Boiling Ethanol & Using a kitchen exhaust hood instead of a fume hood

  1. Hi, I'm doing a lab at home on photosynthesis for biology, in which I have to boil leaves in ethanol, and I have a few questions about safety for this. First of all, is it at all safe to actually boil denatured alcohol/ethanol, especially where people might inhale it? And depending on how safe that is, would an average kitchen exhaust hood be an at least somewhat adequate replacement for a fume hood if I were to boil denatured alcohol under it?
  2. jcsd
  3. DrDu

    DrDu 4,461
    Science Advisor

    Usually alcohol is denaturated with extremely bitter tasting substances, but not very toxic ones. So I don't think there are major health risks, especially if volumes are small.
    Be careful that the alcohol does not inflame. Some fume hoods have filters made from inflamable material (especially if saturated with fat), but that's a much bigger problem if you flambe something in the kitchen.
  4. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    In general kitchen exhaust can't replace the fume hood, ever.

    In this particular case, as long as we are talking about milliliters (as opposed to high volumes) my main concern would be not fumes that you can inhale, but the risk of fire.

    Best approach would be to boil the ethanol out outside, using heat source without an open fire.

    Edit: DrDu was faster.
  5. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,721
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    That is soooo unlikely.
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