What is ethanol? [Controversy, Uses, and Its Role In Perfumes]

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is an organic compound and alcohol with the C2H5OH chemical formula. Ethanol is mainly used as a solvent with other organic chemicals in the cosmetics industry and the alcoholic beverages industry.

There are thousands of uses for ethanol. For this article, we’re going to take a quick look at what ethanol is, its type and its role in perfumes. Ethanol is fermented from starch such as corn, wheat, or even potatoes. In the US, ethanol is largely made from corn.

What is ethanol? Your questions answered

Ethanol is a liquid made from hydroxyl group of oxygen and hydrogen found in alcoholic drinks. Ethanol is known for its fast conversion into energy with its 7kcal per gram. Most of the times, it’s turned into body fat when consumed in drinks.

What is ethanol used for or what is ethanol in? Some obvious and some rare uses Ethanol has multiple properties apart from its use in alcoholic drinks. Here’s where you can find it in.

Personal care products

In personal care products such as perfumes or skin products, ethanol can act as a preservative. It also acts as an astringent and as a result, it’s widely used in shaving products. Today, ethanol is highly popular in hand sanitizers and hand cleaning gels. It kills bacteria efficiently and as a result, ethanol is the main ingredient in hand care products with its antimicrobial action.

Ethanol is common in hand sanitizers

Home products

Househould cleaning products are frequently made with ethanol. Since it mixes easily with other liquids, ethanol is found in many paints.

Food Ethanol is used in foods where it can enhance certain flavours. You can check out products that contain ethanol as well as ethanol in food standards on FDAs website.

Cough syrups Couch syrup is often made with ethanol. It can act as an excellent liquid to dissolve the active ingredients in cough syrups.

What is ethanol made of?

Ethanol or ethanol alcohol is primarily made from corn or other biomaterials which are high in starch or sugar such as apples or plums. On a commercial level, sugar cane and sugar beets are highly popular for ethanol production.

Ethanol is mostly made out of corn in the US

What is perfume alcohol?

Perfume alcohol is also called denaturated alcohol and it falls under a different tax category compared to regular alcohol. If you’re trying to make your perfume, you shouldn’t purchase ethanol from chemical companies but rather from cosmetic suppliers. Bitrex is one of the denaturation ingredients used in perfume alcohol and this doesn’t recommend it for ingestion as regular ethanol.

When you see perfume alcohol with 95% concentration, you also need to know the other 5% can be water which ethanol naturally attracts from the air. It could be used in perfumes, but safer denaturated ethanol is better for your skin. Denaturated spirit can come in ethanol concentrations of 99.9%, distilled water, and denaturants. These are the types of ethanol to be considered for fragrances or other beauty products.

Perfume alcohol is usually made with denaturation ingredients

What is ethanol in?

You can find ethanol in gasoline and diesel due to its high octane number. Being the only type of alcohol you can drink, ethanol is widely used in spirits. It is also used as an antiseptic in medicine. Since ethanol is also used as a solvent, it has multiple other applications. The main idea is that it’s very easy to remove from a chemical composition as it has a low-temperature boiling point.

The main types of ethanol

Pure ethanol is becoming rare today. Even if some bottles of ethanol label it as ‘pure’ it might still be denaturated. Ethanol made for human consumption is generally of a denaturated type.

Denaturated ethanol Denaturated ethanol is normally made by adding methanol, naphtha, pyridine or isopropanol. Ethanol with such chemicals that add a bitter taste is normally called ‘denaturated alcohols’

Absolute alcohol As its name suggests absolute alcohol is a pure type of ethanol, normally with a very low content of water. The water quantity in absolute alcohol is normally below 1%.

Combined rectified spirits This type of ethanol is made with 96% concentration, the rest 4% is water content.

Why is ethanol-free gas?

Ethanol-free gas is used in basic motors such as in chainsaws due to its poor lubrication. Gas and ethanol separate in the gas tank. Even if oil or other additives remain attached to gasoline, they don’t attach to ethanol.

Is ethanol safe for skin?

Pure ethanol is not good for the skin. But denaturated ethanol can be safe when sourced correctly and used accordingly in cosmetic products. Ethanol sales are declining for a wide range of uses such as in the car industry. Otherwise, ethanol is still accepted in the US and the EU in skin products.