Denatured alcohol vs 95% ethanol vs isopropyl


Thoughts? Been looking to see the contents of denatured. I can’t find anything specific other than it is ethanol with poison. I’ve cleaned some parts with it and it works way better than IPA. Is it exactly the same as 95% ethanol? Should I worry about it hurting the vat?



Not sure yet. The denatured alcohol I looked at had methanol listed first and I’m not positive but I think I saw acetone as well.



We use 95% ethanol as it is readily available and it works faster than IPA. But we also wash it with an ultrasonic cleaner with cleaning agent after a minute bath in ethanol.



Denatured alcohol is ethanol “plus”. The “plus” depends on the brand and, possibly, country. In the States, the brand I get from the pharmacy (“chemists”) has isopropanol (IPA) added to make it unpalatable. This is just something to keep in mind with IPA soluble materials, some denatured alcohols will fog them or worse. If acetone or mineral spirits is added as a denaturant, then it can seriously damage plastics.

In the States, 95% ethanol can sometimes be purchased as “undenatured alcohol” at hardware stores (or, if you are feeling cheeky, as “Everclear” from liquor stores). It is sometimes sold in pharmacies, as well. Depending on the State you are in, you may need a business license (and a valid ID) to purchase from a non-liquor store source. 200 proof (100% alcohol) is also available from chemical supply companies, but it does contain a trace amount of benzene, which will also damage plastics.

1 Like


Found the SDS for the denatured alcohol that I bought:

1.Ethyl alcohol {Ethanol} 40.0 -50.0 %
2. Methanol {Methyl alcohol; Carbinol; Wood alcohol} 50.0 -55.0 %
3. Methyl isobutyl ketone {Hexone;Isopropylacetone; MIBK;4-Methyl-2-pentanone} 1.0 -4.0 %
4. Acetic acid, ethyl ester {Ethyl acetate} 0.5 -1.5 %
5. Heptane 0.5 -1.5 %

Anything in there that will hurt the resin, build plate or vat?

I am looking not for a place to get just the ethanol.



I would be concerned about the MIBK and ethyl acetate (and possibly the heptane). They are both pretty good solvents. However, they are present at relatively low concentrations. Depending on the materials used, they might fog the bottom of the vat if left in contact for “long” periods of time.

On as separate note, based on something mentioned in an another post, they may also damage the exterior of the machine.



cool thanks!! I just used it to clean the VAT really quick and then used soap and water to wash it away. looking for plain 95% ethanol now.



Methylated spirits which is commonly sold in Australia and NZ is pure ethanol with Denatonium Benzoate added. The Denatonium Benzoate doesn’t do anything except make it unbearably bitter to drink and is significantly cheaper than isopropyl. I’ve been using it and one wash is usually enough to clean my parts.



@DevildogDMD so far I hit the liquor store for some 190 proof / 95% ethanol grain alcohol.

I’m looking in to ventless fireplace fuel that would seem to be ethanol with a bitterant added (linked below). I don’t know what the bitterant is but I know it’s about 1/3 the price. The liter of booze was $17 US but E85 is less than $3, go figure. The ethanol does seem to work better than the 99% IPA.



hmm I got this kind of IPA and it works amazing. No sticky at all.



Do you know that bioethanol is used for fireplaces? It helps to make them safe for the environment. My family is using it for a year and we are fully satisfied. I’ve bought mine from Planika

1 Like


Table top fireplace fuel is 100% ethanol in the U.S. Its called Regal Flame premium fireplace fuel it does have BITR a bitterant added to it so children or pets will not drink it .



Then, by definition, it cannot be 100% (which it cannot anyway: the azeotrope is 95%), which raises the issue of the denaturant. BiTR is denatonium benzoate, which is probably not a problem. The issue is the solvent that BiTR is in, which can be ethyl acetate. To quote a colleague: “try it and find out”, just don’t do it on an important vat. As the FEP vats are now shipping, I will see if I can figure out the solvent tolerance of the film. It would be unfortunate to cloud/dissolve it by accident.



Been using it for a while, works great.



I started with 90% IPA. I moved to 153 proof grain alcohol. It is more expensive, but I find the alcohol works better. 153 proof is the highest concentration I can buy in my state.

1 Like


It is possible to distill past the azeotrope. Distillation just needs to be done under vacuum to achieve percentages more than 95%. Other than that, you are correct that it can’t be 100% with the additives.



Or add benzene. Either way, once opened absolute ethanol becomes 95% ethanol.

1 Like