Should be able to use strong alcohols like vodka to disinfect

I think we should be able to use alcohol to increase recovery chance of infected wounds during the “needs to be disinfected” stage of wounds. Of course since its not actual medical alcohol it shouldn’t be guaranteed and only certain drinks would work. I think vodka should increase the chance of healing to 50% of survival and lower alcohols raising survival chances to %35 chance.

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I don’t really know booze very well, so my initial thought is whiskey, which, according to this bottle, is 90 proof. I’m inclined to agree with you.

The CDC actually recommends cleaning wounds with just soap and water, as alcohol can damage the cells that help close wounds. I would think this would reduce the player’s healing rate because of this. But, specifically for disinfectant, yeah, I feel alcohol should be viable.

Especially because we count hydrogen peroxide as disinfectant, when in reality, it’s pretty trash at disinfecting.

My guess would be that hard liquors spawn pretty much everywhere, so making alcohol a disinfectant would trivialize bite wounds (more than the availability of first aid kits/peroxide already have). That’s just my guess, though.


Weaker alchohols (90 roof counts) aren’t strong enough to kill bacteria, strong alchohols are good antiseptics but damage tissue, and all of them have things you shouldn’t put in a wound like sugar that make the whole thing a rather pointless exercise.

If you want to sterilize tools, a strong alchohol is ok, but is not recommended for wound care, so the game will not be using it as such.


You would need very strong alcohols to do what you describe, stronger than what would normally be acceptable for human consumption. Vodka could be used if you boiled off some of the water, which I’ve certainly done before, but there’s already distillation recipes in the game for such things.

Using whiskey and such is problematic due to the additives as Kevin pointed out, though these can also be removed with distillation once again.

If you need a low level disinfectant I would recommend Cattail jelly. It’s trivially easy to craft and auto learned by investing just a single point in survival at character generation.

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This is a cool idea, very resourceful. : )

Just to make things a bit easier to understand proof is the alcohol percentage x2 so 100 proof = 50% alcohol alcohol disinfects/cleaners are commonly sold as 70% isoproply alcohol which is much more toxic than ethanol which is what we drink.

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I did not know what alcohol content was ideal. I also did not even consider the sugar and other gunk that would be in drinks. I think, you know, you see action heroes dump liquor in their wounds and move on with their day.


Action movies lied to me.

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Sugar is actually beneficial to the healing rate of wounds, although honey is generally better. It absorbs moisture that allow bacteria to live on the wound, accelerating healing. Unless there are other contaminants in the alcohol used, which might get in the way, high proof alcohols such as whiskey, rum, brandy, vodka, ect are a good idea to use as disinfectant, especially in a survival situation such as in the game. Not to mention it’s been traditionally used as a anesthetic in hospitals throughout history. Also Everclear/grain alcohol is almost pure ethanol, so its almost identical to rubbing alcohol


Could be worse. I knew one guy that actually thought urine was the absolute best natural disinfectant. Good thing civilization is so clean and safe, because he wouldn’t last three days with any significant wound.

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People convince themselves of the most bizarre things. Wow.

Oh, and don’t use sugar or honey either. They are nearly immune to bacterial contamination for the same reason alcohol is, in that they are strongly hydrophilic and pathogens need free water to survive. Unfortunately, there is plenty of water exuded through the human skin surface even when not actively sweating, and as it turns out, once the sugar/alcohol is sufficiently diluted by humidity, it becomes a delicious food source for pathogens of all kinds, not to mention drawing flies like crazy.

It’s just what I was told through simple google searches from medical journals, I’ve actually tried it before on cuts on my hands and didn’t use it on one of the cuts as a control for the experiment and it seems to work well as long as you change the bandages and wash the honey off a few times a day, which is just common sense. I imagine it the sugar would become over saturated with water if left for too long however, but until that happens many sources indicate that it is useful in absorbing free water.
So when it comes to using a sugar based high proof alcohol for antiseptic, it would be wise to wash it off later and change the bandages after a few hours

don’t bacteria like eating sugar for the glucose?

much of science is people convincing themselves of things to be honest. Its highly likely in the next 200 years people will be questioning why on earth they thought cellphones or liquid-fueled cars were safe

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Much of “science” is superstition masquerading as science. There is a LOT of profit in selling snake oil, so much that many actual trained medical professionals happily do so, especially since it works just fine to cure the hysterical hypochondriacs that make up 90% of their patients.

Yes, but they can’t if the sugar dehydrates them lethally. You can preserve food both by using sugar and by using salt, as well as dehydrating it.

Honey used in wound treatment comes into contact with the enzyme glucose oxidase. This causes it to form … Ta da! Hydrogen Peroxide. Small amounts, but exactly where needed and continually while the honey lasts. This is it’s major effect on wounds. There are certain other types that are a little better like Manuka honey from bees that pollinate tea tree flowers. Tea trees have anti-microbial compounds and some of that finds it’s way into the honey. But garden variety honey? Hydrogen Peroxide.

  • Shane

The dehydrating part (or boiling and sealing part) is quite a lot more important than the sugar/salt part. Too bad you can’t really use food preservation techniques on a wound you want to heal.

Concentrated, low-moisture sugar kills bacteria.
Dilute sugar dissolved in water is an excellent bacterial growth medium.

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That’s true, but it still might not stop a foolhardy/desperate/ignorant survivor from trying to do so anyway. To reflect this the disinfection quality could be “very poor” or whatever the lowest effective value is in the game, compared to proper antiseptic which usually gets “average” when you use it