Alcohols are organic compounds that are used at home and in manufacturing industries. They are used as food additives in culinary industries, solvents, and intermediaries in chemical industries. Isopropyl and denatured alcohol are the most commonly known alcohols with different properties.
Thus, this article aims to explain the difference between the two alcohols and how to use them safely and effectively. So, without further ado, let's compare Denatured Alcohol Vs Isopropyl Alcohol.
What Is Denatured Alcohol?
Denatured alcohol is ethanol with additives to make it foul-smelling and bitter tasting to discourage people from consuming it for recreation. 10% methyl alcohol (methanol) is the main component of pure ethanol to make denatured alcohol. Other additives include isopropyl alcohol, acetone, and ketones.
Denatured alcohol is sometimes referred to as methylated spirit because of methyl alcohol. It has the same applications as pure ethanol as a solvent for industrial operations and fuel in camping stoves. Sometimes, color is added to denatured ethanol to distinguish it from other alcohols.
What Is Isopropyl Alcohol?
Isopropyl alcohol is a colorless, flammable liquid with a strong smell. Its also called 2-propanol with a C3H8O chemical formula. It is a secondary alcohol that is miscible with water, chloroform, and ethanol. Isopropyl alcohol is made by propene hydration using water and a catalyst at high pressure. It is used as a disinfectant at 60% concentration or more. In addition, the CDC approves 70% isopropyl alcohol for killing coronavirus.
Uses Of Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol has many uses at home and in various industries;
As A Disinfectant
60-80% isopropyl alcohol has potent antimicrobial properties. It denatures proteins and lipids on bacterial cell membranes leading to their death. Higher concentrations above 90% are not as effective in fighting infections. Additionally,60-80% isopropyl alcohol is mixed with water to form rubbing alcohol used as a surface disinfectant in pharmacies, hospitals, and homes. It is also used to manufacture hand sanitizers and disinfectant pads.
As A Solvent
Isopropyl alcohol is miscible in water, and it dissolves many non-polar compounds. It also evaporates quickly and does not leave residues. Due to its non-toxic nature and its safety profile, it has many industrial applications. It's used to clean DVDs, optical lenses, and eyeglasses, and you can use it to remove oil stains from surfaces.
As A Chemical Intermediate
Isopropyl alcohol reacts with various chemicals to form catalysts and chemical reagents. For instance, it reacts with carbon disulfide to form sodium isopropyl xanthate, a herbicide. It also reacts with the aluminum metal to yield aluminum isopropoxide, a chemical reagent. Besides, you can esterify it isopropyl acetone, a useful solvent in chemical industries.
As A Fuel Additive
Under low temperatures, the water separates from gasoline and freezes in the fuel tank. Isopropyl alcohol is added to fuel tanks to prevent this by solubilizing water. As a result, water mixes with fuel instead of separating from it. Isopropyl alcohol is also put in an aerosol bottle and sprayed on the windshield and door locks as a deicer. In addition, you can mix isopropyl alcohol with water to make a DIY windshield washer solution.
As A Preservative
70-99% isopropyl alcohol is used in laboratories to preserve specimens. It provides a safer alternative to formaldehyde and other synthetic preservatives because it’s non-toxic. Isopropyl alcohol is also used in DNA extraction because DNA is soluble.
Uses Of Denatured Alcohol
Denatured alcohol contains denaturants like methanol and ketones, making it unsuitable for human consumption. However, it has the following uses;
As A Disinfectant
Denatured alcohol has potent antibacterial properties. Thus, it is used to make hand sanitizers and disinfect surfaces at home, hospitals, and industries.
As A Cleaning Agent
Denatured alcohol dissolves grease and oils and makes a good cleaning agent. It also removes stains and scratches from surfaces. It evaporates quickly without leaving any residues, thus making it ideal for cleaning sensitive devices.
As A Preservative
Denatured alcohol is used as a preservative in cosmetics to prevent bacterial growth that could damage the products. Its also used to preserve specimens in laboratories for future studies and researches.
As A Solvent
Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent in chemical industries because it dissolves various substances like grime, wax, grease, paint, and ink stains. It’s easily available, and you can use it on furniture and clothing.
Denatured alcohol acts as a sanding aid for woodwork. It is applied after sanding surfaces to remove excess sawdust particles between the wood grains. It evaporates quickly and leaves noticeably smoother surfaces.
As A Fuel
Denatured alcohol is cheaper and easier to transport than other alcohols. It is used as fuel in camping stoves because it is safe and does not produce toxic fumes. Besides, it produces a colorless frame, and it’s easy to extinguish with water.
For Pest Control
Because denatured alcohol is highly poisonous, it effectively eliminates pests and bugs. You can use it at home to prevent the infestation of bugs and pests on your household plants.
Is Denatured And Isopropyl Alcohol Safe To Use On Skin?
Denatured and isopropyl alcohols are safe to use on skin and are used to manufacture hand sanitizers. However, alcohols cause contact dermatitis characterized by skin dryness, itching, irritation, and cracks.
Precautions When Using Denatured Alcohol And Isopropyl Alcohol?
Be careful when using hand sanitizers containing denatured or isopropyl alcohol around your eyes because they can irritate you. Also, supervise children below six years because accidental ingestion of hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning.
Denatured and isopropyl alcohol are highly flammable. Thus, avoid using these alcohols around open frames, sparks or static electricity. Also, use eye protection when working with denatured and isopropyl alcohol in industrial settings.
Use hand gloves to avoid direct contact with isopropyl and denatured alcohols because they can irritate the skin. Keep these alcohols away from other solvents because they can react. For instance, isopropyl alcohol reacts aggressively with acetyl bromide and acetylcholine.
Now read our piece on Denatured Alcohol Vs Isopropyl Alcohol, we hope that you know all the similarities and differences between the two products.
Denatured and isopropyl alcohol are the most commonly known alcohols with many uses at home and in industries. Both are used as disinfectants in manufacturing hand sanitizers and as solvents in chemical industries.
However, it would help to be cautious when using the two alcohols because they are highly flammable and toxic when accidentally ingested.