What percentage alcohol in rubbing alcohol?

Did you know that rubbing alcohol is not just for making your hands squeaky clean? It’s also used to disinfect surfaces, clean wounds, and even dry out pimples, if you’re into that kind of thing. But have you ever wondered what percentage of alcohol makes up the common household item known as rubbing alcohol? Well, wonder no more because we’ve got all the juice on what percentage of alcohol is in rubbing alcohol.

The Basics of Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a mixture made mostly of either Ethanol or Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), with water added to dilute it. This type of solution can vary between 65% and 99% depending on its intended use.

What is ethanol?

Ethanol refers to an organic compound composed of carbon atoms joined together by single bonds along with hydroxyl groups (-OH). You might be familiar with ethanol as being found in alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine.

What is Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA)?

Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) comes from propene – which comes indirectly from crude oil – via the process called hydration.1 IPA has many industrial applications due to its properties like low evaporation rate.

The Composition Levels Of Rubbing Alcohols

Now let’s dive deeper into the percentages mixtures: there are two common levels available at every drugstore near you; 70% and 91%, respectively, denoting how much pure Ethanol or IPA/ISO-something-alcohol exists within them.

The other ~30-9% composition necessarily means only one thing: additive substances! These can help intensify performance…or odor but let’s hope it doesn’t come down smelling badly either way!

Despite their effectiveness, however/without-a-doubtness using ethyl alcohols alone won’t achieve the purpose of rubbing alcohol which is disinfection.

Let’s review these two common levels:

Alcohol Level Ethanol (in %) IPA/ISO-something-alcohol (in %)
70% 70
91% 91

So, Which One Should You Use?

The answer to whether you should use a bottle with 70% or one whose percentage reads ‘91%’, lies in what you intend to do with it. For instance, if your goal is simply cleaning germs off surfaces, then either will be fine but where disinfecting and sterilization comes into play – as in this pandemic era – that requires at least a concentration higher than 60-6200%.

Closing Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little journey through the world of rubbing alcohol concentrations. Remember, always consult the label before using any product and seek medical attention immediately if ingesting rubbing alcohol occurs!

Stay clean folks!


  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/ipa-or-isopropyl-alcohol-groundbreaking-substance-603987 

Random Posts