Isopropanol, also known as isopropyl alcohol or if you want to be very specific about the chemical nomenclature, propan-2-ol or 2-propanol, is a very important compound in many industries. It is used as a solvent, extracting solution and as a cleaning agent.
Paints, lacquers, inks, gums, resins and cellulose process require isopropanol as a solvent or extracting agent. It is also widely used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries in the manufacture of body lotions, aftershave creams and body rubs. Likewise, because of its inherent antimicrobial properties, it is also a common antiseptic and disinfectant in hospitals, laboratories and other establishments with similar requirements for hygiene and sanitation.
However, what might surprise you is that Isopropanol or Isopropyl alcohol has other uses besides its application in numerous industries. You may not even notice it but you are already using Isopropyl in your everyday routine other than antiseptic, of course.
So let’s lay out the not so common uses of Isopropyl alcohol which you may or may not know yet.
1. Ink stain remover – Though many claim to be permanent inks, they are not really as permanent as you might think. Just dab a cotton ball with a generous amount of Isopropyl alcohol and the stain will be coming right off. However, remember to blot the stain in one direction only to prevent it from spreading.
2. Oil stain remover – Yes, it’s not only effective in removing ink stains but also in getting rid of tough and stubborn oil stains! Soak a paper towel with Isopropyl alcohol and blot the stained area. Again, do not rub since this may just worsen the situation.
3. Printer cartridge cleaner – To keep your printer in good running order, you must regularly clean it and the best way to go about that is to use Isopropyl alcohol. Using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, clean your printer cartridges. However, do not include the print head or the nozzle plate.
4. Cleaner for your laptop – You can make your own cleaning solution by mixing one part of Isopropyl alcohol with one part water. Ammonia-based cleaners are a no-no because they leave a film. Also, do not apply directly into the surface of your laptop, rather, use a lint-free cloth and moisten it first before wiping and cleaning your laptop.
5. Cleaning agent for crystal chandeliers – Cleaning crystal chandeliers may not be as easy as it sounds. You have to be really careful and hand-wash every individual crystal with a cleaning solution composed of 25% Isopropyl alcohol and 75% distilled water.
6. Cleaning agent for your sound system – To maintain a good audio performance, you have to clean your interconnect sockets by using Isopropyl alcohol and give your connections a good scrub.
7. Remedy for swimmer’s ear – If you plan a weekend at the beach, don’t forget to bring Isopropyl alcohol with you especially if you’re someone who easily gets swimmer’s ears. One of the folk remedies for swimmer’s ear is a 50-50 solution of Isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar.
8. Insect repellant – Mosquitoes are such nuisance but having Isopropyl alcohol nearby and rubbing a good amount on the bites can bring fast relief. Another thing you can do is mix Isopropyl alcohol, vegetable oil and water. Pour the mixture in a sprayer and use it as an inexpensive but effective insect repellant.
These are quite unusual uses of the common Isopropyl alcohol and I bet you haven’t even thought of some of them. These are really great ideas to help you clean household items as well as provide alternative relief to insect bites and swimmer’s ear. So always make sure you have a handy bottle of Isopropyl alcohol inside the house, you’ll never know when you’re going to need it.