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07/01/2015 06:24 am ET Updated Jul 01, 2015

11 Surprising Uses For Rubbing Alcohol

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SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com

Most people keep rubbing alcohol in their bathroom and use it as a disinfectant for cuts or as a sterilizer for things like tweezers. But there are other great household uses, too. We asked Linda Cobb, a.k.a. "The Queen of Clean" and author of the best-selling book Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean, for her favorite tricks. Rubbing alcohol can be a very effective cleaner, says Cobb, but not for everything.

Though commonly touted on the web to do everything from clean makeup brushes to soothe a sunburn, Cobb says it can dry out both your brushes and skin, so steer clear.

What is rubbing alcohol great for? These 11 things:

1. All-purpose stain remover
Combined with water, rubbing alcohol can be a great spot remover that works on a wide variety of stains from ink to coffee, says Cobb. Combine one part rubbing alcohol with two-parts water to make the spotter. If you use a large spray bottle you can add one bottle of alcohol and two of the alcohol bottles filled with water. Spray this on spots and spills. Wait a few minutes, then launder as usual.

2. Bathroom cleaner
"Wet a cloth or paper towel with rubbing alcohol and rub firmly on bathroom fixtures," says Cobb. Buff with a soft cloth or dry paper towel. "This works well for water spots, too," she adds.

3. Window cleaner
This formula from Cobb uses no water. Combine one pint rubbing alcohol, two tablespoons of ammonia and two tablespoons liquid dish soap. Apply to the window using a nylon-covered sponge, rinse and buff dry. "This is also great for screen stains, hard-water spots and bird stains," she says.

4. Shoe polisher
"If you're polishing shoes, first rub them with a little undiluted rubbing alcohol," says Cobb. "The polish will go on smoother."

5. Grass stain remover
Grass stains can be particularly difficult to get out. "Undiluted rubbing alcohol works wonders on grass stains," says Cobb. Work it into the stain, let sit 10 minutes and launder as usual.

6. Appliance cleaner
Mix two parts rubbing alcohol and one part water in a spray bottle. Spray on your appliances and buff clean. This also works on stainless steel appliances and leaves them streak-free.

7. Sneaker deodorizer
If your running shoes smell funky, this can work to take away the smell, but the smelly areas needs to be saturated, says Cobb. Take rubbing alcohol, put some in a spray bottle and spray inside the shoes. Let dry overnight, and the odor should be gone.

8. Tick remover
This is a popular tip from around the web, which works sometimes, but not always, says Cobb. "The idea is to stun the tick with the rubbing alcohol so it lets go and is easy to remove," says Cobb. There's no harm in trying. If you've got a tick, put rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and gently rub it on the area with the tick. Then use tweezers, as usual, to remove.

9. Remove garlic smell from hands
If you can't get the smell off your hands, pour rubbing alcohol onto hands and work in really well, then wash hands as usual with soap and water.

10. Nail polish remover
This works in a pinch if you don't have real nail polish remover in the house. Put some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and rub over the polish. It might take some rubbing, but the polish will come off.

11. Windshield washer fluid
"Combine one quart of rubbing alcohol, one cup water and two tablespoons liquid dishwashing soap or laundry detergent," says Cobb. "This solution should not freeze even at 30 degrees below zero."

Read more from Grandparents.com:
7 uses for dish soap
Where to buy stylish glasses on the cheap
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