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Name: tony
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000

what is the difference between denatured alcohol and rubbing alcohol?

Denatured alcohol is ethanol to which poisonous and foul-tasting chamicals have been added to make it unfit for drinking. There is more than one recipe for denaturing alcohol; some add methanol or isopropanol, some gasoline, and so on.

Rubbing alcohol is an alcohol intended to be rubbed on the skin. Frequently 70% iso-propyl alcohol / 30% water is used; sometimes ethanol with added iso-propyl alcohol is used. You don't want to use denatured alcohol that is made with anything that shouldn't be placed on the skin, such as gasoline!

So, some, but not all, kinds of denatured alcohol can be used as rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol may also not contain any ethanol at all, which would disqualify it from being "denatured". So, some but not all kinds of rubbing alcohol are denatured alcohol, and some but not all kinds of denatured alcohol can be rubbing alcohol.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

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