Can you use rubbing alcohol as hand sanitizer?
You will find that most hand sanitizers have alcohol in them so yes, rubbing alcohol can work as a hand sanitizer.
Alcohol is effective at killing different types of microbes, including both viruses and bacteria, because it unfolds and inactivates their proteins.
This process, which is called denaturation, will cripple and often kill the microbe because its proteins will unfold and stick together. Heat can also denature some proteins — for example, when you cook an egg, the solidified egg whites are denatured proteins.
There are different types of bacteria and viruses, and some types are more easily killed by alcohol. For example, E. coli bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness and other infections, are very effectively killed by alcohol at concentrations over 60%. Differences in the outside surface of various bacteria make alcohol sanitization more effective against some of them than others.
Similarly, some viruses have an outer wrapping, which is called an envelope, while others are non-enveloped. Alcohol is effective at killing enveloped viruses, including the coronavirus, but is less effective at killing non-enveloped viruses.
Whether you are trying to kill bacteria or viruses, many research studies have found that an alcohol concentration of 60% or greater is needed to be effective.
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