Have you ever tried to make juice from a juice concentrate? If you have, you’d know that there’s a specific amount of concentrate that needs to be added to a specific amount of water to make a perfectly balanced juice. If you put too much juice concentrate, it will be too sweet. However, if you put too little concentrate, it will be more like flavored water than juice.
Similarly to juice concentrate, there’s an optimal dilution for disinfectants like isopropyl alcohol that makes it the most effective, which in this case is isopropyl 70%.
Why Is Isopropyl Alcohol 70% Ideal?
Isopropyl alcohol is actually most effective over a range of 60% to 80%. An alcohol concentration of 70% is the middle of this range, so that’s the concentration that is typically used for optimum effectiveness.
You might assume that a higher percentage of alcohol, such as 99% isopropyl alcohol, would be stronger and, therefore more aggressive against microorganisms. But this assumption would be incorrect, mostly because such a high percentage of alcohol would result in immediate coagulation of proteins, which would block the chemical from being able to penetrate into the cells.
Isopropyl requires water as a catalyst to be effective in disinfection. The water helps the chemical denature the cell’s proteins and damage the membranes of harmful microorganisms.
Additionally, adding water to the isopropyl alcohol decreases the evaporation rate of the alcohol. This results in increasing the amount of time the alcohol is in contact with the surface, which further strengthens the ability of the alcohol to kill microorganisms.
Different Uses for Isopropyl Alcohol 70%
- Disinfection of various tools, such as cosmetic or bathroom tools.
- Cleaning of technological devices, such as computers, phones, and keyboards
- Additive in hand sanitizers
- Cleaning of wounds and prevention of infections, even being used on fresh piercings.
- Cleaning of jewelry
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