Rid your bathroom of hairspray overspray (and other uses for rubbing alcohol)

Hairspray is wonderful for your hair and not so great on the floor, sink, walls, mirror and counter in your bathroom, where you get ready every morning. Unless you are diligent to go outside every time you spray your hair, it’s a good bet that hairspray overspray is landing on the nearby surfaces of your bathroom.

When allowed to build up day after day, hairspray overspray can be tough to remove. What you need is a solvent that will melt the hairspray without harming the surfaces. Bonus points if that solvent does the job and then dries quickly without leaving streaks.

Chances are good you already have the perfect product to remove hairspray buildup somewhere in your house: 91 percent isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

Used straight in a good spray bottle, rubbing alcohol is an excellent disinfectant and a natural solvent. It dries quickly and leaves no streaks. Just spray it on and then wipe it off with a good microfiber cloth.

For tough situations where the hairspray has built up over time — like on the floor — allow the alcohol to sit for a few minutes to soften and melt the hairspray so you can wipe it away. (Before using on painted surfaces, always test in an inconspicuous place.)

For routine maintenance between weekly cleanings, use a 50-50 mixture of 91 percent isopropyl alcohol (about $2 for a big bottle in any drug store) and water plus a drop or two of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. A quick spray and wipe down is all it takes to keep hairspray overspray away.

More ways to clean with rubbing alcohol

Ink stains. If that ink stain is fresh, chances are high that a quick soaking with rubbing alcohol will prevent a permanent stain. Once allowed to soak for a few minutes, launder as usual.

Whiteboard stains. You know what happens when dry erase markers are used on whiteboards and allowed to stay on there for a long time: permanent marks! You could buy pricey whiteboard cleaner or grab that spray bottle with 91 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth to give it a good cleaning. Works like a charm.

Rid your bathroom of hairspray overspray (and other uses for rubbing alcohol)

Shiny chrome. Want to bring the sparkle back to your bathroom and kitchen sink fixtures? Rubbing alcohol will do it in no time at all.

Candle soot. Clean the inside of those beautiful candleholders or jars with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. It removes all of that dark soot in seconds.

Jewelry cleaner. Soak jewelry in rubbing alcohol to remove gunk and grime that builds up over time. A quick brush with an old soft toothbrush and a careful rinse will produce beautiful results.

Electronics. Spray a soft clean cloth with rubbing alcohol, and then clean the screens of all your devices, especially touch screens. Never spray directly on the screen or keyboard.

Microfiber upholstery. Rather than trying to remove a dirty spot from that microfiber sofa with soap and water — which is likely to leave a new spot — clean it with rubbing alcohol. It won’t penetrate the fabric and dries quickly.

Smelly shoes. To remove shoe odors, liberally spray the inside with rubbing alcohol. Place them in a sunny spot to dry completely.

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

Mary Hunt writes this column for Creators Syndicate. She is the founder of www.EverydayCheapskte.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of “Debt-Proof Living. Submit comments or tips or address questions on her website. She will answer questions of general interest via this column, but letters cannot be answered individually.


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