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Does Alcohol Kill COVID-19?

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Does Isopropyl Alcohol Kill Coronavirus? 

Isopropyl alcohol refers to an isomer of propyl alcohol that has antibacterial properties. It’s unclear exactly how it disinfects, but it seems as though it kills cells by denaturing the proteins and DNA in them, interfering with their metabolism. Isopropyl alcohol is found in soaps and lotions as an antiseptic agent.

Isopropyl alcohol may help disinfect surfaces and keep germs at bay. You may clean surfaces with a household cleaner like soap or detergent. Such products can help to kill most germs and, therefore, decrease the rate of infection from touching surfaces. 

Isopropyl Alcohol

Cleaning can remove most of the virus particles on surfaces. But disinfection at home is not totally necessary unless someone in your home has been recently exposed to or has tested positive for COVID-19. Nonetheless, cleaning is still recommended.

You may also clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available to you.


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Does Drinking Alcohol Kill Coronavirus?

Drinking alcohol (also known as ethyl alcohol) does not kill coronavirus. You cannot disinfect surfaces or cure coronavirus with drinking alcohol.

Consuming alcoholic beverages may actually increase your susceptibility and worsen the effects of the coronavirus. This is because alcohol weakens your immune system

While some people may use alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, doing so is a slippery slope. Unfortunately, for most people (almost two-thirds), their drinking has increased compared to their consumption in pre-pandemic times. This may be due to stress and boredom.

One study showed that people consumed alcohol an average of 12.2 days and had 26.8 alcoholic drinks over the past 30 days. Meanwhile, 34.1 percent of them reported engaging in binge drinking behavior. And seven percent of them reported engaging in extreme binge drinking behavior. The more COVID-19 impacted their lives, the more alcohol they consumed (and the more frequently they consumed it).

Can I Clean Surfaces With Alcohol to Kill Coronavirus?

You may clean surfaces with alcohol to reduce germs and decrease the possibility of infection. Many cleaning products like soaps and detergents have alcohol in them, which can help to kill germs.

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Dangers of Drinking Alcohol During the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are a number of dangers of drinking alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, excessive alcohol consumption can influence your susceptibility and the severity of COVID-19. 

Alcohol consumption is linked with multiple diseases, according to a burgeoning body of research. It might also contribute to vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Plus, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with social isolation, can also lead to excessive alcohol consumption. This is because depression and anxiety are largely linked to alcoholism. After all, alcohol is a depressant.

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans reported feeling under moderate to high stress most of the time. This COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated day-to-day anxieties. 

Women have been adversely affected, according to the U.S. National Pandemic Emotional Impact Report. They tend to face more health-related worries, changes to productivity, sleep disturbances, and mood swings than men.

Women with children under 18 years old had higher levels of anxiety than men with children of the same age — and of women without minor children. This is partly because they tend to bear most of the burden of household tasks, caregiving, and child-rearing. And, with less childcare support and remote schooling, these have only gotten more difficult.

It makes sense, then, that women have increased their heavy drinking behavior by 41 percent compared to how much they drank before the pandemic. The psychological stress related to COVID-19 is actually associated with greater drinking for women.

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Safe and Effective Ways to Kill Coronavirus 

Here are some safe and effective ways to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus. Of course, wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting vaccinated will also help to protect you against the COVID-19 virus.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can help kill germs. If used correctly, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus.

If hand washing is possible, washing with soap and water should come first. Often, hand sanitizer is easier and more accessible though.


A variety of chemicals are considered effective against viruses like sodium hypochlorite, which is commonly called bleach. A bleach solution may work to help kill the virus.


You may use a number of disinfectants to clean, such as the following:

  • Disinfecting wipes like Clorox and Lysol wipes
  • Disinfectant sprays like Purell, Clorox and Lysol sprays
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Just because a product says “disinfecting” on it, does not guarantee that it will kill the coronavirus. Look for a label that specifies coronavirus. For your hands, soap is the best option to kill COVID-19. You should always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

How to Properly Clean Surfaces to Kill COVID-19 Germs 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of catching COVID-19 from touching contaminated household surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, lightswitches, and faucets is low.  

To properly clean surfaces that may have been exposed to COVID-19 germs, you should clean at least once a day using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s List. This can help to maintain a healthy home or facility and minimize health risks.

For shared spaces or spaces where people who have been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 have been, you should clean more often.

You should always wear gloves for all cleaning tasks to safeguard your health. You should also be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds after you are done cleaning. It is important that you wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.

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Related Pages
Updated on November 2, 2021
11 sources cited
  1. “About List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19).” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 27 Apr. 2021,
  2. “Alcohol and COVID-19.” World Health Organization, WHO,
  3. “Alcohol Does Not Protect against COVID-19; Access Should Be Restricted during Lockdown.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 14 Apr. 2020,
  4. Calina, Daniela, et al. “COVID-19 Pandemic and Alcohol Consumption: Impacts and Interconnections.” Toxicology Reports, Elsevier, 2021,
  5. “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  6. “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  7. “Cleaning and Disinfecting: Best Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 9 Apr. 2021,
  8. Coronavirus and Alcohol Effects. Vanderbilt ,
  9. “COVID-19: Alcohol and Your Immune System: What You Might Not Know - BestHealth Podcast Series.” Wake Forest Baptist Health,
  10. Dawn Sugarman, PhD, and MD Shelly Greenfield. “Women, Alcohol, and COVID-19.” Harvard Health, 6 Apr. 2021,
  11. “Director's Blog: Alcohol Poses Different Challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

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