8.2.1 Alcohols

Alcohols (ethyl and isopropyl) are a good general disinfectant at concentrations of 70-80 percent (volume/volume) in water.  They are effective against vegetative bacteria, fungi and lipid-containing viruses but not against spores.  The activity against nonlipid viruses varies.  The contact time to achieve effective disinfection is at least 10 seconds on skin and at least 3 minutes on environmental surfaces.  An advantage of alcohols is that they do not leave any residue on treated items.

Note: Alcohols are volatile and flammable and must not be used near an open flame.  Working solutions must be stored properly in order to prevent the evaporation of alcohols.