Ethanol is a very versatile substance. Most people use it as a household cleaning chemical or as a disinfectant. The product is also very popular for solvent extraction. You can buy it from chemical stores such as Simple Solvents.
Although we use it on a constant basis, people don't know much about its molecular properties. For example, a lot of users wonder does ethanol expires. And, if the product has gone past its shelf life, will it lose its potency?
There are several things that affect ethanol expiration data as well as effectiveness. We will analyze all these factors, so make sure to stick with us!
Ethanol and rubbing alcohol
Oftentimes, people confuse ethanol and rubbing alcohol. While there is some connection, these are not the same substances.
Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) a chemical with a strong smell. It is colorless, like water, and you can see right through it.
The main chemical substance found within this product is isopropyl alcohol. Keep in mind that isopropyl and ethanol are not the same, although they have very similar chemical structures.
Almost every rubbing alcohol on the market will have over 60% isopropyl alcohol content. The rest of it will be water.
It is very important for rubbing alcohol to have a high water percentage in order to be efficient. Without it, the alcohol component would quickly dissipate and would not be able to eliminate microbes on the surface.
Besides disinfecting the skin, rubbing alcohol can be utilized for any other type of surface. In order to yield optimal results, a substance should have between 70 to 90% alcohol. According to data, items with 70% alcohol concentration are the best ones as they represent the perfect ratio of water and isopropyl.
On the other hand, ethanol is a chemical that we can utilize for botanical extraction and some other processes. It comes in various concentrations. It is often used as a replacement to rubbing alcohol as a cleaner, disinfectant and antiseptic. Having water in the ethanol is beneficial for these uses. For botanical extraction, it is recommended to use 200 proof pure ethanol or CDA 12A (completely denatured ethanol with n heptane).
Pure ethanol is regarded as one of the best solvents on the market. Companies often use it for oils and, in particular, cannabis oil.
What is the ethanol expiration date?
All types of alcohol have expiration dates. Whether we’re talking about rubbing alcohol, some denatured products, or pure ethanol, they will all have a specific shelf life.
You can check their expectancy on the label. It might also be disclosed directly on the bottle.
Depending on who made the product, its expiration date can go from 2 to 3 years. Generally speaking, most companies will be able to utilize their ethanol during this period of time, even if they bought the substance in bulk.
Keep in mind that the chemical compound is commonly used for plant processing or creating chemical products. So, brands will need enormous quantities of it on a weekly basis.
The main reason why the substance expires is that the alcohol component will evaporate when you expose it to the air. Whenever you open a barrel, some alcohol will vanish while the water content will remain the same. As a result, the substance will become more diluted if you were to use it over a prolonged period of time.
In addition, the ethanol reacts to oxygen and as a result, the levels of acetal and acetaldehyde are increased over time. These increased impurities could make the ethanol fall out of purity specifications for food or pharmaceutical grade.
No matter what you do, it will be very hard to prevent ethanol from evaporating.
Can you still utilize ethanol when it expires?
As mentioned, even if a product doesn't expire per se, its alcohol concentration will be reduced over time. This can be a major issue for any product, especially for those with high water concentrations.
For example, pure ethanol will have a negligible percentage of water, and it will not get as diluted as 70% ethanol. Instead, the only thing that will happen is that its overall content will get lower over time.
Depending on why you're using the substance, you may or may not use expired ethanol. Companies and individual consumers might still be able to get good results from the item even if it has evaporated a bit. In most cases, it has to do with the water/alcohol ratio after evaporation.
Let's take 90% ethanol as an example. The substance will be great for disinfecting areas as long as it has somewhere between 70 to 90% alcohol concentration.
Even if a part of the alcohol component has vanished, the product as a whole can still provide results. But, if it goes below 70% concentration, it will no longer be as efficient in destroying microbes.
If you're utilizing pure ethanol for botanical extraction or for certain chemical products, you will probably need the highest concentration possible. The substance doesn't work well when it drops below a certain percentage, so that's something you should be aware of.
You need to be wary of impurities that cause harm to the body. Ethanol that has been stored improperly or that is severely expired should not be used.
How does ethanol’s effectiveness change?
At one point, ethanol alcohol will become almost useless. This is why you need to use it as soon as possible and plan your consumption beforehand.
Here are the main factors that are relevant to its effectiveness and expiration date.
How to store and use ethanol properly?
Here are several other things that will help you utilize the substance properly: