Does Rubbing Alcohol Leave Stains On Your Clothes?

Rubbing alcohol has many different uses both inside and outside of the house. You can  use it to remove stains from clothing, dishes, floors, walls and more, because it is a strong liquid that can dissolve even the toughest marks. 

It is an excellent product to have around, since it is effective, accessible, and easy to use. What’s more, one bottle should last you a good while, meaning that you can keep it in your cupboard for a long time until you need it again.

There are several benefits to using rubbing alcohol instead of water or detergent to wash stains from clothes. It simply works better because it requires fewer rinses to wash it out again, leaving your clothes cleaner quicker.

It also allows you to remove stubborn marks and spills much faster than if you were washing them with plain water. Another benefit to rubbing alcohol is that it is safer for your fabrics than regular water, because it won’t cause them to shrink in the process.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Stain Your Clothes (1)

One of the worries people have about rubbing alcohol is that it may actually stain your clothing – just like bleach can do if you accidentally drop something neat onto your clothes. This isn’t good because such damage can’t be reversed easily, so it could be very costly if it happens to you.

Therefore, it is necessary to know the potential consequences of rubbing alcohol before you begin to apply it in your everyday cleaning routine.

Did you know that some people are also allergic to rubbing alcohol? If you are one of them, then you may want to avoid using it at home due to the potential damage it could cause to your skin.

If you are not allergic (and it’s likely you aren’t), you should be fine with utilizing this cleaning product whenever you want. 

Here, we discuss how to clean your clothes safely and effectively with rubbing alcohol.

What Is In Rubbing Alcohol?

As it says in the name, rubbing alcohol is primarily made up of alcohol of some description – not the forms of alcohol you drink, but the ones that you are likely to find in commercial stain removers and other household cleaners. 

Most commonly available brands contain ethanol and/or isopropyl alcohol, although there are others such as denatured ethyl alcohol. The exact formula depends on which brand you purchase, however ethanol and isopropyl alcohol make up at least 70% of each mixture.

Many rubbing alcohol products contain dyes that make their color bright. Most are clear or white, but some companies also sell colored varieties. A lot of these will be labeled as denatured alcohols, which means they have been treated chemically to change its properties and stop it spoiling. 

The most common chemicals added to the mixture are ethyl-alcohol (usually ethanol) and formaldehyde, although some brands add methylene glycol.

If you buy a specific alcohol for stain removal, you should find that it doesn’t contain the same sorts of dyes in the bottles that regular rubbing alcohol does. However, when you’re looking for a new bottle, you might have luck finding one that contains dyes.

Some people prefer the look of certain colors over others, and if this appeals to you, then you’ll probably be able to purchase an alternative that has the right features for you.

Unfortunately, it is common to get rubbing alcohol with bleach, which is well known to turn certain clothing white in high doses. In the concentration it is at in these products, you may not even be able to notice any bleach stain until you hold the garment up to the light.

While such stains are not very noticeable, they can still be disappointing when they weren’t there before you ever washed them.

Types of Rubbing Alcohol

You may think that alcohol is alcohol, and all brands are basically the same thing packaged differently. However, there are some differences between brands, so it would be best to check what ingredients they contain before buying one.

Here are four common types:

Denatured Alcohol

The most common type of rubbing alcohol for clothing purposes is denatured, which means that it has been treated with chemicals to prevent its contents from separating out during storage.

It is important that you only buy denatured rubbing alcohol for items that will not come into direct contact with your body, as there are other types available that may include ingredients that are harmful to you.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is also very popular and has been seen as the number one rubbing alcohol in recent years, but it is mostly used for disinfection purposes.

Many people buy isopropyl alcohol from the store in bottles of all shapes and sizes, for things like cleaning electronics, preparing paints, and removing mold. It is also found in a lot of car care products, for example.

Isopropyl alcohol is made from cool water, which is the main ingredient in it and obviously very easy to come by.

Ethyl Alcohol

While you may not have heard of the term ethyl alcohol, you will probably have come across ethanol, which is the same thing.

Ethanol is often found in fuel for cars, because it releases fewer carbon emissions than fuel alone would do. It also makes an effective rubbing alcohol, which you can even make yourself by combining it with warm water, sugar, and yeast.

Methyl Alcohol

Out of the four here, methyl alcohol (methanol) is the least frequently seen in everyday life. More often than not, it is found in antifreeze and similar products, where it is mixed together with acetone or another solvent.

Methyl alcohol is sometimes called wood alcohol, since it comes from a different chemical compound. One thing you need to be aware of is that methyl alcohol is very toxic if you accidentally consume it or let it touch your skin.

A number of these types are called “industrial” rubbers, which are designed specifically for industrial purposes.

They usually contain special additives that allow them to withstand extreme temperatures without separating out, and they don’t evaporate away as quickly as regular alcohols would. The ones that are commonly used by home users tend to be slightly more unstable and prone to evaporation.

You can also mix two kinds of rubbing alcohol together to create your own custom blend. For example, you could combine two parts of methanol with one part of isopropyl alcohol for a third kind of alcohol.

This may make it more effective for your particular task than trying one type on its own. However, it can also be expensive to have various forms of alcohol for stain removal, especially if you’re only going to use a little of each.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Stain Your Clothes

Removing Clothes Stains With Rubbing Alcohol

There are two ways to clean your clothes with rubbing alcohol: wet cleaning or dry cleaning. Wet cleaning means that you add a small amount of rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain before washing, while dry cleaning means adding alcohol after the fact.

Here is the lowdown on each method, so you know which should be used in which situation.

Wet Cleaning

This method works well when dealing with stains from liquid sources such as spilled drinks, food, or blood. You simply dip a clean cloth into alcohol and then wring it afterwards to remove any residue.

It’s best to avoid using this technique with solids, however, as it won’t work at all with certain substances.

Dry Cleaning

To get rid of a small stain on your clothes you will need something that works quickly. One way to do this is rub some rubbing alcohol over the area where the stain was applied.

Rubbing alcohol dissolves the stain and leaves no trace of its presence behind. It also leaves the area looking and fresh and smelling neutral, as long as you rinse the clothing thoroughly after cleaning.

Hot water is best to use for washing clothes, as it helps to dissolve the bonds between the fabric and the stain.

How To Use Rubbing Alcohol For Removing Clothing Stains

The best way to clean clothing for a variety of reasons including removing stains is by using an alcohol-based solution such as rubbing alcohol or white vinegar.

These solutions are safe in most cases and they’re also very effective at removing most types of stains, especially those caused by food or beverages like coffee, tea, wine, soda, juice, or beer. All you have to do is follow this simple step by step guide:

1. Make sure there aren’t any holes or tears in the fabric so that the solution doesn’t seep through – you don’t want the alcohol getting anywhere it shouldn’t.

2. Soak the stained part of your clothing in the solution until it becomes completely saturated. It may take you a few times to gauge just how long is needed, but if you’re unsure, it’s better to do several short bursts than to leave it for too long at the beginning.

3. Then wash the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually means rinsing in warm water and then drying on low heat. Cold water won’t be very effective, so it should be warmed to at least 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Finally, hang up the item to dry fully. The time this takes will vary depending on a number of things – outside or inside, the clothing style, the material, and the ambient temperature. 

Tips For Using Rubbing Alcohol To Remove Other Stains

You can also use rubbing alcohol as a substitute for other household chemicals when cleaning any type of material – not just clothes.

It removes dirt without leaving residue, which makes it great to use around kids and ensure that they have a safe area to play in, proving that you don’t need a professional cleaner to keep things fresh.

Also, it is good to use if you are trying to keep your home free from germs in general. Just remember to always make sure that the surface you are working on is well-ventilated.

Use rubbing alcohol to clean everything. From windows to mirrors to kitchen counters and all kinds of plastic surfaces, rubbing alcohol easily takes care of them all.

The only thing that you shouldn’t use it on is glassware; use a specialist glass cleaner instead. This is because it isn’t formulated for cutting through dirt on glass, so it won’t be very effective. Alternatively, you can use a vinegar solution if you want a non-toxic option.

If your dishwasher isn’t doing what it should be doing, try adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the rinse cycle. This may help restore the power of the machine better than replacing a worn out motor.

However, make sure that you don’t leave the mixture in there too long since this could corrode certain parts of the appliance.

You can use rubbing to clean almost anything that isn’t made of rubber. Try scrubbing your favorite pair of shoes with it, then wipe them down with a cloth afterwards.

You can also use it on other leather items after applying a tiny bit of detergent and letting it soak overnight (or for no more than 24 hours). Don’t put it directly on the leather though, as the smell could be strong; we suggest diluting it with a generous amount of water.

This product has been used to remove oil spills from asphalt, tar, and many other substances. If you spill something onto your driveway, use rubbing alcohol to clean it up immediately.

Rubbing alcohol also works wonders on car paint jobs. Use it to remove stains from your car and prevent future problems. All you need to do is apply a small amount of the substance to the spot and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Afterwards, apply some regular soap or shampoo and rinse off the stain using a soft brush.

What Can I Use Instead of Rubbing Alcohol?

For those who have an allergy or sensitivity to rubbing alcohol, there are other ways to wash your clothes. All you’ll need is soap, water and a towel, all of which you should definitely have access to anyway.

It’s not a difficult process to understand, particularly since we are often taught to use these things from a young age. If you’re unsure exactly how to proceed in this situation, follow our instructions below.

The first thing you should do if you need to remove a stubborn stain from your clothes is to grab a cloth towel (not a paper towel) and wet it down with soapy warm water.

This will help prevent any residue on the fabric from drying out. Next, soak a new cotton rag in rubbing alcohol for 10 seconds before wiping away the stain. Try not to saturate the cloth too much as this can leave streaks across the material.

Do not rub the cloth against anything hard such as walls or tables, because this could actually damage the fibers.

Some clothing materials are more delicate than others, but it’s still a good idea to handle all garments with care – they are at their most vulnerable when wet, so just bear this in mind. Afterwards, dry the garment thoroughly by hanging it somewhere where it will air out properly.

How To Clean A Carpet With White Vinegar And Water

White vinegar has been used for centuries to clean carpets and floors. The trick to getting rid of stains is to use enough vinegar to create a strong sudsy solution and then scrub the carpet using a standard shampoo brush.

Once the stain is gone, rinse the floor thoroughly until no trace remains. For best results, wait at least 12 hours after washing the floor before walking back onto the rug.

You don’t need any particular type of vinegar to complete this task; regular table vinegar is fine, although you should stick to white/clear vinegar on white or very light carpets.

Brown vinegar isn’t likely to cause an issue here, given that the concentration of vinegar relative to that of water is so low, but it might help give you more peace of mind. If you are worried about the strong acidic smell, you could try a bit of apple cider vinegar instead of regular.

White vinegar and baking soda is the best combination for such tasks, since the two chemicals react strongly with each other and The method also works for cleaning items like comforters, curtains, blankets, towels and much more.

This method is extremely effective at removing even stubborn stains such as ink, blood, food and gum residue. You can also use it on leather furniture. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, rubbing alcohol is a wonderful cleaning solution for a wide range of requirements. Whether you have grease stains, grass stains, chocolate stains, blood stains, permanent marker stains, oil stains or even tree sap stains, this cleaning agent has you covered. 

Heartbreaking stains can be sorted easily with just a little bit of rubbing alcohol, so even white cloth can be restored to a new condition.

You may also be aware of the additional stains that the alcohol itself can add if you don’t use it properly. Alcohol stains can be just as stubborn and annoying as outdoor stains or other types of stain. 

Make sure you always read the care label on the bottle to prevent such alcohol stains from forming and causing your clothing item to look even worse. You don’t have to let your alcohol stain clothes if you know what you’re doing, so it’s vital to read our step by step instructions first.

Amanda Brown

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