Why is 70% the Most Effective Concentration of Isopropyl Alcohol for Disinfection – read here!

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Analyzing the most effective sanitizers and disinfectants for COVID-19, we find 70% isopropyl alcohol to be the most important element.

It’s not enough to have any seemingly random amount of alcohol in a disinfectant. Once concentrations begin creeping above 70%, you begin to lose some effectiveness. If they dip underneath 60%, you also start to see disinfection not to work so well.

Hand Sanitizer alcohol based

Concentration of 70% isopropyl alcohol is commonly used to disinfect in hospitals, schools, and manufacturing facilities. Of all the purity grades, 70% is where we balance best effectiveness against risks.

Why 70% is such a key number for alcohol-based disinfectants is because it hits a sweet spot wherein a solution becomes antimicrobial against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Below 50%, disinfectants experience a sharp drop in their ability to do this job. At far higher alcohol concentrations, you aren’t creating a ‘stronger’ product either. This is because the alcohol’s equally important to the water content in a disinfectant.

Disinfectants evaporate, like anything else. The right amount of water aids disinfectants in destroying microorganisms by allowing enough time for the alcohol to penetrate cell walls. In higher alcohol concentrations, you have less water present. This means surface contact time decreases. What also ends up happening is that the isopropyl alcohol works too quickly, often failing to destroy the entirety of a cell.

To this last point, contact time matters a lot when it comes to killing viruses. A recent study demonstrated how a 50% isopropyl alcohol can kill staphylococcus aureus in 10 seconds compared to a 90% isopropyl alcohol which can’t do the same job in two hours of contact time. The same is true about any COVID-19 sanitizers or disinfectants. There’s a synergy between the alcohol and water that must be maintained, and 70% concentrations are right in that sweet spot where success is maximized.

Furthermore, increasing the amount of isopropyl alcohol to 91% for example increases the likelihood of toxic fumes, combustion, and more. You encounter these same risks with 70% concentrations, of course, however more isopropyl alcohol means more risk.

The only situation where a solution such as 99% isopropyl alcohol is to be used is when you’re working with water-sensitive materials and you need to disinfect while maximizing evaporation. Such a high concentration contains little water which makes evaporation rapid. At this 99% concentration, isopropyl alcohol is used for medical devices, computer components, sensitive technologies, and more.

In the fight against COVID-19, a product like Hydrapure disinfectant Hand Sanitizer with 70% alcohol is all you need. A 70% alcohol concentration is the most effective solution there is. Unfortunately, with a lack of available disinfectants, you might be struggling to find sanitizer or disinfectants for you and your household. If so, visit Lierre.ca today. We got you covered.