Sanitizing With Alcohol And Why Percentages Matter
I’d like to put this debate to rest, once and for all – with FACTS.
What The Experts Say
What That Means:
Alcohol’s antimicrobial properties are most effective when the alcohol can make contact with key physiological enzymes and protein structures INSIDE a bacterial cell, fungal cell or virus.
Use of the more concentrated solutions (90% or 99%) will result in almost immediate coagulation (freezing) of the proteins on the surface cell wall and prevent passage of the alcohol into the cell. The bacteria inside remains stable (and alive) until the cell wall “defrosts.”
It’s pretty simple to understand – 90%-99% alcohol DOES NOT enter the bacterial or fungal cell because it never get’s past the exterior cell wall – which means it cannot sterilize.
FACTS (not opinions):
A 90%-99% dilution of absolute alcohol to water DOES NOT make it past the bacterial or fungal cell wall to sanitize.
LESS IS MORE
A 50%-70% dilution of absolute alcohol to water increases the potency of its antimicrobial properties. It coagulates surface proteins at a slower pace, allowing alcohol to enters the cell and denature (destroy) both enzymatic and structural proteins.
WHICH MEANS – We should use 50%-70% Alcohol (not 90%-99%) to sanitize our workspace and tools:
Click below for in-depth information from the Centers For Disease Control.
Extra Credit - DIY
Have a lot of 90%-99% alcohol at home? You can DIY it to the proper concentration to disinfect effectively.
Mix two (2) parts 90%-99% alcohol with one (1) part distilled water. This will dilute the alcohol to approximately a 70% concentration.