Monday, March 29, 2010

Household cleaner

There's a chemical I can buy at a number of stores that kills 99% of bacteria, dissolves stains out of existence, and yet is safe to eat and rated to do so. I speak of C2H6O, better known as Ethanol, and readily purchasable as "Vodka," a mixture of 40% ethanol and 60% water.
Vodka works well as a cleanser, spraying on clear, removing the stain without corroding the underlying surface, and leaving a reasonably pleasant grain-like scent behind. Since I have yet to hear of anyone having an ethanol allergy, I recommend it as a hypoallergenic cleaner.
Or, if you'd rather drink it, then you'll be pleased by one university student's experiment performed years ago. He taste-tested expensive vodka and cheap vodka that had been filtered through a commercially available water-filter, and reported that there was little perceivable difference. Though the filter is itself expensive, later chemists reported having the same effect with activated charcoal filters, which are far, far, far cheaper.
Were I selling it commercially as a cleanser, though, I would have to denature the alcohol to make sure it didn't feed some hobo's drinking habit, as people who are hard up have been known to drink aftershave, or worse, Sterno, to get their buzz on. Probably a quick blending with methanol and isopropyl alcohol would do the trick.


TwoYaks said...

Honestly, there shouldn't be denatured ethanol out on the market. If an alcoholic drinks straight ethanol, they're at the bottom of the barrel, but if they drink methanol doped ethanol, they're dead. And that's not to consider the children or pets who would otherwise would probably be alive from accidentally ingesting it. Adding methanol kills.

themadengineer said...

The law is remarkably sociopathic in that extent. If I sell straight ethanol, I have to pay a hefty tax on the grounds that it's liquor and someone can drink it. If I poison it with methanol, the tax goes away, because now it's obviously not for drinking. (Although it still works as a cleanser, which is what it would be sold for.)
Someone hard up for liquor, a hardcore alcoholic, might not care that it's full of contamination that will at best injure their health, (and will likely kill them) and will drink it anyway. This is somehow neither the law nor manufacturer's responsibility.

Pawl Bearing said...

Vanilla essence is also a good back up when the liquor stores are closed.

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