Eli5:How does alcohol kill germs??


We all grew up knowing that alcohol wipes makes things clean as it kills germs but we drink it all the time so how does the kill mechanism work??

In: 4


To resolve the apparent contradiction, your question has a false assumption in it.

When you drink alcohol, it absolutely does damage and kill human cells too. That’s why it increases your cancer risk. It’s not like our cells aren’t immune to it in some way that bacteria cells aren’t.

It’s just that bacteria only *are* one cell, so if alcohol kills that cell, that’s it it’s dead. But humans have tons of cell, so if doing a shot kills a few thousand cells in your mouth and throat, you can regrow them.

…But every time cells divide there’s a chance something messes up and it becomes cancer.

Denaturation – proteins require a specific shape to function. Alcohol can alter that shape and make them useless. Bacteria rely on the products that proteins make and die due to lack of those products.