While we love rubbing alcohol, we know you might not always have some on hand. Here is a shortlist of substitutes or alternatives if you want the same effect when without:
Use Vinegar – a healthy alternative
A key ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid from fermentation. It’s a great surface disinfectant. Vinegar is also a healthy alternative to rubbing alcohol because it is edible. If you leave food-grade vinegar residue on a food contact surface by accident, chances are that it won’t be toxic if it gets on your food. Vinegar can also replace rubbing alcohol in some health applications, such as reducing itching and dryness from eczema or poison oak or ivy infections and cleaning out infected ears; however, make sure to talk to your health care physician (GP) prior to self-treatment of these conditions.It can also help to treat skin inflammations, whiten teeth, or break down grime on household surfaces.
Bleach for surfaces
Bleach is a simple alternative to rubbing alcohol as a surface sanitizer and disinfectant. It’s like isopropyl alcohol, as it kills microorganisms on household surfaces like benchtops, furniture and floors. You can use it as a surface sanitizer, you can water down 1 tbsp. of pure bleach in a gallon of water. For disinfecting, increase the bleach concentration to 3/4 cup per gallon of water. Bleach is a healthy alternative to rubbing alcohol for surface cleaning because, according to Clorox, it begins to break down within hours after you mix it with water. This decreases the risk of poisoning from accidental ingestion.
Although rubbing alcohol can be very helpful when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces or wounds, it’s a harsh chemical which can sometimes cause other issues in the body. If you’re worried about the adverse effects of isopropyl alcohol, it’s important to know what alcohol-free alternatives you have.
Another alternative to rubbing alcohol as a sanitizer is hydrogen peroxide or H2O2. Hydrogen peroxide is cheap; it doubles as a disinfectant, cleaning minor wounds to prevent infection; and even better it doesn’t sting as much as rubbing alcohol.
Hydrogen Peroxide occurs naturally in nature and in the body. It’s just as effective at disinfecting wounds and surfaces as rubbing alcohol, releasing oxygen and destroying bacteria on contact. Hydrogen Peroxide therapy may also aid in the treatment of ailments such as emphysema, gingivitis, and infections.
Witch Hazel is produced naturally from a tree. It works mainly as a topical astringent, with both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects. Witch Hazel can be used on the skin or ingested. It can help to prevent and heal infections, slow bleeding, reduce swelling and pain, and may also help treat other issues such as sunburn, tumours, and acne.
Using Distilled Spirits
Did you know you can disinfect your wounds with alcohol? Basically, spirits and liquor contain alcohol. This makes them more effective as antiseptics. Which is why distilled spirits can also be used as an alternative for rubbing alcohol. Vodka, which contains 40% alcohol works well as an antiseptic. It contains ethyl alcohol which can be consumed, unlike rubbing alcohol, which if ingested is poisonous. For this reason, it is meant to be kept out of reach from young children.
Distilled spirits work by drying out the skin surface. It does this by absorbing the water out of the skin. The liquor also absorbs the water out of the bacteria. Doing so kills the bacteria. The good thing about using distilled spirits is that it also safe for your skin to absorb. Some of the side effects of using this liquid include allergic skin reactions, which been reported from topical applications.
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