What Are the Different Types of Alcohol?" Could you tell me about the different types of alcohol? Thanks."
– M.W., San Diego, CA
The four types of alcohol are ethyl, denatured, isopropyl and rubbing. The one that we know and love the best is ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol or grain alcohol. It's made by fermenting sugar and yeast, and is used in beer, wine, and liquor. Ethyl alcohol is also produced synthetically. Synthetic ethyl alcohol is not used in beverages, but you can feel its cooling presence in hand sanitizers and perfumes.
Denatured alcohol is ethyl alcohol that has been mixed with smelly, toxic, or nauseating substances called denaturants to keep people from drinking them. They're used in cleaning and stain removal products.
Isopropyl or isopropanol is made from propylene gas. It's similar to synthetic ethyl alcohol and is poisonous if consumed. You'll find it listed on the ingredients of windshield washers and nail polish removers. Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol diluted with water. All alcohol is not the same—keep the ethyl alcohol on the table and keep the others under the kitchen sink.