Isopropyl alcohol is the key ingredient in medical disinfectants and hand sanitisers. It is one of the most effective solvents due to its high solvency properties. It is widely used in applications like inks, surface coatings, resins productions, herbicides, pesticides, cleaning products, and disinfectants. Due to its lower density, low boiling point, and low toxicity, it is a common solvent mixed with benzalkonium chloride for sanitising hospitals.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has stimulated the demand for hygiene products like hand sanitisers, which has ultimately driven the market’s growth. In the pharmaceutical industry, isopropyl alcohol can be used for producing an extensive range of products, like hand sanitisers, alcohol wipes, swabs, oral mouthwash, disinfectants, etc. It works as an excellent antiseptic to kill bacteria before administering injections.
The current coronavirus outbreak has made isopropyl alcohol hard to obtain, triggering its demand to shoot at an all-time high. Even isopropyl alcohol Boots counters has started running out of stock. So, what are the best ways to buy this solvent amidst the Covid-19 pandemic? Here is a guide.
Check Alcohol Concentration
While buying isopropyl alcohol, the most important thing you have to consider is its concentration. You would think that higher concentration would be better at disinfecting and doing its other intended jobs. But that’s not true. Isopropyl alcohol with 70% concentration is considered the best.
An ideal solution should have 60-90% alcohol mixed with 10-40% of purified water. It rapidly works against microbes. Alcohol concentration below 50% is useless for disinfection.
Ensure Sufficient Water Concentration
When alcohol concentration is too high, like over 90%, it does not generate any desirable antimicrobial effects. It needs to have water too in sufficient amounts, which plays a crucial role in inhibiting and destroying pathogenic microorganisms’ growth.
Water works as a catalyst and denatures proteins in vegetative cell membranes. Solution with 70% alcohol and 30% water completely penetrates the cell wall, permeates the whole cell, coagulates proteins, and kills microorganisms.
Grades of Isopropyl Alcohol to Buy
There are several grades of IPA available in the market. Understanding the differences between them is crucial before you buy your final product. Here are some of their grades and their typical applications.
- Industrial Grade: This grade of isopropyl alcohol is commonly used as a cleaner and solvent for derivatives. It is used in various types for non-medical purposes, such as general cleaning and wiping, cleaning printed circuit boards, inks, surface coatings, commercial/household cleaning. Since it has a lower level of purity, it is not appropriate for drug, food, or medical use.
- Pharmaceutical Grade: This grade of IPA is used for many applications, such as medical wipes, drug manufacturing, cosmetic use, toiletries, personal care products, etc. Its purity level is higher than the industrial grade.
- Spectrophotometric Grade: With a high purity standard, it is commonly used for making personal care products, cosmetics, rubbing alcohol, etc.
Why 70% Isopropyl Alcohol is Most Recommended?
Most experts recommend you go for a product with a 70% concentration if you are browsing through the isopropyl alcohol at Boots stores. There are several reasons for that:
- 70% IPA with 30% water solutions meet all the requirements necessary for killing bacteria in cleanrooms and medical facilities.
- They produce less odour and vapour, thereby minimising risks of combustion and toxic fumes. When IPA reacts with oxygen, light, and air, it forms peroxides that increase the explosion risks.
- IPA’s volatility increases with alcohol concentration and storage time, especially with exposure to light over the years once opened.
- IPA with 70% concentration is less combustible.
- It is an economical choice for large-surface cleaning, wiping, and disinfecting.
- Alcohol with high water content like 30% evaporates slowly and does not make the surface dry immediately, thereby increasing contact time.
Where to Buy Isopropyl Alcohol?
Amid the current pandemic situation, the high demand for isopropyl alcohol has made it difficult to find quickly. Many IPA products that claim to have 70% alcohol actually have only 30%, which is not enough to serve the purpose it is intended for.
So, if you are looking for isopropyl alcohol in the UK, one of the easiest ways to do that is to order on Amazon. You will find different types of IPA products in various strengths from different brands. Amazon also has a massive database of customer reviews that you can go through before placing your order.
Other than Amazon, you can also buy isopropyl alcohol at local supermarkets, pharmacies, and Boots. You will find different reliable varieties at these places too. So, know what you are looking for and then use any of the above ways to buy isopropyl alcohol according to your needs.