September 28, 2021, 04:53:51 PM
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Topic: Dangerous to use different disinfection alternatives?  (Read 545 times)

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Offline hiwmo

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Dangerous to use different disinfection alternatives?
« on: March 25, 2021, 03:51:18 PM »
Hello chemistry heroes  :) :)

As we all know, COVID-19 has made us purchase at least one type of hand sanitizer since the start of the pandemic. The most popular one is (to my knowledge) alcohol-based (Ethanol and Isopropyl alcohol) but I have also seen chlorine-based (hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid) gain momentum on the market.

Last week where I live, I visited a shopping mall and saw that every store had hand sanitizer stands at the entrance,  as a way to make the customers feel safe. This is of course a good thought, but how should we treat the fact that chlorine-based alternatives and alcohol-based alternatives can react with each other, forming poisonous bi-products?

Let's look at the following Scenario:
A kid (with a busy mom) plays with every sanitizer she sees for every store they visit. At first, she sprays 10 ml Hypochlorous acid (500 ppm) onto its hands. Later on, it pours 10 ml alcohol-based (70 % alcohol) sanitizer on its hands. Can this be a risk for her hands or even worse, creating chloroform gases?


I am an amateur in chemistry and do not see my calculations as valid. But this is what I have found on the internet if I would mix alcohol and hypochlorous acid:

Ethanol               + Hypochlorous Acid -> Acetaldehyde + Water + Chlorine
Isopropyl Alcohol + Hypochlorous Acid -> Acetaldehyde + Water + Chlorine

To my understanding, this should not cause any harm due to the fact that the reactants are maximum 10 ml each. Also, the concentration of the HOCL is "only" 500 ppm. Am I wrong in any way?


Is there any existing "chemistry reaction calculator" out there? It would be very nice to type in Reactants and see what the products will be. This especially since there are many threads out there stating that chloroform can be created by mixing bleach and alcohol. But to my understanding, chloroform is created by mixing bleach/Hypochlorous acid with Acetone or Butanone.

Offline Borek

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Re: Dangerous to use different disinfection alternatives?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 05:37:46 PM »
Minute amounts, quickly evaporating from a warm skin, plus low concentration of hypochlorous acid. I would be much more afraid of getting hit by a car on my way to the store than by getting poisoned by products of such a reaction ;)
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Online jeffmoonchop

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Re: Dangerous to use different disinfection alternatives?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 11:04:38 PM »
10ml is a lot, most pumps are more like 1ml.

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