Isopropyl Alcohol vs Isopropanol: What Are the Differences?

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Isopropyl Alcohol vs Isopropanol

If you need a substance to kill bacteria or clean surfaces in a laboratory, there is a high probability that you will end up choosing isopropyl alcohol. As such, it is worth making sure that you know how to correctly identify isopropyl alcohol vs isopropanol so that you can buy or use the correct one for your purposes.

Of course, you can always check out our article on isopropyl vs isopropanol tips if you want to dig deeper.

Isopropyl Alcohol vs Isopropanol

There are a few ways to spot the difference between isopropyl alcohol and isopropanol. One of the simplest ways is to look at the molecular structure. Isopropyl alcohol has two carbon atoms while isopropanol has three.

This small difference explains why isopropyl alcohol is a liquid at room temperature while isopropanol is solid.

Though isopropyl alcohol and isopropanol are both clear, colorless, and have nearly identical names, they are not the same compound. Isopropyl alcohol is safe for use on the skin, while isopropanol can be dangerous if it is ingested or if it comes into contact with the eyes.

Isopropanol is the purer form of the two, while isopropyl alcohol is a dilute form of isopropanol. Isopropanol is also more expensive than isopropyl alcohol.


Is Isopropyl alcohol flammable? It is also known as rubbing alcohol, it is a member of the alcohol family that includes ethanol and methanol. Isopropyl alcohol is a clear, flammable liquid with a rubbing alcohol odor. It is a powerful solvent and can be used as an Industrial cleaning agent. Isopropyl alcohol is also found in many household products such as cleaners, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers.

What is Isopropanol alcohol? On the other hand, it is a primary alcohol with the molecular formula C3H8O. It is a clear, colorless, and flammable liquid with a sweet, fruity odor. It is used as a solvent in many industries and is also an ingredient in antifreeze and some cleaning products.

Different Uses

Isopropyl alcohol is the more common of the two compounds. It is the main ingredient in rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers. It is also used as a solvent in the production of various chemicals.

Isopropanol, on the other hand, is less commonly used. It is not as effective as isopropyl alcohol as a disinfectant or cleaning agent. However, it is often used as an antiseptic in medicine. It is also the main ingredient in some kinds of paint removers.

Which is Better?

If you’re wondering whether isopropyl alcohol vs isopropanol is the better choice for your needs, consider the following: isopropyl alcohol is less expensive and more readily available, but it is also more toxic; isopropanol is more expensive but less toxic.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you need the alcohol for and how much you’re willing to spend.

For more on this topic, please feel free to check out our blog!

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