10 Alcohol Pad Hacks for the Resourceful Nurse

Capella article

It’s time to talk about the unsung hero of our profession: alcohol pads. Although they aren’t soaked in unicorn tears, as previously believed, these tiny wipes are surely a gift from some higher power. As such, let’s a few moments to show them the appreciation they deserve.

Here are just a few reasons why alcohol pads are a nurse’s best friend:

1. You see gross stuff all day long. And with gross stuff comes germs. Germs are not conducive to happy nurses. So keep a few alcohol pads in your pockets for the moments when you can’t resist the urge to clean something.

2. Take a moment and think about all the germs that are probably on your cell phones right this second. Luckily, you are a nurse and have alcohol pads aplenty. Grab one and clean that cell phone immediately. We suggest cleaning it as your shift starts and again as your shift is ending. Your skin will thank you.

3. How many times have you needed to jot down a quick note or reminder at work and been without paper? It’s moments like these when it’s helpful to remember that skin doubles as the perfect notepad. But there are going to be times when you don’t want your body to look like an ancient cave wall covered in hieroglyphics. Alcohol pads are like the “delete” button for your skin.

4. Did the newbie nurse just write with permanent marker instead of the dry-erase?! Luckily, these will take the permanent marker off just about any surface. You’re welcome!

5. There is no rhyme or reason, as far as we can tell, to why this works, but if you ever have a patient who is experiencing nausea—which never happens, right?—it’s alcohol pads to the rescue! Wave one of these bad boys under your patient’s nose and watch in amazement as their nausea subsides.

6. Have you ever had to peel a label off of something and been annoyed with the sticky residue left behind? Next time, use an alcohol pad to wipe off the debris. Perfectionists, rejoice!

7. Heating up at work? On humid days or very busy shifts, go ahead and swab your face with them. It’s like magic the way they gets rid of sweat and oil – a nice way to cool off quickly too!

8. Ever have those mornings where you leave your house, start driving to work and realize you forgot to put on deodorant? Swipe an alcohol pad under your pits and you’ll make it through your shift without a problem. Note: We don’t advocate doing this if you recently shaved, unless you enjoy searing pain.

9. Nothing ruins a shift like an itchy mosquito bite left over from a fun weekend of camping. Since scratching in front of your patients and colleagues is not a viable option, try holding an alcohol pad over the spot to dry out the area and reduce itching.

10. Is nail polish forbidden at your workplace? In case you ever forget to remove it before starting your shift, an alcohol pad works as a nail polish remover in a pinch.

We could list another dozen reasons why alcohol pads are the best invention since…ever. Instead, we’d like to hear from you. How are you using the alcohol pad to make your job (and life) easier?

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5 Responses to 10 Alcohol Pad Hacks for the Resourceful Nurse

  1. lwd338

    I use alcohol pads to clean the ear buds on my stethoscope if and when someone needs to borrow it.!

  2. Kati Benning

    Alcohol pred pads will get permanent marker off anything.

  3. MimiCarole RN

    I always cleaned my shoes with them.

  4. patlock

    The very most useful alcohol pad tip: use it to soak off tape from a patients skin. I never want to risk skin tears, and an experienced nurse showed me to dab the edges of tape (paper tape can make a mess though) and then gently pull the tape up, continuing to dabs you go. I think it works best to wet down porous plastic tape all around, then start at one corner and work your way around. Goes a lot faster without the risk of skin tears, and is painless and does not leave red marks!

  5. NursAlot

    Ever have an IV connection you can’t unscrew? Use the alcohol wipe (unopened) to help hold the pieces and twist!!! Works everytime!