70% Ethanol instead of 10% Bleach

oliverHyde oliverHyde
I'm wondering if it's just as effective to use 70% ethanol to sterilize sex toys and dungeon equipment as 10% bleach solution. It should be more gentle on the toys, and better for us since it's less likely to leave a nasty chemical residue.

I'm a microbiology student and we always use 70% Ethanol if we want something absolutely sterile and then 10% bleach as a back up.

Is there any reason why everyone seems to recommend bleach instead of ethanol?
09/09/2009
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Red Red
That is an excellent question! Its no doubt an effective disinfectant, I don't see why it wouldn't work. Gonna have to think on this one...
09/10/2009
Jimbo Jones Jimbo Jones
Is 70% ethanol easily acquired at a drug store or supermarket? Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl which is very easy to find at 70% concentration, but I didn't know if ethanol is as readily available. Would isopropyl work as well as ethanol?
09/10/2009
J's Alley J's Alley
Quote:
Originally posted by Jimbo Jones
Is 70% ethanol easily acquired at a drug store or supermarket? Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl which is very easy to find at 70% concentration, but I didn't know if ethanol is as readily available. Would isopropyl work as well as ethanol?
You can buy the ethanol, but it costs the same as bleach. The difference is that you get concentrated bleach in a huge bottle and only use 10% at a time. They will work the same for toys really. I only bleach every few months, other than that I use anti-bacterial toy cleaner.
09/10/2009
J's Alley J's Alley
Quote:
Originally posted by Jimbo Jones
Is 70% ethanol easily acquired at a drug store or supermarket? Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl which is very easy to find at 70% concentration, but I didn't know if ethanol is as readily available. Would isopropyl work as well as ethanol?
You can buy the ethanol, but it costs the same as bleach. The difference is that you get concentrated bleach in a huge bottle and only use 10% at a time. They will work the same for toys really. I only bleach every few months, other than that I use anti-bacterial toy cleaner.
09/10/2009
ScottA ScottA
Ethanol disinfects BUT DOES NOT STERILIZE!!! Pardon the caps, but it can be a big deal - there are some beasties out there that 70% alcohol won't kill. Most "Ethyl Alcohol" or "Ethanol" has a fairly hefty concentration of methanol as well - so if you're buying ethanol as a "safer" alternative to isopropyl alcohol it really isn't.

FWIW ethanol has no effect on hepatitis.

Sterilization is not guaranteed effective unless the item is cleaned first, either. Ethanol/isopropanol will work somewhat for cleaning, but soap and water will also. Afterwards follow up with disinfecting or sterilizing (depending on risks) however you choose.

Given a choice I'd go with clorhexidine soap for cleaning/disinfecting, soap and water for straight cleaning (fluid-bonded or same-person use), and bleach (check for sterile protocol online) or boiling for no known issue sanitizing.

If it was coming from someone who is a known infection risk I'd boil in a pressure cooker or scrupulously follow cold sterile procedures from a known good medical source.
09/10/2009
Miss Cinnamon Miss Cinnamon
What ScottA said, basically.

On a humorous sidenote, we used ethanol in my microbio class to sterilize glass slides. We would dip the slides in ethanol and then, holding the slide with a clothespin, we'd set it on fire via Bunsen burner, letting the fire burn off all the ethanol. Red Roulette mentioned on another thread I started that I could clean a toy by dumping gasoline over it and setting it on fire.

I'm considering a new motto. "If you can't wash it, boil it, or bleach it--try setting it on fire."

I don't want to give newbies any bright ideas about sex toy funeral pyres, though.
09/10/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Miss Cinnamon
What ScottA said, basically.

On a humorous sidenote, we used ethanol in my microbio class to sterilize glass slides. We would dip the slides in ethanol and then, holding the slide with a clothespin, we'd set it on fire via Bunsen burner, ... More
I love it!
09/10/2009
deceased deceased
Ethanol and isopropyl alcohol have a drying effect on silicone if used as a disinfectant regularly. It has to evaporate fully to work as a disinfectant. I've ruined really good silicone tubing on stethescopes by constantly cleaning them with alcohol. They cracked and split or stiffened. I use triclosan soap on them now.
09/11/2009
J's Alley J's Alley
Quote:
Originally posted by deceased
Ethanol and isopropyl alcohol have a drying effect on silicone if used as a disinfectant regularly. It has to evaporate fully to work as a disinfectant. I've ruined really good silicone tubing on stethescopes by constantly cleaning them with ... More
That would suck to have happen to your favorite toys, now wouldn't it.
09/11/2009
deceased deceased
Quote:
Originally posted by J's Alley
That would suck to have happen to your favorite toys, now wouldn't it.
It sucked happening to a couple 200 dollar stethoscopes too. I wouldn't want my dildos drying out and cracking either.
09/11/2009
oliverHyde oliverHyde
I just asked my Bacteriology Prof and he says that Ethanol works great EXCEPT against viruses.
09/14/2009
deceased deceased
Peroxide is better for killing staph, etc....
09/14/2009
ScottA ScottA
FWIW I'll toss out my "line in the sand". If most of the stuff is good enough (i.e. for toys that are used only on me or my partner, or toys that can be shared between us without risks such as anal/vaginal cross contamination) I use soap and water. You can use a clorhexidine soap or something with quats in them if you want, but the general rule for me is that I don't need to worry about it too much anyway.

If it's something I need to worry about (sharing with another partner or was given a used toy (yes, I'd consider it for something like a Feeldoe, O2, VixSkin, etc. - expensive, sterlizable toys that some people don't like but may have bought) I'd do something that I know works, and has been shown to work. Boiling (keep in mind there are time/temperature charts that need to be adhered to), bleach, gluteraldehyde - something known to work. Your health and your life aren't worth messing with.
09/15/2009
mistre$$ mistre$$
I just found out that alcohol can apparently damage Lelo toys and silicone. Good to know!!!
02/04/2013
Total posts: 15
Unique posters: 9