Getting drunk from soaking your hands

I have heard from multiple sources that you can get pretty hammered by simply soaking your hands in a strong alcohol like vodka for about an hour. I guess the idea is that the alcohol will be absorbed into your bloodstream where it would travel back to your heart and then get pumped everywhere. I have considered trying this, but I wanted to see if anyone has any information regarding the validity of this idea before I go ahead. I wouldn’t want to waste a bunch of vodka for nothing.

What would happen if you filled up the tub and took a bath in it?

No, for the same reason you won’t suffocate and die when you cover your body with gold paint, aka Goldenfinger. Alcohol needs to be absorbed into the bloodstream, and if you absorbed things into the bloodstream through your skin we’d be in a lot of trouble.

Your skin is a damn fine envelope and protects you from all kinds of things. Someone else can come along and tell us what happens if you have, say, numerous open wounds on your skin, other than the screaming when the alcohol comes into contact with them.

It’d be a perfect disinfectant for when you’re knocked out and wake up later in a giant icy martini with a note that you have no kidneys.

As for the OP, yeah, you can absorb alcohol through your skin, but why not just drink it? You won’t escape any ill effects by soaking it in, as opposed to having it enter you via the stomach. If anything, it might be pretty bad on your skin as the alcohol dissolves out skin oils, leaving you with some really raw hands.

Interesting, though. Upon a google search I find certain alcohols can be absorbed through skin. Nothing you’d want though.

Methyl Alcohol

Butyl Alcohol

Isoprpyl Alcohol

Still searching.

From Wiki:

Can I ask a question? And PLEASE - don’t let this hijack this thread/deter people from giving peejay the answer.

I doubt this works. But IF IT DID - how would this - in any way - be preferable to just drinking the damn vodka? I mean, a whole hour with your hands in vodka? If it’s just to avoid the taste - there’s ways around that (extreme mixers and chasers and what not). But I fail to see any practical reason for doing this if it took an entire hour.

I mean I’ve heard of alternate ways to get alcohol into the bloodstream - enemas, syringes, and the like. But they are alternates because of their effectiveness and speed. So any advantages to this method if it works?

So what about a Vodka enema? Sorry peejay100, I’ll stop hijacking.

So to be honest, I’m not entirely sure… I’ve dipped a finger in alchohol plenty and never thought it was absorbing into my skin, of course, it wasn’t pure, but some pretty strong stuff. I’ll wait for someone more knowledgeable to answer.

Yes, that I know, because there are exposed membranes and so it would absorb into the bloodstream.

I mean, I am almost positive you need exposed membranes or blood vessels. It has to find a way to get to the bloodstream. That’s why alcohol reaches your brain so fast, as soon as it gets to the stomach it absorbs right into the bloodstream, then within a few seconds has bypassed the blood-brain barrier and next thing you know it’s stupid time. I’ve never heard of anybody doing this, (soaking hands) and if it could be done, I’d think it was more popular. People after all do anything to get alchohol into their system.

So THAT’S what Marge was doing in those old commercials…

Ethanol can be absorbed via the skin, as can other drugs like nitroglycerine, scopolamine, and fentanyl.

Usually though the amount absorbed is insufficient to cause intoxication, it can cause nasty skin reactions and even chemical burns if left on too long or if it penetrates skin defects, and it’s just a hell of a lot simpler to drink it than to rub it all over.

I was hoping you could come and answer. :slight_smile: I have to admit, I learned quite a bit from this little thread. Thanks, peejay, for starting it.

(Question - where did you come up with your username? I keep thinking of the Disney Robin Hood, “PJ? I like it…”

I learned quite a bit from this also. I’m glad I got some input. My username is just a strange morphing of PJ, my name, that has occured over many years of internet name creations.

In regards to this method having no benefits over simple imbibing of said alcohol, it’s just the curiousity of human biology getting the better of me.

So for the sake of science and the fact that no one has a “first-hand”, haha, experience with this I think I’m going to go ahead with my plan and try this out. I’ll have to do it tomorrow after work. I will post results.

:: resists cheap joke about getting his date drunk ::


I bet it dries the crap out of your hands in a not good way. Most bio labs use 90 ethanol (drinking alcohol bottled for lab use) for forcing the water right out of tissue samples. It would due the same thing to your hands if you left them in there for an hour. I wouldn’t do it for that reason. Don’t get near any flames either if you use high proof alcohol. My best friend and I used to pour rubbing alcohol on our hands and arms and set them on fire to see who could voluntarily burn the longest. It is pretty safe with a bathtub full of water right there but I wouldn’t want to be caught off guard especially well the point is to enjoy yourself.

That brings up the next point. If your hands work well, why wouldn’t your feet. There are more calloused but they also have more surface area. It is much easier sitting on the couch with your feet soaking in hooch than it is to sit there not being able to use your hands. If it works, you could start a chain of spa/foot bars.

I’m pretty sure they tried getting drunk through your skin on Brainiac recently. It worked.

Sorry I don’t have a cite, but I read a case report in a medical journal recently (either an Asian medical journal or a forensic journal, can’t remember which) of a Korean woman who was so terrified of catching bird flu she decided to sleep in a bathtub full of ethanol, since ethanol is such a a good disinfectant. She was found dead in the tub, from ethanol poisoning. (Her head was well out of the liquid, so she didn’t drown, and the ethanol levels in blood and other tissues were quite high.) It couldn’t be determined whether absorption through the skin or inhaling the fumes contribued more to her death.

And before you ask, yes, inhaling alcohol will also get you hammered. It won’t do your mucous membranes any good, however.

I’m picturing Lucile Ball. in a giant vat, smashing grapes for wine. :smiley:

I seem to remember hearing a couple of stories on this in the last year or so:

  1. Some British pubs had installed atomiser machines hooked up to a tank of hooch, and you pay for a certain amount of time on the facemask, and
  2. I think there was a thread here on the SDMB about some idiot with a homemade device who was smoking cigarettes while inhaling ethanol vapour. :eek:

What with breathing it, injecting it (like Brazilian streetkids do), soaking your hands in it, and shoving it up your arse, I really feel like a nice single malt whisky - in a glass.

Yes, that could get you intoxicated. (And you could use real cheap booze, not much concern about the taste.)

Giving medications in suppository form is fairly common. Allegedly, in France, doctors prefer to prescribe these forms.

But if you do this too often, with strong concentrations, you might have to worry about injury to your mucous membranes.

[Feel free to insert your own “Tastes better!” or “Less Filling!” joke here.]