Does Drinking Alcohol Kill Bacteria?

Drinking Alcohol Kill Bacteria

Some of us think that through drinking alcohol, we can get rid of bacteria because it kills bacteria, but it’s totally wrong. New studies have observed that bacteria can’t be killed by drinking alcohol. Many solutions that have a concentration of alcohol of 60% can only be effective against viruses when applied on the hands or on other surfaces that can be harmful or virulent. But if you are drinking a high proportion of alcohol, it can be fatal for your health and can make you suffer the severity of the outcomes afterward.

The Myth Of Saint Luke’s Hospital 

On 7th of March 2020, Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, United States, issued a letter saying that the usage of alcohol is found to kill harmful bacteria and viruses like Covid-19. The news spread like fire and circulated on Facebook. Vodka was named the alcoholic type, which is the most effective one in killing the harmful germs of Covid-19. Later on, it came out that this news was nothing more than a piece of fake news. 

Hand Sanitizers and Disinfectants 

Have you ever read the description about the proportion of various ingredients used in making hand sanitizers and disinfectants? Well, if you haven’t, then read this carefully. Most hand sanitizers and disinfectants use a high or more ratio of alcohol as compared to the rest of the ingredients. This is because it is believed that the usage of alcohol kills the germs and viruses present on your hands and various other surfaces of your body. But this doesn’t mean that alcohol can also kill the germs present within your body. Those germs can never be killed like this. Instead of it, drinking can cause various health issues.

Why Can’t Germs Be Killed by Drinking?

 Drinking Alcohol Kill Bacteria

At a very enough or high concentration, alcohol can gain the ability to destroy the viruses by simply denaturing or by the amalgamation of the viruses, making proteins, forcing them to lose their structure and making them ineffective and inactive. Only 60% of alcohol in various products is used to kill or denature viruses and kill germs. About 60%-90% are the optimal rates or levels. For this reason, Purell, a hand sanitizer, only has a 70% level of ethyl alcohol. For this reason, alcoholic brands like Gin, Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, Tequila, etc., only have 40% of alcohol by the volume of ethanol.

Certain types of alcohol even aren’t able to kill germs when used at the level of 60% ABV. They won’t help the body in gaining any resistance against the viruses or fighting against the viruses to kill germs. Some of them, mostly the grain alcohols, even can’t make a body able to kill viruses or germs when being used at 90% ABV.

The blood alcohol level would still require more alcohol to fight against the viruses. Blood alcohol levels of 0.35% or 0.40% are usually representative of potentially a fatal type of alcoholic poisoning, so if you’d try to consume more in order to kill viruses or germs in the bloodstream, the ethanol of this level will kill you before killing the germs instead.

The sanitizers that consist of alcohol should be avoided as much as possible and should only use the sanitizers that are specified as hand sanitizers. Even to make this sanitizer effective in killing germs, one must put it on hand for at least 30 seconds to get a proper reaction. Various commercial sanitizers are more applicable for killing germs because they consist of foams and gels that take more time to get evaporated and are more effective.

Even after using the hand sanitizers, one is advised to also clean his hands with soap afterward. For people who want to stay healthy and hygienic, it is also advised not to use sanitizers more and use the process of social distancing and avoid unnecessary handshakes with people. This shows that it’s better to not use hand sanitizers. Only then would you will be able to achieve good hygiene. 

Drinking Makes You More Prone to Germs

Excessiveness of alcohol consumption can suppress the immune system leading it to make the body more prone to germs. The more the person intakes alcohol, the more chances get develop of cutting off the microflora present in the gut, which can damage both the liver and the spleen, both are important for the immune system. As we all know that our immune system works as a safeguard against germs, a weakened one won’t ever be able to fight against the germs and ward off infections. 

Kills Some or All Viruses or Germs

A very common question arises in our minds can alcohol kill all the germs or viruses, or can it only kill a few specific germs? Many studies have taken place over a period of time to examine this and get to a conclusion. Recent studies have shown that alcohol, when used in a concentration of 60-90% ABV, can kill many harmful germs like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Alcohol can diminish harmful and common bacteria like E.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella. In contrast, the bacteria like Enterococcus faecalis have become more resistant to alcohol over the past years. 

A number of viruses can also be killed by using the 60-90% ABV of alcohol. These viruses include hepatitis B, herpes, influenza, rhinovirus, HIV, and coronavirus, among various others. Although it kills various viruses, it is still found to be ineffective against the viruses like hepatitis A and polio. Various fungi can also be treated with alcohol, these include Blastomyces dermatitidis and Coccinididodes immitis which can cause various fungal diseases.  


A specific proportion of Alcohol can only kill germs and virulent bacteria. Sometimes even the proportion doesn’t work, and the overall result gets fatal. There are various other ingredients as well that are mixed with alcohol in the sanitizers and disinfectants that are used to kill the germs. The mixing of those ingredients together results in the destruction of viruses and germs. Alcohol solely cannot do anything other than harm. So, it is concluded that alcohol, although being used in disinfectants and sanitizers, can’t fight against or kill germs when consumed in. 

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