FRC Safety During COVID-19: What to Know When Using Alcohol as a Sanitizer

In these uncertain times, you can rely on Tyndale to provide the latest information on arc rated (AR) / flame resistant (FR) clothing safety during COVID-19. In the post and video below, we talk about what you should know when using alcohol as a sanitizer – and what you should do if it gets on your AR / FR clothing. For additional information on AR / FR safety during COVID-19, please click here.

As Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin, states in the video below, alcohol is not necessary to sanitize AR / FR clothing. Detergent and water are more than sufficient to sanitize AR / FR clothing. Also, alcohol cannot be used on hard PPE like face shields, voltage rated gloves, etc. Soap and water effectively sanitizes such PPE. But, if you’re using alcohol to sanitize other hard surfaces or equipment (truck, work space, tools, etc.) and you’re concerned about the effects on AR / FR clothing, we can help you understand how to stay safe.

Watch our VP of Technical, Scott Margolin share an important safety alert on what to know when using alcohol as a sanitizer.

Watch the video by clicking on the preview to the left.

Use the Correct Starting Concentration

First of all, it’s important to understand that there are two types of alcohol – isopropyl and ethanol alcohol. When using either one of these alcohols as a sanitizer, it’s critical to use the correct starting concentration. The correct starting concentration is at least 60% ethanol and at least 70% isopropyl. If the alcohol you’re using has those starting concentrations, and you dilute it further, please be aware you may be diluting it below the threshold where it’s effective against coronavirus (COVID-19). Make sure you know the starting concentration, and if that starting concentration is 70% isopropyl – which is very common – DO NOT dilute it further.

Stronger is Not Necessarily Better

Alcohol needs water to work. It may seem intuitive that a higher concentration of alcohol would be more effective, but that’s not necessarily the case. Not only does the alcohol get into the virus better with water, but the surface stays wet longer if there’s more water in it. So, diluting below certain concentrations is not a good idea and keeping it too strong is also not a good idea. Again, 70-90% is the ideal range to protect against COVID-19.

Alcohol is Highly Flammable

Now, what happens if you get the alcohol, which you’re using as a sanitizer on other things, on your AR / FR apparel? Alcohol is highly flammable. It will not degrade the mechanical or flame resistant properties of your clothing, however, while it’s still wet, it poses a significant flammability hazard. In other words, it acts as a flammable contaminant. So, if you get alcohol – isopropyl or ethanol – on your AR / FR clothing, please do not wear that clothing into a thermal hazard until it is completely dry. Once they’re dry, your AR / FR garments are safe to use and you will not have degraded the flame resistant properties in any way.

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