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Q: (18854)

First, I love your products. My electronics have benefited from them for years. However, I saw this on your website
“WARNING: Alcohol / ethanol are conductive”

Alcohol (isopropyl alcohol, ethanol and isopropanol) is a polar solvent (very conductive) and is potentially corrosive (contains water). Not recommended as a carrier solvent. Alcohol is not recommended in concentrations greater than 3% of the total formulation. Do not use if it will not be able to completely evaporate or be completely removed.”

Other sources and my own check with a VOM and 91% isopropyl alcohol do not bear out your assertion. I’m wondering if I’m missing something important and hoping you can clarify this for me. Thank you for your time.

Thank you,
Alton,
Phoenix, AZ

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Posted by Dr-DeoxIT® (Questions: 68, Answers: 81)
Asked on May 27, 2020 2:20 pm
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Very informative, and timely, response, without sounding like it was going in circles. As I suspected, I was missing a couple things. Thank you very much for your time (and your great products) and effort to answer my question. I was familiar with alcohol's water absorption properties from my work with fuels, but completely failed to make the tie in here.
Thank you, again and have a great day.
Sincerely,
Alton

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Posted by Dr-DeoxIT® (Questions: 68, Answers: 81)
Answered on May 27, 2020 3:13 pm
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A:

Hello Alton,

Thank you for your question. PURE alcohol itself is nonconductive, however, that is impossible to find and use in electronics.
When you mention 91% alcohol, the balance of the solution is water, which can be conductive, depending on where you get the alcohol. If there are salts or other minerals in the water, they may cause the solution to become conductive.
Alcohol also will attract moisture from the atmosphere and their again, depending on the environment (pollution), will depend on the salts/minerals getting absorbed into the alcohol.

Let me clarify one thing, in many cases alcohol would be fine, as long as the alcohol can COMPLETELY evaporate. Also, since water, salts, minerals maybe left behind, we always (on electronic/electrical connections) recommend using our DeoxIT® to remove the contaminants and then protect the metal surfaces. If you apply alcohol on a surface that is porous, phenolic-based switches for example, the alcohol/water mixture may get absorb into the phenolic and then the switch may short.

As a review; when using alcohol on electronics if you need to, we always recommend 99.9% electronic grade alcohol (less water and contaminants). If the surface can absorb the alcohol and have the possibility of shorting, we DO NOT recommend alcohol. If the device is non-critical and surfaces have non-absorbing materials, sure, it should be fine. Just make sure you let the alcohol completely evaporate and then treat any electrical connections for protection (to prevent oxidation or rusting). However, if you are using it on a critical and expensive device, do you want to take the chance?

Best regards,
Dr. DeoxIT®

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Posted by Dr-DeoxIT® (Questions: 68, Answers: 81)
Answered on May 27, 2020 2:21 pm