Methylated spirits in clinics

The chemical exposure and risk to Therapists and their patients’ needs to be considered to avoid skin and eye irritation as well as ingestion or inhalation where children may be present. Alternate products such as Skin Prep wipes or Spray may be more appropriate and reduce the risk of adverse eye or skin irritations, inhalation or oral ingestion.

The safety data sheet (SDS) for Methylated Spirits (>95% Ethanol) indicates that symptoms that could result from repeated skin exposure including burning or a cracked appearance and defatting leading to dermatitis (Rechochem SDS, 20 February 2017). A Therapist may have to repeatedly apply tape to the same area of skin over a prolonged period and it is important to reduce the risk of skin reaction to both the therapist as well as to enhance the therapeutic effect for the patient of the taping. There is also the risk of inhalation, eye contact and ingestion if the chemical is not stored correctly out of children’s reach, or if in a rush the lid is left unlocked.

Methylated spirits

Practice owners and Therapists should consider reducing the risk to themselves as Treating Therapists and their patients by using a suitable alternative such as Skin Prep wipes or spray. Skin Prep spray in particular eliminates hand contact by the Therapist and reduces the chance of ingestion risk to children. Isopropyl alcohol (75-100%) is the active alcohol ingredient in Skin Prep wipes and spray and may be less likely to cause a skin irritation as lower quantities of alcohol are applied in spray and wipe formats (Smith & Nephew SDS No 6, 20 December 2016). In lower concentrations it is less likely to irritate the Therapist’s and the patient’s skin with longer term use and may help to achieve a better therapeutic outcome for the patient. A win for both you and your clients!

Written by Ryan Gilliman


Smith & Nephew Safety Data Sheet, Skin Prep Wipes.  No 6, 20 December 2016.  Retrieved via:

Rechochem Safety Data Sheet, Diggers Methylated Spirits, 20 February 2017.  Retrieved via: