Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are not common terms because they are not too advertised. However, the two are common household cleaning agents that may have found their way into your home. Although none is superior to the other, they have different effectiveness levels depending on use.
This article aims to explain the difference between the two regarding their effectiveness, safety on skin, and how to use them effectively. So without further ado, let's review Hydrogen Peroxide Vs Rubbing Alcohol below.
What Is The Difference Between Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol?
Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are two common antiseptics that have been in use since the 1800s. However, the two are different.
About Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid at room temperature with a bitter taste. It's not alcohol, and it has an H2O2 chemical structure, almost similar to water. The difference in its chemical structure with water makes it a strong oxidizing agent but inflammable.
Many households buy 3-9% hydrogen peroxide for medical use, disinfection, and bleaching hair. However, industries use higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to bleach textile, produce foam rubber, and as rocket fuel.
Hydrogen peroxide has potent antiviral and antibacterial properties and can be used as a disinfectant. Due to its oxidative properties, it produces free radicals that damage protein and membrane lipids of pathogens and prevent infection spread.
Benefits And Risks Of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has many benefits in disinfecting objects and cleaning wounds, but it is harsh and can cause damage to the skin.
About Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol contains isopropanol as the active ingredient. It is made by diluting 60-80% isopropanol with water. It has various uses in personal and household cleaning because it has strong antimicrobial properties against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Rubbing alcohol can disinfect surgical surfaces and objects like thermometers and equipment surfaces. It can also disinfect doorknobs and handles in high-traffic areas.
Benefits And Risks Of Rubbing Alcohol
The CDC has approved 70% or higher concentrations of rubbing alcohol to kill Covid-19 viruses. You can use it at home to disinfect various insect bites, get rid of bad odor from shoes, and disinfect electronics and jewelry. However, avoid using it on plastics, rubber, and shellac because it can damage them. Additionally, be careful when rubbing alcohol around children because it can cause poisoning when accidentally ingested.
Hydrogen Peroxide Vs. Rubbing Alcohol: Which One Kills Germs Better?
Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol effectively kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, hydrogen peroxide is harsh to the skin. Thus, rubbing alcohol is preferred because of its safety on the skin. Additionally, both can disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs, equipment surfaces, and countertops such as glass, porcelain, or stainless steel.
Long Term use of hydrogen peroxide on surfaces can liquify varnish and damage the finishing. Thus, it's important to check the safety before applying the disinfectants on those surfaces. Hydrogen peroxide can disinfect and brighten white clothes when mixed with water in a washing machine.
Rubbing alcohol can disinfect clothes, but it may damage colors. Avoid using it on delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and rayon.
Effects On Germs
According to the CDC, rubbing alcohol is efficient against E.coli, salmonella typhosa, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. It's also effective against lipophilic viruses like herpes, vaccinia, influenza, and hydrophilic viruses like enterovirus, Rhinovirus, and rotavirus. However, it's not effective against hepatitis A and Poliovirus.
On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide produces free radicals that destroy bacterial cell membranes. As a result, it's effective against bacteria, yeast, fungi, and viruses. It is effective against pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Staphylococcus Aureus, and Proteus mirabilis.
Both disinfectants are effective against enveloped viruses, including Coronavirus, herpes simplex, influenza, Zika, and Ebola. Although both are effective in disinfecting surfaces, hydrogen peroxide requires up to 10 minutes to be effective. Thus, rubbing alcohol is more effective at disinfecting surfaces.
How To Use Rubbing Alcohol Effectively For Killing Germs
Ensure that rubbing alcohol contains at least 70% propranolol and is undiluted if you want to use it effectively against germs. If you use it to disinfect surfaces, remove physical dirt first using soap and water. Then, apply rubbing alcohol to the surface using a spray bottle or a piece of cloth and leave it for at least 30 seconds before using the surfaces.
Remember that it does not remove physical dirt from soiled hands when rubbing alcohol on your hands. You might need to use soap and water in this case. If your hands are not physically dirty, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the palm of one hand.
Use the other hand to rub vigorously for 30 seconds until the hands are fully covered in rubbing alcohol. Allow it to evaporate, and your hands are safe to use for eating or performing sterile procedures.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide Effectively To Kill Germs
Hydrogen peroxide is most effective in killing germs at 3% concentration when undiluted. If you use it to disinfect surfaces, use soap and water to remove physical dirt. Use a piece of cloth or a spray bottle to apply hydrogen peroxide to the surface and leave it for at least ten minutes to dry before using the surfaces.
Hydrogen Peroxide Vs. Rubbing Alcohol On Cuts And Wounds
Although hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are effective against bacteria, they are not recommended for cleaning cuts and wounds because they may cause damage to the surrounding tissues. In addition, using disinfectants can slow down wound healing.
Safety Precautions When Using Hydrogen Peroxide And Rubbing Alcohol
Hydrogen period and rubbing alcohol are meant for external use and not for ingestion. Thus, use the two carefully around children to avoid accidental ingestion and poisoning. In addition, be careful when using the two around your eyes and use them in ventilated rooms. Be careful when using hydrogen peroxide because it can cause skin irritation and keep it out of children's reach.
Both hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are powerful antiseptics and can be used to disinfect surfaces. However, hydrogen peroxide needs up to 10 minutes of sitting time to be effective against microbes.
When using both on surfaces, remove physical dirt using soap and water and use a spray bottle or a piece of cloth to apply the disinfectant. Leave rubbing alcohol for a few seconds and hydrogen peroxide for ten minutes to dry before using the surfaces.