Home Improvement




Guide For Cleaning: Isopropyl Alcohol Or Ethanol To Disinfect?

by | Jan 7, 2020 | Home Improvement, Services

Both Isopropyl alcohol and ethanol come under the alcohol family and almost have the same disinfectant properties. Isopropyl alcohol is referred to as rubbing alcohol, 2-propanol or isopropanol. Ethanol is the kind of alcohol that exists in alcoholic beverages. When you are using them as disinfectants, both should be mixed with water of about 70 per cent. 

Why Alcohol is the best disinfectant?

Alcohol is considered an effective disinfectant for several explanations. They evaporate in quick time without leaving any residue. Alcohols have the capacity of dissolving lipids that makes them operational beside lipid wrapped viral cells like hepatitis A and HIV. They are simple to handle and inexpensive, though their vapours are combustible. 


Ethanol is also referred to as alcohol, ethyl alcohol or pure grain alcohol. It is one of the widely utilized recreational substances. Ethanol exists in alcoholic beverages. It has been consumed from ancient times. When you use it as a disinfectant, it functions by dissolving lipids and denaturing proteins, easily destroying several kinds of viral and bacterial cells. 

Ethanol is infective against spores. It is mostly used in the form of 70 percentage concentrations since higher concentration evaporates instantly and lower concentration is not much effective. Ethanol is also present in hand wipes and soaps. It has the capacity to dry skin instantly, so it should not be used separately without extra agents. 

ethanolIsopropyl alcohol

Often called isopropanol or IPA, Isopropyl Alcohol is almost the same in structure and function to ethanol. It has the capacity to destroy viral and bacterial cells by a similar mechanism and evaporates at a comparable rate. But, isopropyl alcohol is not much effective when it comes to dehydrating living tissue. When compared to ethanol, it is an excellent solution for sanitizing skin. It is the reason it is mostly utilized as an antiseptic. 

Isopropyl alcohol versus Ethanol

Both can be manufactured by fermentation, though isopropyl alcohol’s fermenting agent is a bacterium instead of yeast. It is changed into acetone while in the liver that makes it toxic. Ethanol does not have any short term toxic effects. It dehydrates cells readily. 

To summarize

When it comes to disinfecting surfaces, both are equally efficient. It is recommended to use ethanol for surface cleaning applications and isopropyl alcohol functions double as antiseptic and can be used in hospitals. Both can be utilized to clean small items after immersing for around 10 minutes. They evaporate instantly without leaving any residue. They are excellent options for cleaning computer components and optic drives. 

Uses of rubbing alcohol and ethanol

Homemade disinfectant:

Take a spray bottle and mix alcohol and water in 1:1 proportion. Use the liquid to disinfect germy areas and frequent points of contact. It is also best to use the liquid by dipping on the cotton pad to clean the thermometers, earring posts and various personal items.

Eliminate hair spray from tiles and mirrors

In certain situations, hair spray ends up on walls or bathroom mirror after an instant spritz. If you want to get rid of this build-up, you need to dampen the cloth or cotton pad with rubbing alcohol and clean the sticky mess.