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13 Rubbing Alcohol Survival Uses You Need To Know



Feature | Woman using alcohol to wash hands | Rubbing Alcohol Survival Uses You Need To Know

Did you know that rubbing alcohol sitting has numerous survival uses? It will be helpful for you to know how rubbing alcohol can increase your chances of survival, so read all about it here!

RELATED: How To Make A DIY Alcohol Stove From A Beer Can

Survival Uses of Rubbing Alcohol

1. Fire Starter

A bottle of rubbing alcohol is extremely flammable and should always be kept away from an open flame. This makes it the perfect fire starter! Simply squirt very small amounts onto the wood, and you will have no trouble getting a fire started in dry weather conditions.

I suggest using matches and not an actual lighter as you can just throw the match into the wood pile. Using a lighter puts your hand way too close as it will light up immediately!

2. Remove Ticks

Removing ticks using red tweezers | Rubbing Alcohol Survival Uses You Need To Know
Repel ticks with rubbing alcohol! If you have a tick attached to your skin, you can easily remove it with rubbing alcohol, may it be isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.

First, soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and place it on the tick. As the tick reacts to the chemicals, it will release itself from your skin. Remove the tick with tweezers.

3. DIY Ice Pack

This DIY hack is genius indeed! To make an ice pack using rubbing alcohol, mix 3 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol in a large Ziploc bag, then, freeze it.

Keep a stock of these DIY ice packs in your fridge, and you'll be ready whenever something happens. The best part is they are also reusable!

4. Dry Out Cold Sores

We all know the medical uses for rubbing alcohol, which is largely for its antiseptic properties. Rubbing alcohol is great for drying out cold sores which, in turn, can help speed up the healing process.

Place a cotton ball with a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the cold sore for a few seconds. When you do this, don't be surprised to feel a slight sting.

5. Destroy Unwanted Pests

You can kill insects with rubbing alcohol by simply spraying them using a spray bottle. You can also spray rubbing alcohol on your mattress, for example, to kill insects such as bed bugs.

We do not recommend spraying rubbing alcohol on wooden furniture, any type of flooring, or yourself (including your clothing) unless you really have to.

6. Soothe Mosquito Bites

Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and place on your mosquito bites. It relieves the itching, cleanses the skin to prevent infection, and dries out the bite to promote faster healing.

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7. Clean Your Eyeglasses

It is important to have a clear vision, especially in a survival situation. If your eyeglasses are dirty, you can easily clean up the smudges using rubbing alcohol. Simply wet a piece of cloth with rubbing alcohol then use it to wipe the lenses clean.

8. Use as a Degreaser

When camping, you want to make sure to have super clean dishes after your meal to ensure that predators stay clear of your campsite. Most predators can smell food from miles away!

Rubbing alcohol makes a great degreaser for your pots and pans. Soak the greasy areas with rubbing alcohol for a few minutes then wash with regular dish soap.

9. Soothe Sore Joints and Achy Muscles

Did you know you can relieve sore joints and achy muscles with rubbing alcohol? Simply massage rubbing alcohol onto the affected area to relieve the pain.

Rubbing alcohol acts as a liniment to increase blood flow to the area and can help soothe aches and pains after a day on your feet.

10. Sanitize Your Hands

A hand applying alcohol gel | Rubbing Alcohol Survival Uses You Need To Know
Is rubbing alcohol the same as isopropyl alcohol? Yes, and it is primarily used as an antiseptic which is effective in killing off most of the bad germs in our hands.

Pour about a quarter size amount of rubbing alcohol into your hands and rub your hands together (much like you would do with hand sanitizer) and you’re all set! No germs!

11. Dry Out Wet Ears and Prevent Infection

Place a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and place it inside your ear. Doing this may help dry out your ears, preventing infection.

12. Get Rid of Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is pretty common but can be remedied using rubbing alcohol. Mix equals parts of water and rubbing alcohol.

Soak a cotton ball in this mixture and place on the affected nail for a few minutes. You may do this several times a day to kill nail fungus and prevent any potential infection.

13. Sterilize First Aid Equipment

Every survivalist probably has a first aid kit that is a tad bit overused. But when you're in a dire situation, you have to make do with what you have.

Still, your equipment has to be clean to prevent infection. To sterilize your first aid equipment, give them a good soak in rubbing alcohol to help kill the germs and bacteria.

On the same note, drinking alcohol or ethyl alcohol uses also includes disinfection of first aid equipment, and cuts and wounds. Drinking alcohol also has survival uses which are a great topic for another day.


This video from Crazy Russian Hacker shows a survival tip using alcohol as part of an alcohol stove:

When you're in a survival situation, a bottle of rubbing alcohol may make a difference between life or death. Now you know a few more survival uses for rubbing alcohol, so always make sure you have one in your survival kit.

Remember to have a bottle stationed in your bathroom, work desk, car – or any other strategic location in case of emergencies!

What do you think about these rubbing alcohol survival uses? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Rubbing Alcohol Survival Uses You Need To Know |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 20, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Anonymous

    August 26, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    Also works great to sniff an alcohol wipe to ease nausea.

  2. Anonymous

    August 26, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    In tip number one, what do you mean when you say: “to close”? How would having one’s hand “to open” not set one’s hand on fire as when one causes one’e hand to close?

    • Anonymous

      August 26, 2017 at 11:05 AM

      I believe it should read “too close”.

    • DnB

      August 26, 2017 at 11:08 AM

      think it was a typo — should be “too close” —– as in distance from the flame

  3. gerald takala

    August 26, 2017 at 11:40 AM

    Medical experts do not recommend using irritating substances to remove ticks, may cause them to regurgitate stomach contents into their victims skin.use the tweezers as close to victims skin and pull gently until tick is removed the clean the wound.your illustrating photo demonstrates the classic bullseye lesion of Lyme disease.

    • Durwood M. Dugger

      July 12, 2018 at 9:51 AM

      “Experts” aren’t thinking. The alcohol anesthetizes the tick, and any voluntary regurgitation is likely prevented. Put a live tick directly into alcohol and you will see no regurgitation.. I’ve done this many times.

      However, gripping a tick with tweezers (as “experts” advise – and especially a tick that has fed to inflation) hard enough to hold and pull it’s barbed head out of your skin – will most probably force its digestive contents back into skin. in addition the ticks head may break off in the skin (very common with forced extraction) and create a future infection.. At least with the alcohol (which does penetrate the upper epidermis) – any or most regurgitate may be sterilized.

  4. Sam Williams

    August 26, 2017 at 12:46 PM

    I could only get my alcohol stove to operate on 91% alcohol. Methanol works better (yellow Heat).

  5. Thea

    August 26, 2017 at 2:34 PM

    I use rubbing alcohol in stead of deodorant. spray bottle use sparingly. no allergy .

  6. John

    August 26, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    Did you know that you can’t buy rubbing alcohol in New Zealand and Australia because it’s commonly used in drug manufacturing.

    • Durwood M. Dugger

      July 12, 2018 at 9:53 AM

      Same as a lot of European countries – requires a prescription, Silly asses. Yet they expect people to try to take care of themselves and not overload the public med system.

  7. Frank

    August 27, 2017 at 6:48 AM

    In Japan you can only buy it with a doctors prescription and it costs a heckofa lot more.

    • Bob

      September 13, 2018 at 6:49 PM

      Really strange as a kid I could buy nondenatured ethanol in a science section of a department store

  8. Carol

    August 28, 2017 at 12:43 PM

    Great idea! Cool stuff. I have used a gallon coffee can up side done for heat. And to cook on before. Use can opener to cut V in the bottom of can

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  13. BoBo

    September 13, 2018 at 5:36 PM

    Alcohol has many uses if people just consider it as a means to an end. I’ve used alcohol many times for heat by making a wick from a tightly wound piece of cotton wrapped with a string and set in a bottle.

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  15. Jim Vrobel

    December 21, 2018 at 7:19 PM

    I always read for example, mix alcohol with equal parts of water or some other formula. My question is what strength alcohol do you start with as it comes in at least 50, 70 and 90 % maybe more.

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  18. Alex T.

    March 21, 2019 at 1:19 PM

    Rubbing Alcohol has NO antiseptic properties whatsoever. Ask your doctor next time you see one. It is good to clean items, just not a wound. For that it is best to have Iodine, it is used in hospitals, ERs and ORs. It is cheap and the best wound cleaner/disinfecting you can find.

    Alcohol was widely used to clean and disinfect wounds up until the late 80s in the US, at which time proper research was done only to find out that all Alcohol do for you is make a would more painful.

  19. None

    October 30, 2020 at 5:11 PM

    I liked the Alcohol stove

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