10 Alcohol Pad Hacks For The Resourceful Nurse

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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. They also act as the “delete” button for your scrubs. Nurses deal with a lot of blood. It doesn’t mean you need blood stains on your scrubs. Enter alcohol pads. If a drop of blood finds its way onto your clothes during a shift, take one little swipe to the spot and the stain is gone. Magic!

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. Anyone who wears glasses will know the struggle of having smudges on their lenses. Well, no more! Alcohol pads are the life hack for the visually challenged that will ensure you see clearly all shift long.

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?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. When you are on an area that smells unbearable, an alcohol pad tucked under your hand near your nose will erase all other horrible scents. It is a true Godsend. Everyone I have showed this to has continued to thank me years later.


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