Cleaning With Methylated Spirits

Household cleaning with Methylated Spirits may sound rather old-fashioned in this day and age of multitudinous cleaning products but it was right up our grandparent’s and great-grandparent’s street!  Remember, they had very few products at their disposal so necessity was indeed the mother of invention.

You can buy Methylated Spirits on Amazon, there are a range of pack sizes and strengths available.

Here are a few tried-and-trusted cleaning tips using Methylated Spirits:

Window Cleaning

To clean window panes prepare a solution of 50% water and 50% Methylated Spirits.  Place in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the window.  Wipe off the solution with paper towels (not newspaper) and the result is shiny, clean, streak-free windows.

Whiteboard Cleaning

Whiteboards can be cleaned easily with a spray of the solution above, again wiping off with paper towels.  This tip is especially good when permanent marker pens have inadvertently been used on a white board.

Cleaning Ink Stains

Marker pen, felt pen and ink stains on upholstery can be easily removed.  Dab the affected area with a non-lint cloth dipped in a little Methylated Spirits and you will find that the ink transfers to the cloth; keep dabbing, using a fresh cloth if necessary and the stains will lift readily.

Removing Grass Stains

Grass and berry stains can be removed from washable fabrics by dabbing in the same way as point 3 above, then rubbing the stain with a stain stick before washing on a cool wash.  A hot wash can cause any residual stain to ‘set’.

Removing Makeup Stains

Lipstick and makeup stains can be removed from washable fabrics using the same method as in point 4 above. Note: never put clothes in a tumble drier until you are sure that the stain is completely removed as the heat of the drier may make the stain ‘set’ in the fabric.

Thinning Paint

Methylated Spirits can be used a thinner for paints; just mix a little into the paint you want to use and stir thoroughly before using.

Cleaning Paint Brushes

A little TLC and a little Methylated Spirits can greatly extend the life of your paint brushes.  When you have finished a painting job, wipe the excess paint from the brush with an old rag, then put sufficient Methylated Spirits in a container so that it is deep enough to cover the bristles.  A jam jar is good, so long as it is wide enough to accommodate the brush.  The paint will lift away from the bristles.  Soak overnight, then remove the brush, wipe off the excess Methylated Spirits, then wash the bristles in warm, soapy water before allowing them to dry naturally.


Although it’s not something our grandparents had to worry about, skateboard bearings can be thoroughly cleaned of grease, oil and grime by using Methylated Spirits.

Just remember that Methylated Spirits is a TOXIC substance and containers should be kept out of the reach of children and animals.  Always read the Material Safety Data Sheet provided by your Methylated Spirits supplier and wear protective clothing as guided.  Accidental ingestion can cause blindness, loss of consciousness, coma and can eventually lead to death so please ensure that you use this amazing chemical responsibly and enjoy the success of removing stains with Methylated Spirits.


Rich Hudson
I'm Managing Director of a leading UK chemical supplier. My company supplies most of the chemicals I blog about, you can buy them online at I also keep a personal blog at
Rich Hudson
Rich Hudson
Rich Hudson

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  1. Hello and happy new year
    Please can you help? I am preparing to launch a product re-sealing bathrooms and showers. I need to decide between alcohol wipes and methylated spirits with tissue. I would prefer a small bottle of methylated spirit and tissue but need to understand the insurance and health and safety issues related to selling and sending it in the post.

    Please can you help and advise what I need to consider and think about

    Many thanks

    Kind regards

    Paul Maguire

    • Hi Paul,

      You’re right to question the health and safety issues related to the supply of chemicals, there is a lot to consider with postage being just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the issues you need to be aware of are:

      First, off if you supply or sell chemical products you must adhere to REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) regulations – more on that here:

      If you’re sending methylated spirits in the post, you must use ADR couriers who are specially trained to transport hazardous goods under current legislation which is detailed here:

      Another key consideration is labeling – you must clearly label your product making any hazards, precautionary measures and risks clear to users. There is legislation covering this too called CLP –

      Another health and safety requirement is the supply of a current Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) along with the product:

      As you can see the supply of chemicals is something of a minefield of legislation, regulations and requirements which can be particularly difficult to navigate if you’re just starting out. It might be worthwhile contacting ReAgent, a UK based specialist chemical manufacturer – they will be able to give you more detailed advice and information and can help with the supply of chemicals. Visit their website at

      Here are some more links you might find useful:

      Good luck!

  2. Hi Richard,
    I have just used some Surgical Spirit on my carpet after one of my cats peed there, and have just realised how flammable it is. The problem is that the area of carpet I have used it on is right underneath a radiator. Is this dangerous?

    • Hi Amy,

      This should not be a problem, providing there is no naked flames on the area it should evaporate harmlessly.
      If it lingers on the fabric simply wash it with soapy water.


  3. Sheila Bird says:

    Please could you tell me if methylated spirit cleans polywood I have grease stains on it.
    Thank you

  4. Helen Chapman says:

    I’ve just realized that my decorator managed to get some paint on my coat (mackintosh) amongst other things! ;o) Will methylated spirits remove the paint from the fabric?

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