Barbicide vs Isocol

Discussion started by babybadger, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. babybadger

    babybadger Member

    Over in the states the Yanks seem to be a big fan of 'scrubbing bubbles' and 'barbicide'. I've read around a bit (including searching through P+C's threads), and have seen that 70% alcohol is also used by those with no access to barbicide. Would you guys know of any reason people seem to prefer barbicide over alcohol?
  2. glenos

    glenos Member 2018 Sabbatical 2015 Sabbatical

    Barbicide is a cationic (+ve charge) surfactant, read detergent as well as a biocide. So it would provide a cleaning effect as well as sanitising.

    70% alcohol is a standard disinfectant, and works by lising the cells of bacterial.

    Both should work fine.
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  3. Pbgoose

    Pbgoose Member

    I've been using Barbicide for a while and am happy with it (though am unable to test for efficacy apart from no deaths resulting from infections - oh, and no apparent infections either).
    My understanding from reading various forums is that the alcohol only kills when the alcohol is evaporating, not from the actual contact so maybe not as effective on hidden gunge as soaking contact with barbicide. Alcohol is probably more likely to cause damage to some finishes as well. I don't apply alcohol to celluloid scales on straights for example.
    Because I use straights the issue with the scales was the more pertinent point for me (I don't soak the scales in barbicide, just more precautionary in case of contact).
    I've used Barbicide on brushes as well without any apparent ill effects or staining.
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  4. RustyBlade

    RustyBlade Member 2018 Sabbatical

    As said, both will work very well (y) though Isocol is the cheapest and readily available including the local supermarket.
    Another very cheap alternative is methylated spirits (98% ethanol) which is also readily available and is what I use.
    Though not used like Isocol in businesses/practice as highly flammable hence the market for Barbicide.

    If considering Barbicide and you have a mate working in a medical environment ask them about Glutaraldehyde. Similar price to Barbicide and easily more efficient. 2% Glutaraldehyde will disinfect any item completely.

    Again nothing wrong with the above and all work perfectly and probably all you need. Just another modern option that is very effective to consider.

    *Edit alcohol or Isocol shouldn't damage celluloid items. Acetone definitely will.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
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  5. Pbgoose

    Pbgoose Member

    Didn't know alcohol wouldn't damage celluloid. Might try it on some old scales I replaced if I've still got them there.(y)
  6. RustyBlade

    RustyBlade Member 2018 Sabbatical

    Correction, it does and can. But it depends on the strength of it I think above ~80% and more so on a nitrate based celluloid.
    If will revive the outer layer mildly. So any crystallisation or opaque layer will be removed or cleared. Nitrate based will regel the celluloid if I'm remember rightly with pure enthanol but leaves a residue of byproduct that buffs off.
    Low solutions are fine for cleaning but don't soak it.
    We restored a celluloid camera Case with abrasives and alcohol to clean it.
    You would have to use alot or soak it to wreck it.

    *Edit Hold off. Did some more reading on this. Going to email a chem mate to confirm this further.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  7. glenos

    glenos Member 2018 Sabbatical 2015 Sabbatical

    The water in the 70% ethanol mix is important, pure is not as effective, unless you ignite it. The water allows penetration into the cell to denature the proteins on the inside. So, 180ml of your finest method diluted to 250ml with tap water will get the job done.

    The quaternary ammonium chloride in barbicide is pretty reactive, and will tear cells apart.

    An aqis approved cleaning agent is Virkon.
    My organic chemistry is horrible so I cannot comment on the celluloid scales questions.
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  8. Substance

    Substance Member

    Used alcohol for str8s for a very short while but have been using barbicide for years now, tried and true is the theory
    Ii use it for others str8s before use then post shave testing before sending out after honing ,
    It is relatively cheap realy, as it is diluted about 10:1 with water for use and each batch lasts a long time if kept out of sunlight also,
    10 minute max soak and you are good to go
    I never submurge the scales in it as it will stain some light materials, but it is only the steel that needs doing anyway
    And most vintage Str8's or DE's for that matter that have sitting for years will be safe anyway as nearly all bugs die after a couple of years I am lead to believe, plus any polishing or honing will remove them as well
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  9. Arnold J Rimmer

    Arnold J Rimmer Member 2017 Sabbatical Fail Artisan Producer

    What @Substance has written is my experience. I use a double-strength version of the barbicide... only because the hairdressing supplies place near my work, had run out of actual barbicide.

    The only issue I have read about that alcohol doesn't affect, is spore-based cling-ons. Some of the big words that @glenos has mentioned, are very effective at neutralising these. Apparently, so is a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide.

    A lot of vintage instruments from out in grazing country, apparently are prone to having small amounts of historical anthrax spores on them, which are capable of laying dormant for more than 70 years. That factor doesn't bother me too much, but I like to know a clean blade is scraping my face.
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