Water-soluble, short-chain and aliphatic alcohol (having acyclic carbon chains). When used as an active ingredient in disinfectants, propan-1-ol (synonym: n-propanol) denatures the microorganisms‘ protein components by attacking their outer cell membrane, penetrating the cell, destroying proteins of the cytoplasm and thus triggering cell death. This non-specific mode of action ensures that bacteria cannot develop resistance to propan-1-ol.

Propan-1-ol is the most effective alcohol. As the sole active ingredient and from a concentration of approx. 60 % w/w, propan-1-ol yields rapid and broad activity against bacteria, (yeast) fungi  and selected viruses — and serves as the reference alcohol in the European test procedure EN 12791 for surgical hand disinfection at this concentration. Propan-1-ol — also in combination with propan-2-ol and/or ethanol — is used as the active ingredient in alcohol-based hand disinfectants and surface disinfectants.

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