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Home Care

6 Things to Avoid When Cleaning with Alcohol

Make sure you don't mix it with bleach!

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Photography: Pixabay (Main Photo)

Most of the time, when it comes to cleaning the home, we depend on powerful cleaners like alcohol. Since it has properties that can disinfect nooks and crannies, as well as kill germs, it's best to use it with extra caution. Before you begin your cleaning spree, here are things to remember when cleaning with alcohol:


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1. Don’t use alcohol in an unventilated area

Rubbing alcohol contains isopropyl, which has a volatile quality, meaning that it evaporates quickly. This also means that it can produce harmful fumes which, when inhaled, can cause nausea and vomiting. When cleaning with alcohol, keep your windows open and the area well-ventilated.

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2. Never use it with candles and flames involved

It's a fact that alcohol is highly flammable. Before you use alcohol, put out any candles nearby. It might be best to avoid using it in the kitchen as well.

3. Don’t mix alcohol with bleach

Aside from isopropyl, rubbing alcohol also contains ethanol, and when these two are mixed with bleach, it creates chloroform, a compound that emits toxic and corrosive fumes. Ingestion of chloroform can cause a number of health issues like damages in the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver, as well as irritation, nausea, and dizziness.

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4. It's not ideal to use it on all surfaces

Though alcohol is a powerful cleaning tool, it cannot be used on certain surfaces like finished surfaces and some fabrics. The ethanol in the alcohol can liquefy finishes, while the isopropyl can damage textiles like silk and rayon.

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5. Don’t use alcohol to treat certain wounds and skin conditions

It is a common practice to use alcohol when sterilizing wounds, but large amounts of this can cause serious damage on the skin by delaying healing and increasing irritation. Make sure you avoid using alcohol on sunburned, dry, or irritated skin.

6. Make sure you don't ingest it

When ingested, even negligible amounts of alcohol can be deadly. Avoid alcohol ingestion by keeping it inaccessible to children and by not storing it in other containers where it can easily be mistaken for water.

Source: Apartment Therapy

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