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Pure Ethanol (at 100%) applied to a single-celled organism will coagulate its protein. This ring of coagulated protein prevents the Ethanol from penetrating deeper into the cell. This reaction will keep the organism dormant and possibly back to life when Ethanol was to washed away. 

70% Ethanol penetrates the entire cell before it had a chance for its coagulation to block it. The entire cell is then coagulated, causing the cell to die. 

 

What Microbes Can 70% Ethanol Kill?

Ethanol mixed with purified water mixed to a ratio of 70% will slow the evaporation rate. Having a longer contact time of more than 10 seconds, Ethanol kills: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Serratia marcescens, E. coli, Salmonella typhosa, Staphylococcus aureus & Streptococcus pyogenes

 

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