You may have seen doctors and nurses applying spirit to your skin area before giving an injection. The spirit that is used is called rubbing alcohol. Generally, rubbing alcohol is used as a disinfectant or to soothe the skin. It consists of 70% to 90% of ethyl alcohol; the rest of it is made up of water, acetone, and certain additives which give bitter taste to the alcohol.
Instead of ethyl alcohol many manufacturers use isopropyl alcohol to prepare rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is mostly used for industrial purposes. Many manufacturers lace rubbing alcohol with perfumes and colors.
Actually rubbing alcohol is a denatured spirit, which means it is not fit for human consumption due to addition of additives and other toxic elements. Denaturing of alcohol allows it to be sold without any taxes so that it can be used in industry and for other purposes. Rubbing alcohol is not meant for consumption as it can cause death or permanent damage to eyesight or to the nervous system.
What Is Rubbing Alcohol Commonly Used For?
Here are various uses of rubbing alcohol:
- It is used as a disinfectant for medical instruments.
- It is useful for arthritic joint pain when applied on the affected area in its diluted form.
- It is used as a cleanser for computer key boards and cell phones. It not only cleanses the surface of the key boards, but also kills the germs.
- Instead of nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol can be used to remove nail polish.
- It is used to remove stains either from clothes and upholstery.
- It is a good frost free agent. When applied to the window panes and window glasses during winter season, it keeps them frost free. It can also be applied on the car windows.
- It also removes the stickiness left behind stickers and price tags.
- It can be used to sterilize thermometers.
- It is used also used to clean printer heads.
- When mixed with baking soda or vinegar, it is used to clean windows.
Rubbing Alcohol Uses For Skin
- Applied on the skin surface to clean minor wounds such as cuts and bruises.
- It is applied on the skin area before giving an injection as an antiseptic.
- As an antiseptic, rubbing alcohol when applied on the skin is able to kill almost all forms of vegetative bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, it is not effective against spores.
- It gives cool and soothing effect on the skin when applied; therefore it acts as a good rubefacient. Athletes apply it for relaxing and soothing effect it gives to the strained muscles.
- In case of cold sore or a mosquito bite, dab the area with rubbing alcohol. It will relieve itching and soreness. Rubbing alcohol has mild anesthetic properties.
Is Rubbing Alcohol Good For Fever?
The cooling effect of alcohol on skin has tempted many parents and adults to use it as home remedy for treating fever. However, studies done by researchers have contradicted its application on skin to reduce fever. This is because when absorbed into the skin in large amount, rubbing alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. When such situation arises, the child may slip into coma. Adults can suffer from heart and nervous problems after sponging the body with a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Instead use of tepid water as a sponge bath is safe to reduce raised temperature. To treat fever it is necessary to get rid of the infection and for this reason a person has to take medications.