Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol, previously known as Isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol, is a chemical liquid that serves many purposes related to health, household cleaning, and manufacturing.

You probably have a bottle of it in storage, gathering dust, because, despite knowing you need it, you just never remember to use it. 

Rubbing alcohol is extremely flammable and should never be handled near open flames, or high sources of heat, including microwaves.

Ensure that the microwave is turned off or unplugged if you use rubbing alcohol to clean it.

Heating rubbing alcohol in a microwave may cause serious burns, appliance damage, and a full-blown inferno.

Most microwaves are built to withstand and contain small fires and sparks, but rubbing alcohol has a high probability of exploding.

Limit your use of rubbing alcohol to what is recommended and safe. 

What Is Rubbing Alcohol

Microwave in flames

Rubbing alcohol is a clear chemical liquid compound with a very strong odor. It is also very flammable.

It is used by manufacturers to make disinfectants, sanitizers, and some cleaning agents.

Rubbing alcohol is harmless when used appropriately and in moderation.

When used in excess or inappropriately, it is hazardous to humans and their environment. 

Rubbing alcohol can cause intoxication if ingested, although it is not meant for this purpose whatsoever.

Ingestion of rubbing alcohol can cause death. It should be kept out of children’s reach. 

Can I Heat Rubbing Alcohol?

No. It is not advisable to heat rubbing alcohol unless you are a scientist in a lab with the proper gear.

It is possible to slightly heat rubbing alcohol without it igniting and eventually exploding.

But you will be depending on sheer luck as you cannot accurately know how much heat your microwave is directing to the rubbing alcohol and how much time you have left before everything goes haywire.  

If you come into contact with heated rubbing alcohol that has not been inflamed, let it cool down completely before handling it.

Even if it cools down very quickly due to its low vaporization point, it is still not safe unless completely cool. 

How To Use Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol as cleaning products

Perhaps you know just how effective rubbing alcohol is as a disinfectant. But it has many other uses that make it a favorite in many homes. Here are some ways your dusty bottle of rubbing alcohol can jump back into action. 

1. Cleaning Products Off Mirrors

Hair products like sprays can get stuck on the mirror. With time, the mirror becomes grainy and painful to use. Attempting to clean it with a paper towel only makes a bigger mess. Grab your rubbing alcohol and use it. It will leave your mirror sparkling clean. Clean all your glass surfaces with rubbing alcohol for the same impeccable results. 

2. Cleaning Blinds

Give the slats on your blinds a good treat by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol. It does a terrific job! Wrap a spatula or knife in a clean cloth and secure it in place with a hair tie or shoelace. Dip it into where you have poured your rubbing alcohol and begin cleaning in between the slats. You can do the same when cleaning your couch or headboard.  

3. Keeping Windows Frost-free

During winter, windows tend to frost. You can prevent this by washing your windows with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and regular tap water. Use one part rubbing alcohol and 5 parts water or half a cup of rubbing alcohol for a liter of water. Use old newspapers to polish the windows after you’re done washing them.

4. Preventing Car Doors And Locks From Freezing

This trick can save you loads of frustration. Put your rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and spray it on your locks and car doors. Do this before the weather goes bad and then periodically after that throughout the winter season. 

5. Cleaning Screens

Use rubbing alcohol to restore your laptop, TV, and phone screens to sparkly mode. Rubbing alcohol evaporates almost instantly, meaning it won’t get into your appliance. Use it in moderation though. Dab a ball of clean cotton wool into the alcohol and start rubbing.

6. Removal Of Ink Stains From Fabric

Right before putting your ink-stained cloth in the wash, soak the stained part in rubbing alcohol for about 5 minutes. The ink stain will wash off easily after that. 

7. Permanent Marker Eraser

Rubbing alcohol makes permanent markers temporary by dissolving them and making them easier to wipe off. This works best for non-permeable surfaces such as countertops, cars, tables, and windows. 

8. Tick Treatment For Pups

Dog ticks cannot stand the smell or taste of rubbing alcohol. Before pulling a tick off your dog’s skin, dab some rubbing alcohol on it. In a few seconds, it will loosen its grip, pull it out and rub some more alcohol on the bite mark to disinfect it. This method works for other pet parasites as well. 

9. Getting Rid Of Pesky Fruit Flies

Although it is less effective than insecticide, rubbing alcohol works on fruit flies. It is also a healthier choice than current insecticides. 

10. Removing Stickers From Jars

Did you know that rubbing alcohol can help you easily wipe off that stubborn glue residue from jars you’ve kept for reuse? Dab it on the sticker before peeling it off or dab it on any residue sticker parts and glue, then clean it off. 

11. Sanitizing Kids Toys

Wiping your kid’s toys with rubbing alcohol is a quick way to disinfect them. It is fast, effective, and doesn’t leave any messy residue because it evaporates quickly.

Precautions To Observe When Using Rubbing Alcohol 

  • Do not mix rubbing alcohol with other cleaners, especially bleach. 

  • Being highly flammable, do not attempt to use it near heat or open flames. 

  • Leather and wood furniture should never be cleaned using rubbing alcohol as it will dissolve any wood stains and paints or burn through delicate leather. Rubbing alcohol is best for non-permeable synthetic surfaces. 

How To Store Rubbing Alcohol Properly

  • Store your rubbing alcohol in an air-tight container.

  • Let the container be in a well-ventilated room.

  • Do not store it on window panes to avoid direct sunlight. 

  • Keep it far from heat sources or sparks to avoid an explosion.

  • Comply with your state's chemical disposal laws and guidelines.

  • Check any “best before” dates to avoid storing the rubbing alcohol beyond its shelf life. 

11 Things You Should Not Put In The Microwave

Microwave care

1. Aluminum Foil

There is a good reason for keeping aluminum foil off your microwave. It can easily catch fire and damage your microwave permanently. Always transfer your leftovers to a microwave-safe container before reheating them.

2. Take-out Containers

Some take-out containers have metal in them. Metal easily catches fire in a microwave and could cause an explosion. 

3. Paper Bags

No matter what you have heard, plastic bags are toxic, and even though they may not look like it, they will contaminate your food. 

4. Eggs

The egg explosion may have already happened to you. But if it hasn’t, then here’s a warning: do not attempt to cook a whole egg inside a microwave or reheat an already hard-boiled egg. The heat from the microwave causes extreme pressure to build inside the egg, causing it to explode, pasting the entire surface of your microwave cavity with the egg. A similar situation will happen if you try to heat grapes.  

5. Styrofoam

Styrofoam does not go well at microwave temperatures; it will most likely melt and contaminate your food, or cause damage. It doesn't matter how sturdy that styrofoam take-out container looks. Don't put it in your microwave. 

6. Chili Peppers

Did you know that chili peppers can easily catch fire? When exposed to high heat, as in a microwave, they produce fumes that can burn your eyes as well as irritate your throat and nostrils when inhaled. 

7. Frozen  Meat

To defrost meat properly and safely, simply leave it in the fridge overnight. Attempting to cook it in a microwave oven will give you uneven results. Bacteria can also easily spread in the uncooked parts and the microwave, exposing you to health risks. 

8. Flammable Substances

If an item is marked as flammable, do not put it in your microwave. This includes any kitchen utensils with metallic rims or handles. All metals are flammable when exposed to high heat.

9. Packaged Items

Do not try to heat food items without first removing them from their packaging container, tetra pack, or wrapper. This is extremely dangerous and may cause a fire accident or an explosion. 

10. Uncovered Sauces Or Dips

Sauces and dips tend to boil over or splatter inside the microwave cavity. There will be a huge mess to clean afterward. 

11. Thermal Cups And Travel Mugs

Most travel mugs and thermal cups contain metal in their insulation cavities. The insulation will not only prevent the microwave from warming your drink, but it can also damage your cup and microwave in the process. To be sure, check under your mug; if it is plastic, see if it has been marked “microwave safe”. 

How To Make Use Of Your Microwave Safely

Properly using Microwave

  • Always read, understand, and follow the manufacturer's instruction manual. Apply the recommended handling instructions and precautions specified for your model. Manuals are not transferable across brands. 

  • Ensure your cookware or food containers are passed as “microwave safe”. Avoid the guessing game when choosing your cookware. Some containers can melt or catch fire.

  • Make sure your plug is firmly in place and that nothing sits on your microwave vents. Also, make sure the microwave door is firmly shut. If there is any damage to the plug or door, refrain from using your microwave and call a technician immediately to avoid further damage or accidents. 

  • Do not leave your microwave oven unattended while it is in operation. Also, do not stand directly against it. Do not allow children to fiddle around with a microwave when in action. 

  • Avoid experimenting with your microwave by heating non-food items. These can catch fire, explode or ruin your appliances. 

  • Refrain from leaving liquids in the microwave for long periods. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

  • Unless it has an oven feature that explicitly allows and instructs you to preheat, do not attempt to do it. You might damage your microwave permanently. Refer to your manual for clarity. 

  • Keep your oven clean. Use rubbing alcohol, water, mild detergent, or a store-bought microwave cleaner. Do not use abrasives. Instead, use clean clothes. Clean the microwave cavity, the outer edges of the door, as well as the exterior of the oven. Do not immerse or rinse it in water. 


Rubbing alcohol is a handy ingredient to have in the house. It will serve many purposes, but only when appropriately used. It, however, is still a chemical substance that can be harmful if handled the wrong way. You can clean your microwave with rubbing alcohol, but you absolutely cannot use your microwave to heat rubbing alcohol. That would be an explosive proposition!