So you are doing some cleaning and you have been told to use rubbing alcohol, but what does that mean exactly. You have gone to the shed and found a bottle of white spirit, is white spirit rubbing alcohol? Or if not can it be used in its place? Well, let’s have a little look together and find out!
Is white spirit rubbing alcohol?
No, it is not. White spirit is a mixture of chemicals which are petroleum hydrocarbons. Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol. So white spirit is petroleum-based and rubbing alcohol is ethanol based, they are definitely not the same thing.
Can I use one instead of the other?
Well, this depends on what you are planning on using them on. They can be used interchangeably for a lot of things, but not always.
Rubbing alcohol can be used for any of the following, and much more besides:
- A general cleaner. It is excellent for cleaning glass & lenses.
- Used to remove light grease, oils, dirt and food stains.
- Used as a solvent for diluting lacquers, PVC adhesives, dyes and printing inks.
- Isopropyl Alcohol is used as a graffiti remover for removing inks and markers.
- Used for the final preparation, cleaning and degreasing of all substrates prior to adhesive bonding.
- In addition, it is utilised for the removal of fluxes, light oils, polar soils and oxides.
- Safe to use on plastic and in the preparation of metal and composite surfaces prior to painting.
White spirit on the other hand is usually used for the following:
- Cleaning paintbrushes and hands after painting
- Thining paints and varnishes
- Used as a cleaner and degreaser