Medical grade alcohol is a super concentrated form of isopropyl alcohol—specifically, the solution is 99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA). This substance is extremely pure and contains little to no other solvents or compounds.
Chemical Properties of Medical Grade Alcohol
99% IPA is a colorless liquid with a distinctive, characteristic odor. It is also extremely flammable. The flashpoint of this alcohol is very low—at just 12 degrees Celsius, any spark or igniting factor can cause combustion of the IPA and its surrounding vapors. This classifies it as a class 3 flammable liquid because its flash point is below 60 degrees Celsius. This concentration of isopropyl alcohol is also easily soluble in several solvents, including:
- cold and hot water
What Is It Used For?
The most obvious use for medical-grade alcohol is in the medical field. This includes uses in:
- doctor’s offices
- school nurse offices
- pharmaceutical labs
Due to the high purity of this alcohol, it is a very effective sanitizer, and it is safe to use on the skin. For example, it might be used to cleanse the skin before an injection or to disinfect a small cut or scrape.
The disinfecting possibilities for this alcohol are endless. It is highly effective, and not immediately harmful to the skin—repeated exposure may cause dryness. It is commonly used for removing bacteria from:
- medical instruments
- operating tables
- medical machinery
- tattoo equipment
In addition, 99% IPA may be used in more common settings, such as a nail salon. Since it is a great antiseptic, it can be used to clean a client’s nails prior to polish or acrylic application. The thorough clean that it provides allows products to adhere better.
IPA leaves no residue when used as a cleaner and evaporates extremely quickly. This makes it ideal for surfaces that can tolerate only minimal to no contact with water.
Medical Grade vs. Industrial Grade Isopropyl Alcohol
Many industrial concentrates of isopropyl alcohol have chemical additives that help serve certain purposes like dissolving or stripping an organic product from a surface. The main difference between the two is that medical-grade isopropyl is safe for use on human skin—industrial-grade IPA is not. The additives that are useful for industrial applications pose an additional risk to humans. These additional chemicals include:
All of these additives can cause adverse reactions, such as dermatitis, vision issues, dizziness, and other irritations. Basically, medical-grade alcohol is safe for use on skin, and industrial-grade is not—to avoid confusion, check the ingredient list on any products purchased.
Need to Buy Medical Grade Isopropyl?
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