Toxicity of Cleaning electronics with isopropyl alcohol vs denatured ethanol

Jan 19, 2022
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Hi guys,

I bought 99.8% isopropyl alcohol to clean my headphones with because I wanted to disinfect them. But I felt like I was poisoned by it because of the smell and felt drunk afterwards. I've heard that isopropyl is a poison and twice as toxic as ethanol and can be absorbed through the skin if you touch it. So is it better to use 70% denatured ethanol that doesn't contain methanol when cleaning electronics rather than isopropyl? I've heard thar isopropyl alcohol with repeated inhalation can cause damage to the liver, skin, and central nervous system.
 

RealBeast

Titan
Moderator
Hi guys,

I bought 99.8% isopropyl alcohol to clean my headphones with because I wanted to disinfect them. But I felt like I was poisoned by it because of the smell and felt drunk afterwards. I've heard that isopropyl is a poison and twice as toxic as ethanol and can be absorbed through the skin if you touch it. So is it better to use 70% denatured ethanol that doesn't contain methanol when cleaning electronics rather than isopropyl? I've heard thar isopropyl alcohol with repeated inhalation can cause damage to the liver, skin, and central nervous system.
As a computer nerd I would suggest the 99% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning computer parts, less water is better, although 70% isopropyl is acceptable. As a physician I would warn that you should not breath the fumes from either denatured ethanol or isopropanol, as both can cause serious issues. Work in a ventilated space and if you are using large quantities for some reason, have a fan blowing clean air to the area and take regular breaks. Also beware the fire hazard that both present. Neither contains methanol, and methanol should be avoided.

Isopropanol is indeed absorbed through the skin in much higher amounts than ethanol, methanol is also highly absorbed. Appropriate gloves should be worn in addition to using adequate ventilation for any chemicals.
 

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