Ethanol for cleaning desks?

At my last school I used to clean ink off desks with a dash of ethanol.

My new school it's frowned upon due to the fire risk.

Would the ethanol more or less just evaporate away being spread thinly over a desk and being agitated by wiping?

Unless a student spontaniously combusted - I can't see the risk.

Please tell me if I'm wrong?
 
As soon as the desk is dry (ie, after about 30 seconds !), the ethanol has gone from there. And unless you're using masses of it, there won't be enough vapour in the air to worry about.

Sounds like someone who doesn't understand science wrote the H&S rules !

(If they won't let you use ethanol, I'm sure there's some alcohol hand gel lying around somewhere that everyone was slapping liberally over their hands for two years without a thought for the possibility of bursting into flames :rolleyes: it works very well for cleaning ink off desks !)
 

Peter Dale

Dammit man! I'm a technician, not a magician!
Propanol tends to work better for ink I've found (especially for permanent or long-dried dry-wipe marks), but that would pose the same flammability "problem" you're up against, plus the fumes. Used in modest amounts though, neither are a risk for the reasons JFKtech has already given, so long as it's being done sensibly, i.e. not spraying the desks while active Bunsens are burning (which is not a suggestion of something you would do, more to illustrate the worst case scenario for using it - outside of spontaneously combusting kids).
 
Why did this make me smile... :vampire:
DO people still spontaniously combust - or was this a thing people only did in the 80? - like mis matched lumo socks?

I had a book about it and I was obsessed as a child - the image of the old lady burnt to a crisp with her slippers intact (science mind - not psycho mind).
 
DO people still spontaniously combust - or was this a thing people only did in the 80? - like mis matched lumo socks?

I had a book about it and I was obsessed as a child - the image of the old lady burnt to a crisp with her slippers intact (science mind - not psycho mind).
UPDATE - I just had to google it otherwise I will be wondering all day - 2010 it was the cause of death listed by a coroner in Ireland. (So says WIKI).

 
At my last school I used to clean ink off desks with a dash of ethanol.

My new school it's frowned upon due to the fire risk.

Would the ethanol more or less just evaporate away being spread thinly over a desk and being agitated by wiping?

Unless a student spontaniously combusted - I can't see the risk.

Please tell me if I'm wrong?
You're correct, though I'd allow sufficient ventilation time... not so much for safety as so the next occupants don't benefit from inhaling any trace alcohol fumes, too ;)
Personally, I find alcoholic hand sanitiser marvellous for desk ink; the gel component holds the alcohol content in contact with the surface long enough for it to solvate...
 

labtech666

COMMITTEE
DO people still spontaniously combust - or was this a thing people only did in the 80? - like mis matched lumo socks?

I had a book about it and I was obsessed as a child - the image of the old lady burnt to a crisp with her slippers intact (science mind - not psycho mind).
I think we had the same book! That picture haunted me for years
 
Mostly we leave the desks to our cleaners, but if we do have to get anything off ourselves we use hand sanitiser. Mainly because that comes out of health and safety's stock rather than using something like ethanol which is from science stock. I try to avoid wasting our chemicals on something like desk cleaning.
 

CovTech

Lvl 38 Alchemist
COMMITTEE
Coroners spend thier life waiting to write "spontanious human combustion" and to classify a viking hoard as treasure.
These are people with a medical degree so you'd hope they'd be above the pseudoscience explanation

Next thing they'll be blaming heart attacks on the banshee's cry, leprechauns curse or some other tripe
 
DO people still spontaniously combust - or was this a thing people only did in the 80? - like mis matched lumo socks?

I had a book about it and I was obsessed as a child - the image of the old lady burnt to a crisp with her slippers intact (science mind - not psycho mind).
The image of the old lady has always fascinated me too. It does make you wonder.
 

CovTech

Lvl 38 Alchemist
COMMITTEE
Didn't they decide it was most likely a cigarette plus super flammable 70's nightwear?
Something called the "wick effect"?
 

karen b

COMMITTEE
UPDATE - I just had to google it otherwise I will be wondering all day - 2010 it was the cause of death listed by a coroner in Ireland. (So says WIKI).

Thank you for checking- it saved me from wondering the same. Not sure I had the same book, but I definitely remember reading about it (and trying hard not to think about it afterwards in case it happened to me)
 

STEMTech

Dave
I have used ethanol, but some inks are difficult to shift.
I got an aerosol of graffiti remover from the site team which seems to remove all inks, even dried-on thick biro.
Pongs a bit though.
 
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