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SHTF essentials: 10 Survival uses for rubbing alcohol
By Zoey Sky // Nov 16, 2020

Preppers know that rubbing alcohol isn't just an item for your first aid kit. It is an essential survival item because it's cheap, easy to store and has many survival uses. You can also use rubbing alcohol to sanitize your home or even start a fire when SHTF! (h/t to UrbanSurvivalSite.com)


Rubbing alcohol is a mixture of denatured alcohol, water and other agents that make it unpalatable to drink. Note that while rubbing alcohol is usually clear, some brands may contain colorants.

Rubbing alcohol sold in grocery stores and pharmacies in the U.S. comes in two grades: 70 percent isopropyl alcohol and 90 percent isopropyl alcohol. Note that 90 percent isopropyl alcohol has a lower water content and is more expensive, while 70 percent isopropyl alcohol has a higher water content, making it gentler on the skin.

Here are 10 clever ways to use rubbing alcohol when SHTF:


Defrost car windows with rubbing alcohol solution. Combine one part rubbing alcohol and five parts water in a spray bottle and spritz your windows. The solution will help melt the ice so you can drive safely.


Use rubbing alcohol to clean and disinfect non-porous surfaces like your cell phones, other electronics, the kitchen counter, door handles or computer keyboards. Apply the solution as a disinfectant then let it dry.

DIY ice packs

To make your own frozen packs using rubbing alcohol, combine three parts water with one part rubbing alcohol. Pour the solution into a resealable storage bag and freeze for three hours. The soft cold packs can bend and ease pain and swelling in injured limbs. DIY ice packs are also reusable!


Rubbing alcohol is highly flammable and can be used as a firestarter if you're in a survival situation. Carefully squirt or spray a small amount of rubbing alcohol on wood before lighting. Alternatively, you can make DIY fire accelerants by soaking cotton pads in rubbing alcohol and storing them in an airtight container next to your firestarting gear.

First aid

Use rubbing alcohol to sanitize tweezers and other first aid equipment in your kit if you don't have access to running water and soap. While rubbing alcohol can be used to clean minor cuts and scrapes, you shouldn't use it for mouth wounds or deep skin wounds because it might sting.

Homemade hand sanitizer

Rubbing alcohol is the main ingredient in most store-bought hand sanitizers. If you prefer hand sanitizer over rubbing alcohol, follow the recipe below to whip up a batch of homemade hand sanitizer.


  • 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • 1/3 cup of aloe vera gel
  • 10 drops of essential oil (e.g., lavender)


  1. Combine all the ingredients, mixing well.
  2. Store in an airtight container.

Massage the resulting gel into your hands and fingers the same way you would a commercial hand sanitizer. Always keep your hands clean to maintain proper hygiene and to prevent illness and infection.

Grease and residue remover

Rubbing alcohol can also be used to remove greasy, sticky and oily substances from your survival gear. Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a greasy spot and wipe to remove dirt on your gear. (Related: Don’t forget these 53 items when stocking up for emergencies.)

Joint and muscle pain relief

If you strain any muscles while lifting heavy equipment, use rubbing alcohol to soothe aching muscles and joints. Massage rubbing alcohol into the skin to increase blood flow and relieve discomfort.

Don't use rubbing alcohol on babies or young children with sensitive skin.

Mirror and window cleaner

Tired of looking at smudges on windows or mirrors? Spray a bit of rubbing alcohol on shiny surfaces and wipe smudges away.

Tick removal

Ticks can be difficult to remove, but you can easily dislodge them with a bit of rubbing alcohol. Simply soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and place it directly on the tick. As the tick releases its grasp, carefully remove it using tweezers.

When SHTF, use rubbing alcohol as a disinfectant or as a simple remedy for joint and muscle pain.

Visit Survival.news to read more articles about the many survival uses of rubbing alcohol and other prepping supplies.

Sources include:



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