Chapter 2: Table of Contents
Alcohols such as ethyl and isopropyl alcohol are used in concentrations of 70 to 99 percent to kill bacteria. Killing occurs by cell membrane damage and protein denaturation. Bactericidal activity takes effect immediately, but evaporation over a few minutes is required for greatest activity. Alcohol is also active against fungi but its activity against viruses and spores is poor. No residual activity remains after use but alcohol increases the activity of chlorhexidine and iodophors. Alcohol is useful to help remove oils from the skin and allows more thorough skin cleaning.