Difference Between Vodka/Rubbing Alcohol/Everclear?

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mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,187
379
For the purposes of cleaning out and sanitizing estates, is there any functional difference between these? What do you use and why?

 
Reactions: Mike S

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
16,673
2,126
Some would say only potable alcohol, I use 99% isopropyl just because it's inexpensive.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,187
379
Is the idea that rubbing alcohol might have some additives in it you might not want in your pipe?

 

ben88

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2015
1,192
27
I wouldn't use IPA. I wouldn't use anything that I wouldn't drink. My cleaner is either coffee or honey infusion. Global

 
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chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
16,673
2,126
Is the idea that rubbing alcohol might have some additives in it you might not want in your pipe?
That's the general idea I believe. IIRC, SPC uses denatured alcohol to clean estates.

 

ray47

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
1,232
116
I've used them all and find that Everclear cleans my pipes better then Vodka and Rubbing Alcohol. So far as the difference between the three, I don't know, I'll leave that to our chemistry experts

 
Reactions: dcon

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,187
379
Turns out that Everclear and the rocket fuel that you posted Leon isn't available in Ontario.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,298
324
Maryland
postimg.cc
99% Isopropyl Alcohol for me. Tried Everclear, booze, never could discern any advantage from that group, it's cheap here in Maryland and readily available, Walmart, etc. I think there's a half-dozen threads on this subject here, over the past 10 years. We never get consensus.

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,252
143
99% Isopropyl Alcohol for me. Tried Everclear, booze, never could discern any advantage from that group, it's cheap here in Maryland and readily available, Walmart, etc.
I used Everclear exclusively for decades. Ran out, decided to give IPA a try. No difference that I can tell.

 
Oct 8, 2017
164
11
Drug store alcohol is what I use. Works fine, and don’t feel like paying the “alcohol tax” of strong drinkable stuff just to use in cleaning pipes.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,187
379
There certainly is a cost component which is why I asked. I'm not surprised there are differing opinions on it, this is about pipes after all!

 

sumusfumus

Senior Member
Jul 20, 2017
353
10
I keep a small bottle of Rum Extract in my pipe kit. Dip the tip of a pipe cleaner and run it through the stem.. Removes tars, and all the sticky gunk that fouls up a pipe....and it smells and tastes good....but the residual taste quickly vanishes when the pipe gets smoked. It's cheap, it works. Second choice: pure, high-proof, grain alcohol that's sold in liquor stores.
The Rum Extract (McCormick's) can be bought in any large food market or where baking products are sold. Don't like Rum?....use Vanilla extract.

 
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nunnster

Member
Apr 17, 2019
131
33
Ok I'm about to go on a bit of a tirade, bare with me....there are some functional differences between ethanol and isopropyl alcohol when it acts as a solvent. In ethanol the carbon chain is stright with an alcohol group on it (OH) where as isopropyl is not a straight chain it looks more like the inside of a peace sign with an alcohol group attached to it. However with that said, for the purposes of cleaning out a pipe, atleast in practice they both seem to do fairly well and they act very similar (without knowing the composition of what makes a dirty pipe dirty, I wouldn't know exactly tho) personally I use isopropyl (I try to find as close to 100% as possible) because I know it has a fairly low evaporation point and they usually dont add anything extra in it. I would NEVER use denatured alcohol in my pipe. The whole reason it's called denatured is because that means they have added something to it, like a bittent or other fowl chemical, to make it no longer good for human consumption.... And get some of that "bitter x" in your pipe forget about it. It's so bitter its detectable in concentrations of something like 1 ppb. Might as well toss that one in the fire.

 

pipestud

Preferred Member
Dec 6, 2012
1,736
88
Robinson, TX.
I think the professional cleaner uppers who are members here would be able to offer the best advice regarding the three. I AM NOT one those, for sure. Of the three the OP mentioned, I've only used 190 proof EverClear and have been using it for decades. Works for me is all I know.

 
Reactions: dcon

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,331
1,834
Monterey Peninsula
Hot running topwater works a treat, and avoids the detrimental effects of alcohol dessicating the wood and removing essential minerals over time. There are a handful of vocal long timers who are afraid to try this, but everyone who's given it a good shot says it works great. Even removes or reduces some ghosts.

 

trouttimes

Preferred Member
Nov 26, 2018
1,518
1,748
I currently use Everclear but I have used moonshine (hey, I'm from Georgia) or Rum.