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TEK - Detoxifying mouthwash via distillation

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by bcubed, May 11, 2007.

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  1. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    I currently have a bit of time on his hands, and happened to be in a grocery store where he happened to read the active ingredients in motuhwash:

    Ethanol: 23.6%
    Water: 76.2%
    Eucalyptol: 0.092%
    Menthol: 0.042%
    Methylsalylate: 0.06%
    Thymol: 0.064%

    The interesting thing is (most likely not having to pay U.S. taxes on consumable alcohol) the cost per effective unit of ethanol is exactly 1/3 as much as rotgut vodka. [pretty sure RELATIVE prices are OK]

    Now, this raises two questions:
    1. Is it safe to drink as is?
    2. Could simple distillation remove the impurities?

    As for 1., Wiki indicates two of the ingredients as toxic, most significantly Methyl Salycate. It indicates fatalities in children at 4ml. Now, in a 1.5L bottle, 1500X0.0006=0.9ml, so drinking the 1.5L bottle (a LOT of booze) shold not be overly dangerous to an adult.

    As for 2, the boiling points of the adulterants are as follows:
    eucalyptol: 176C
    menthol: 212C
    methyl salicylate: 222C
    thymol: 232C

    AS water boils at 100C, and ethanol at 78C, it would seem very easy to extract the ethanol from the solution with any decent distillary apparatus.

    Now the problem, swimmers, is that--as tax has not been paid on the mouthwash--distilling (or even drinking it) is highly illegal. As much as John Law hates illegal drugs, he REALLY hates not getting his cut of the legal ones.

    Also, the labor involved really requires distilling at least 10gal at a time. I suspect SWIM might run into resistance at buying 30 bottles of moutwash at once. Could SWIM order direct from the supplier?

    Any imput (especially from those that have tried this) is appreciated.
     
  2. Swimster

    Swimster Palladium Member

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    As for consumption, just as you said-Methyl salicylate-is a no no[toxic!].
    But the distillation method sounds plausable. It would be fairly safe, seeing
    as how the boiling points of adulterants are way higher than that of Ethanol. Pretty
    simple one if you ask swim.
     
  3. Pondlife

    Pondlife Platinum Member & Advisor

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    It's possible to concentrate the Ethanol quite easily, but I doubt that it's easy to get rid of the taste and smell of those adulterants as they will be carried over in the vapour.

    Steam distillation is often used to extract essential oils, which often have boiling points similar to the adulterants you mention, and are also similarly volatile. I expect that any distallation procedure would carry the adulterants over in a similar way.

    I'm sure that a distillation process would reduce the concentration of the adulterants, but I'm not sure if it would reduce it to a non-hazerdous level let alone a drinkable level.
     
  4. geezaman

    geezaman Gold Member

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    my logic is arguing with him as he posts this, mainly because it sounds dumb, and is to a degree, but please read whole post to see where SWIM coming from... Recently in the UK an individual making alcopops in south england was jailed, because he was making them by basically mixing ethanol with fruit juice and flavourings. so can ethanol be formed by chemistry , for say industrial purposes, rather than produced, like vodka is by fermentation and distillation?, if so could the same reasons that the individual was locked away, for making a consumable alcohol drink from ethanol pertain to this? after all they are not adding vodka to mouthwash but ethanol? I do know that vodka is ethanol and methanol, hopefully significantly less of the latter.
    to put it as a basic question , are we sure that the ethanol in this product is safe to consume.
    as a side note anyone thinking of knocking back a few bottles of mouthwash as well as poisoning, will get very bad diarrhea most likely
    stupid question over (but hopefully yous can see how I got 5 or 4 (whether its right or not) from his 2+2)
     
  5. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    Well, SWIM can't comment on the intracies of UK law, but what he suspects was going on there was the guy who got popped wasn't paying the appropriate alcohol tax. The punishment for dodging such taxes is ofen at least as severe as selling illegal drugs.

    Now, in the U.S., brewing beer and wine for personal use has been legalized, but distillation of alcohol FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION is still illegal, or, rather, requires so much paperwork and fees that only a commercial producer could afford to jump through all the hoops. One can legally make alcohol as a fuel, by paying several hundred dollars to various gov't agencies and esentially saying: "Attention feds! I have a still! Feel free to come on my property anytime!"

    But, thanks to Prohibition, the U.S. has had thriving illegal distillation operations (basically because bootlegging whiskey presents fewer logistical problems than bootlegging a bulkier product such as beer).

    ALL ethanol is...well...yeast excrement, and getting much higher than 20% alcohol requires distilling.

    And as for the safety questions:
    1. Methanol is present in exceedingly small amounts in grain or sugar based spirits. Fruit juices (and alcoholic products therof) have much more. As no methanol is listed in mouthwash, it's doubtful the manufacturers would risk the fines associated with adulterated products and throw it in there. So we're safe from that standpoint.
    2. As mentioned, consuming 1.5L of this product would expose one to 20% of a LD for children of the most toxic contaminant. So while it might give one a headache, it shouldn't do permenent damage. Additionally, mouthwash manufacturers surely know some desperate souls drink their product, and wouldn't want the suits involved if drinking it proved fatal.

    So, my query wasn't whether distillation could make a fatal product safe, but could one synthesize vodka from it at a substantial savings over store-bought vodka.
     
  6. ib9ub6

    ib9ub6 Newbie

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    Distilling Mouthwash

    I have a bottle of mouthwash and on the back of it says alcohol not dentured alcohol would it be possible to distill it in a tea kettle still?
     
  7. Potter

    Potter Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    No. Go make or buy some booze. Do not drink mouthwash. Do not attempt to clean it with a home made still. There is no reasonable justification to attempt such a thing.
     
  8. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    Lizard tried this a few years ago and was unable even to remove the food dye. The only thing that was left behind was the saccharine!

    This would seem odd, due to disparate boiling points, but I think there's a means of chemical combination that resists distillation?

    Yeah, stick to alcohols intended as a beverage.
     
  9. bigloc

    bigloc Newbie

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    You would be better off just making some mash or buying alcohol.
     
  10. cra$h

    cra$h Palladium Member

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    it's a different kind of alcohol isn't it? Mouthwash isn't the best way to get drunk. More sick than anything.
     
  11. ninjaned

    ninjaned Silver Member

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    i think its isopropyl alcohol.
     
  12. Stimulants

    Stimulants Gold Member

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    In the U.S. cosmetics are made with specially denatured alcohol. These formulations are not levied liquor tax, but they must only be used for approved purposes.

    The U.S. treasury dept has a complete list of formulations:
    http://www.ttb.gov/industrial/sda.shtml go to regulations.

    completely denatured alcohol formulations are not subject to usage restrictions, but they are not going to be used in food as they're denatured with things like benzene, gasoline and kerosene.

    SD alcohols have some risk of diversion and it should be possible to distill out the ethanol. If anything, it would be a good thing to learn distillation skills on. It would have to be distilled no less than three times to reach azeotrope of 95.5% or 192 proof.
     
  13. Sven99

    Sven99 Palladium Member

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    Presumably since mouthwash is intended for oral use, it won;t have poisons added to it - dental companies don't want to risk lawsuits when people accidentally swallow it. This swimmer is behind the previous posts though. Don't try to distil mouthwash. Read up on brewing, make something and distil that.
     
  14. Zuloom

    Zuloom Newbie

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    Like mentioned, by law all alcohol not taxed for consumption is denatured. From what I understand they mix methanol, a poison, to denature the ethanol. Because methanol is lighter than ethanol, if you were a very skilled distiller and had a thermometer meant for this practice, you might be able to pull the methanol out first, chuck it, then distill the ethanol. However, the risk is far too great. I for one value my sense of sight!
     
  15. bcubed

    bcubed Gold Member

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    Re: Distilling Mouthwash

    I found that many of the "adulterants" (more likely "active ingredients" for its desired use) were toxic, but not fatal, even if one drank the entire bottle.

    This makes sense: mouthwash is a product indended to be used orally, so it's unlikely they'd be allowed to add methanol, or any of the nastier poisons. (I've never come across methanol in a product even intended for topical use). Also, through many years of drinking, and a few short stints in AA, I've heard numerous accounts of getting drunk off of mouthwash...and living to tell the tale.

    (That's not to say the practice is advisable: one of the adulterants--methyl salicylate--is present in such quantity that one would consume 25% of an LDLOW dose per bottle. Can't imagine that's particularly healthy in a long run, and probably would contribute to an unusually nasty hangover, short-term.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2010
  16. Jatelka

    Jatelka Psychedelic Shepherdess Platinum Member & Advisor

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    And on that note...

    CLOSED
     
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