Uses, Benefits, Care measures & Considerations.



Keywords: isopropyl alcohol, solvent, chemical substance.

It is a chemical solvent type substance with multiple uses in different areas; its primary use is cleaner. This substance tends to evaporate quickly, without leaving any remaining substances or impurities on the surfaces to which it adheres; since it has properties that make it a very volatile substance. It could change from a liquid to a gaseous form very quickly at room temperature by simply contacting air.

Apart from its uses as a cleaner solvent, it is frequently used in industrial processes, sanitary field because of its benefits as an antiseptic, and fuel additive.

The American inventor Carleton Ellis, in 1915, discovered the technique to produce isopropyl alcohol from the cream that derives from processing petroleum. He intended to create Isopropyl alcohol to be used as a base substance to make cordite. Cordite is an explosive accidentally discovered by a Swiss scientist, widely used in many wars in the past.

It is a compound widely used for cleaning glass, base plates, fiber optic terminals, and electronic equipment, mainly due to its volatility and potent cleaning property, without leaving residues when evaporating. It is well used to clean circuits inside cellphones, cameras, and also CD’s. In the textile industry, it is used as a stain remover for a wide variety of fabrics and applications in the pharmaceutical industry, which is used as a solvent for the manufacture of drugs.

Is it convenient to use isopropyl alcohol to wash wounds in people and animals?

The answer is no, many people think that it is the antiseptic of choice for the disinfection and washing of wounds, but isopropyl alcohol has cytolytic properties; it destroys cells, thus damaging living tissue. It is used in many cases but very low concentration, but its use is more effective on non-living matter, medical instruments, and surfaces. When used in particular concentrations, it has a tremendous antiseptic function. For this reason, it is considered by the health sector as an effective disinfectant. Its effectiveness depends on certain viruses or bacterias with which the surface of objects and people are colonized. In health care centers, it is mainly used to disinfect surgical medical equipment and the disinfection of hands. It is also used as a cleaner for meat smoking/processing areas or smokehouses. Isopropyl alcohol is frequently used as an additive mixed with the gasoline to dissolve the final compound’s water particles and produce a purer and better quality fuel, with properties that prevent freezing of the engine systems.

Due to its antiseptic power, isopropyl alcohol is widely used in the cosmetic industry to manufacture shampoos, soaps, cleaners for personal use, creams, topical solutions for hair, and skincare.

Experts assure that isopropyl alcohol in concentrations above 70% is useful for disinfecting hands but is not enough to disinfect surfaces. Surfaces are generally disinfected with the use of sodium hypochlorite. Latest studies by other researchers recommend using isopropyl alcohol and ethanol on surfaces considerably reduces the infectivity of COVID-19 on small surfaces, significantly, with only 1 minute of exposure of the area with isopropyl alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is frequently used as a cleaner and disinfectant and is a substance easily accessible to anyone. It can be used on the skin without harming. Rubbing alcohol is obtained from the combination of (isopropyl alcohol) with a high percentage of water and other special additives, which confer properties that prevent people from ingesting it because of its unpleasant physical characteristics (smell, taste). Since it is potentially toxic, it can cause different symptoms and direct damage to the gastrointestinal system. It is also vital to know the risks when ingesting isopropyl alcohol; it enters the blood vessels. It travels through the circulation to the central nervous system and the rest of the organic systems, which can cause symptoms and damage to every specific system and death in the worst cases.

Barbers or hairdressers also use isopropyl alcohol. Generally, they have a kind of spray with isopropyl alcohol mixed with water they use as an antiseptic. They sterilize all metal cutting accessories on the razors they use while working. The barbershop is a medium that can be risky. Through sharp objects, the skin is often penetrated. There is an exposure of the blood to a medium that may be contaminated or not sterilized, serving to promote infectious diseases using infected equipment.

In the last months during the pandemic, new research has confirmed that isopropyl alcohol is used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through its benefits as an antiseptic.

It is even approved by the World Health Organization and by the Control Center of Diseases to be used as a cleaner for surfaces, objects, and hands, in concentrations that do not exceed 75% since it can have unwanted effects.

Is it necessary to take some precautions when using isopropyl alcohol?

Indeed, isopropyl alcohol must be used with specific care measures. It could be used with the help of some objects to reduce contacts, such as droppers, brushes, sprays, brushes, cotton, or fabrics. There are even people who use tools to dose the amounts to use.

It is also necessary to consider that if you are a worker who is frequently exposed to the use of isopropyl alcohol, you should start using it with consciousness. Applying the preventive measures, using gloves and a face mask since alcohol dries out the skin and prolonged exposure to its properties could develop some unwanted conditions in the future.

To clean electronic equipment and machines, it is necessary to make sure that they are disconnected and without any electrical energy, flow to avoid accidents since isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable. It is also a very irritating substance; people must avoid contact with mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, nose) to prevent its ingestion and smell for prolonged periods. Breathing the components that alcohol emits in the form of gas when it evaporates could harm internal tissues; for this reason, it is mandatory for those who work with alcohol, use it in large and ventilated areas where these toxic substances do not accumulate quickly.