Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick Tip: Alcohol Disinfection; How Less is More.

Photo by: Bill Selak
If you use alcohol to disinfect when you're cleaning your brushes & makeup, it may interest you to know that 70% isopropyl alcohol is actually better suited to the task than higher concentrations. As counterintuitive as it may seem, hear me out.

Alcohol disinfects by denaturing proteins. In concentrations over 90%, alcohol instantly coagulates the protein on the just the outside of the cell. This forms a protective shell (think Magic Shell on ice cream) that prohibits the alcohol from further penetration, so it can not effectively kill the cell.

70% alcohol still coagulates the proteins in the cell wall, but it does so slower. Because it takes its time, 70% alcohol is able to penetrate the bacterial cell wall and do it's business inside of the cell.

Of course, to properly disinfect, the alcohol must come into contact long enough; which means a quick spritz won't cut it. A minimum of 30 seconds of wet contact is necessary. Since alcohol can degrade the glue holding bristles in place, as well as ruin some rubbers and plastics, be careful to submerge only the bristles and lay the brush flat (never upright) to dry.


4 comments:

Rocaille said...

Thanks for the tip, I didn't know that! x

Deb said...

That's good to know about how long wet contact has to take place! I didn't know that... I usually leave it on for a few seconds, but I don't think I waited it out to 30 ever. But I'll do that now. :)

Kelsi @ KelsiDoesHair said...

Interesting! I never would have thought of that, but it totally makes sense. Thanks for sharing!

hakim said...

definitely didnt know that. thanks

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