Will Rubbing Alcohol Ruin Clothes?
Rubbing alcohol is a common household cleaning tool that can have a corrosive effect on many surfaces if used incorrectly. This includes clothes and accessories made from fabric. If you ever find yourself asking “Will rubbing alcohol ruin clothes?” this article has the answers you need.
The Effect of Rubbing Alcohol On Fabric
Rubbing alcohol can be dangerous for fabric because it contains various solvents and other chemicals that are too harsh for delicate fabrics.
The level of damage done to the fabric depends on the type of rubbing alcohol used, and how much of it was used. Alcohols with a higher percentage of isopropyl alcohol (commonly between 70-99% concentration) are more likely to cause damage. When isopropyl alcohol of any strength is applied directly to a piece of clothing, it can eat through fabric fibers, discolor them, and leave a stain. When left on skin, it can cause dryness and irritation.
How To Safely Clean Clothes With Rubbing Alcohol
If you need to use rubbing alcohol to clean a stain on a piece of clothing, there are several precautions you can take to reduce the risk of damage:
- Test a small, inconspicuous area first. Before using rubbing alcohol on a garment, test a small area to check for damage. If the fabric is discolored or damaged, do not go any further.
- Dilute it. If the rubbing alcohol concentration is above 70%, dilute it with water before using it on the clothing. This will reduce the amount of alcohol in contact with the fabric and minimize the risk of damage.
- Spot-test. Apply the rubbing alcohol to the stain using a cotton swab. Do not douse the fabric or stain in rubbing alcohol. Keep it localized to the area, and avoid getting it on surrounding fabric.
- Avoid harsh scrubbing. Rubbing alcohol should never be scrubbed into a stain. This can cause the alcohol to spread out, damaging more of the fabric.
- Rinse. When the rubbing alcohol has been in contact with the fabric for too long, it can leave behind a sticky residue. To clean this up, rinse the area with water until the residue is gone. If a white film remains, use a very mild detergent to get rid of it.
- Air-dry. Avoid placing clothing or fabrics with rubbing alcohol directly into the dryer. Air-drying is preferred to mitigate any potential damage.
In summary, it is generally safe to use rubbing alcohol on fabrics or clothing, but only with caution. Always dilute the alcohol and spot test first, and be sure to rinse and air-dry the fabric after using it.