Will Rubbing Alcohol Kill Plants? What Concentration

The Effect of Alcohol on Plants, Will rubbing alcohol harm house plants? Can I spray sanitizer on plants?

Well, For years, Rubbing Alcohol has been handy for various household tasks, from personal care to cleaning and even gardening. Across the world, it is used as a common insecticide.

However, new and inexperienced gardeners often come out complaining that Rubbing Alcohol is killing their plants.

While some plants take years to grow, it is disheartening to see them die within hours.

However, Rubbing Alcohol doesn’t stand as a culprit here; instead, the wrong percentage does.

Rubbing Alcohol is a safe insecticide and pesticide, though only when used in the right way. From the recommended percentage to quantity, before using rubbing Alcohol in plants, a lot of things come under consideration.

Rubbing Alcohol as an Insecticide

Rubbing Alcohol is known for its efficiency in killing whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and other common plant bugs. You can either use it as a leaf cleaner or as a pesticide on most of the plants.

While some tuff plants react normally to Rubbing Alcohol, some sense of them may react negatively.

That is why, before using any such chemical on plants, gardeners must know about both its advantages and disadvantages.

How do you use Alcohol on plants?

Using Rubbing Alcohol on plants is easy but mindful. You cannot just pour a bottle of highly concentrated Alcohol over the plants.

The right proportion of Rubbing Alcohol for plants is advisable as 70 percent isopropyl alcohol and 30 percent water.

However, despite its concentration, it is not advisable to use the Alcohol undiluted.

Instead, the right way is:

  • Take 1 part of Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) and 8 to 9 parts of water.
  • Pour them both into a spray bottle and give it a nice shake.
  • You can now spray the solution on various infected parts of the plant.
  • Or, in case of small infections, take a small cotton ball, dip it in 70% Isopropyl alcohol, and dap it over mealybugs and their eggs. Avoid touching it over the leaf surface. This way, the bugs, and eggs will possibly damage and fall down.
  • After 5 to 7 days of Alcohol spray, it is advisable to wash the treated plant with clear water. Leaving the alcohol spray for long without rinsing is not advisable.

Important Tip: Before using Rubbing Alcohol on your plants, it is always advisable to perform a patch test. For doing the same,

Prepare the mixture as explained above and spray it over a small leaf. Monitor it for a day or two. If the leaf starts burning or decaying, you need to dilute the solution more.

However, if it does not react adversely, you can also use the solution on other parts of the plant.

All plants will react differently to alcohol spray. However, with a patch test, you can get an idea of which plant will react safe or which will die with effect.

It also gives a better understanding of the Alcohol and water ratio specifically for each plant type.

Also, it is advisable not to use Rubbing Alcohol on plants that are kept under direct or indirect sunlight. If done, it can result in burning the plant.

What does Alcohol do to plants?

What does Rubbing Alcohol do to leaves? Rubbing Alcohol, when used the right way, works as a medicine for plants.

It can kill soft-bodied insects, slow or speed up plant growth, and even revive flowers’ life.

However, if not used the right way, Alcohol can also burn or kill the plant.

Top 5 ways and benefits of Rubbing Alcohol for plants:

It behaves as a Pesticide/ Insecticide

Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) contains ethanol that is known to kill both pests and insects. From mealybugs to mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, aphids, and scales, it can kill almost all of the commonly found insects.

It behaves as a Weed Killer.

Be it Rubbing or Drinking Alcohol, both of them work great as a weed killer. Across the world, it is also used as a natural herbicide for all those plants that grow without need.

However, because Rubbing Alcohol is a little expensive, not all gardeners use it for killing the weed.

TIP: While using Rubbing Alcohol as a weed killer, consider using it during the daytime instead of night-time. However, remember the alcohol-soaked soil might give you a hard time gardening again.

It can control a plant’s growth.

Rubbing Alcohol works as a plant grower as well as a plant growth controller.

Plants use methanol the similar way they use Carbon dioxide. As per experts, 30 percent methanol (Methyl Alcohol, a type of Rubbing Alcohol) and 70 percent water solution will add to the plant’s growth.

It dramatically improves growth, especially for plants like potatoes, rice, sugar beets, sunflower, and tomatoes.

However, on the other hand, by using Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol, you can slow down the plant’s growth. 5 percent solution of ethanol will keep plants from growing super-fast. It comes in handy with plants that grow super-fast throughout the year.

It works as a Gardening tool cleaner.

Rubbing Alcohol is one of the finest gardening tool cleaners. And the best part is, cleaning, it also disinfects the tool within no time.

All you need to do is, take a scrub, dip it in Rubbing Alcohol and wipe your Gardening tool. That’s it, no need of soaking or rinsing it.

It helps in cleaning houseplants.

New Gardeners often come up with a common question stating, “Will rubbing alcohol hurt house plants?”. Though as per experts, Rubbing Alcohol behaves as a cleaner for a houseplant.

Instead of harming the plant, it helps in removing the dust and dirt accumulation from its leaves. It further ensures that your plant can breathe nicely once again.

All you need to do is, take 1 portion of Rubbing Alcohol with 12 portions of water and mix it well. Now with the help of a microfibre cloth, use this solution and wipe off your houseplants.

Note: Before using the solution, do make sure to perform a patch test before. If required, you can dilute the solution a little further.

What happens if you put flowers in Alcohol?

Alcohol, like Vodka and other spirits, works wonderfully for flowers.

As per real-time analysis, alcoholic spirits have the ability to inhibit ethylene production.

Ethylene is basically a ripening gas that slows down the wilting of the flowers and keeps them fresh for a long.

It may not be the best way to keep flowers fresh, but still, one can try it, inviting absolutely no harm.

How often to use rubbing Alcohol on plants?

Using Rubbing Alcohol once or maximum twice a week on plants is marked as safe.

However, instead of aimless purposes, it is only recommended to use it as a pesticide or herbicide for plants.

Also, within 4 to 7 days of each use, it is important to rinse the plants cleaning off the rubbing alcohol. 

Excessive or inappropriate use of Rubbing Alcohol on plants can make them burn or even die. 

What to do if I accidentally sprayed too much Alcohol on plants?

Too much alcohol can kill the plant. Or if it reaches the soil, it can make it infertile for life.

However, if you happen to spray too much Alcohol on plants, immediately wash your plants with cold water. Make sure you leave no traces of Alcohol behind. 

For more safety assurance, remove a certain section of soil (which has absorbed Alcohol) as well. 

Is rubbing alcohol bad for the soil?

Rubbing Alcohol is marked as Bad for soil as it can make it infertile. When used in higher concentrations, rubbing Alcohol can kill the good microbes and bacteria that are necessary for soil’s health. 

This is one of the reasons why Rubbing Alcohol is used as a weed killer. However, if you want to remove weed from your fertile land, rubbing alcohol is not recommended. 

When absorbed in the soil, it leaves it infertile afterward. However, alcohol comes in handy for weed growth on a patio, parking side, and other concrete areas.

For Further Reading

In Summary

And here we end it, folks. This was all for Rubbing Alcohol and Plants.

By going through all the information mentioned above, we hope you have the right idea about using Rubbing Alcohol for plants. 

Remember, too much, too frequent, and undiluted Alcohol can kill your plants.

However, when used in the right proportion, time, and frequency, it will behave as one handy insecticide and herbicide.

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