Rubbing Alcohol – A Must Have For Every Polymer Clay Studio

By Brian Lemay 50 comments

Hi guys, its Cindy Lietz, your Polymer Clay
Tutor, and today’s Studio Tip is all about rubbing alcohol and what a useful tool it
is…or supply for your Polymer Clay studio. Now I use rubbing alcohol all the time, my
favorite type is to use the 99% ‘cause it is the strongest, it is super, super cheap,
I bought, I don’t know, 4 bottles… 4 of these size bottles, at Costco for about
5 or 6 bucks, and I use it for all kinds of things. First thing you can use it for with Polymer
Clay is say you’ve got an old cane that’s getting beat up and it’s got other colors
stuck to it, you can use it to clean the dirty clay up with the rubbing alcohol, and you
can just wipe along, and this is a raw cane so it hasn’t even been used yet, and I can
wipe off all those Pink sections that were stuck on there and clean it right up. If you’ve got some White Polymer Clay, you
can clean off the dust and the lint by using rubbing alcohol. You can also use it to clean your work surfaces,
clean your tools, clean your pasta machine, but it also is a fantastic remover of permanent
pen like a Sharpie, so if you’ve got permanent pen anywhere…except for if it’s soaked in
to some paper or some wood or something, sometimes it’s hard to remove, but if you’ve got permanent
pen somewhere else…on a more nonporous surface and you can’t wipe it off normally, this is
just a dry paper towel, I can’t get that off, but with the rubbing alcohol there, it’ll
just wipe right off. And so to remove Sharpie, it works great for
removing stickers on metal objects or glass objects, if you were gonna cover them with
Polymer Clay. You can also use it to remove excess dried
on acrylic paints, and if you’ve got an old finish, say you’ve used a finish on your Polymer
Clay charms and it’s incompatible, it gets all sticky or it’s flaking off and it’s just
not working, you don’t have to throw away your charm, you can soak it in the rubbing
alcohol and you can remove that old finish…you may need to use a little toothbrush or something
to get it worked into the crevices, but you can usually remove most finishes with rubbing
alcohol. You can also…there’s a neat little trick
that painters use if they’re painting the house, and they can’t tell whether it’s acrylic
paint or oil-based paint, you can do something…this table here has been painted with acrylic,
and I can test to see if it’s acrylic paint by just rubbing some alcohol on it, and if
the color comes off, yeah, see the Yellow there, if the color comes off onto your paper,
then you know that it’s an acrylic or water based paint. I use it for lots and lots of things, you
can thin down your alcohol inks, you can clean up your alcohol inks, you can also mix it
into a bottle with a little bit of water and spritz it onto alcohol inks and it will bleed
out and do some really cool effects. And, what else do I use it for…it will remove…if
you’re using like a UV Gel for your nails or a UV cured resin, you can wipe it with
rubbing alcohol to get that sticky residue that’s on there after it’s cured, you can
remove it with that. You can also clean glass such as like glass
ornaments, if you’re going to be sticking Polymer Clay on them, you can clean them with
rubbing alcohol, same with metal and if you’re trying to remove grease or fingerprints and
that kind of thing, so I find it’s probably the cheapest but most used supply in my studio. So I hope that was helpful for you, and if
it was, do let us know if you liked this video. And if you’ve got some other tips for using
rubbing alcohol, leave those in the comment section below, I might have forgotten something. And if you have suggestions for future videos,
things you’d like me to test, products you’d like me to show you how to use, that kind
of thing, leave those in the comment section below. And don’t forget we have a great resource
over at where you can use the search box to find the answers to
all of your Polymer Clay questions. We’ll see you next time and bye for now.



Dec 12, 2014, 8:56 am Reply

You can also use it to make alcohol inks. 🙂 I always have at least 2 bottles around of the 90% or higher. 99% is a bit hard to find in my area but I did find 91% and it works just fine. In a pinch I just use the regular as I always have some of that in the bathroom cabinet.

– Heidi

Buttered Lumps

Dec 12, 2014, 9:45 am Reply

I use it to smooth out my clay dolls when i'm done blending the seams. Its also good for cleaning out your polymer clay paint brushes and tools, because simple soap and water wont do an accurate enough job.

Buttered Lumps

Dec 12, 2014, 9:48 am Reply

I do notice that after i rub down my clay dolls with alcohol, that clay becomes more dust and lint resistant.

Lost in Time

Dec 12, 2014, 9:55 am Reply

Thanks for the information your videos are very helpful.can you tell me please which camera do you use for recording your videos because your video quality is great. it is very helpful if you tell the name and model no. of camera thanks again


Dec 12, 2014, 12:24 pm Reply

I use 50%. Im soo glad i found out about this several months ago i feel more comfortable with using white clay since i can easily clean the clay and my tools with it.


Dec 12, 2014, 12:30 pm Reply

what about "stamping" (or similar)your glass mat and transferring it to the clay. do you think something like that would work?


Dec 12, 2014, 5:06 pm Reply

@PolymerClayTutor Great suggestions Cindy. I have used it to remove dried paint from both carpet and clothing and for removing the sticky residue from stickers but never thought to use it on clay.

Katie C.

Dec 12, 2014, 7:34 pm Reply

Great tips! Is it safe (like no harmful fumes or anything) to bake clay after rubbing the alcohol on it?


Dec 12, 2014, 9:05 pm Reply

Hi Cindy, you didn't mention one of the best things it can can remove dust and fingerprints from your unbaked clay projects. I also use acetone for the same reason and for many of the things you mentioned using alcohol for. You just have to be careful about how much you use because it does melt polymer clay. Take care, Dee

Nala Mid

Dec 12, 2014, 9:12 pm Reply

I work with fabrics in my craft area so, to clean it up to work with polymer clay I burn some alcohol in a pot (in a safe area away from anything that can catch fire), it burns away lint, animal hair, dust, even ugly smells!! 🙂 and after having a flu is the best way to kill any leftover germs in your room 😉

CraftBy Craft

Dec 12, 2014, 10:02 pm Reply


SUSIE Peterson-LaLonde

Dec 12, 2014, 10:10 pm Reply

Fingerprints!  It removes fingerprints excellent!  Thanks for all your tips!

Sandra Davis

Dec 12, 2014, 12:13 am Reply

Thank you.

Sue Smith

Dec 12, 2014, 12:53 am Reply

Thanks for another great tip, Cindy. This is a most useful supply in the polymer clay studio, for sure. In Western Australia we pay $12.00 for a small bottle at our local chemist (pharmacy) so we use it with less abandon than those of you who can buy it cheaply at Costco 🙂

Emma Rose

Dec 12, 2014, 4:35 am Reply

Can u make a video showing how to remove glaze from polymer clay pieces with the rubbing alcohol?

Polymer Clay Preaching

Dec 12, 2014, 6:48 am Reply

Cindy I use rubbing alcohol to clean my hands off when changing colors of clay, and I also use it on the palms of my hands and my nails, before I wash them with soap, to get the residue and oils off.  

Fran OnTheEdge

Dec 12, 2014, 12:19 pm Reply

Hi Cindy,
I just bought a litre of 99% Isopropyl yesterday from an electronics store here in the UK (Maplins), I could only get 70% in only 600ml for about the same price from a chemists (Pharmacy) (the litre was only 2 quid more).

I bought it for use with alcohol inks.  Now you say dilute with water for this, but you don't say if tap water is okay or if distilled should be used – plus I'd like to know the proportions of water and alcohol to mix.

I already use alcohol wipes for most everything else.

This video of yours is just in time for me!  Thanks.

Buttered Lumps

Dec 12, 2014, 7:44 pm Reply

I read somewhere that we shouldn't use baby oils that contain (lanolin) on raw polymer clay. Is it true? Because i thought we could use any kind of mineral oils out there no matter what's inside it.

Lisa smith

Dec 12, 2014, 11:54 pm Reply

Thank for all the helpful tips I have 2 more I splashed acrylic paint on my good jeans a got it all out using alcohol. I was amazed

Fun To Create

Dec 12, 2014, 9:14 pm Reply

I agree..   rubbing alcohol is very very useful…. 

Donna DeCicco

Dec 12, 2014, 11:14 pm Reply

Thank you Cindy for the reminder, it was just in time, I just finished a bunch of SpongeBob pendants and they cleaned up so nice!  I'd love to share my picture but don't see how!


Dec 12, 2014, 7:16 pm Reply

Thanks for ALL your videos.  I learn something useful every time I watch you.  


Dec 12, 2014, 12:09 pm Reply

It also helps remove finger prints on your pieces!!!


Dec 12, 2014, 5:29 pm Reply

I just found your channel, and I love your videos! Thank you for the wonderful tips and advice!

hey man.

Jan 1, 2015, 11:07 pm Reply

i freakin LOVE how your work area looks. every time its one of the first things i notice about your videos. it inspires me to get clean and organized lol!

Making It Easy with Liz

Apr 4, 2015, 11:53 am Reply

Great Info, Cindy. Does your studio really look that neat, clean and organized? LOL
I'm thrilled to watch your videos and learn this fascinating art form. I'm a metal and wire worker mostly and looking forward to incorporating polymer clay into my jewelry.


Jun 6, 2015, 2:16 pm Reply

Hi Cindy, I ve just started with polymer clay to make faces for may dolls and I am not able to make it smooth! Do you think the polymer clay I ve been using is too soft? My problem is not the fingerprints but my doll's head has cellulitis!! LOL HELP ME PLEEASE! xxx

Arlene Spaulding

Jul 7, 2015, 7:57 am Reply

Hi Cindy…I found that using Alcohol under the roller of my Pasta machine cleaners all the stuff the get stuck on the rollers.  I use to get little black marks along the edges of the clay I put thru but with doing it underneath while cranking the machine it takes it all off.

Patricia Bearden

Jul 7, 2015, 6:37 am Reply

I found it to be a good cleaner for my hands. Use it in between color changes too.

Brenda Van Zant

Aug 8, 2015, 8:40 am Reply

I was recently told that you can also remove PearlEx from unwanted areas with alcohol on a small paint brush. I haven't tried it yet, though!

Hiba Sharafuddin

Dec 12, 2015, 11:55 am Reply

Hey Cindy, i've seen on some other videos that it can be also used to transfer image on unbacked polymer clay.. do u know if it can be done on backed polymer clay as well?

michelle osborne

Dec 12, 2015, 8:16 am Reply

Also clean your polymer clay tiles before you paint them with acrylic paint. It allows the paint to stick and clay not to reject paint at first like it does if you don't use alcohol to clean.

Sin Young Park

Apr 4, 2016, 12:30 am Reply

Do you use the alcohol before or after you bake the polymer clay to clean it? Thanks so much

Mario Hernandez

Apr 4, 2016, 3:46 am Reply

does it removes rust

Mario Hernandez

Apr 4, 2016, 2:58 pm Reply

not to be rude but you always involve polymer clay in mostly anything


Feb 2, 2017, 9:23 pm Reply

The rubbing alcohol I found says it's flammable so if I use it on my pre made clay creation,would if go in flames when I bake it?


Apr 4, 2017, 2:29 pm Reply

can this help smooth out clay figures/ charms?

Mistique 2470

Jun 6, 2017, 11:22 pm Reply

Hi I tried to use this on baked polymer Clay to clear up bead but it didn't seam to do anything?
What am I doing wrong?

Linnea Beckman

Aug 8, 2017, 3:14 am Reply

It's not cheap.  Checked 4 different pharnacies and 91% is the highest any one of them carried.  Was told to order on line. Cheapest was $12.00 for 2 16 oz. bottles.

Kim Huff

Sep 9, 2017, 1:14 am Reply

Is rubbing alcohol the same as alcohol solvent?


Feb 2, 2018, 5:09 am Reply

Are you fucking high?!

Lauren Cheerio

Apr 4, 2018, 3:51 pm Reply

Never thought of using it to remove a crappy glaze! Great idea.

Carol Bryant

Dec 12, 2018, 3:53 pm Reply

Thanks for these helpful tutorials. You really do live up to your name – a great tutor!

Ericka Pratt

Feb 2, 2019, 10:24 pm Reply

Now I know why it ruined my gel manicure! 😆 Thanks. 😁

Auni Syafiqah

May 5, 2019, 6:37 am Reply

Hi Cindy, do you mix your rubbing alcohol with water before using it to remove dust on clay? I've tried rubbing (pure 99% alcohol) using q-tips before i bake my clay. however. after i bake it i found obvious strokes on my baked clay. Could you please help me.0

mary bratcher

Jul 7, 2019, 4:58 am Reply

can i safely use rubbing alcahol to clean my silicone soft tip sculpting tools?

irene f

Sep 9, 2019, 9:56 pm Reply

Made a mistake with painting eyes on tuts face. Have already glazed with sculpy gloss glaze. Can I use rubbing alcohol to remove glaze and paint from his face?

mercedes marton

Sep 9, 2019, 4:02 am Reply

I wonder if I can clean my paint brush with rubbing alcohol after using liquid clay. Thanks. And how do I thin liquid clay?

irene f

Sep 9, 2019, 10:38 pm Reply

Thanks for your timely help

Dutchess Eberline

Oct 10, 2019, 1:33 am Reply

Rubbing out permanet pen is Awesome!!

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