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Old 07-16-2005, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: China
Posts: 719
Rubbing alcohol as bug spray ?

Hi All,
A few days ago I was using some rubbing alcohol, and as an ant crawled by I sprayed some of the alcohol on it and it immediately curled up and died. My curiosity got the best of me so I started spraying any insect I came across with the rubbing alcohol. All of them curled up and died.
I have several friends that I visit that keep cans of bug spray outside to kill anything that flies or crawls by. Sometimes I do not like visiting them due to not wanting to breathe the chemicals they spray at anything and everything. Wouldn't just spraying bugs with rubbing alcohol be much safer to us and to the enviroment. I know that rubbing alcohol is not totally non-toxic, but it must be better than whatever chemicals are in those cans of bug spray.
Also, here in the Philippines, there are many adds for insecticides that double as air fresheners. How on earth can that be safe ? Spraying insecticide around to remove stale odors ?
Not the best cite, but the only one i can find so far:

Also, for my morbid curiosity, why does the rubbing alcohol kill insects ? Is it due to dehydration, or are the little buggers getting way too drunk too fast ?

Old 07-16-2005, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 12,415
I think you're right, for just plain old killing, something like alcohol would be great, it kills them and doesn't leave a chemical residue. It might stain fabric and stuff like that, though.

OTOH, bug sprays are good for spraying in corners and along walls to keep killing bugs for weeks. I just looked up something called Raid Max roach killer that is supposed to work for 6 months! Any typical bug spray is going to leave a chemical residue, that's what they're designed to do. You can spray alcohol on your kitchen counter, and not endanger yourself.

Of course, if you can spray it with alcohol, you can also use a flyswatter, a zero chemical killer.
Old 07-16-2005, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Female in Kansas
Posts: 6,953
You want to be careful with spraying copious amounts of rubbing alcohol around, it can catch fire. (No, what I just said isn't as stupid as you might at first think, just very simplified.) I keep an empty medicine bottle 3/4 filled with rubbing alcohol around, and uncap it when looking myself over after walking through grassy areas. Ticks go into the alcohol, to die. I admit to feeling satisfaction as a watched ticks that I pulled off my in-laws very sick cat die two summers ago. (Silly fellow was an indoor/outdoor cat, and he would sneak over to a neighbor's yard which was FULL of ticks, he had to go to the vet because he got so many they made him anemic.) It also works well on fleas as I learned after bringing them in to my indoor cat. (That's the last time I walk anywhere near that yard on the way to the post office.) After bathing her, and combing her, any other fleas I found when petting her went into the bottle to die. I had a bowl with alcohol in it, in a well ventilated room, and would dip the comb into the alcohol if there were fleas in it, then wipe it off on a paper towel, and comb some more.
Old 07-16-2005, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Female in Kansas
Posts: 6,953
To be sure what I was trying to say in my first sentence is grasped, I mean: don't spray it on carpets, or wood floors etc. Don't put it places were it's going to soak in and be a potential hazard.
Old 07-16-2005, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: My Own Private Iowa
Posts: 15,377
Originally Posted by simple homer
Also, for my morbid curiosity, why does the rubbing alcohol kill insects ? Is it due to dehydration, or are the little buggers getting way too drunk too fast ?
Well, when I was at boarding school, it was because my dorm mate was holding a lit lighter between the bug and the spray bottle of alcohol. FWOOMF!
Old 07-16-2005, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 8,128
I always keep a plastic spray bottle of alcohol on the kitchen sink for minor cleaning, and another one in the bathroom. On the rare occasions we get a roach inside, I always blast the hell out of him with alcohol, since I never buy bug spray. But our Florida roaches are so big and hardy, it takes entire minutes of squirting to put them down. Meanwhile, the whole area (usually just tile) gets soaked with alcohol and the roach gets wet and mad... but eventually slows down and finally succumbs.

I'd just step on them, but I'm ALWAYS barefoot in my house, and I'd rather not.

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