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Science Corner: The Deadliest Spritzer

Posted: November 5th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

One home remedy cropping up more often than moving pictures of celebrities doin’ it is the use of isopropyl alcohol to curb rampant visible bedbugs. Isopropyl alcohol, the ginchiest of rubbing alcohols, remains a top accoutrement of choice for the modern bedbug sufferer. But are these wild claims of instant snuffings TRUE?

WELL…yes. A spray bottle filled with 91% isopropyl alcohol will in fact end the lives of adult bedbugs on contact. So thoroughly spraying any crack, crevice and crenellation you’ve got may eliminate the bugs you do find. However, since alcohol this pure evaporates quite fast and the bugs must have direct physical contact with the rubbing alcohol to work, it will not likely stay around for multiple kills. One unconfirmed online claim that this ultra-fine mist of death will eradicate live eggs seems to have been refuted several times over on that very same internet. But since no one will help a brother out with our big bedbug drive, we are still unable to test this theory ourselves.

A few sources have suggested a lower percentage strength or diluting 3 parts alcohol to 2 parts water, but the efficacy of these have been called into question. If you’re going to strip the paint and finish off of everything you own, you might as well get your genocide on, AMIRITE? HIGH FIVE!

So we’ve had no trouble finding anecdotal evidence that liberally dampening everything you own with rubbing alcohol will sort of help with bedbug troubles. But what have our throngs of Imaginixers™ had much more difficulty finding?

Appropriate warnings!

Rubbing alcohol is not a toy, people! Keep away from pets! Keep away from kids!

This stuff is the Andy Dick of household chemicals!

Wikipedia puts it best, plain as day:  “Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or consumption of rubbing alcohol.”

But that’s not all. The fumes prove themselves extremely strong, so thoroughly ventilating the area is mandatory even in winter. Plus any vapors wafting off isopropyl alcohol, especially at these high concentrations, are extremely flammable and remain combustible in a wide range from the source. Absolutely keep the spray away from any open flames, and you also must turn off your apartment’s heat for not only the duration of spray treatment but also until all alcohol has been evaporated.

Plus as we mentioned, isopropyl alcohol is damaging to many surfaces. It will instantly dissolve the finish on hardwood floors. It eats up all latex paint, some oil paints, and other finishes. This stuff kind of sucks.

Do not under any circumstances mix isopropyl alcohol with chlorine. Long term skin exposure to isopropyl alcohol causes defatting (dissolving of skin fats), severe area-effect dehydration and possible cellular damage.

Do not feed isopropyl alcohol after midnight. Do not taunt isopropyl alcohol.

And as always, please, keep any and all alcohol away from The Hoff.

Ruh roh! Roo ravah rrrrrinking rrroblem!

End scene.

Rubbing alcohol!