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200 Proof
Food Grade Ethanol

by Culinary Solvent

All Things Surface Disinfectant

Person wearing gloves disinfecting a surface

Why Make Disinfectant at Home

Homemade disinfectant can be a chemical- and additive-free way to disinfect a variety of surfaces safely and effectively at your home or work.  Many off-the-shelf disinfectant sprays and wipes contain chemical additives, fragrances, and surfactants, which are unnecessary for most disinfecting jobs.  Making disinfectant at home can be better for your budget, as you can make large batches with as little as two ingredients, as well as better for the environment.

Both food grade ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and isopropyl alcohol can be used to make a quick and easy disinfecting solution to be used on a variety of surfaces.  Alcohol breaks down germs through denaturation, which breaks down the proteins present in the germ structures.  Our recipes below are safe to use on stainless steel, copper, granite, marble, stone, glass, quartz, and most all composites and plastics.  It is not recommended to be used on wood as it can dissolve the oils within it.  (Avoid using on any porous surface.

Food grade ethanol, like Culinary Solvent, is safe for the skin and can be applied to or come in contact with the skin with the no adverse reactions.  Read more about the diverse applications of ethanol.

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) recommends alcohol concentration between 60% and 90% ABV for disinfecting purposes.  We have included recipes for both 70% and 80% ABV disinfectant spray.  Our recipes feature either ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.  Because our recipes are only two ingredients (alcohol and water) there is no residue and disinfecting works within seconds of applying.

How to Use Disinfectant Spray

Simply spray your mixture over your surface and wipe mixture to spread and disinfect.  Alcohol-water disinfectants are safe to use on most surfaces (stainless steel, copper, granite, marble, stone, glass, quartz, and most all composites and plastics) but is not recommended for porous surfaces, like wood, as they can extract the oils within.  Food grade ethanol, like Culinary Solvent, is safe to use on any surface that it comes in contact with skin and hands without adverse reactions or effects and, therefore, is safe to use around kids and pets.

Before You Begin

Because disinfecting sprays below 70% ABV are considered ineffective for killing germs, it is important to measure your ethanol or alcohol carefully and know the ABV of your ethanol/alcohol before adding water.  You should not use alcohol with an ABV below 70%, as adding more water will only make it less effective.  Also, choosing the right ingredients is important in making sure your disinfectant is safe for your household and all its residents, including kids and pets.  Using food grade ethanol, like Culinary Solvent, is a good way of ensuring that your final product is additive-free and does not contain any toxic chemicals that might be absorbed into the skin or possibly ingested through the mouth or nose.  Using any alcohol off the shelf without thoroughly examining its ingredients and ABV can result in an ineffective and possibly dangerous final product.

We do not recommend using denatured alcohol to make disinfecting products, as toxic additives (denaturants) can be absorbed through the skin and possibly ingested via the mouth or nose.

The Recipe

All of the recipes below only use two ingredients: alcohol and water.  Essentially, the process for producing these disinfectants is to simply dilute your alcohol to a lower ABV (but no lower than 70%).

Tips for understanding the starting alcohol concentration (ABV) before getting started.

Ingredient Measurements and Equipment

Fluid ounces: fl. oz.

You will need a glass or plastic liquid measuring cup that can hold up to 60 fl. oz., depending on how much solution you want to make.  You will also need a clean spray bottle made of some type of chemically compatible material (i.e., certain plastics or glass) to use and store your solution in.  Do not reuse bottles that previously contained other cleaners, like ammonia or bleach, as residue from these materials can still be in the bottle and, if mixed with ethanol, can release harmful fumes.

If a clean spray bottle is not available, a glass mason jar will also work.  To dispense your solution from a glass jar, apply it to clean cloth and wipe the surface clean.  Using food grade ethanol ensures no adverse effects if the solution comes in direct contact with your hands or skin.

Ratio and Yield Chart

Alcohol Type

Alcohol Measurement

Water Measurement

Yield

182 proof (91% ABV) isopropyl alcohol

8 fl. oz.

2 fl. oz.

10 fl. oz. (73% ABV)

8 fl. oz.

1 fl. oz.

9 fl. oz. (81% ABV)

198 proof (99% ABV) isopropyl alcohol

7 fl. oz.

3 fl. oz.

10 fl. oz. (70% ABV)

8 fl. oz.

2 fl. oz.

10 fl. oz. (80% ABV)

190 proof (95% ABV) ethanol

8 fl. oz.

2.5 fl. oz.

10 fl. oz. (72% ABV)

8 fl. oz.

1.5 fl. oz.

9.5 fl. oz. (80% ABV)

200 proof (100% ABV) ethanol

7 fl. oz.

3 fl. oz.

10 fl. oz. (70% ABV)

8 fl. oz.

2 fl. oz.

10 fl. oz. (80% ABV)

51 fl. oz.

13 fl. oz.

64 fl. oz. (80% ABV)

Steps

  1. Carefully measure your alcohol and add it to your spray bottle.
  2. Carefully measure your water and add it to your spray bottle.
  3. Secure the lid or spray cap and gently shake or swirl to finish diluting your alcohol.

Your solution can be used immediately to disinfect surfaces.  

Larger Batches of Disinfectant

To make larger batches of disinfectant, you will need to calculate the ABV based on larger amounts.  In the recipe above using 200 proof (100% ABV) ethanol, you can easily calculate that the ABV for the final mixture.  Start with the total amount of solution you want to yield – for example, 64 fl. oz.  You will then calculate how much water you will need to add to your 100% ABV ethanol to dilute it to either 70% ABV, 80% ABV, or whatever ABV above 70% you wish to achieve.  Using the recipe above, you will multiply 64 (as in 64 fl. oz.) by 80 (as in 80%) and then divide your result (5,120) by 100 (representing 100% of your solution), resulting in 51.2 fl. oz.  51.2 fl. oz. is 80% of 64 fl. oz., so you will need at least 51.2 fl. oz. of 100% ABV ethanol, and you will then dilute it with 13 fl. oz. of water to reduce the ABV to 80%.

(64 x 80) / 100 = 51.2 fl. oz. of 100% ABV ethanol 

64 - 51 = 13 fl. oz. of water to cut 100% ABV ethanol 

Because you are starting with 100% ABV alcohol, you are simply adding water to 100% ethanol, which makes the ratio easier to calculate.  While you can calculate the ABV to achieve 70% ABV disinfectant in larger amounts, you have to factor in that any alcohol below 100% ABV or 200 proof already has water added to it, which will affect how much water you will add. 

For larger batches of disinfectant, it can be easiest to use 200 proof ethanol as calculating the ratio is simpler200 proof food grade Culinary Solvent is available in pints, quarts, single gallons, five-gallon jugs, and fifty-five-gallon drums.

Quick Reference for Larger Batches 

200 Proof Ethanol

Water

Yield (80% ABV)

16 fl. oz. or about 1 pint*

4 fl. oz.

20 fl. oz. or about 1.25 pints 

32 fl. oz. or about 1 quart*

8 fl. oz.

40 fl. oz. or about 1.25 quarts

128 fl. oz. or about 1 gallon*

32 fl. oz.

160 fl. oz. or about 1.25 gallons

640 fl. oz. or about 5 gallons*

160 fl. oz.

800 fl. oz. or about 6.25 gallons

*Read more about density, the weight of ethanol, and our bottle filling process here.

Tips for Storage of Homemade Disinfectant

  • Only use bottles made of chemically compatible materials, such as certain plastics or glass. 
  • Avoid using bottles that are chipped, cracked, leaky, old, rusty, or otherwise damaged. 
  • Do not reuse bottles that previously contained common household cleaners, such as bleach or ammonia, as any residue from these chemicals, when in contact with ethanol, can release toxic fumes.  
  • Store bottles upright at all times to avoid leakage.
  • Avoid handling the bottle by its handle or nozzle, as this can damage the bottle and cause it to leak or spray erratically.

For long term storage, put your disinfectant solution in a bottle intended to store alcohol with a tight-fitting cap

All bottles that are used to ship Culinary Solvent are good for long-term storage of disinfecting solution. 

You should store your solution away from children, sources of heat or spark, or direct sunlight.  Your disinfectant will not expire, as long as the ABV remains above 70%.  If you want to replenish your solution, do not add more water to your solution -- add more alcohol.  Having a disinfecting solution above 80% is completely safe but can potentially dry out your hands and skin and might impact the surface to which you apply it to, depending on the material.  When in doubt, always go for a higher ABV to ensure proper disinfecting is achieved.

 

More Disinfecting Recipe Links from CulinarySolvent.com

Recipes to make 70% Alcohol Solution for Disinfecting Sprays

Recipes to make 80% Alcohol Solution for Disinfecting Spray

The more alcohol in your disinfecting solution, the better.  It's the alcohol that does the germ and virus killing, higher concentrations have been proven to kill more germs quicker, essentially reducing the required wait time of 30 seconds for effective surface disinfection.  Read more here >> Source.

 

Understanding Permits (and if you need one)

View our map page for quick links to your individual state rules. No permits required for California, Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, or Ohio.

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Defining Common Alcohol Terms

Understand common alcohol terms used to define and measure food grade ethanol.

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2024 Ethanol Supplier and Price Comparison

Before making your next buying decision for food grade ethanol, visit our Supplier and Price Comparison page to choose the right product for your project.

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How to buy food grade ethanol?

Culinary Solvent ships food grade ethanol direct to you. View these steps on how to buy food grade ethanol from CulinarySolvent.com

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FAQs

At this time no permit is required to buy or ship 200 proof alcohol to California addresses (January 2024)

Yes. Culinary Solvent is pure food grade ethanol, contains zero additives, and is safe for human consumption in tinctures, flavor extracts including vanilla, edible decorations, and organic food coloring applications.

Yes, ethanol is a type of alcohol, specifically referred to as "ethyl alcohol." It is the alcohol most commonly associated with beverage uses and is often what is meant by "alcohol" in everyday conversation.