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Stuart G

(38,419 posts)
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 10:24 AM Nov 2015

Question for lounge..Does Rubbing Alchohol expire?..Got some in a plastic bottle..

that container has been sitting around for a while..(actually a long while)

about one half full..dated: expires 4/96. should I throw it out, or use it for ..household cleaning?

..(yes that is what I use it for). got an answer?????


Now..how often have you read a question like that?????..................... ....

11 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Question for lounge..Does Rubbing Alchohol expire?..Got some in a plastic bottle.. (Original Post) Stuart G Nov 2015 OP
Don't think so... Wounded Bear Nov 2015 #1
Thank you...now the truth is it is quite old..but old ain't so bad.. Stuart G Nov 2015 #2
I'm not sure what it breaks down into... Wounded Bear Nov 2015 #3
I think worst that would happen is that the alcohol would evaporate csziggy Nov 2015 #4
Chuck it and get some new PennyK Nov 2015 #5
I would bet that much of the alcohol might have evaporated by now. aidbo Nov 2015 #6
I wouldn't use it for wound care or sanitization. blogslut Nov 2015 #7
Alcohol absorbs water from the air over time MosheFeingold Nov 2015 #8
Interesting- I didn't know how alcohol LiberalElite Nov 2015 #9
A common misunderstanding MosheFeingold Nov 2015 #11
If you drink it, you might expire Generic Brad Nov 2015 #10

Wounded Bear

(58,647 posts)
1. Don't think so...
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 11:11 AM
Nov 2015

you could tell by the smell I suppose. But if the bottle was sealed, it should still work for cleaning.

It's not like you could drink it.

Stuart G

(38,419 posts)
2. Thank you...now the truth is it is quite old..but old ain't so bad..
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 11:15 AM
Nov 2015

It could really stink up the place..if I open it. anyway..I will see.??

Wounded Bear

(58,647 posts)
3. I'm not sure what it breaks down into...
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 11:17 AM
Nov 2015

not a chemist. Just be careful and don't get it too close to your nose when you do sniff.

csziggy

(34,136 posts)
4. I think worst that would happen is that the alcohol would evaporate
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 02:32 PM
Nov 2015

And only leave you with water and the other additives, some of which are poisonous and might be a problem if in higher concentration than usual:

To protect alcohol tax revenue in the United States, all preparations classified as Rubbing Alcohols (defined as those containing ethanol) must have poisonous additives to limit human consumption in accordance with the requirements of the US Treasury Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, using Formula 23-H (8 parts by volume of acetone, 1.5 parts by volume of methyl isobutyl ketone, and 100 parts by volume of ethyl alcohol). It contains 87.5-91% by volume of absolute ethyl alcohol. The rest consists of water and the denaturants, with or without color additives, and perfume oils. Rubbing alcohol contains in each 100 mL not less than 355 mg of sucrose octaacetate or not less than 1.40 mg of denatonium benzoate. The preparation may be colored with one or more color additives. A suitable stabilizer may also be added.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubbing_alcohol#US_Legislation


If the volume of liquid is greatly reduced or the seal damaged I would worry - otherwise it should be OK.

I mention this since I got a chemical burn when I was a child using some very old tincture of iodine that had gotten lost in the back of the medicine cabinet. The volume in the bottle was less than half of what it should have been so the percentage of iodine was much higher than normal. The syrup density liquid I put on a cut burned the skin right off my finger! Since then, I am very cautious about using old medications. If they have changed volume or appearance, they go in the trash.
 

aidbo

(2,328 posts)
6. I would bet that much of the alcohol might have evaporated by now.
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 02:46 PM
Nov 2015

I don't see any reason you wouldn't be able use it for cleaning, it just might be diluted from its original concentration.

blogslut

(37,999 posts)
7. I wouldn't use it for wound care or sanitization.
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 03:14 PM
Nov 2015

I has likely degraded and might possibly contain contaminants.

It should still do simple things like clean mirrors or remove the gum from stickers.

MosheFeingold

(3,051 posts)
8. Alcohol absorbs water from the air over time
Fri Nov 13, 2015, 03:30 PM
Nov 2015

And becomes more dilute. This is why the 91% isopropol has a space in the bottle -- the liquid will actually significantly grow in volume.

And there are some bacteria that can live (and indeed eat) alcohol.

So, yes, it can become weaker or even contaminated.

That said, if you are careful to put the lit back on and not do what my kids used to do -- stick your cut finger into the bottle, instead of pouring as you should do --- it will be fine.

BTW, alcohol kills by drying out. When wet, you've merely spread the bacteria around a bit. So put it on and count to 20 slowly.

MosheFeingold

(3,051 posts)
11. A common misunderstanding
Mon Nov 16, 2015, 11:03 AM
Nov 2015

And one shared by many a health care professional. It does kill some bacteria on contact, but the drying action kills 99.99999% of everything by popping the cell membranes.

I've noticed only phlebotomists are really attuned to this (or hospitals where they've had an outbreak of MRSA and they learned the hard way).

Don't be afraid of speaking up to a nurse or someone who is giving you a shot/test if they are too hasty.

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