What is denatured alcohol?

What's denatured alcohol

The term ‘denatured alcohol’ refers to alcohol products that have been adulterated with toxic or bad tasting additives such as:

  • Pyridine
  • Castor oil
  • Gasoline
  • Benzene
  • Methanol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Acetone 

Denatured alcohol is entirely unsuitable for any form of human consumption. It can appear in many household products, such as paint remover and pharmaceutical products. It is an excellent substance at killing germs which is why it is often used in various hand sanitizers and cleaning products; however, it is highly flammable and should always be used with caution. 

While you will get extremely sick if you consume the substance, it is ironically entirely safe to have it within products in your home; just make sure you do not consume it. 

What makes up denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol is made up of ethanol that has been mixed with a variety of other ingredients. Ethanol is further referred to as grain alcohol, which ultimately means alcohol in its most basic form. 

However, ethanol is extremely dangerous to consume in large quantities. Due to its potency, the ethanol is “denatured” with additional ingredients to discourage individuals from drinking it.  

Denatured alcohol has a variety of purposes for many companies worldwide for industries and individual users. It is an excellent choice for killing mildew on surfaces such as leather. This application must be mixed equally with water to avoid damage to the surface which is why medical professionals would always advise against creating your version of denatured alcohol for cleaning purposes. 

Is denatured alcohol safe to consume?

As a basic answer, no, denatured alcohol is in no way safe to drink. Ethanol, when in its basic form, is not immediately toxic; however, we would always advise against anyone consuming it. It is a byproduct of fermentation, showing the type of alcoholic substances you would buy at the corner shop. However, if an individual was to consume ethanol by itself, the consequences have the potential to be very severe, 

Your average liquor is between 40% alcohol; ethanol, Ethanol; When however sits between 60% – 90%, which can be deadly if too much is consumed. If large quantities are consumed, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning will quickly take form, leading to a fatal outcome. 

The manufacturing process for denatured alcohol

Manufacturers have gone out of their way to completely discourage individuals as much as they can from drinking denatured alcohol; they have purposely gone above and beyond to make the substance taste and smell awful. 

Additionally, the different substances they add to make the ethanol denatured can be even more lethal, such as methanol, which is highly toxic, causing severe paralysis and even death. 

Ethanol in its purest forms smells awful; additional substances will add a more potent smell, making anyone want to throw up. This can include substances such as:

  • Methyl
  • acetone
  • ethyl ketone
  • denatonium

Certain dyes will often also be added to distinguish the substance from other alcohols. 

Denatured alcohol in hand sanitizer

If you have ever looked at the labels on the hand sanitizers, you are very likely to see “alcohol denat’ in the ingredients section. There has been an uprise in skincare experts advising against individuals creating their hand sanitizers due to the potency of the substances and the significant likelihood of individuals getting the ratio of the featured alcohol and other ingredients involved wrong. Please remember that denatured alcohol contains methanol, an extremely poisonous substance if absorbed through the skin. 

Consequently, if you use too little featured alcohol when creating your hand sanitizers, your recipe will not be strong enough to sanitize your hands properly. We would always advise that the safest way to sanitize your hand is simply washing them for at least 20 seconds. If that is not possible, we would always advise you only to use FDA-approved hand sanitizer products. 

The bottom line on denatured alcohol 

Denatured alcohol is used in a range of household cleaning products; however, additional substances have been added to ensure individuals are not tempted to consume for recreation purposes. 

Despite the severe and damaging effects the substance can have if consumed, it is relatively safe when mixed into household products, even if that product comes into contact with your skin. However, we would always advise that you never use more of the product than you need to. If you are using many household products for some reason, we would always recommend you have a window open to allow the chemicals to disperse. It is an essential ingredient that will enable us to keep our houses clean of germs. 

Denatured alcohol is not in any way suitable for human consumption. The manufacturing process has gone above and beyond to make sure that the taste and smell of the substance are completely off-putting in case an individual has an urge to consume. 

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