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Why 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is used as Disinfectant in Pharmaceuticals?

Know why 70% isopropyl alcohol ( IPA solution ) is used for disinfection of hands and equipment surface instead of 100% in pharmaceuticals.
70% isopropyl alcohol is most commonly used disinfectant in pharmaceutical industries. The important thing is that only 70% solution of isopropyl alcohol acts as a disinfectant killing all surface microorganisms. It is used to disinfect hands and equipment surface in pharmaceuticals.

IPA - Disinfectant70 % isopropyl alcohol solution kills microorganisms by dissolving plasma membrane of the cell wall. Plasma membrane of gram negative bacteria consist of thin layer of peptidoglycon that easily destroyed by the alcohol. Therefore, 70 percent iso propyl alcohol is known as pharmaceutical alcohol.

Water is also required to denature the proteins of cell membrane and acts as a catalyst in the reaction. Contact time of the alcohol with the organism also play an important role. A 70% solution of alcohol takes more time in evaporation from the surface, increasing the contact time. Therefore, 70% isopropyl alcohol fulfills the both requirements.

100% isopropyl alcohol coagulates the protein instantly creating a protein layer that protects the remaining protein from further coagulation. Due to this organism is not killed but remains in dormant stage. While 70% isopropyl alcohol solution penetrates in the cell wall at slower rate and coagulates the all protein of the cell wall and microorganism dies.

Thus 70% IPA solution in water is more effective then 100% absolute alcohol and have more disinfectant capacity.

Following points should be considered while using 70% Isopropyl Alcohol:
1. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol should be prepared on daily basis.
2. Preparation should be done in controlled area by production.
3. Freshly prepared 70 % isopropyl alcohol solution should be used.
4. For the preparation of the 70% IPA, purified water should be used.
5. The bulk container (used for distribution) of the 70% IPA should have the label with the details like name, prepared on, prepared by and checked by. While the small container label should have the details like name, prepared on and prepared by.
6. The prepared 70 % IPA should be analyzed chemically and microbiologically (by membrane filtration method).

Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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Narendra S said... on 17/11/13 15:15


Shikha PCD said... on 17/12/13 13:33

Very informative article. indian pharma and quality medicine.

jitendra B. Singh said... on 19/1/14 23:15

very usefull information.

Asgher Mohd said... on 17/3/14 15:17

very interesting information

J Narayana Reddy said... on 17/3/14 20:30

very valuable article for pharma and to produce quality medicines.Thanks for sharing information
J Narayana Reddy

Asgher Mohd said... on 4/4/14 18:41


averol said... on 22/7/14 11:57

its all about quality of the medicine that the manufacturing companies producing

Abdul salam Shahzada said... on 16/3/17 13:28

very useful and informative.

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