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  1. #1
    Crusty GrindCore cmfx_2's Avatar
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    Denatured Alcohol vs Methyl Hydrate

    So I went down to the local hardware store to pick up some denatured alcohol to clean up my disc brakes.

    Unfortunatly, they did not carry it (as three other stores did not carry it also). However, they did all carry Methyl Hydrate and all said it is the equivalent.

    I can't find info on the web about a comparison of the two. Would just like to know if the Methyl Hydrate is an acceptable replacement for denatured alcohol?

    By the way, I live in Ontario Canada so I'm not sure if laws apply for selling denatured alcohol (maybe LCBO or pharmacies carry it)?!

  2. #2
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I have never been to a grocery store/pharmacy that does not sell denatured alcohol. Try a local grocery store
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  3. #3
    Crusty GrindCore cmfx_2's Avatar
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    I thought the same about hardware stores but was wrong. Definitely won't find it in any grocery stores around here, I think I will try the pharmacy.

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Us cyclists aren't the only ones wondering if denatured alcohol = methyl hydrate, wood workers are asking the same, see the Dec 18, 2004 post:

    http://www.workshopbuzz.com/forum/vi...7fad5463fb703f

    Why not use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol as recommended by Hayes?

  5. #5
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Methyl Hydrate is the base of some kinds of Denatured Alcohol so yes it's totally fine to use it
    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie
    Why not use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol as recommended by Hayes?
    Because Isopropyl Alcohol is commonly sold watered down, and I'd rather buy more go than no. It will work but Denatured works better
    Last edited by Raiyn; 07-11-05 at 02:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Methyl Hydrate is the base of most kinds of Denatured Alcohol so yes it's totally fine to use it

    Because Isopropyl Alcohol is commonly sold watered down, and I'd rather buy more go than no. It will work but Denatured works better
    The woodworking thread tends to agree with you.

  7. #7
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    Methyl Hydrate is a stupid synonym for Methanol, aka Methyl Alcohol. Why use an archaic term? I don't know. I just don't know. But its the same stuff.

    Denatured alcohol is Ethanol that has been made poisonous (denatured) through the addition of various adulterants. Methanol (aka Methyl Hydrate) is the most common, but you may also see gasoline, methyl ethyl ketone, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, and others.

    Methanol, like ethanol, will evaporate completely, making it a good cleaner for that sort of thing. However, it is also fairly toxic, so go easy on it, and wear gloves please.

    peace,
    sam

  8. #8
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex
    Denatured alcohol is Ethanol that has been made poisonous (denatured) through the addition of various adulterants. Methanol (aka Methyl Hydrate) is the most common, but you may also see gasoline, methyl ethyl ketone, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, and others.
    It's common in Canada for CDA (Completely Denatured Alcohol) to have the Methanol base.
    Denatured alcohol, in the US is ethyl alcohol adulterated with methyl to make it toxic to drink (usually 10 to 15%)
    The can I have in the garage is Ethanol and has all the nice chemicals in it other than gasoline

  9. #9
    Crusty GrindCore cmfx_2's Avatar
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    Great, thanks for all the replies! Can't wait to clean my rotors now!

  10. #10
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    You might try a paint store. Alcohol is used as a thinner for shellac, so many paint stores carry it.
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Methyl Hydrate is the base of most kinds of Denatured Alcohol so yes it's totally fine to use it

    Because Isopropyl Alcohol is commonly sold watered down, and I'd rather buy more go than no. It will work but Denatured works better
    Nope. Thank you for playing. Methyl hydrate is also known as methanol, methyl alcohol or wood alcohol. Denatured alcohol is almost pure ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, plain alcohol, grain alcohol, moonshine or sippin' whiskey. Stuff is added to ethanol to make it either distasteful or poisonous to make it denatured. Sometimes, and there are dozens of ways to denature ethanol, methanol is added to ethanol. This makes it poisonous. Methanol is highly poisonous and is rather readily absorbed through the skin while ethanol is only moderately poisonous and not as easily absorbed. Consuming methanol will lead to blindness, convulsions and death at a fairly low level of consumption. Methanol is also more flammable than ethanol. It is therefore not a good substitute for denatured alcohol.

    Chemically methanol has 1 carbon, ethanol has 2 carbons and isopopyl alcohol has 3 carbons. Flammability goes down with increasing carbon content because volatility also goes down with increasing carbon content.

    More than you wanted to know, I'm sure but forewarned is forearmed.
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  12. #12
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Denatured alcohol is almost pure ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, plain alcohol, grain alcohol, moonshine or sippin' whiskey. Stuff is added to ethanol to make it either distasteful or poisonous to make it denatured.
    Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Most 'denatured alcohol' you see in US hardware and paint stores comes from a company called Klean Strip, who 'denatures' their ethanol with 55% methanol. I know denatured alcohol is 'supposed' to be nearly 100% ethanol, with just a few percent of something else, but since methanol can be reformed from natural gas, where ethanol has to be a fermentation byproduct, it is much cheaper to make it mostly methanol. If you have other sources, you can always contact the manufacturer (or check their website) for an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) that will show, in detail, what the chemical blend is. All companies are required by law to provide MSDSs to their customers.

    Methanol is highly toxic, like mentioned, but ironically, exposure to ethanol can limit the poisonous effects of methanol. Methanol is metabolized by your alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme into formaldehyde, which is terribly toxic stuff (of course), and really the bad part about methanol. However, if you consume ethanol, your body will work on the ethanol before beginning to work on the methanol, which can give your kidneys time to remove the methanol and pee it out before you actually metabolize it. Really truly wicked hangovers (the kind with the splitting headache) are usually caused by methanol poisoning, since bourbon, red wine and brandy all contain high levels of methanol as side fermentation products that aren't removed through filtration, and may be concentrated through non-fractional distillation (ol' fashin' pot stillin'). You don't feel the effects during the night, but if you get enough methanol in you, your body will begin to metabolize it come morning, and you begin to feel the toxic effects. Interestingly, this means that the 'hair of the dog that bit you' cure for a hangover actually has some merit, a shot of liqour in the morning can get some ethanol in your system, and 'distract' the alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes long enough for your body to expel the unmetabolized methanol. I recommend vodka, since it has the lowest methanol content of any of the spirits, due to how it is made.

    Oh man, did I just write that much about methanol? I don't think cyccommute and I should be allowed into the same thread anymore.

    peace,
    sam

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex
    Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Most 'denatured alcohol' you see in US hardware and paint stores comes from a company called Klean Strip, who 'denatures' their ethanol with 55% methanol. I know denatured alcohol is 'supposed' to be nearly 100% ethanol, with just a few percent of something else, but since methanol can be reformed from natural gas, where ethanol has to be a fermentation byproduct, it is much cheaper to make it mostly methanol. If you have other sources, you can always contact the manufacturer (or check their website) for an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) that will show, in detail, what the chemical blend is. All companies are required by law to provide MSDSs to their customers.

    sam
    Depends on where you buy it. The big box stores sell Kleen-strip which now has a formula that is 80% methanol, the rest is ethanol and other stuff. (Should really be called methanol in that case.) Parks Corp sells to smaller places like True Value and Ace and their formula is mostly ethanol with 1% toluene and benzene added. Either way, it's a good idea to wear gloves and work with it outside and in small amounts.
    Stuart Black
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  14. #14
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Methanol is highly poisonous and is rather readily absorbed through the skin while ethanol is only moderately poisonous and not as easily absorbed. Consuming methanol will lead to blindness, convulsions and death at a fairly low level of consumption. Methanol is also more flammable than ethanol. It is therefore not a good substitute for denatured alcohol.
    ...

    More than you wanted to know, I'm sure but forewarned is forearmed.


    Ah, so nice to have someone to save us from our stupid selves. How many accidents by intrepid BF DIYers will you prevent, cyccommute?

    Thanks for more valuable info, you and all the other chemists aboard.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Because Isopropyl Alcohol is commonly sold watered down, and I'd rather buy more go than no. It will work but Denatured works better
    In Canada at least, "pure" isopropanol is available in drug stores at the pharmacist counter (but not on the shelves).

  16. #16
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Nope. Thank you for playing. Methyl hydrate is also known as methanol, methyl alcohol or wood alcohol. Denatured alcohol is almost pure ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, plain alcohol, grain alcohol, moonshine or sippin' whiskey.
    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex
    Klean Strip, who 'denatures' their ethanol with 55% methanol. I know denatured alcohol is 'supposed' to be nearly 100% ethanol, with just a few percent of something else, but since methanol can be reformed from natural gas, where ethanol has to be a fermentation byproduct, it is much cheaper to make it mostly methanol.
    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Depends on where you buy it. The big box stores sell Kleen-strip which now has a formula that is 80% methanol,

    Beyond the chemistry it's FINE to use it. Wear your gloves!

  17. #17
    Crusty GrindCore cmfx_2's Avatar
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    Dang, there's a whole lot of trivia I'll impress people with at my next cocktail party!

    Actually, I tried the methyl hydrate this afternoon and took her for a spin, works like a charm.

  18. #18
    there ARE no bad rides
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    When do you guys find time to ride?

  19. #19
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    When do you guys find time to ride?
    Before and after work, where I'm paid to think about that kind of stuff all day.

    peace,
    sam

    P.S. Sometimes I think about that sort of stuff WHILE I ride, but don't tell my riding partners, or they'll realize I'm not listening to them.

  20. #20
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F1_Fan
    In Canada at least, "pure" isopropanol is available in drug stores at the pharmacist counter (but not on the shelves).



    Why?


  21. #21
    Hauja
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    Why would anyone ever want to drink ?knowing you are ingesting a poison.

  22. #22
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James H Haury
    Why would anyone ever want to drink ?knowing you are ingesting a poison.
    Ethanol isn't really a poison. The methanol in some alcoholic products is a bit of an accident. Of course, people knowingly ingest poisons all the time. Artificial sweetners and colorings, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and more, all on the food you eat, and in the beverages you drink. Even your water has things in it that are typically thought of as poisonous, like flouride and chloramine.

    Everyone consumes poison, you just get to pick your poison. Thats what great about our world. Choose your own ending.

    peace,
    sam

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aj in ma
    When do you guys find time to ride?
    I ride when I'm not tied to a stupid machine that makes me take readings every 2 minutes. When I am tied to the stupid machine, you have to do something to pass the time.
    Stuart Black
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  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex
    Ethanol isn't really a poison. The methanol in some alcoholic products is a bit of an accident. Of course, people knowingly ingest poisons all the time. Artificial sweetners and colorings, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and more, all on the food you eat, and in the beverages you drink. Even your water has things in it that are typically thought of as poisonous, like flouride and chloramine.

    Everyone consumes poison, you just get to pick your poison. Thats what great about our world. Choose your own ending.

    peace,
    sam
    Ethanol is a poison. It's just slower than methanol. Ingest too much of it over a short time span and it causes respiratory arrest. Colorado has had at several deaths in the last year die this way.
    Stuart Black
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    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  25. #25
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn

    Beyond the chemistry it's FINE to use it. Wear your gloves!
    It's all about the chemistry. Given what I know, as a chemist, about methanol, I would not use it personally. Methanol is highly toxic and easily absorbed through the skin. Used by someone who has no knowledge of what it is or how dangerous it is, it could cause a great deal of harm especially if they don't take proper precautions.

    So, no, it's not FINE to use. It may work but you should be knowledgable about what you are using and how to use it as with any solvent.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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