Ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol can be seen anywhere, used as disinfectant and sanitizer. Though both of these are effective in killing germs and harmful bacteria, it is still important to know the difference so you know which is best for your required protection.
What is alcohol?
Alcohol is an organic molecule that contains a hydroxyl group bonded to a saturated carbon atom. A hydroxyl group is an oxygen molecule bonded with hydrogen, written as -OH.
Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the most well-known alcohol. The chemical structure of ethanol is C2H5OH.
Isopropyl alcohol or Isopropanol is also commonly called “rubbing alcohol.” Its molecular structure contains one more carbon and two more hydrogen molecules than ethyl alcohol. Its formula is written as C3H7OH.
Ethyl alcohol is often used at concentrations of 70%, because higher concentrations evaporate too quickly, and lower concentrations aren’t as effective.
Isopropyl alcohol evaporates at a constant rate, meaning it can be used at higher concentrations, and it is often found in antiseptic products.
Ethyl It’s the type of alcohol people consume in alcoholic beverages. It acts as the the intoxicating ingredient. As well as being consumed in beverages, Ethanol is used medically as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Also, Ethyl alcohol is a common addition to motor fuels. More than 98 percent of gasoline in the United States contains ethyl alcohol.
Isopropyl alcohol – like ethanol – it’s commonly used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It’s also found in lotions, cosmetics, and face washes. It is preferred more than Ethanol because Isopropyl has higher concentration rate.
Ethyl alcohol is considered superior in disinfecting according to the World Health Organization. Ethyl alcohol is effective at killing a large range of viruses, but this doesn’t include hepatitis A or poliovirus.
Isopropyl alcohol isn’t as effective against a class of viruses called nonenveloped viruses but is effective at killing enveloped viruses.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is an enveloped virus. Both types of alcohol are effective at killing it, but ethyl may be more effective.
Ethanol, despite being found in beverages, cannot be consumed alone even when your hand sanitizer says “Ethanol” in its label, as it can lead to serious health consequences as a disinfectant formulation is a different environment as to beverages.
This goes the same for Isopropyl alcohol. Hence, both are dangerous and can cause poisoning when used incorrectly especially for children under 6 which is why adult supervision is recommended when using these chemicals for kids.
When it comes to killing viruses, bacteria and germs, both Ethyl and Isopropyl alcohol are efficient under concentration of 62 to 80 percent based on a study published in 2021. Though they may present health risks and are having different uses and concentrations, both are great choice for your hand hygiene and disinfecting regime.