Are Isopropyl Alcohol and Rubbing Alcohol the Same?
It is a common misconception that isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol are the same exact substance. However, there are actually several characteristics that can be used to differentiate isopropyl alcohol vs. rubbing alcohol. If you want to learn more about these features, read on.
Isopropyl Alcohol vs. Rubbing Alcohol: What’s the Difference?
To discover the distinction between isopropyl alcohol vs. rubbing alcohol, first, we must define each compound. Isopropyl alcohol is a chemical with a formula of C3H8O that is made up of an isopropyl group bonded to a hydroxyl group. A hydroxyl group is what makes the substance alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol, however, has a less formal definition. It is often simply isopropyl alcohol at a concentration of 68%-72%. The CDC gives rubbing alcohol a more exact definition: a blend of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water. However, rubbing alcohol can also be made with ethanol, although less frequently. Ethanol is the type of alcohol used in alcoholic beverages, but rubbing alcohol made with ethanol is denatured, rendering it unfit for consumption.
Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol vs. Rubbing Alcohol
Another possible way to distinguish isopropyl alcohol vs. rubbing alcohol is to look at their respective uses. Isopropyl alcohol exhibits numerous uses, including:
- Astringent in beauty products
- Solvent for laboratories or printmaking
- Ingredient in household cleaners
- Swimmer’s ear treatment
- Ingredient in homemade liniment for sore muscles
What about rubbing alcohol? As it turns out, it has many of the same uses as isopropyl alcohol. This makes sense given that isopropyl alcohol is often sold at a 70% concentration, the same concentration that defines rubbing alcohol. Thus, when contrasting isopropyl alcohol vs. rubbing alcohol, their uses are not actually the most helpful feature to look at.
Isopropyl Alcohol vs. Rubbing Alcohol: Which to Purchase?
If you are comparing isopropyl alcohol vs. rubbing alcohol and trying to decide which to buy, isopropyl alcohol at a 70% concentration may be your best bet. This solution fits the CDC’s definition of rubbing alcohol and can also be used for any of isopropyl alcohol’s functions. Additionally, the 70% concentration is high enough to kill bacteria, so isopropyl alcohol’s antiseptic benefits will not be compromised with this solution. Therefore, it will get you the most bang for your buck!
Looking for Isopropyl Alcohol
You may now be wondering where you can purchase isopropyl alcohol. Good news: BulkChemicals2Go offers several chemicals, including isopropyl alcohol, in bulk quantities. If you still have questions about isopropyl alcohol vs. rubbing alcohol, or would like to speak to an expert, please contact us today! Our team would be happy to answer any inquiries you have.