Choosing the Right IPA for your Lab
What is IPA?
Isopropyl Alcohol is a very commonly used disinfecting agent. Also known as 2-propanol, isopropanol, and IPA, this chemical has several different purity grades. Each grade is designed for a different use. IPA is beneficial for many companies as a cleaning and disinfectant agent and can remove all kinds of bacteria and impurities depending on the concentration, differing solutions, and purity grades. Two very commonly known grades of Isopropyl Alcohol are 70% and 99%. Important factors to both grades are the key uses, proper use, and best practices when using in your buisness or laboratory environment.
What is the difference between the types of Isopropyl Alcohol?
Ricca’s 70% Solvent Grade Isopropyl has full documentation, a certificate of analysis, and manufacture in an ISO 9001:2015 accredited, cGMP, and FDA registered facility. This IPA can not be used for the compounding of hand sanitizer and should only be used for cleaning purposes.
Universal Preserv-A-Chem Inc.’s 99% USP Grade Isopropyl Alcohol has a certification that ensures that both the alcohol and the additives are of the highest purity, potency, and accurate concentration. This grade meets strict guidelines and upholds FDA registration and inspection. This IPA can be used for the compounding of hand sanitizer and used for cleaning purposes, such as disinfecting surfaces and/or cleaning burns and scrapes.
When do I use 70% IPA?
Between the concentrations of 60% and 90%, Isopropyl alcohol is a very effective agent against microbial bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Higher concentrations do not generate as much effectiveness against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This is because, there must be a significant enough presence of water with the Isopropyl alcohol to be effective. And this percentage of water needs to be at least more than 10% within the solution. And the mixture of 30% water with 70% Isopropyl alcohol works best.
The reason water is so important is because it acts as a catalyst and has a major role in denaturing the proteins of cell membranes of vegetative cells. 70% IPA solutions are very effective in breaching the cell wall fully. Also, the presence of water slows down evaporation and increases the surface contact time. This increase in surface contact time gives more time to kill the bacteria.
When do I use 99% IPA?
This concentration of IPA (99%) is also commonly used as a disinfectant and as a solvent or cleaning agent for industries that produce products that are sensitive to water. Hence, it makes sense to use a hydrophobic solvent that has a very high flash point which makes this IPA evaportate quickly and rapidly.
This is useful in computer and electronics manufacturing industries that prefer immediate evaporation of cleaning agents for their work. During the design work for chips and circuit boards and integrated circuits, there needs to be a quick clean up if something is spilled and the work area needs to be devoid of any contaminants or obstructions as soon as possible; 99% IPA ensures that happens.
Both these materials are non-corrosive to metals and are plastic safe as well. They are ozone safe and have a low impact on the climate. They are both flammable, the 99% variant much more so because of its high flash point so they need to be stored in places without any danger of fire. These chemicals are meant to be used for research, industrial work, cleaning or disinfecting, hence they shouldn’t be toyed with or kept near young children or infants.
Where can I buy it?
No matter what the percentage or grade, Isopropyl Alcohol 99% and Isopropyl Alcohol 70% are valuable products to have in any buisness or laboratory. It's multipurpose uses make it a essiential product.
Due to the high demand of Isopropyl Alcohol (due to COVID-19), we may have limited availability on certain items.