Methylated spirits is another word for denatured alcohol. Or Ethanol alcohol that has been de-naturalized. Yes, Methylated spirits are the same alcohol that you drink to get drunk on, yet it has been treated with poisons to ensure you do not do so.
Why ruin such a pure ethanol beverage by adding things to destroy its rate of consumption?
Taxes. Profit. It’s That Simple.
Without the additives to discourage the consumption of methylated spirits, the purity and dirt cheap price methanol spirits would be an easy alternative to vodka. And much purer.
(Methylated spirits still have the share people who try to drink it, the result can end up being blindness. No matter how bad you need to drink, I’m sure you don’t want to be blind. So avoid drinking denatured alcohol at all cost.)
Even though drinking it is out of the equation, methylated spirits have a lot of other uses and a surprising amount of folklore and urban legend surrounding them.
Table of Contents
Is Methylated Spirits the Same Thing as Mineral Spirits?
No. Methylated spirit is made from grain alcohol and mineral spirits are made from petroleum.
Is Methylated Spirits the Same as Rubbing Alcohol?
No. Both are made from ethanol alcohol but methylated spirits have additives that make them poisonous and foul-smelling. Which also makes it unsuitable to use on your skin.
Rubbing alcohol is used for sterilizing and as an antiseptic, therefore it is pure. Rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol is suitable to use on your skin and is often used to clean wounds and remove dirt and oil from your skin.
What are Methylated Spirits Best Used For?
Cleaning glass and Mirrors
It’s great for cleaning glass, mirrors, tiles, and metal surfaces, leaving a streak-free finish. It’s also effective in removing ink stains, sticky residues from labels, and cleaning keyboards or electrical equipment.
Paint Thinning and Removal
Methylated spirits can be used to thin paint or to clean brushes and other painting equipment after use. Denatured alcohol is good for cleaning shellac out of your brushes. But it will not work for oil or acrylic and latex. Denatured alcohol also has the added benefit of being able to tell you what type of painted surface you are dealing with. By applying a small amount of denatured alcohol onto a painted surface, you can quickly whether or not it has a shellac or varnish sheen.
Fuel for Camping Stoves and Lanterns
Ethanol is a great stove fuel. And since methylated spirits are primarily ethanol with additives to keep you from drinking it, it actually makes a good stove fuel. Be warned that not all camping stoves are designed to use methylated spirits.
Since denatured alcohol has such a high ethanol content, it tends to burn very hotly. Which has in turn created a crisis of people being burned using it as fuel. So much so that PubMed has declared that it should never be used as a fuel.
Window Frost Prevention
Methylated spirits can be used to prevent frost on windows during winter when applied to the glass. This works because the alcohol lowers the freezing point of water, preventing ice from forming on the surface. It’s particularly useful for car windshields and home windows in cold climates, ensuring clear visibility and reducing the need for scraping ice.
Methylated spirits can be used to kill aphids on plants when diluted with water. This mixture, when sprayed directly onto the affected plants, helps in controlling aphid infestations without using harsh chemicals. It’s important to use a diluted solution to avoid harming the plants, and it’s advisable to test it on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.
Methylated spirits are effective in removing grease from surfaces like kitchen counters and stovetops. Its quick-evaporating nature ensures that it doesn’t leave any residue, making it ideal for cleaning surfaces where food is prepared. Additionally, it’s a good choice for degreasing mechanical parts in workshops, as it cuts through grease and oil easily, leaving the parts clean and residue-free.
Will Methylated Spirits Kill Mold?
Methylated spirit is an excellent cleanser for removing mold. Denatured alcohol is an all-around excellent bathroom cleaner. It can be used to clean porcelain, marble, shower curtains, and windows. Only remember that denatured alcohol is also a solvent for shellac. So stay away from trying to clean anything that has a varnish veneer.
Denatured alcohol is an excellent spot cleaner on laminate floors. Due to its un-abrasive nature, it will remove grease and nail polish without scratching.
What are Methylated Spirits not Good For?
Methylated spirits have an uncommon amount of urban legends connected to them. If it methylated spirits weren’t so dangerous, the reasons that people have come up with to use them would be funny.
Here’s a small list of some of the misnomers and unusual things that some people claim methylated spirits can do.
Can Methylated Spirits be used as a Antiseptic?
No. Just the opposite, methylated spirits have been treated with poisons that will burn the skin rather than help clean it.
Is it Safe for Skin?
No. Methylated spirits is also called denatured alcohol because it has been changed through the addition of additives that have been put into it to discourage consuming it.
The additives are smelly and poisonous. Not conducive to Skin Care. If you get denatured alcohol on your skin, you should wash it off immediately by running water over the area for at least 10 minutes.
Can You Clean Wounds with Methylated Spirits?
Methylated spirits are poisonous and should never be put on an open wound.
Can You Drink Methylated Spirits?
Methylated spirits are dangerous to drink. It has been intentionally poisoned with additives that not only smell bad, can actually cause blindness. It should never be consumed as an alternative to any alcoholic beverage despite its origin of being pure alcohol.
Will Methylated Spirits Stimulate Hair Growth?
Urban legend has it that using methylated spirits on your scalp can hope your hair grows faster. The alcohol content of the methylated spirit is said to be the catalyst.
But the truth is just as methylated spirits is dangerous if it gets on your hands or face, it is also dangerous on your scalp.
There are other types of products that have alcohol in them that you can put on your scalp and experiment with hair growth with.
But denatured alcohol is poisonous and should not ever be applied to your scalp or any other part of your body.
Will Methylated Spirits Help a Beard Grow?
Many people believe that the alcohol content in methylated spirits will help a beard grow out faster. But Methylated spirits are treated with additives that make it dangerous to ingest or get on your skin.
There are many other products like aftershave or rubbing alcohol that could be experimented with as beard growth enhancers but denatured alcohol will not help your beard grow, it will only burn your face if you put it on it.
Does Methylated Spirits Kill Lice?
Methylated spirits should not be applied to your child’s head as an insecticide. Technically the alcohol content in methylated spirits will kill lice but it will also severely burn your scalp in the process.
Rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol will kill lice and not injure your child.
An easy recipe to remove lice from your child’s scalp is to put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray your child’s head very well with it. Be very careful not to get it into their eyes.
After the alcohol has sat on their head for about 10 minutes, liberally apply hair conditioner to their head and begin to comb out the lice, wiping the comb off every time you bring it through the hair.
Does Methylated spirits help Acne?
Methylated spirits are not good for acne or pimples because their poisonous content will burn the skin. Rubbing alcohol can be used for removing oil from your facial pores safely, but denatured alcohol should never be intentionally applied to the skin.
Can you get rid of Ringworm with Methylated Spirits?
Because methylated spirits contain menthol, it has been mentioned that it is a good solution for getting rid of ringworm. But because it contains menthol does not mean that it should be used as a topical solution for any type of fungus including ringworm or athlete’s feet.
A better solution is an over-the-counter fungus spray.
Can Methylated Spirits be used for Skin Lightening or Bleaching?
Another urban legend that has popped up is that methylated spirits will bleach and lighten your skin. This is totally unfounded and is dangerous. Putting denatured alcohol intentionally on your skin will burn. It has been intentionally treated with additives that are poisonous and should never be ingested or applied topically.
Methylated spirits or denatured alcohol have a lot of pros and cons.
As a cleaner, it is excellent for cleaning anything greasy and makes an outstanding bathroom cleaner that can handle mold and lime as well as leave a streak-free clean mirror.
It is also a great choice to remove fingernail polish from clothing and other surfaces like the floor and carpeting.
It is also excellent as a solvent for removing shellac and prepping for a paint job.
But as a topical skincare solution for cleaning wounds, antiseptic care, acne, fungus and ringworm, lice removal, or a solution for helping hair grow, it should never be used.
So in the final summary, when it comes to methylated spirits:
Inanimate objects, Yes
Animate objects, No!!
Health and Safety Guidelines for Methylated Spirits
Methylated spirits, known as denatured alcohol, contain ethanol that has been treated with additives to make it undrinkable. These additives are toxic and can cause adverse effects if mishandled. It’s crucial to understand and adhere to safety guidelines when using methylated spirits.
Methylated spirits are intentionally poisoned to prevent consumption. Despite being derived from ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages, the additives in methylated spirits make it dangerous to ingest. Ingestion can lead to serious health risks, including blindness and organ damage.
This substance is highly flammable, posing a significant risk of fire and burns. It should be used away from open flames and heat sources, and stored in a cool, well-ventilated area.
Skin and Eye Irritation
Methylated spirits can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. It’s recommended to wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling it. If it comes into contact with skin or eyes, rinse thoroughly with water.
Inhaling the fumes can be harmful. Use in a well-ventilated area to minimize the risk of respiratory issues.
Dispose of methylated spirits responsibly. Do not pour it down the drain or into the environment. Check with local waste management guidelines for proper disposal.
In case of ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation, seek immediate medical attention. Do not induce vomiting if ingested.
Use in DIY and Home Remedies
Despite its various uses, methylated spirits should not be used as a home remedy for medical or cosmetic purposes. Its toxic nature makes it unsuitable for treating wounds, skin care, or hair care.
In conclusion, while methylated spirits have numerous practical applications, they must be handled with care due to their toxic and flammable nature. Always prioritize safety when using this substance.