Can you eat ethanol?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “can you eat ethanol?”. We will also talk about the uses of ethanol, furthermore, we will discuss the signs of ethanol abuse.

Can you eat ethanol?

Ethanol, otherwise called grain alcohol or drinking alcohol as the name suggests, is okay to drink in limited quantities. Yes, you can eat ethanol.

Ethanol is the intoxicating agent that is present in recreational drinks like beer, wine, and liquors. It is formed naturally by fermentation of sugar, yeast, and starches.

Drinking excess amounts of ethanol/alcohol is not recommended since it will cause a lot of health issues relating to the kidney, heart, and liver.

Ethanol is the only type of alcohol that is safe to consume by humans.

What is ethanol?

Ethanol is a type of alcohol called ethyl alcohol. It is a clear, volatile liquid that is highly soluble in water. Ethanol is also called grain alcohol because it is produced due to the fermentation of fruits and grains.

Fruits like grapes, apples, sugarcane, grains like barley, wheat, and rice, and other plants like cactus, and potatoes are fermented to produce ethanol/alcohol. 

What are the different types of alcohol?

There are four different types of alcohol namely, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol. All the different alcohols have different characters and chemical structures.

Out of the four alcohol, only one alcohol i.e. ethyl alcohol or ethanol can be consumed. All other three alcohols if ingested even in low amounts will cause serious health hazards even death. 

Isopropyl alcohol also called rubbing alcohol is used in hand sanitizers, beauty products, paint thinners, household cleaning products, and sterilisers mainly used in hospitals.

Methyl alcohol is also named methanol or wood alcohol which is used in making paint thinners, carburetor fluids, canned fuels for boats, octane boosters, and windshield wiper fluid.

 It is also converted into formaldehyde. Drinking or sniffing methanol is toxic and can cause difficulty in breathing, blurred vision, blindness, and damage to the nervous system to name a few.

Can drinking ethanol cause cancer?

Alcohol is an intoxicating drink that makes one feel happy and relaxed when consumed but has an adverse effect if consumed in excess amounts. Different types of cancer may develop if drinking alcohol is not controlled.

Cancer in the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, stomach, large intestine, colon, liver, breast, and pancreas is inevitable if a person is drinking alcohol without any limits. More a person drinks alcohol, the higher the chance of developing cancer.

What is ethanol used for?

Ethanol or alcohol is not just used as a recreational drink for intoxication of a person. It does have many other uses.

Cosmetics and beauty products

Ethanol is a major ingredient that is being used in cosmetic and beauty products. It is also used in manufacturing hand sanitizers, hair spray, polish removers, and alcohol wipes. Ethanol is effective in killing microorganisms so it is effective against bacteria, fungi, and other viruses.

Food additives

Ethanol is added to certain food products because it helps the food colour equally distribute and enhance flavour. 


Ethanol is added to the fuel to reduce the harmful emission of carbon momo oxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, and ozone-forming gases. 

Ethanol fuel has proved to be very effective in improving engine performance and increasing torque and efficiency and fewer carbon emissions.

Recreational drink

Ethanol is an intoxicating drink made from the fermentation of sugar, yeast, and starch. It acts as an antidepressant and psychotic drug which is readily available on the market worldwide. It is consumed to relax and be stress-free

Excess consumption of alcohol leads to many kinds of health issues like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and ailments related to the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. 

Household products

Ethanol is used to produce disinfectants, toiletries, alcohol wipes, paint thinners, perfumes, etc. Hand sanitizers and hand gels contain 95% alcohol. 

Low-temperature liquid

Ethanol is occasionally used in laboratories because of its low freezing point i.e. -173.20 F as a cooling bath to keep the vessels below the freezing point of water. It is also the active fluid in alcohol thermometers.

What are the signs of ethanol/alcohol abuse?

There are few signs and symptoms that are easily visible if a person is going through alcohol dependency or alcohol abuse.

  • Drinking alone and in secrecy
  • Craving and choosing alcohol over other priorities
  • Drinking at odd times
  • Constant mood changes and getting irritated easily
  • Drinking to feel normal
  • Cannot stop drinking though have negative impacts on one’s life


In this brief guide, we answer the query, “can you eat ethanol?”. We also talked about the uses of ethanol and discussed the signs of ethanol abuse.

I hope you find this blog helpful. If you have any questions, please let us know.