Denatured Alcohol vs. Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol is one of many organic compounds companies use to clean parts or machinery involved with the manufacturing of a finished product. It is applied in a variety of industries and is also included as a component of fuels, antiseptics, preservatives, and solvents. Products offered with alcohol as a base contain varying percentages of ethanol, which is the compound’s most common form. For example, an alcoholic beverage contains approximately 5 to 40 percent ethanol based on the total volume whereas an antiseptic often contains between 60 to 90 percent ethanol, propanol, or isopropanol. The agent is applied as a solvent in several industries because it has a rather low toxicity when compared to alternative cleaning choices.order-now

What is Denatured Alcohol?

Denatured alcohol, sometimes referred to as methylated spirits, includes specific additives that make it non-drinkable. This form of ethanol has a bad taste, smells foul, and is poisonous if ingested. The additives exist to deter individuals from attempting to consume it for recreational purposes. Typically applied as a solvent, denatured alcohol is suitable for numerous application needs. Many forms contain approximately 10 percent methanol as the additive, rather than other common alternatives such as isopropyl alcohol, denatonium, methyl isobutyl ketone, and acetone. Denatured alcohol is used in wood sanding, small camping stove fuel, cleaning aids, application as a solvent, and in the production of some fuels.

How is Rubbing Alcohol Different?

Rubbing alcohol is considered to be a surgical spirit rather than a methylated spirit since it is used in medical environments as a topical application. It is a type of denatured alcohol prepared from a special solution consisting of roughly 70 percent pure ethanol or isopropyl alcohol in its concentrated form. The generic term rubbing alcohol is used to describe either isopropyl or ethyl based products with similar qualities, and is essentially a unique type of denatured solution. The two forms are designed to serve different purposes and antiseptic versions can be used as a gentle solvent substitute for home or business applications. Watch our Denatured Alcohol vs Rubbing Alcohol below:

Applications of Denatured Products

Alternative denatured forms are used as a quick evaporating solvent by hobbyists, cleaning crews, painters, and manufacturing environments. Denatured alcohol is applied as a dependable cleaner to accomplish spot or grime removal. The quick drying properties are an exceptional function when the substance must not remain on the surface for an extended period of time. Camping stoves include denatured alcohol in fuels because it is an ideal clean burning solution that can be easily put out with water. To summarize, rubbing alcohol works as a minor cleaning solvent and is meant to be applied as an antiseptic. Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent, a fuel additive, and for sanding or finishing purposes and should never be applied as an antiseptic or consumed. Both forms are highly flammable making it important to take extra precautions when handling in an enclosed environment or using in large quantities.

Denatured alcohol is highly effective as a solvent and cleaning agent. For more information about our denatured alcohol products, please call (800) 563-1305 or send an email to


Best Uses of Denatured Alcohol

solar-panel-cleanersDenatured alcohol, also referred to as methylated spirits, is a form of ethanol with specific additives for deterring consumption. The additives make it a poisonous liquid consisting of poor taste and a nauseating smell. Denatured alcohol serves as a cleaning agent, fuel additive, sanding aid, exterminator, and as a solvent. A variety of additives can be used with ten percent methanol being a common choice. The addition does not affect the chemical makeup of ethanol, but rather creates an undrinkable solution. Additives decrease an individual’s ability to use distillation or another practice to create a drinkable version. It is one of the easier to acquire solvents since it can be purchased through any retailer who sells painting, degreasing, or general cleaning supplies.

Denatured alcohol serves many purposes both to individual users and companies in various industries. It is a great choice for killing mildew on surfaces such as leather as long as it has not been dyed. For this application, it must be mixed equally with water to avoid damage to the surface. The agent is an option for removing paint, dirt, or debris from wood surfaces. As a solvent, denatured alcohol works well for dissolving glue, wax, grease, and grime from multiple surface types. A rag containing the agent can easily be used to remove excess glue or existing wax coatings from finished products such as furniture.

Beneficial Applications of Alcohol in Its Denatured Form

industrial-degreasingDenatured alcohol, as demonstrated, is an applicable solution in a number of scenarios ranging from general at home cleaning to industrial facilities. It is a frequently used solvent for removing grime from hard surfaces, appliances, floors, machinery, and finished products. While sometimes available in its clear form, most countries require it to be dyed blue or purple to indicate its associated dangers. Typical applications of denatured alcohols include:

  • Window Cleaning
  • Fueling of Small Camping Stoves
  • Removal of Ink Stains
  • Pharmaceutical Uses
  • Pest Extermination
  • Woodworking
  • Paint Removal

The substance is a great solvent for several industries as it is not heavily regulated, affordable, and is mixable with water. Additionally, it is easy to acquire and does not require extensive precautions as with alternative solvent choices. Basic protective wear is a good idea to prevent exposure to the additives.

Denatured alcohol is still considered to be a toxic chemical and it is important to check the credentials of any supplier offering this particular cleaning agent. The supplier should have the appropriate environmental accreditations and have a reputation for quality. Denatured alcohol, while versatile, is extremely flammable thus making it important to store it in a proper location away from sparks or flames. Inhalation in a poorly ventilated environment is capable of causing dizziness among other complications. The substance should never come in contact with a person’s skin or eyes during use. Those applying denatured alcohol to an object as a general cleaner or as a degreaser should wear protective clothing, goggles, and gloves to prevent these occurrences.

Denatured alcohol is highly effective as a solvent and cleaning agent. For more information about our denatured alcohol products, please call (800) 886-8240 or email

Shop all our industrial degreasing products conveniently online here!