Articles Health Tips

Buy Isopropyl Alcohol: What Is It? What do You Use It for?

Do you need an excellent disinfecting or cleaning agent? Or perhaps an antimicrobial agent for your wound? Isopropyl alcohol provides all those benefits and more.


What is Isopropyl Alcohol? And how is the solvent classified and used? Below you’ll find all you need to know about IPA before purchasing it.

What is Isopropyl Alcohol?

IPA or isopropyl alcohol is a solvent synthesized from mixing propylene with sulfuric acid, followed by hydrolysis. People mainly use that alcohol as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Hence common in the beauty industry to make lotions, cosmetics, and face washes.

You have probably encountered isopropyl alcohol in first aid kits and medicine cabinets at home. The solvent you rub kills germs or prevents germs from multiplying when you get minor cuts or wounds.

Isopropyl Alcohol Grades

USP-Grade Isopropyl Alcohol

United States Pharmaceutical Convention (USP) standards uphold isopropyl alcohol and additives to have the highest purity, potency, and accurate concentration.

The USP measures help improve the consistency and safety of IPA for industrial, pharmaceutical, flavor, fragrance, and laboratory use.

NSF-Grade Isopropyl Alcohol

National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) provides certificates upon on-site inspection of industrial facilities and regular product testing of Isopropyl alcohol.

Pure Isopropyl Alcohol

Alcohol manufacturers process pure IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) without additives such as methanol or acetone.

Industrial Grade Isopropyl Alcohol

Companies use industrial-grade or technical IPA for non-critical manufacturing and processing applications. Those purposes include removing ionic salts from PCBs (printed circuit boards) or thermal paste from heat sinks. Moreover, the alcohol is suitable for sanitizing large surface areas and cleaning manufacturing firms’ dust, grease, or adhesives.

Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol

Disinfectant Agent

Industries and pharmacies use IPA as a disinfectant in killing germs and other pathogens. And consequently, prevents infections and sickness from the population. However, the mechanism underlying the antimicrobial process involved is unknown.

Experts recommend using 70-90% Isopropyl Alcohol because it has more water. Water acts as a catalyst in denaturing the proteins of the vegetative cell membranes.

A higher water concentration also slows down alcohol evaporation. That property increases the alcohol’s contact time, allows bacterial cell penetration, and coagulates all proteins, thus killing the microorganism.

Companies package isopropyl alcohol for disinfection as alcohol swabs, alcohol pads, and hand sanitizers.

Cleaning Agent

You can use isopropyl alcohol to dissolve many non-polar compounds such as oils, inks, and chloroform in garments. The solvent does an excellent job where water is unable to clean effectively.

Therefore IPA is suitable for surfaces such as dry erase boards and computer screens, all without leaving streaks. Or causing rust and damage to your electronic metal items.

IPA is also good in removing ink stains on your shirts. You do that by covering the ink stain with a piece of cloth dipped in IPA before the ink dries. Repeat the process until the ink stain is thoroughly soaked up.

Pest Control Agent

You can use isopropyl alcohol to control pests in your plants since it is less toxic than agricultural chemicals. Therefore, you can use the solvent for aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and more by dipping a cloth in isopropyl alcohol and applying it to them.

Use in the Medical Field

Medical practitioners use isopropyl alcohol to prevent nausea after surgery. That’s because vomiting is a side effect of anesthesia — the medicine which makes you sleep, so you don’t feel the surgical pain. Patients feel the therapeutic effects much faster than anti-nausea medicine, but the relief doesn’t last for very long.

Many people also use isopropyl alcohol as an astringent. That medicinal use is whereby IPA is added to a wound, and it contracts the body tissue, thus stopping the cut from bleeding.

Moreover, you can use the solvent for muscle aches. It achieves that function by irritating skin around the discomfort. The body then responds by improving circulation and thus stops the pain.

IPA can help prevent swimmer’s itch. That therapeutic use occurs due to alcohol evaporating fast from the skin. Therefore effectively preventing bacterial growth.

Other Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol

Industries use IPA in processes such as; paint stripping, cold cleaning in electroplating, equipment cleaning in printmaking, etc.

In addition, some companies like Simple Solvents use isopropyl alcohol to manufacture acetone and glycerol. Others use isopropyl acetate for de-icing your car’s windshield and as a dehydrating agent in sample preservation.


’Rubbing alcohol’ or IPA exists in four grades in the market. And vendors classify the product based on purity standards and your intention with the alcohol.

Hospitals and pharmacies use isopropyl alcohol as a cleaning and disinfecting agent. The solvent is also suitable for pest control. Moreover, various industrial processes such as flexography and lithography in printmaking require IPA.

About the author: Nikolay Stoyanov is the owner and content writer of – The Only Science-backed CBD Blog.

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