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Methylated Spirits – An Amazing Cleaner You Should Be Using

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Methylated spirits is a potent, powerful, and versatile cleaning agent that cleans, sterilizes, and disinfects in one smooth operation and can leave an area spotless.

It can also remove dirt, grime, and grease that other commercial and natural cleaning agents fail to remove.

This fantastic cleaner is being used in many homes so stay and learn the secrets of methylated spirits and how to get the most from this powerful and underestimated cleaner.

Is Methylated Spirits An Eco-Friendly Cleaner?

Methylated spirits are a mixture of ethanol alcohol, 95% (derived from grains), and methanol alcohol, 5% (derived from natural gas), plus other additives that color it purple and make it poisonous to drink.

This means that it cannot be poured into waterways but it is considerably more eco-friendly than the highly toxic conventional cleaning products found on grocery store shelves.

Commercially available cleaners are loaded with toxins that can do significant harm to pets, humans, and the environment has links to some forms of cancers, and remain active for an extended period.

For more information please read:- Homemade Cleaning Products Vs. Commercial – Is Natural Best?

What Makes Methylated Spirits A Powerful Cleaner?

As an alcohol-based cleaner methylated spirits have the advantage of being able to dissolve grease, fat, and other organic matter very well.

This means fingerprints, grease stains both heavy and mild, tar leftover food stains, red wine, and grass stains can be dissolved quickly whereas other cleaners will struggle.

It also prevents the formation of limescale in water so when it is added to water it will leave no traces that can accumulate on metal or windows after cleaning!

How To Use Methylated Spirits For Cleaning

Due to the large increase in new materials both soft and hard, it is best practice to test a hidden area first and observe the reaction before applying it to the problem at hand.

It is important to treat methylated spirits with the same respect as other strong cleaners such as bleach. This means that the working area should have good ventilation and you must wear protective rubber gloves when working with it.

Methylated spirits on skin are quickly absorbed and the alcohol and toxins will react with the skins natural oils causing dryness, itching, redness, and cracking. Heavy Inhalation can be nauseating and can burn the mucus membranes.

However, it is a very strong natural antibacterial cleaner that delivers fast results and evaporates away quickly leaving a streak-free shine that is brilliant for water-sensitive metals like stainless steel and large glass surfaces.

Best 10 Home Cleaning Tips using The Power Of Methylated Spirits

1. Use Methylated Spirits to Clean Glass To A Streak-Free Shine

Methylated spirits glass cleaning

Firstly, dilute the methylated spirits with water from a 10/1 to a 50/50 mixture of spirits and water depending upon the severity of the problem, and spray onto the glass.

Secondly, wipe the glass clean with a lint-free cloth or paper towel for a simple streak-free finish.
Ceramics, walls, and floor tiles can also be cleaned with this mixture.

Similar to vinegar, as methylated spirits evaporate, the unpleasant aroma soon dissipates.

2. Use Methylated spirits to Remove Mold And Mildew From Most Surfaces

Place an 80/ 20 mixture of methylated spirits and water into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the mold or mildew making sure that all parts are liberally covered.

Leave the mixture to work for about five to ten minutes and then wipe the surface clean with a lint-free cloth. Soft porous materials may require a soft brush to work the mixture into the fabric, a cloth to remove the residue, and multiple applications.

To keep the mold from returning to your bathroom why not wipe over the tiles each day and as a bonus know the area is sanitized.

For furnishings, leather, and other porous surfaces you should first test the mixture on a hidden part to make sure that its colorfast and resistant to the mixture before applying it to the affected area. Do not apply to dyed leather or suede.

3. Methylated Spirits Removes Stains Other Products Can’t

Methylated spirits serve as a powerful stain remover and can remove stains from hard surfaces that other cleaners and soaps have difficulty with such as oil-based stains, ink, paint, and lipsticks.

It is also effective at removing stains from soft furnishings and clothing such as grass, berry, red wine, coffee, and grease stains however on porous surfaces little and often is generally the key to effective stain removal.

For effective stain removal, you will need clear methylated spirits as the colorant may stain individual fabrics or surfaces.

Wet a cotton wool pad, ball, or clean cloth with methylated spirits and pad the stain until the solution has begun to remove the stain then use a clean item to remove it. Repeat this process until the stain has been removed.

For red wine stains on carpets, it is best to flush the remainder of the stain with white vinegar to lift and remove the final traces of color.

Do not use methylated spirits on wood with a shellac finish as it will soften the shellac.

4. The Best Way to Clean Metal Is With Methylated Spirits

Methylated spirit is an excellent solvent for use on metal surfaces as it degreases, sanitizes, repels water, and finally evaporates away very quickly which prevents corrosion and streak marks.

This makes methylated spirits one of the best streak-free cleaners for stainless steel and chrome items but can also be used to clean the metal strings of stringed instruments.

To clean instrument strings first remove them if possible and place them in a sealed jar of 100% solution methylated spirits for 12 to 24 hours then remove, wipe down with a clean dry cloth and replace.

5. Methylated Spirits Make An Excellent Descaler

To descale and degrease faucets, sinks, showerheads, kettles, and other appliances you will need to make up a 10/ 1 part solution of methylated spirits and water. Wherever possible soak the area and use a little elbow grease to remove the scale allow to dry then rinse the area with clean water.

6. Dissolve Various Glues And Waxes With Methylated Spirits

When the kids get crafty and leave wax crayon marks or glue on surfaces they shouldn’t have, rub the surface with a cloth soaked in methylated spirits and the problem will melt away.

For high glue, areas soak the glue or gum and allow it time to soak into the substance then use a metal scrapper to remove the sticky residue.

7. Bug Homes and Bug stains Can Be Removed With Methylated spirits

Many bugs make their homes in our homes and leave evidence of their presence by staining the areas. Fortunately, methylated spirits will not only kill the infestation but will remove the stain their home created.

Start with a 50/50 mix of methylated spirits and water to spray the area and kill the bugs. If required increase the mix to a higher concentration as the stronger the mix the more effective it is as an insecticide.

Once the bugs have gone follow the instructions for stain removal.

It must be remembered that denatured alcohol is another name for methylated spirits ad so all of the above are also denatured alcohol uses.

8. Methylated Spirits Is The Original Paint Brush Cleaner

To remove paint and oils from your brushes place them into a jar of methylated spirits for a few hours and then use soapy water to rinse them off.

To condition, the brushes use fabric conditioner for a second clean, rinse with warm water and then wrap the brushes individually in paper to keep their shape as they dry.

Make-up brushes can also be cleaned with methylated spirits but to do this soak a cloth in the sports and wipe the brushes with the cloth until clean then rinse through with soapy water.

9. Clean Your Jewellery With Neat Methylated Spirits

To remove dirt, grime, sweat and skin oil from your metal jewelry simply place them into a container of methylated spirits for 20 minutes then remove and rub with a lint-free cloth, rinse, and dry. For ingrained fat and dirt leave the items to soak overnight.

Do not do this with organic items or porous stones such as opals, pearls, emeralds, or amber as the spirits can leak into the stones discoloring and damaging them.

10. Recover white Boards from Permanent Ink Damage

Wiping down a whiteboard with methylated spirits will bring it back to an as-new condition and remove all traces of permanent markers, wax, and old ink stains.

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9 Reasons Why Cleaning Experts Use Methylated Spirits

The 9 qualities that make methylated spirits such a powerful cleaner are that it is a:-

  • Solvent – removes grease, and paint
  • Glass cleaner – not tinted glass
  • Anti-bacterial cleaning Agent – kill and inhibit bacterial growth on hard surfaces
  • Disinfectant – kitchen surfaces, walls, floors, water
  • Sanitizer – door handles, toilet seats, faucets
  • Degreaser – car and bike exhaust systems
  • Adhesive remover – the residue left from packing tape, car window stickers
  • Stain remover – oil-based, grass ink, red wine
  • Descaler – removes scale from faucets and water

What are Methylated spirits?

Methylated spirits also known as denatured alcohol are a powerful alcohol-based solvent made from a mixture of ethanol alcohol, (derived from grains) and methanol alcohol, (derived from natural gas).

Ethanol has fantastic cleaning and sterilizing abilities but is also a powerful intoxicant as it is the same alcohol you will find in alcoholic beverages.

So to deter people from drinking it methanol is added plus other additives such as pyridine to make it poisonous and render it undrinkable.

What Should You Not Use Methylated Spirits On?

Methylated spirits are suitable for a wide range of cleaning applications, however, some products can be damaged or destroyed by their application.

List of things not to clean with methylated spirits.

  • Skin – Toxic to the body do not use it as a skin sanitizer
  • Television and Smartphone screens – the protective film will be removed
  • Acrylic – acrylics dissolve
  • Vinyl – slowly dissolves
  • Painted surfaces – oil-based paints will loosen
  • Varnished surfaces – the varnish will be softened/removed
  • Non-colorfast Porous fabrics – colors are removed and run
  • Plastic surfaces with a heavy shine – slowly remove the shine

Precautions To Take When Using Methylated Spirits

methylated spirits rubber gloves for protection

1. Wear Protective Gloves

When cleaning with methylated spirits you should always wear protective gloves as the additives and high alcohol content will dehydrate the skin, remove essential skin oils, and may leave an unpleasant aroma.

2. Do Not Ingest

Methylated spirits have a poisonous additive within the mixture to prevent the ethanol alcohol from being ingested. If significant ingestion does occur it could result in blindness or death.

Always use methylated spirits in a well-ventilated area to prevent excessive respiratory inhalation, dizziness, and possible nausea.

3. Store away from Direct Sunlight, Flame, Children, And Pets

Methylated spirits are extremely flammable and poisonous if ingested so they should always be stored in a dark secure area away from children and pets. Birds are particularly susceptible to strong aromas so please remember to keep areas well ventilated and remove pets if possible.


Professional, private, commercial, and cleaning experts have methylated spirits as part of their cleaning arsenal and use it to effectively clean and sanitize many different surfaces.

Methylated spirits is a very strong and potent cleaner but is less harmful to the environment than its equivalent commercial counterparts and is also safe for households to use.

So bring it into your cleaning arsenal today and reap the benefits of this very versatile cleaner.
However, you must treat it with the respect you would show to other powerful cleaners and so put on the gloves and always keep your working areas well ventilated.

Sustainabilitydad its authors and affiliates accept no responsibility for any accident, injury, or damage caused in part or directly from following the information provided on this website. We do not recommend using any chemical without first consulting the Material Safety Data Sheet which can be obtained from the manufacturer.

A proud father of two boys, an amateur actor, and a green living enthusiast, Mark has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.

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