Isopropyl Alcohol - a Shop Must Have

About: Driven to make crazy ideas real.
No, no.  Not for drinking.  Only Ethanol Alcohol is good for the body and even that statement is dubious.

Isopropyl Alcohol is amazing for it's cleaning properties and at higher alcohol concentrations it's safe with electronics.

Three of the best uses are:
  • Removing sticky residue left by labels and tape.  This will save you a lot of time and frustration.
  • Cleaning touch pad button contacts, like those found in cordless phones, etc.  If a button isn't responsive anymore try cleaning with this.
  • Cleaning solder flux off circuit boards.
It's best to buy Isopropyl 99% as there is very little water content.  This means it evaporates super fast and less chance of water damage to surfaces susceptible to such.  Rubbing alcohol is actually Isopropyl, however it is often 70% so it's not quite as good but still better than nothing.  Alcohol prep pads as shown in the photo are often Isopropyl 70% but are still really useful to have around for quickly cleaning less sensitive surfaces and components.

Note of warning: Alcohol is flammable, 99% much more so.  Use with understanding, caution, and respect.

Now, a heads-up if you plan to go buy some Isopropyl 99%, and I recomend you do.  Isopropyl can be found in any drug or grocery store, however 70% is what you will find on the shelves.  Isopropyl 99% is most often kept behind the pharmacy counter.  This means having to ask the pharmacist for it. For adults wanting just one bottle this will not be a problem.  Young adults or those younger still may have difficulity obtaining it.  

Here's why Isopropyl 99% is guarded, and it's not because they're afraid you'll drink it.  Isopropyl 99% is often used in drug production.  I won't go into further detail, but now you will know why the pharmacist is sizing you up before fulfilling your request.  

As a related aside, I was refused Isopropyl 99% by a phamacist and this was when I was 30 or so. Actually, the guy left me standing there for 10 minutes and when he returned he said they didn't have any in stock.  The reason I believe is that I was wearing scruffy clothes because of work I had been doing in my shop.  I then sent my wife to the counter and strangely they had it back in stock and she encountered no long wait time.  How you present yourself really does make a difference in our society.  Sad but true.

Anyway, buy yourself some Isopropyl 99%.  This is a shop must have.

Bonus tip: Costco (if you have access to the store) sells four packs of isopropyl 99%, not behind the counter, and it's super cheap.



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Use as my primary solvent at work. No long term health effects only drying of skin, which is easily avoidable. Primarily used is a spray bottle.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    it's actually a very fortunate thing that people judge more based on what you wear, i've gotten out of more than a few things because i look fantastic in a button up shirt. you also actually get taken seriously when you look your best which i always find to be a very important tool for working in the modern day world.

    to say that it's fair that we judge based on appearances is a lie but we often forget that we must make snap judgements based on what we do know and when we meet a person for the first time it will always be different depending on what you wear.

    4 replies
    Jason Bedardwaldosan

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Regarding the outer appearance thing I do actually agree.

    A constructed persona, that is, ones chosen outward appearance, is a powerful tool. It can be a fun psychological construct to play with. Sometimes I entertain myself by dressing down, or up, to blend in, while other times dressing in contrast to stick out. Maybe this just demonstrates that simple things amuse me.

    A personal danger however lies in the conscious identification with ones persona. By this I mean believing that my outward appearance is who I am.

    Perhaps my ramblings are out of place for here and now but I have already typed it so it can therefore stand to public scrutiny.

    waldosanJason Bedard

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    i'm not trying to say that you should construct a persona as a means to an end, i don't think that you should put on your best suit and tie when you go to a meeting simply because everyone else is going to be wearing one too. doing so will make you come off as shallow and, to many people, weak.

    what I'm trying to say is that if your strong willed and even the slightest bit charismatic then you could still be you whether your wearing jeans below your crack and a wife-beater shirt or a nice silk Armani suit and a tie that goes with it. the only difference i see is in how other people view you. i wear suits and fancier clothes when i go to college because that's who i am, i am a guy who likes the feel of a good suit. this gets me a lot of strange looks from people my age but i've already realized that their opinion of me only matters if they have a gun up to my head, what will get me to where i want to go is wearing good clothes when I'm talking to the kinds of people who would see a well dressed man as someone who could be respected. that's what i want people to see because that's not only who i am becoming but also who i want to be and to a lesser degree who i am already.

    i've never had much trouble trying not to be overtaken by the persona i put up or the facade that i wear because to me at the end of the day whether I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt or a nice suit, whether i look mad or i look serene, or if I'm going slightly off my hinges because I'm concentrating it is all just a good reflection of who i am. I'm introverted so i've spent a lot of time defining who i am, this meant that i literally had to sit down and decide not only who i am but also who i want to be. then when i've decided who i am and who i want to be then everything else to me is simply a reflection of this decision.

    jeans and a t-shirt when i'm tired, bored or getting messy. or a suit and tie when i'm going to go and actually meet people. a flat face when i'm angry or a very enthusiastic face when i'm interested in something. these are the things i let people see because this is who i am.

    all this to say, it's your instructable if ever there was a place for you to ramble it'd be here.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    as for the instructable it's fantastic, i agree with you when you say that every electronics shop needs some rubbing alcohol! a microbrewery is optional though ;)