Laboratories must use the right chemical for their cleaning or they risk damaging expensive equipment. Although alcohol distilled with water is an excellent purpose lab cleaner, some labs may be unsure of which alcohol solution is right for them.
Isopropyl Alcohol for Cleaning Electronics
The Difference Between IPA 99 and IPA 70
When a laboratory has electronics that need to be up-kept eventually it’ll be necessary to find the right chemical to use for cleaning. For most laboratories, a solution comprised of distilled water and a high purity alcohol is the right solution because of its low-cost and high-efficacy cleaning potential. But, especially for laboratories which may just be getting established for the first time, it may be unclear which alcohol is the appropriate choice to make the cleaning solution.
IPA 99 has 1% deionized water whereas IPA 70 has 30% deionized water. Some labs end up buying IPA 99 and then diluting the solution themselves with their own deionized water. However for customers that want an out of the box experience IPA 70 may be more useful.
It is critical that for cleaning electronics and hardware that is easily damaged to minimize the presence of minerals. Even the tiniest minerals can evaporate and later cause damage to a circuit board. The reason is that minerals impede the flow of electronics which power electronics. In the worst cases a shorted circuit can be found at the point of disruption.
Not all electronic components are equally likely to be damaged, but exposed semiconductor materials and PCB plastics and sensors should be watched carefully. Of these components it is nearly impossible to remove trace minerals once they are present.
Ethyl alcohol is a simple compound characterized by its wine-like odor and pungent taste. Drinking ethyl alcohol is not advised and can lead to harm. It is widely used in the medical field because it is a potent disinfectant. Medications can also be dissolved in ethyl alcohol much easier than water, which is why many OTC medicines have up to a 50% ethyl alcohol solution.
Labs must always use laboratory grade ethyl alcohol that is diluted with deionized water. Ethyl alcohol is an effective solvent and cleaning solution. The CDC recommends isopropyl or ethyl alcohol solutions for hand sanitizer because they are safe and effective.
At Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies we recommend high purity isopropyl alcohol.
Tate is a contributing author at Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies. Tate values thoughtful research, insightful writing, and a good Oxford comma.