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Iodine Vs Alcohol Vs Benzalkonim Chloride

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Lampshade, May 24, 2012.

  1. Lampshade


    May 11, 2010
    Putting together some first Aid Supplies and I have little disinfectant towelettes consisting of all three of these substances.

    Are there differences in the application of these?

    Advantages or disadvantages to each?

    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  2. auto-5


    Nov 13, 2011
    Alcohol can also be used to start a fire. having things that multi task are always a good thing.

  3. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    As a consideration, 2% iodine can be used to disinfect water as well. From the research I've done, 5 drops per liter is the usual dosage unless the water is particularly foul. Let set for about 30 minutes. And iodine is a very effective antiseptic and was used a lot in the 'good ole days'.

    As mentioned, alcohol will burn of couse so it is good for a tinder bundle or if you have it in liquid (as opposed to already being in the towelet) can be used for fuel in something like a tuna can/cat can/hobo stove. 70% isoprophic or above will work.
  4. Lampshade


    May 11, 2010
    From a strictly first aid perspective.... and keep in mind all these substances are in prepackaged towelettes.... does any have an advantage or different use over the other?
  5. WolfNotSheep

    WolfNotSheep Tackleberry

    Mar 1, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Strictly from a first aid perspective....

    Alcohol towelettes/wipes are good for scrubbing and cleaning a wound. The alcohol is transparent, evaporates quickly, and leaves no residue. For small cuts and scrapes on most parts of the body alcohol wipes are sufficient, as you will likely be cleaning the wound then immediately bandaging it.

    Iodine towelettes/wipes are good for 'trouble spots' that are prone to recontamination (hands, forearms, feet, etc.) since the iodine leaves a protectant residue on the skin. Iodine is also good for when a wound will not be immediately treated and closed, such as the areas around burns or when having to use sutures.

    I have both and use both. I do not typically stock or use the Benzalkonium Chloride ones, just out of personal preference.

    The alcohol wipes are nice because they are also a firestarter, but they also have a similar benefit that not many typically think of. When living or sanitary conditions are less than ideal, such as when SHTF or other tacticool acronyms apply, all medical waste should be burned. And alcohol wipes burn very well, even when bloodied.
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  6. rem2429


    Nov 26, 2004
    Llano, TX
    Alcohol can be used as fuel.

    Providine iodine (betadine) can serve in a pinch to saturate the thyroid in the event of a nuclear event. There are some formulas for age/size and how much needs to be applied.

    Betadine can inhibit fibroblasts and is not ideal for long term wound care.

    Betadine is useful as a skin prep for surgery and is not flammable which may be helpful too. (OR fires suck)

    Some fungi are resistant to alcohol, though that is of little practical importance in first aid.

    Alcohol towlette inhaled is sometimes helpful for nausea.

    I keep a few small alcohol towlettes, a small BOTTLE of betadine and no benzalkonium.

    You left out H2O2 and ethyl alcohol which are out there as well, but less useful IMHO. (unless you want to get drunk)
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  7. Shock & Awe

    Shock & Awe

    Sep 12, 2009
    To answer your question Benzalkonium Chloride trumps alcohol and iodine. Chloro prep pads is what they are usually called and are all that are approved in hospital settings for the last few years for minor procedures. They can truly sterilize a sight specifically open wounds were pic, central lines are placed and does not leave a residue that can become infected like iodine. They are even going to discontinue use of iodine for biopsy sites and just use chloro prep pads beginning of next year. In short alcohol is used to clean the site then iodine to sterilize it but chloro prep does both with much less chance of infection.

    Yes alcohol and iodine combo is still used in major surgery's but that is because in the medical field it takes 5-10 years with several studies to change policy. Eventually chloro prep will be used for everything. Chloro prep is more expensive but much more effective. I actually have all 3 items in my BOB's and home first aid kits but my goal is to just have chloro prep.
  8. Shock & Awe

    Shock & Awe

    Sep 12, 2009
    One thing I forgot to mention is that towelettes are not 100% sterile. The only true sterile alcohol and iodine which is what is used in hospitals are the swab sticks that come in foil wrappers. Chloro prep comes in a plastic container and its contained in a plastic stick that you break to release the fluid to the pad.
  9. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Use "jelled" alcohol,IE hand wash.'08.