What is Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is the most commonly used disinfectant in the world. It is relied on heavily in medical settings such as hospitals and pharmaceutical environments, in medical device manufacturing, and in electronics production.

How is Isopropyl Alcohol Made?

Also known as isopropanol or IPA, isopropyl alcohol can be manufactured to adhere to varying standards of purity, concentrations, and alcohol types. By varying the characteristics of isopropanol, one can make solutions that are safe to clean and disinfect with.

What is the Most Effective Isopropyl Alcohol to Use As A Disinfectant

PDI Chlorhexidine and Isopropyl Alcohol Swabstick(1's) 50/pack

It is widely considered that 70% isopropyl alcohol is the most effective concentration for disinfecting.

Therefore, 70% pure alcohol and the other 30% being purified water. This combination is an antimicrobial and a killer of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. 

Any isopropyl alcohol solution under 50% is considered ineffective for a hospital-grade disinfectant.

What research has found is that higher concentrations – i.e. 90% and above – also don’t exhibit the same properties in killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. To this point, water is a necessary component of an isopropyl alcohol solution.

Why is Water Important in Isopropyl Alcohol Disinfectants?

Water is a catalyst.

What isopropyl alcohol has to do is penetrate the cell wall and coagulate proteins which would effectively kill the cell. The thing about alcohol is that it evaporates very, very quickly which minimizes exposure time.

Adding water to mix, you slow isopropyl alcohol evaporation and thereby exposes the cell to alcohol for a length of time that allows it to enter and coagulate and kill.

Comparing isopropyl alcohol concentrations, this is why one will find a 50% isopropyl alcohol product kills a virus in 10 seconds or less. Compare that to a 90% solution which won’t kill the identical virus, even with hours of exposure time.

When searching for isopropyl alcohol, ensure it is between 60-75% with nothing above this concentration point.

What Kind of Isopropyl Alcohol Do Hospital Use?

Hospitals, medical facilities, and healthcare settings have a strong need to clean and disinfect.

Isopropyl alcohol is a necessary tool in the battle against spreading bacteria and viruses in exceptionally high-risk settings.

70% isopropyl alcohol is the type of disinfectant used in these settings. Here’s a little more information as to why.

  • Produces less vapors, reducing the risk of combustion.
  • Produces less odor, reducing the risk of toxic fumes.
  • Minimizes its volatility while balancing out its effectiveness as a disinfectant.
  • Is less flammable than other types of equally-effective disinfectants.
  • Is sold at an economical price point for all-purpose use, including wipe-downs, large-surface disinfections, and more.

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