Isopropyl Alcohol also known as IPA, rubbing alcohol, propan-2-ol, 2-propanol and isopropanol is an incredibly handy solvent and cleaner. Do not confuse it with the cheaper propan-1-ol or 1-propanol as this damages plastics unlike Isopropyl Alcohol. Anything above 99% is suitable for most of the uses I’ve listed, the purer the better.
It can be used for
- cleaning contact connections such as on electrical devices and in cars
- cleaning tape and disk heads (floppy drives, tape players, video cassette records, tape drives)
- cleaning laser lenses (cd/dvd/bluray drives)
- cleaning CPUs before applying thermal grease (also useful for removing old thermal grease)
- cleaning mobile phones (smart phones, pdas)
- cleaning LCD monitors (may damage some types of screens)
- cleaning negatives
- a release agent for glues (for example hot melt glue used in paintless dent removal)
- and many more
Obtaining Isopropyl Alcohol in Australia however is getting harder partially due to it’s use in the manufacture of illicit drugs, chemists used to be able to supply 100% pure at a reasonable price and some outlets like Dick Smith Electronics used to sell Helmar ISO PRO which was 99.7% but no longer do carry it. Jaycar Electronics carry a 50% and finally a 99.8% concentration.
After looking around I found the following for a decent price and ended up ordering from element 14.
element14 (was Farnell)
Isopropyl Alcohol 99.7% – 1 litre for $16.65 (delivery free for online orders)
Isopropyl Alcohol 99% – 500 ml
Isopropyl Alcohol 99% – 1 litre
Isopropyl Alcohol 99% – 5 litres for $54.00 (delivery to Brisbane $22.00)
Isopropyl Alcohol 99% – 20 litres
Isopropyl Alcohol 100% – 1 litre for $13.99 (delivery $12-15)
Places that I’ve heard stock it
Altronics has 2L containers for under $40.
Prime Electronics in Brisbane
Electrolube Isopropyl Alcohol 99.8% 500 ml for $12.38
Electrolube Isopropyl Alcohol 99.8% 1 litre for $18.24
Electrolube Isopropyl Alcohol 99.8% 5 litre for $64.34
Electrolube Isopropyl Alcohol 99.8% 20 litre for $228.79
sells 20 litre drums for $144 (part number CHELISO020)