Hydrogen Peroxide vs Rubbing Alcohol: Difference and Comparison

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a strong oxidizing agent, whereas Rubbing Alcohol (CH3CHOHCH3) is water-soluble, colourless and highly flammable. Unlike the former, the latter is a type of alcohol.

3-cent Hydrogen Peroxide diluted in water is what we use as a disinfectant. On the other hand, 60 to 80 per cent isopropyl alcohol diluted in water constitutes rubbing alcohol.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound (H2O2), a mild antiseptic and bleaching agent used to clean wounds and surfaces.
  2. Rubbing alcohol, either isopropyl or ethyl alcohol is a strong antiseptic used for disinfecting surfaces and skin and for its solvent properties.
  3. Both hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are used for cleaning and disinfecting, but they differ in their chemical compositions, potency, and specific applications.

Hydrogen Peroxide vs Rubbing Alcohol

Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) is a strong oxidizing agent that is used as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and bleaching agent. Rubbing alcohol is a water-soluble, flammable, and colorless alcohol used as a disinfectant and in hand sanitizers. The chemical name is isopropyl or isopropanol alcohol.

Hydrogen peroxide vs Rubbing alcohol

 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonHydrogen PeroxideRubbing Alcohol
Chemical NatureIts chemical formula is H2O2, and hydrogen peroxide is not a type of alcohol. It has a strong oxidizing property.Chemically known as isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol (CH3CHOHCH3), it is a type of alcohol.
ConcentrationPharmacies that supply hydrogen peroxide for disinfection purposes give you a solution containing 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide dissolved in water.Between 60 to 80 per cent, isopropanol dissolved in water constitutes rubbing alcohol.
UsesIt is a strong disinfectant and can potentially kill most viruses and bacteria.Owing to its strong germicidal properties, rubbing alcohol is used in sanitisers to disinfect hands and surfaces. It can be used for household cleaning too.
Method of usageWipe the surface to be disinfected with soap and water. Apply hydrogen peroxide to the surface. The solution must be allowed to sit for at least 10 minutes.Wipe the surface to be disinfected with soap and water. Apply to rubbing alcohol to the surface. Let the solution sit for at least 30 seconds.

 

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

The chemical formula of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is very similar to that of water (H2O). Its extra oxygen atom lends it its strong oxidizing property.

Also Read:  Jewel vs Gem: Difference and Comparison

It is a good antiseptic and a bleaching agent too. Chemically speaking, it is not a type of alcohol.

Being made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, it is a less damaging alternative to chlorine-based bleaches.

Pharmacies that supply hydrogen peroxide for disinfection purposes give you a solution containing 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide dissolved in water. It is a strong disinfectant and can potentially kill most viruses and bacteria.

It is also a mild antiseptic which means it can be used as protection from infections due to minor cuts, scrapes and burns.

When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with your skin, it foams, indicating that it’s killing bacteria. As this chemical kills both good and bad bacteria, hydrogen peroxide should not be used to treat deep cuts and bruises.

It is not used in hand sanitisers as it could irritate, or, in severe cases, burn and bleach the skin.

The surface to be disinfected must be cleaned with soap and water before applying hydrogen peroxide. Furthermore, it must be allowed to sit on a surface for at least 10 minutes before it begins working.

Deep wounds, animal bites, or serious burns must not be treated with hydrogen peroxide.

 

What is Rubbing Alcohol?

Chemically known as isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol (CH3CHOHCH3), it is a type of alcohol. Apart from being a good disinfectant, it is water-soluble, colourless and highly flammable.

It has a strong odour. It is made by dissolving 60 to 80 per cent isopropanol in water. Rubbing alcohol is a constituent of most hand sanitisers.

Owing to its strong germicidal properties, rubbing alcohol is used in sanitisers to disinfect hands and surfaces. It can be used for household cleaning too.

Also Read:  Forward vs Reverse Biasing: Difference and Comparison

The surface to be disinfected must be cleaned with soap and water before applying rubbing alcohol. It must be allowed to sit on the surface for at least 30 seconds.

rubbing alcohol

Main Differences Between Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol

  1. Its chemical formula is H2O2; hydrogen peroxide is not a type of alcohol. It has a strong oxidizing property. Chemically known as isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol (CH3CHOHCH3), it is a type of alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is also a good disinfectant.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide, for disinfection purposes, is supplied as a solution containing 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide dissolved in water. Rubbing alcohol contains 60 to 80 per cent isopropanol dissolved in water.
  3. Being a mild antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide can be used as protection from infections due to minor cuts, scrapes and burns. It is not used in hand sanitisers.
  4. It is a strong disinfectant and can potentially kill most viruses and bacteria. Rubbing alcohol is used in sanitisers to disinfect hands and surfaces. It can be used for household cleaning too.
  5. Hydrogen peroxide must be allowed to sit on the surface for at least 10 minutes before it starts working. However, rubbing alcohol may need to sit for only 30 seconds.
Difference Between Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol
References
  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajpheart.1987.252.4.H721
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie201297e

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

18 thoughts on “Hydrogen Peroxide vs Rubbing Alcohol: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I was not aware of the intricacies of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol before reading this article. The comparisons are well-articulated and beneficial.

    Reply
  2. I found this article to be very enlightening and it clarified the differences between hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol very well.

    Reply
  3. The details provided in the article are thorough, and they give a solid understanding of the properties and uses of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol.

    Reply
  4. I’ve always wondered about the differences and applications of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol, and this article provided a very comprehensive comparison.

    Reply
  5. The comparison between hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol is well-explained. It’s important to know their specific uses and concentrations.

    Reply
  6. I appreciate how detailed this article is, it is very informative and helpful for understanding the differences between hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol.

    Reply
  7. The article provided an excellent breakdown of the chemical nature and uses of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol. It’s very useful information to have.

    Reply
  8. Having a deep understanding of the chemical properties and uses of these substances can be very beneficial. This article has provided that clarity and insight.

    Reply
  9. The comparison table and the detailed explanations have made the differences between hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol very clear. It’s a very well-presented article.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!