Fragrance Odor Control Solutions For Isopropanol Sanitizers (2023)

Covid-19 presents many challenges to a frightened populace who has not for more than a century (1918 Spanish Flu) experienced the dread associated with a contagious virus that knows neither cure nor vaccine.

The only weapons experts promote so far are preventive measures, such as social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands with hand sanitizer, which has caused a dire shortage of the supply of the ingredient, isopropanol.

In the early stages of the pandemic, isopropanol, which is also known as isopropyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol and IPA, became very difficult to obtain and very costly.

Fragrance Odor Control Solutions For Isopropanol Sanitizers (1)

Consequently, manufacturers turned to ethanol in its stead, but until our perfume masters at Alpha Aromatics addressed its stinky smell with the development of new fragrance additives, this was an issue solved only by expensive carbon filtration systems, which require a great deal of time and effort to install.

Its offensive odor is the result of the manner in which the ethanol is produced, and can range from a very malodorous rotting garbage smell to tequila, fermented corn or an herbal spirit, all of which are undesirable for hand-sanitizers.

In fact, the New York Times wrote about our odor control solutionsfor ethanol-based sanitizers.

Isopropyl alcohol has recently become more available and prices have come down due to the simple economic principle of supply and demand, and while ethanol is still in use by some, many more fragrance formulators are now developing fragrances that utilize isopropyl alcohol for use in hand sanitizers.

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These products fall into two groups: alcohol-based, which are more common; and those that contain no alcohol. The most commonly used hand sanitizers featuring alcohol are made from either isopropyl alcohol or a form of denatured ethanol, normally at a 70% concentration.

Fragrance Odor Control Solutions For Isopropanol Sanitizers (2)

A Brief History of Isopropanol Alcohol

IPA was the first commercial synthetic alcohol created by chemists at the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (later Exxon Mobil) back in 1920 while studying petroleum oil products.

Its major use at that time was not rubbing alcohol, but oxidation to acetone, which was first used in World War I for the preparation of cordite, a smokeless, slow burning fuel composed of 30 to 58 percent nitroglycerin, 37 to 65 percent nitrocellulose and 5 to 6 percent mineral jelly.

Today, IPA is the most widely used disinfectant within the pharmaceutical, hospital, electronics and medical device manufacturing industries, and is often used as a solvent. Although it retains a tell-tale odor, it is nowhere near as bad as ethanol.

Isopropanol vs Ethanol

Hand sanitizers must contain 60% to 62% alcohol for ethanol or 70% alcohol for isopropanol in order to be effective tools in the arsenal against the corona virus. Both of these compounds destroy microorganisms by penetrating cell walls, damaging membranes, and destroying the properties of proteins.

Ethanol may be used in purely surface-cleaning applications. For disinfecting surfaces, ethanol and isopropyl alcohol are nearly equally efficient. As disinfectants, both are typically at a concentration of 70 percent in water. Ethanol, however, cannot be utilized in higher concentrations because it evaporates too quickly and isn’t as effective in lower amounts.

Discover how our scents complete the mission of surface cleaning disinfectant brands!

(Video) ASMR smelling rubbing alcohol

Fragrance Odor Control Solutions For Isopropanol Sanitizers (3)

Both ethanol and isopropanol are capable of dissolving lipids, which makes them effective against lipid-wrapped viral cells, such as HIV and hepatitis. The two evaporate at a similar rate and destroy bacterial and viral cells by the same mechanism, but because isopropyl alcohol is not as effective at dehydrating living tissue, it is a better solution for disinfecting skin than ethanol.

They are also both relatively inexpensive and easy to handle, although their vapors can be flammable. The difference is that IPA can also double as antiseptic and is often used in hospitals for this purpose. Also, the two vary in effect when rubbed onto the skin.

Manufacturers deliberately denature ethanol as a means to avoid the costly excise tax associate with drinkable ethanol. Foul tasting chemicals (denaturants) such as: methanol; pyridine, isopropyl; alcohol; acetone; methyl ethyl ketone; methyl isobutyl ketone and denatonium combine to render ethanol undrinkable.

In addition, ethanol’s offensive odor is at least in part, the result of the fact that it is derived from natural products such as: corn, wheat, grain sorghum, barley, potatoes, sugar cane and sweet sorghum.

Alpha Aromatics and Our Fragrance Solutions

Our perfume masters at Alpha Aromatics continually work to meet the dynamic global needs of manufacturers from a vast array of industries. Family-run and with routes stretching back to the aftermath of World War II, we are pioneers within the perfume industry.

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Our continued success is no accident. We invest heavily in the most innovative scientific tools, and the laboratories in their expansive 85,000-square foot Technology Center, which is situated in suburban Pittsburgh, has the most innovative, cutting edge equipment known to industrial science. Some of these include: gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, head-space analysis, distillation, extraction and quality control technology.

Our technologies are and always have been sustainable, and reflect a love and respect for planet Earth. Our carbon footprint has always been a major concern of ours, even long before sustainability became fashionable and politically correct. We are bound by strict ethics and regulatory standards, including those outlined by ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), RIFM, IFRA, Oregon Tilth, the National Products Association and ISSA.

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A Dedicated Fragrance Line For Isopropanol Sanitizers

In addition to fine fragrances, we also offer the world’s most efficient and effective options for odor-control additives, and today we have undertaken the gargantuan task of harnessing all our skills to help combat Covid-19 by successfully reducing offensive odors and providing isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitizers with a pleasant scent to a fearful population.

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After much research and laboratory experimentation, our research teams at Alpha Aromatics team have developed a dedicated line of fragrances, which effectively work to reduce the sharp and musty odor of alcohol in hand sanitizers that are made from isopropyl alcohol.

Tea Leaves

Bursts of sour sweet lemon and succulent orange form the top notes of this intriguing fragrance. These elements soon surrender to a heart note comprised of minty, fresh and sharp eucalyptus, gingery, intense lemongrass and deeply aromatic and savory tea leaf.

The scent completes with a bottom note featuring aspects of rich, warm amber, woody and dry cedar wood, creamy, slightly powdery sandalwood and sensual musk.

Citrus Blossom

This fragrance opens with a citrusy/fruity top note characterized by sweet, succulent clementine, green, inviting apple, tangy and slightly woody raspberry and tart, uplifting grapefruit.

A heart note soon follows featuring refreshing, floral and spicy freesia, sweet, dusty violet and fresh, honeyed orange blossom. A base note characterized by warm rich amber and sensual musk completes the scent.

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Top notes of crisp apple, sour sweet lemon and piquant red berries soon blend into a middle note marked by sharp and savory camphor, peppery, zesty spices and balsamic and woody pine. The scent finalizes with a base note containing elements of rich and earthy amber, sensual and passionate musk and dry woody and green aged oak.


A rush of invigorating citrus, crisp and green apple and fresh clean, cucumber comprise the top notes of this fruity/floral fragrance. These aspects give way to a heart note of intoxicating and haunting jasmine, sugary, powdery violet and luminous, exotic lily. A leafy green and woody base note completes this alluring scent.

In Conclusion

Who can say how long Covid-19 will remain a threat to human life and health? Hopefully, one day soon it will all be a bad memory dimly recalled.

Whatever the answer, the need for hand sanitizers to help protect populations from common flus and other bacteria and viruses will always remain. And as long as that need remains, we too will always be looking out for our customers and insuring that we provide the best we can offer to them both in good times and in bad.

If you are a company seeking new fragrances for hand-sanitizers, send us a message or call our team today! We’re here to help — +1-412-252-1012.

What Fragrances Work Best With Isopropyl Hand Sanitizers?

Certain fragrances are more effective in masking the odors associated with Isopropanol alcohol, or IPA, when used within hand sanitizing products. In our experience, the following blends effectively mask these odors: Tea Leaves, Citrus Blossom, Applewood and Cucumber.

(Video) Isopropyl Alcohol As a Cleaner

Photo Credits: Pixabay


How do you stop isopropyl alcohol from smelling? ›

Certain fragrances are more effective in masking the odors associated with Isopropanol alcohol, or IPA, when used within hand sanitizing products. In our experience, the following blends effectively mask these odors: Tea Leaves, Citrus Blossom, Applewood and Cucumber.

What is the odor of isopropanol? ›

Isopropyl Alcohol is a colorless liquid with a sharp, musty odor.

Does isopropyl alcohol eliminate odors? ›

Rubbing alcohol has several potential uses for personal care and household cleaning. These uses include cleaning bites and piercings, eliminating odors, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and items within the home.

How do you make smelly hand sanitizer smell good? ›

Adding 1% cucumber-scented solution neutralized most (but not all) of the malodor of the liquid sanitizer.

Is rubbing alcohol the same as isopropyl alcohol? ›

Rubbing alcohol is a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water. Sometimes, it contains additional ingredients. By contrast, isopropyl alcohol is pure alcohol with no other ingredients. Because rubbing alcohol contains isopropyl alcohol, the two liquids have similar properties, but they are not the same.

What can you use 99 isopropyl alcohol for? ›

It's commonly used in automotive manufacturing and repair for various surface preparation tasks such as cleaning surfaces before paint is applied. Since high concentrations of IPA are an effective cleaning solvent, it's also perfect for removing paint, ink, grime, and certain adhesives.

What is the difference between isopropyl and isopropanol? ›

For clarification there is no difference whatsoever. They are the same chemical. Unfortunately there are many different naming conventions, this does lead to some confusion. So look for the two commonly used names Isopropanol Alcohol 70% or Isopropyl Alcohol 70%.

Why is isopropanol used for cleaning? ›

Isopropyl alcohol is a potent antimicrobial, killing microorganisms by inhibiting their growth and stopping their spread. It kills 99.99% of germs within 10-30 seconds of its application, making it one of the best sterilization tools. IPA kills bacteria by damaging the cell wall of an organism.

Is isopropanol a good disinfectant? ›

70% isopropyl alcohol kills organisms by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipids and is effective against most bacteria, fungi and many viruses, but is ineffective against bacterial spores (CDC, 2020).

Can you use isopropyl alcohol for air freshener? ›

To make your own air freshener combine 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with approximately 20 drops of essential oils , mix well and then add 1 cup distilled water and mix again. Let the mixture rest for a couple of days, and then use as needed.

What does isopropyl alcohol remove? ›

Rubbing alcohol is a natural bactericidal treatment. This means it kills bacteria but doesn't necessarily prevent their growth. Rubbing alcohol can also kill fungus and viruses. However, it's important a person uses a rubbing alcohol concentration of no less than a 50 percent solution.

Does isopropyl alcohol work for perfume? ›

Isopropyl alcohol is unsuitable for use in perfumes since it has a strong smell and is harsh on the skin. Furthermore, you may run into trouble dissolving your raw materials in it. Finally, rubbing alcohol as sold also contains added water which can interfere with your perfumes further.

Can I add essential oils to alcohol sanitizer? ›

In a clean bowl with a clean spoon, mix the isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel together until well combined. Add in the essential oils (these are optional; we like all three for a nuanced scent, but you can also just choose to add a few drops of one oil).

How do you make scented liquid hand sanitizer? ›

  1. 1 cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol)
  2. 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
  3. 1 teaspoon of 98% glycerin.
  4. ¼ cup, 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of sterile distilled or chilled boiled water.
  5. Optional: Add a few drops of an essential oil for fragrance and for some bonus bug-fighting power.
Dec 7, 2022

How much fragrance to add to hand sanitizer? ›

Start for 3 to 5 drops of fragrance, then add more if needed.

When should you not use isopropyl alcohol? ›

Avoid using any rubbing alcohol on painted, shellacked, lacquered, or varnished surfaces, including treated wood. Certain fabrics: The isopropyl in alcohol can be a great stain treatment on certain fabrics, removing all evidence of difficult stains like ink, grass, grease, or sap.

What is better than isopropyl alcohol? ›

isopropyl alcohol as a home cleaning product. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , ethyl is generally considered superior to isopropyl alcohol, but both types of alcohol are effective at killing flu and cold viruses.

Should I use 70 or 91 isopropyl alcohol? ›

A lower percent alcohol means there's more water diluting the mix in the bottle. But according to microbiology, 70 percent alcohol is probably more effective than 91 percent for disinfecting—depending on what kind of germs you're trying to kill.

Is 91% isopropyl alcohol good for disinfecting? ›

While 70% isopropyl alcohol makes a very effective disinfectant, the more concentrated version of 91% isopropyl alcohol also has some incredibly beneficial uses. This liquid can also be used to clean and disinfect surfaces, and it's safe to use on skin too.

What is the difference between 70 and 99 isopropyl alcohol? ›

What is the difference between 70% and 99%? When you say 99% Isopropyl alcohol, it means that the liquid is made up of pure isopropanol. An Isopropyl alcohol 70%, on the other hand, is pure isopropanol diluted with 30% purified water by volume.

What happens if I drink 91 isopropyl alcohol? ›

Isopropyl alcohol is also extremely irritating to the digestive tract. Drinking a lot of it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and bleeding in the stomach and intestines. This can lead to dehydration, low blood pressure, shock, and coma.

What can I use instead of isopropanol? ›

The best alternative from an overall health and environmental standpoint is hydrogen peroxide. This chemical is used in either a 3% or 6% concentration in water today and, in contrast to IPA, it is capable of controlling spores in addition to bacteria.

Why is isopropanol toxic? ›

Mechanism of toxicity: Isopropyl alcohol is 2 to 3 times more potent a central nervous system (CNS) depressant than ethanol. Its metabolism to acetone (another CNS depressant) can prolong sedation or coma. Large ingestions may lead to respiratory arrest, hypotension due to vasodilation, and myocardial suppression.

What is 70% isopropyl alcohol known as? ›

Therefore, 70 percent isopropyl alcohol is known as pharmaceutical alcohol.

Why is 70% isopropyl alcohol the most effective concentration for disinfection? ›

70% IPA solutions penetrate the cell wall more completely which permeates the entire cell, coagulates all proteins, and therefore the microorganism dies. Extra water content slows evaporation, therefore increasing surface contact time and enhancing effectiveness.

What is isopropanol also known as? ›

Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC name propan-2-ol and also called isopropanol or 2-propanol) is a colorless, flammable organic compound with a pungent alcoholic odor.

What is the difference between isopropyl alcohol and sanitizer? ›

Rubbing alcohol contains between 68-72% of isopropyl alcohol. The remainder of the solution is usually water. The big difference between rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer is that rubbing alcohol contains denaturants. This makes rubbing alcohol unpalatable for human consumption.

Which is better sanitizer isopropyl or ethanol? ›

Both alcohols are flammable, and both are used as disinfectants. There are varying grades of both in terms of purity, ethanol is more widely used in wet laboratories whereas isopropyl alcohol is preferentially used to disinfect electronic devices.

How do you make room spray with isopropyl alcohol? ›

In a glass mix together the rubbing alcohol and 10-20 drops of your essential oils. Pour 1 cup of distilled water into the spray bottle and add the alcohol/essential oil mix. Shake well before spraying your linens! This homemade room spray is excellent for making any stale room smell fresh!

Can I use isopropyl alcohol with essential oils? ›

Since essential oils do not mix with water, ethanol is used to solubilize ("dissolve") essential oils into the water without too much separation. You can use ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, but it needs to be at least 95% alcohol. You can also use plain vodka, but if you do so, do not add water.

How do you make a sanitizing spray with isopropyl alcohol? ›

Here's how to do it: Combine 1 1/2 cups rubbing alcohol with 3/4 cups water and 15 drops each of lavender and lemon essential oil in a metal or glass spray bottle. You can use this spray to disinfect everything you would typically use Lysol for, including toilets, laptops, bathrooms surfaces, door handles, and more.

Is 70% isopropyl alcohol the same as rubbing alcohol? ›

Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol are not the same. Rubbing alcohol consists of isopropyl alcohol and some water. Sometimes it contains other additional ingredients. On the other hand, isopropyl alcohol is pure alcohol with little to no water and other ingredients.

What can you use 100 percent isopropyl alcohol for? ›

Perfect for cleaning computer screens, phones, iPad screen, and is non-streaking: Use 100% Isopropyl Alcohol Straight. General window cleaner: Use 100% Isopropyl Alcohol Straight. Removes ink: Use 100% Isopropyl Alcohol Straight. Cleans glass: Use 100% Isopropyl Alcohol Straight.

Why should you spray your bed with alcohol? ›

Alcohol works two ways to kill bedbugs. First, it acts as a solvent, which means it eats away the bug's outer shell. The dissolving action might be enough to kill some bedbugs, but alcohol delivers a one-two punch. It also acts as a desiccant, a substance that induces drying out.

What alcohol is best for perfumes? ›

Take away: Ethanol is the best, safest, alcohol to use for perfumers who intend to apply their perfume to their body.

What percentage alcohol is good for perfume? ›

Thus, perfume extract,commonly known as perfume,contains a rate of concentration of essence that varies from 20 to 40%. Alcohol in this category accounts for between 60 and 80% of the total mixture.

What alcohol do you use for fragrance? ›

Ethanol (denatured) –Alcohol which is the main carrier for the fragrance oils. This evaporates quickly as it is warmed by skin temperature releasing the fragrances evenly over the surface.

Can I add fragrance oil to isopropyl alcohol? ›

Add 1/4 tsp., or about 10 to 15 drops, of essential oil or fragrance oil to the isopropyl alcohol.

Which essential oil is best for sanitizer? ›

There are a handful of essential oils that may assist as antiviral and antibacterial ingredients that give any DIY hand sanitizer that extra boost!
Top essential oils to consider when making homemade hand sanitizer:
  • Lemon.
  • Sweet Orange.
  • Eucalyptus.
  • Rosemary.
  • Lemongrass.
  • Clove.
  • Thyme.
  • Peppermint.
May 6, 2020

Which oil is best for sanitizer? ›

Essential oils will help mask the smell of alcohol. Our favorites are lavender or citrus-scented oils such as lemon or orange. Next, whisk all ingredients together and pour into a container. Make sure to label your hand sanitizer with an adhesive strip.

Can you put fragrance oil in hand sanitizer? ›

Don't add essential oils to your Hand Sanitizer unless you plan on testing the resulting formulation in a lab for safety, stability, and efficacy. The same goes for making your own DIY Hand Sanitizer which comes with many of its own problems and concerns.

How do you add scent to liquid hand soap? ›

How to Make Scented Foaming Hand Soap
  1. Fill the bottle with about 1/2 inch of liquid hand soap.
  2. Add approximately 20 drops of essential oil {I used grapefruit for the kitchen and lavender for the bathrooms}
  3. Fill with water just to the bottom of the 'pump'
  4. Shake gently to combine.

How do I make my own liquid scent? ›

Add about 25 drops of your favorite essential oil to 2 tablespoons of baking soda and stir to combine. Lemon and lavender are great choices, but eucalyptus is my favorite because of the refreshing scent. Pour the baking soda and essential oil mix into the water and stir. Then funnel the water into your spray bottle.

How much fragrance do I add? ›

A: The industry standard is considered 0.5 ounce of fragrance per pound of wax. For double-scenting, you would use 1 ounce of fragrance per pound of wax. For triple-scenting your candles you can use 1.5 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax. Make sure to confirm the wax you are using will hold that much fragrance.

How much fragrance should I put? ›

A common amount to use is 6% or 1oz per pound of wax. This can be adjusted up or down depending on the type of wax you're using and personal preference.

How do you know how much fragrance to use to spray? ›

There is no magic amount to use, but as a rule of thumb, two spritzes directly to the skin should always be plenty—sometimes too much. Before wearing a new perfume out, test its potency at home. Try one spritz on a pulse point, dabbing excess on others, and make note of how strong it is.

Does isopropanol smell like alcohol? ›

Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC name propan-2-ol and also called isopropanol or 2-propanol) is a colorless, flammable organic compound with a pungent alcoholic odor.

Does propanol have a smell? ›

N-propanol appears as a clear colorless liquid with a sharp musty odor like rubbing alcohol. Flash point 53-77 °F.

What does isopropyl acetate smell like? ›

Isopropyl Acetate is a colorless liquid with a fruity odor.

What is the odor of ethyl alcohol? ›

Ethyl Alcohol is a clear, colorless liquid with a wine-like odor. It is used in alcoholic beverages, as a solvent, and in making other chemicals.

What is another name for isopropanol? ›

Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC name propan-2-ol and also called isopropanol or 2-propanol) is a colorless, flammable organic compound with a pungent alcoholic odor.

How much isopropyl is toxic to humans? ›

According to, "The approximate lethal dose of 90 to 100 percent isopropanol for human adults is only 250 milliliters, or about 8 ounces." Eight ounces. To put it in perspective: the average shot glass is 1.5 ounces. A can of Coke is 12 ounces. Ingesting only eight ounces of rubbing alcohol can kill you.

Why does isopropyl alcohol have a strong smell? ›

The most commonly used alcohol-based hand sanitizers are either made with isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol. “That off-putting smell—sometimes described as rotten garbage or tequila-like—is the natural byproduct of ethanol being made from corn, sugar cane, beets, and other organic sources,” Zlotnik said.

Which solvent is smell less? ›

Acetonitrile is something you'd think would have an interesting reek, but it defies expectations (and breeds doubt as to the broad-spectrum utility of the human nose) by having absolutely no smell at all. Many of the really polar solvents have that feature.

Which alcohol can you not smell? ›

Beer and wine, for example, are the least intoxicating drinks but will cause the strongest odor. A much stronger drink, such as scotch, will have a weaker odor. And vodka leaves virtually no odor at all.

Is isopropyl used in perfume? ›

Isopropyl alcohol is unsuitable for use in perfumes since it has a strong smell and is harsh on the skin. Furthermore, you may run into trouble dissolving your raw materials in it. Finally, rubbing alcohol as sold also contains added water which can interfere with your perfumes further.

What chemical is used for deodorization of ethanol? ›

By running the ethanol through a Carbtrol Activated Carbon filter, undesirable odors are eliminated. Typical organic impurities that are removed by Carbtrol's filters include acetaldehyde, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and sulfur-based compounds.

Which is better isopropyl or ethyl alcohol? ›

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that 70% ethyl alcohol is a powerful broad-spectrum germicide and is considered generally superior to isopropyl alcohol. However, both provide adequate germicidal properties.

What's the difference between ethyl and isopropyl alcohol? ›

The vital difference between isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol is that the latter is safe for human consumption, while the former is hazardous for ingestion. However, denaturants added to ethanol in industrial disinfecting and cleaning products make it unpalatable for consumption.


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