Why You Shouldn’t Buy 99-Percent Isopropyl Alcohol as Disinfectant
ILLUSTRATOR ROLAND MAE TANGLAO
In the wake of the coronavirus scare, people have been hoarding rubbing alcohol from groceries, convenience stores, and online stores. Nowadays, you would be lucky to find a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer. But in their rush to purchase the remaining stocks of antiseptic disinfectants, people missed a crucial point in rubbing alcohol knowledge: Never buy anything above or below the 70-percent volume.
Seventy-percent isopropyl kills viruses and bacteria more effectively.
If you search for the keywords “Alcohol Lazada” now, Google will show you a variety of industrial-size rubbing alcohol with 95- to 99-percent volume. Do not buy these.
Isopropyl alcohol is most effective as an antimicrobial agent at 70-percent concentration precisely because of its 30-percent water concentration. Water is a crucial element in destroying the cell walls and membranes of viruses and bacteria because it acts as a catalyst in breaking down their proteins.
This 30-percent water content in isopropyl alcohol also slows down the evaporation of the solution, further helping in killing bacteria in your hands.
What about the 40-percent isopropyl alcohol: Is this effective against bacteria?
Anything below 68-percent and 72-percent isopropyl alcohol is not considered rubbing alcohol for household use. Those bottles of 40-percent solutions are not disinfectants or antiseptic, and are used to clean superficially. You will only tickle the coronavirus in your hands if you use this.
Why are there 99-percent isopropyl alcohol sold online?
This is for industrial use only. This solution is used for water-sensitive surfaces, and is typically used by manufacturers of computer parts, medical devices, and circuit boards, and mobile phones. It is also less stable and has a higher risk of causing fires.