after pruning, but it's important
to know that clean instruments are always important in pruning.

Whether you use a sharp pair of pruners or a pair of scissors, you
should sanitize the clippers and blades in between cuts: do that
with rubbing alcohol! Also, be sure to use indoor pruners only

Be careful not to put the rubbing alcohol on the plant itself or you
risk killing it. Good to know rubbing alcohol works great for
weeds, though.

Rubbing alcohol use #8: Use as a solvent.
Rubbing alcohol can help you remove greasy, gummy, sticky and
oily substances thanks to the ethanol. The most simple solution
is a mixture of rubbing alcohol and a citrus essential oil, such as
sweet orange essential oil, but you can use rubbing alcohol alone.
This will help you get the gummy substance of jars you want to

Rubbing alcohol use #9: Forge a survival stove.
Need a survival stove? Do it yourself! Make a nifty survival stove
from a clean and empty quart size painter's can, a roll of toilet
paper, and rubbing alcohol.  To get the toilet paper in the can,
flatten the toilet paper, then slide out the cardboard center. With
a little finesse you can get the whole toilet roll into the can. Then
you just add the alcohol until the entire toilet paper is covered,
and you can store it in the can until you need to use it. (The
water shouldn't evaporate if you've sealed the can.)

Clean burning, you can carefully use this alcohol stove as a
heater in an emergency or to cook your food. Just remember to
mark it as flammable and to keep it away from fire or flame until
you're ready to use it. To extinguish the flame, put the lid  on it
or allow adequate burn time.

  • Warning: Depending on the lighting conditions, you may not
    see that a flame is actually lit. Don't get burned thinking
    there's no flame, when there is a light one burning after all.

Rubbing alcohol use #10: Get ticks out.
Find a tick under skin? Rubbing alcohol can solve that too.
Saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and place it directly
over the affected area to suffocate the tick. If the tick doesn't
squirm out you can use the "credit card method" to slide out the
body. Be sure to see a physician if available to rule out Lyme

Rubbing alcohol use #11: Take control of pests.
For a less toxic form of pest control, rubbing alcohol saves the
day. Here are some examples of how you can use rubbing alcohol.

  • Aphids. Use rubbing alcohol to outsmart aphids. In a spray
    bottle combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 5 parts water,
    and  just1 tablespoon liquid hand soap or dishwashing liquid.
    You can apply this directly to the plans and repeat in two to
    three days for a couple of weeks.

  • Bed bugs: Fill a spray bottle with isopropyl rubbing alcohol
    and spray the braiding of your mattress, as well as the
    headboard, and box springs. The alcohol will kill bedbugs on
    contact. Beware however that it doesn't continue to kill
    bedbugs. You'll need to remedy that situation in other ways.

  • Fruit flies and gnats. Rubbing alcohol is not favored by fruit
    flies and gnats. If you find them buzzing about, spray them
    with rubbing alcohol in a mist spray bottle. Keep in mind not
    to spray near your stove, open flames, or candles. Rubbing
    alcohol is flammable. Also don't spray your fruit directly as
    rubbing alcohol should not be ingested.

Rubbing alcohol use #12: Clean electronics.
You'd be smart to use rubbing alcohol on our smartphone or
android device, particularly in
pandemic situations where a germ
could kill you. Cell phones are known to carry travelling germs.
Now you have another good reason to pack alcohol swabs in your
bugout bag, purse or wallet.

Works also for other electrical components, such as:
  • keyboard of your computer, laptop or tabloid
  • television remote control
  • calculators
  • coffee pots (coffee pots are among the germiest places in
    the kitchen or office)

Rubbing alcohol use #13: Explode chlorine "bombs."
Out of ammunition and want to defend your territory in a world
without rule of law (WROL)? Put a scare on intruders (if not some
hurt) with a
chlorine bomb you make with rubbing alcohol,
chlorine tablets, like the ones pictured left, and an empty plastic
bottle with a screw cap. We present this controversial idea for the
purpose of information only, so that preppers may use idea for
self defense in a WROL scenario.

  • Here's the recipe for a chlorine bomb: With a 1/2 cup
    rubbing alcohol, plus 1/2 cup crushed chlorine tablets, and an
    empty soda liter bottle, you can make chlorine bombs. First
    crush chorline tablets and insert into the bottle. You can use
    a funnel to get the powder inside. Once you've pre-measured
    the rubbing alcohol, then carefully pour inside and screw on
    the cap. Next, vigorously shake the bottle and throw it at
    your target. First the chlorine vapors inside will start to turn
    yellow and then as the pressure builds up, the bottle will
    explode. Be quick, be safe, and know that you risk personal

    Warning: The concept of a chlorine bomb is for informational
    purposes only. Do NOT try this at home. Be safe, and keep
    this idea a secret from the kiddos.

So this brings us to our final idea for how to use rubbing alcohol
in prepping. And after knowing how to make the chlorine bomb,
you may need this final idea: use rubbing alcohol for first aid.

Rubbing alcohol use #14: Apply in first aid.
We saved the most obvious use of rubbing alcohol for last. With
the active ingredient of 70% isopropyl is as an
antiseptic and
antibacterial cleansing agent; however there are many more first
aid applications:

  • Antiseptic. As an antiseptic, rubbing alcohol will sting but
    can  be used for wound cleaning with some caveats. Actually,
    you can use just any kind of booze for this purpose if soap
    and water is not available. Rubbing alcohol can help prevent
    the risk of infection in minor cuts, scrapes and burns;
    however, ask a medical professional before using on deep
    puncture wounds, animal bites or serious burns. In the case
    of deep wounds that are still bleeding, you could actually do
    more harm than good and end up causing an infection on top
    of the wound! Use with caution.

  • Here's how to use rubbing alcohol as an antiseptic:
    Clean the wound with soap and water, and apply a
    small amount of rubbing alcohol on the affected area as
    an extra measure or even on the sterile portion of the
    bandage. Apply up to three times daily. If necessary,
    cover loosely with a sterile bandage after the area has

  • Clean medical equipment or prepare injection site.
  • Cleanse the injection site before an I.V. or before giving
    a diabetic insulin, rubbing alcohol can prepare the skin
    to make it free from bacteria.
  • Clean EMT scissors, tweezers and scalpels prior to using.
  • Sanitizing a thermometer.

  • Soothe skin from acne, bites, rashes and sores.
  • Mosquito bites. Rubbing alcohol can soothe the itchiness of
    mosquito bites
  • Cold sores. Rubbing alcoho can help manage the discomfort
    of cold sores.
  • Poison oak. As a relief for poison oak, poison ivy or sumac
    relief, rubbing alcohol can help dry out the oils that cause
    the itch.
  • Acne. As well, rubbing alcohol can be used to dry out acne
    (though regular use is not recommended).
  • Bed bug bites. Tea tree oil mixed with rubbing alcohol is a
    prepper favorite. It even gets a mention in an excellent book
    by Dr. Bones himself, and his wife Nurse Amy, as a remedy
    for bed bug bites! The book is an excellent reference for your
    survival library.

  • Prevent Swimmer's Ear. Medically known as Otitis,
    Swimmer's Ear is an inflammatory disease of the middle ear
    and in many cases may require antibiotics. Swimming in
    unclean water may lead to swimmer's ear. In their book, The
    Survival Medicine handbook, a guide for when help is not on
    way, Joseph Alton and Amy Alton recommend the prevention
    of carefully using cotton swabs to moisten the external and
    middle ear with mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinager.
    Alternatively, they recommend trying hydrogen peroxide, and
    we agree. Cure the problem of too much wax with drops of
    hydrogen peroxide. It may help relieve swimmer's ear as well.

  • Recipe for rubbing alcohol ear drops: Mix 2
    tablespoons rubbing alcohol with 2 tablespoons white
    vinegar. Then bottle and dispense in  an eye dropper.
    Directions: give 2-3 drops in each ear after swimming or

  • NOTE: Caution about using Isopropyl alcohol for
    swimmer's ear! Many people swear by it that you can
    avert swimmer's ear or even cure it with equal parts
    white vinegar and rubbing alcohol; however, we caution
    that alcohol is drying and may cause redness or
    aggravate the situation further if you overdo it.
    Especially if your ears are hurting (because alcohol will
    burn). Always consult a physician if available as you
    may require antibiotics or corticosteroids to reduce
    itching and inflammation.

More ways to use rubbing alcohol
The list is endless on how to use rubbing alcohol around your
home. Here are more ideas (non-survival related):

  • Window and mirror scum. You'll find rubbing alcohol dries
    quickly and removes the scum better than water. It gets out
    all that hairspray left on your mirrors and removes the oily
    fingerprints on your windows, too. Rubbing alcohol is a non-
    abrasive solvent that's gentle enough to help you safely
    clean your eyeglasses, as well.

  • Laundry help. If you accidentally ink a garment, spray
    rubbing alcohol on the stain to loosen the ink before washing.

  • Massage. An underrated use of rubbing alcohol is for
    massage, since it can help soothe body aches and has both
    a wonderful cooling and heating effect depending on how you
    use it.  Rubbing produces the heat and allowing the rubbing
    alcohol to dissipate on its own without rubbing has cooling
  • Do not massage children with rubbing alcohol as the
    alcohol may enter the bloodstream.
  • Do not massage large surfaces of skin either.

  • Sharpie control. Sharpie markers are labeled as permanent
    markers, but they're not really if you know the trick: rubbing
    alcohol. Say you use a Sharpie on a dry-erase board or
    accidentally get marks on your furniture. You can wipe away
    the mess with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. It works
    like magic, so mom will never know that you almost ruined

  • Stinky feet patrol. Rubbing alcohol can help remove the
    stink from your shoes. Wipe down the insides of shoes with
    rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth. The moisture should quickly
    evaporate, but if not you can place them in the sun.

  • Lice control! Kill the bugs in your combs and brushes.

It does all that and it cleans granite counter tops, too, so you'll
avoid the pock marks that other cleaners may leave behind!

Happy endings...
Rubbing alcohol is a humble supply item sitting in your cabinet
waiting to be a super hero! You can source
rubbing alcohol very
inexpensively at the dollar stores, along with your other prepping
supplies. It's number 76 on the list of 99 ways to spend a buck
prepping the dollar stores.

Now you know why it's on the list, go out and get some! Best of
all, rubbing alcohol is among the most inexpensive
supply items
you can stock for bartering purposes.

  • Rubbing alcohol is never intended as a substitute for grain or
    ethyl alcohol. It will produce serious gastric disturbances if
    taken internally! Call poison control if accidentally ingested.
  • Keep away from fire or flame, heat spark or electrical
    appliances which may spark.
  • Do not get into eyes.
  • Do not apply over large areas of the body
  • Do not use longer than a week unless expressly directed by
    your physician.
  • Use only in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep out of reach of children and call poison control if

Happy endings...
Rubbing alcohol makes it to our list at #76 of the 99 prepping
and survival supplies you can get for just a buck. Now that's a
happy survival supply.

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