View Full Version : Alcohol for silicone caulk

05-26-2011, 11:12 AM
I read you're supposed to use "denatured" alcohol to clean and smooth silicone caulk.

Have you guys had any problems using plain "rubbing" alcohol (isopropyl)?

05-26-2011, 11:17 AM
Rubbing alcohol is denatured alcohol.


05-26-2011, 11:22 AM
"Denatured" means that something poisonous has been added to ethanol to make it undrinkable. Isopropyl alcohol is toxic to consume on its own, and is sometimes used as a denaturing agent. By the very definition, you will only see ethanol described as denatured.

However, I don't know that isopropyl won;t work, try it and see.

05-26-2011, 11:44 AM
Rubbing alcohol is denatured alcohol.


I did some searching on this and apparently they are different.
One is ethanol with a denaturant (as zrexxer mentioned), the other is isopropyl.

I'm going to go the store and look at a bottle of this "bead tamer" to see what the exact ingredients are.

I bet it's just an $8 bottle of alcohol. I just have to find out which type of alcohol.

05-26-2011, 11:53 AM
"Rubbing Alcohol" is actually a little ambiguous. It can be either denatured ethyl alcohol or Isopropanol. Although, Isopropanol is usually associated with the name "Rubbing Alcohol".

Denatured Ethyl Alcohol can be purchased at any hardware store or home center in the paint department.


05-26-2011, 01:05 PM
"Denatured" means that something poisonous has been added to ethanol to make it undrinkable.

Just ran on a moron who stated that he rubbed it on his tongue, by taking a big gulp... Yep they walk amongst us.

05-26-2011, 01:12 PM
Water, H20, both the denatured non-potable and potable non-grey varieties all work as well:lol_hitti

I would use some water and a wet rag to smooth it out. I always use as little caulk as possible on woodwork, etc and work it in with a wet finger and wipe off the excess.

05-26-2011, 01:33 PM
I use Windex to smooth caulking. Cheap and readily available.

05-26-2011, 01:35 PM
I almost always use rubbing alcohol as a precleaner for caulk and adhesives

When I was messing with R/C cars in the '90's I used to re-cap some of my tires with silicon, and to keep it from sticking I would dip my finger in a cup of water with some dish soap added.