Alcohol. Who doesn’t know, drink, use or like it? It’s a base ingredient for our beers, wines, spirits and other booze. And of course it’s an essential ingredient for the famous hand sanitizers that we all stocked up on during the COVID-19 pandemic.However, alcohol is used for so many more things than just booze and bottles of hand sanitizer.
Did you know that alcohol is a perfect solvent for medicines, a lifesaver when it comes to getting rid of stubborn stains and a great ingredient for cleaning electronic devices like laptops and computers? Let’s have a look at some other applications and facts about alcohol, also called ethanol or ethyl alcohol. We will list 7 applications of alcohol below that you probably didn’t know about yet!
1. Alcohol to look and taste better?
Alcohol serves as a perfect solvent that can be used in both food colorings and flavors. Of course we aren’t able to taste this amount of alcohol in the food, but without it, the food wood look or taste a little differently. Alcohol can also be used to cook with, as is the case with tiramisu, mussels, risotto, stews, cheese fondue and so many more dishes. Here, you can taste the alcohol pretty well, depending on the amount that was used.
So even if you’ve been extending your Dry January period up until now, you most probably ingested some dosage of alcohol through your fancy-looking and great-tasting food… cheers to that!
2. Alcohol for medicinal purposes
The alcohol used in the pharmaceutical industry mostly has a preservative and solvent function. It can also enhance the absorption of gels and ointments. On top of that, it has cooling and disinfectant qualities, making it ideal for disinfection products (like the famous hand sanitizers…). The type of alcohol used in pharmaceutical products is called pharmaceutical-grade alcohol and it must meet very high standards in order to ensure safe usage. This type of alcohol is not meant for consumption though.
3. Looking good! Cosmetics and beauty products
Thanks to the antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal functions of alcohol, it is a cherished ingredient for cosmetics and beauty products. These products include make-up, lotions, hygiene products and the like. And since cosmetics and beauty products are so widely used, the average ethanol distributor or alcohol distributor would be wise to stock up on high-quality cosmetic-grade alcohol to sell to buyers and the cosmetics industry.
Thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal functions, alcohol has played a major role in the fight against COVID-19. You might be a little fed up with the endless amount of bottles of disinfectant gel that you can still find anywhere you go, but by cleaning your hands with the disinfectant gel, you are sure to kill any germs and viruses. And that is how infection and contamination can be stopped. Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand thanks to the famous little disinfectant bottles!
4. Electronics on the rocks
Can alcohol be found in electronics? Well no, it’s not like that, but electronics grade alcohol – which is a very pure kind of alcohol – is suitable for cleaning electronics.
Electronic devices are very sensitive and can easily be damaged if they come in contact with minerals or ionic compounds. This can seriously disrupt the flow of electrons within a component, leading to damage on the short-term and even on the long term by causing irreparable damage.
Malfunctions can easily be caused by oil traces of unsuitable cleaning products. Electronic grade alcohol doesn’t pose such risks and is perfect for safely cleaning electronics. Isopropyl alcohol especially is a great type of alcohol to use for cleaning devices like computers, laptops and the smoke. It gets rid of tiny bits of dirt and it dries very quickly, making it perfect for cleaning electronic devices.
5. Alcohol to clean your clothes
Pouring alcohol over your stained clothing piece? Absolutely! Pure alcohol or even booze with a very high percentage of alcohol (like gin) is a fantastic partner in crime when you’re trying to remove a nasty stain. Stains caused by fruits (even strawberries!), chocolate or chewing gum are no match for alcohol. Simply mix a little bit of alcohol with vinegar and lemon juice and let it soak into the stain. Then wash the stain with warm water and a bit of soap.
Did you manage to create a chewing gum stain? Well done, but no worries. Place the piece of clothing into the freezer until the chewing gum is hard enough to scrape it off with a knife or little brush. Use a bit of alcohol to make this process even easier and say bye-bye to the chewing gum. It’s that easy!
6. Creative alcohol sessions
Alcohol can also be used to create paint. Alcohol ink is ink based on alcohol as its main ingredient and dries very quickly. This ink has very strong pigment colors and lends itself well for creating great works of art. Combining and mixing colors while you paint is also possible and supports the artist’s creative process. It’s a very thin type of ink however, and therefore not very covering. If you decide to paint with alcohol ink, you need a special type of synthetic paper instead of regular paper.
7. Alcohol for fuel
Ethanol fuel is petrol that has been enriched with ethanol. There are different types of ethanol fuel named after the ethanol percentage in it. The fuel E10 for example consists of 90% petrol and 10% ethanol, whereas E85 consists of 15% petrol and 85% ethanol.
How much alcohol do you consume?
So, now that you know much more about the multiple applications and other facts of alcohol, you might realize that you’re using alcohol much more frequently on a daily basis than you initially thought. Whether you consume it via your favorite alcoholic drink, as a cleaning ingredient or use it on your hands to disinfect them: alcohol is everywhere and serves many purposes.