I'm wondering if there is a way to turn alcohol or another bacteria killing substance into a solid gel form, sort of like the gel you can use to clean a keyboard.

Computer Cleaning Compound Super Clean Slimy

Source: Aliexpress.com Computer Cleaning Compound

I'm wondering if you could put either alcohol or other sanitizer into this sort of gel, without the sanitizer having a "best before" date.

I'm a complete beginner when it comes to chemistry so forgive me if there's an obvious reason why this wouldn't work. If it does work, or partially, could you give me a run down on what I would need or need to test to achieve my goal?

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    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 14:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how common it is elsewhere, but there is such a thing as alcohol gel which is used as a hand sanitizer. It's composed chiefly of ethanol and a gelling agent, usually a polymer such as polyacrylate. Presumably you could get a more viscous gel simply by stirring in more gelling agent with the ethanol. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ Gelled alcohol is sold under Sterno and other brands as a fuel. You can make your own with alcohol and calcium acetate; see io9.com/5929133/how-to-make-the-worlds-most-flammable-jelly. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


If your alcohol is ethanol, calcium acetate works very well. I use calcium acetate to make gel in petri dishes, and sprinkle metal salts on it for colored flame demonstrations. Calcium acetate is also used in some canned alcohols used for warming/cooking foods.

3 grams of calcium acetate dissolved in 10 ml of water will make a saturated solution (some may not dissolve, which is OK). This is mixed with 75 ml of 95% ethanol, which will then form a colloidal gel identical to that used in canned alcohol warmers. I do not know if this gel is suitable for your purposes, but it works well for a heat source. If used as a heat source, a pinch of salt should be added to the aqueous solution before mixing with alcohol to make the flame more visible.


Try mixing styrofoam with gasoline and alcohol. The gasoline will kind of dissolve the styrofoam and form a paste with imbued alcohol.

  • $\begingroup$ Isn't that basically napalm?... won't be a firm gel though. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 15:39

Use Hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC) as gelling agent.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ This answer could use a bit more detail. $\endgroup$
    – Tyberius
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 17:35

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