Alcohol and the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Recently, I’ve had several discussions with family and friends about the coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan Virus, and Covid-19. I’m sure most of you reading this have had discussions with your loved ones about this same subject.
One of the points that was brought up was the increasing scarcity of hand sanitizer. My response to that point was “hand sanitizer is just alcohol mixed with gel.”
Let me be clear about one thing. I am not trying to promote a panic on this topic. I am only focusing on how alcohol relates to the subject at hand.
Alcohol is a fantastic sanitizer. When you go the doctor and get any work done that involves a needle, what do they use to clean the area with? An alcohol swab. You’ll also find nearly every first aid kit contains alcohol swabs. Alcohol is used to clean and prep nearly all medical equipment, because it is the perfect sterilizer.
Not all alcohol is the same though. Medical alcohol is P-grade alcohol, which is a high proof (purity) alcohol. The difference between it and say, whiskey, is that P-grade alcohol is a higher grade alcohol than whiskey, at above 190 proof, (95% pure) and has had a denaturing agent added to it. A denaturing agent is simply an additive that makes the alcohol poisonous to drink. This prevents people from buying medicinal alcohol and drinking it.
What this means is that if you want to make your own sterilizer, you only need to make a high proof alcohol.
Another thing that high proof alcohol is used for, is fuel. The subject of alcohol fuel is a vast one, so I’ll just give a simple version here, and save the bigger subject for another day.
Alcohol fuel is also known as Ethanol fuel. You are already burning some ethanol in your car, as nearly every gas pump in the USA has a little sign on the pump that says “contains up to 10% ethanol”. However, adding ethanol to gas is not the same as straight ethanol. Straight ethanol burns much cleaner than gas.
The stills my family has built for decades were originally made because my father wanted to make his grandfather’s still to be easier to use. He then realized that as well as making excellent “White Lightning” this still design could also make excellent ethanol fuel, in just one run. Most other stills require multiple “runs” of the still in order to get a high proof. They usually are only capable of making 100 to 120 proof on the first run, and then the product must be redistilled, sometimes multiple times in order to get a high proof. Some stills out there are not capable of distilling at a high proof at all, no matter how many times they are run.
My father’s design is able to produce from 40 to 190 proof, depending on your desire, in one, single, run.
What does this have to do with the sanitizers, flus, and keeping your home sterilized?
If you have a Columbia Copper Works still, within 48 hours of getting the still you can be producing gallons of 190 proof alcohol. Alcohol has a nearly unlimited shelf life. That alcohol can be used to make your own hand and home sanitizer. In the unlikely event of a panic such as happened during recent hurricanes, that alcohol can be used as a fuel in your car, or used to cook and heat your home with, as well as sold.
Don’t panic about a lack of hand sanitizer. An alcohol still is all you need, and it can do a lot more than just make hand sanitizer.
As an ironic side note, our stills are all made out of solid copper. Copper is also an antibacterial metal. Copper naturally kills germs that come in contact with it, which is why many hospitals are switching from stainless to copper door handles.