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Dec 1, 2009 09:38 AM

Denatured vs Isopropyl Alcohol for Fondue Pot

Hi all,
I'm not sure if this is the right board for this question, but here goes. I just bought a fondue pot that takes denatured alcohol for the flame. I've seen various posts saying that you can substitute isopropyl alcohol instead, but the postings didn't seem too credible. Does anyone know if I can substitute the isopropyl alcohol for denatured? I'd rather not burn the house down.


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  1. This page here:

    recommends avoiding isopropyl alcohol for stoves because it normally contains too much water and leaves a soot residue.

    1. It's been about 13 years since my last organic chemistry class, but most alcohols are all the same thing except for chain length (#of carbon atoms), which affects burn temp and rate. For the most part they are all interchangeable because the difference is only a few degrees. But like scott said, they will also produce different "leftovers" that may harm the unit. So in affect, I don't think I answered your question.

      1. Thanks. Sounds like I should just make the effort to get the denatured alcohol and use the rubbing alcohol as a back up. And I'll just keep the fire extinguisher handy!

        1. Assuming you can get 99% isopropanol, I'd use that over denatured. Denatured, by nature (apologies for the "pun") contains all sorts of other stuff that I'd rather not set on fire in a non-lab setting. ;)
          Not sure of the availability of high% isopropanol where you are, though. If all you can get is the 70%, I'd use the denatured.

          1. We've been using denatured in fondue pots for 40 years or so, and that's what I'd recommend. The typical isopropyl sold in drugstores as rubbing alcohol is about 30% water - it'll work in a pinch, but denatured really is better. As Whats_For_Dinner suggested, a higher concentration of isopropyl will work fine (maybe better), but is less commonly available, and with denatured so ubiquitous I don't think the straight isopropyl is really worth searching for.