Home test for methanol

Is there an easy way to test for methanol in a hand sanitizer or bootleg liquor? There have been some stories about contaminated HS and it would be cool to be able to test for the poison at home. I was surprised to learn how little is seriously dangerous. 5ml can cause blindness. I’m hoping for a simple ‘methanol makes egg whites turn black’ or similar but there probably won’t be anything so simple.

We got some dodgy hand sanitizer at work some time ago. It came to mind again today when I took a squirt of the worst smelling stuff out of a white plastic 1 gal jug at a bank branch. It smelled like vitamins taste, weird.

Sorry if it’s paywalled, but I just happened to read this:

I have no info re a test.

You need sodium dichromate and sulfuric acid. Household chemicals won’t do it.

And if you need hexavalent chromium, you have bigger things to worry about.

That’s a very good article, thank you. It totally explains the smelly HS I got. The manufacturers just don’t put much effort into deodoring during manufacture.

Are those called something else at the grocery store?

Sulfuric acid is battery acid. Well, technically, battery acid in a typical lead-acid car battery is a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. I don’t know how pure you’ll need your sulfuric acid but you might need to get rid of a lot of that water.

I had to look up sodium dichromate. Apparently it’s used to tan leather (among other uses).

So if your local grocery store stocks car batteries and leather tanning supplies, you’re good to go.

Like all hexavalent chromium compounds, sodium dichromate is carcinogenic. The compound is also corrosive and exposure may produce severe eye damage or blindness. Human exposure further encompasses impaired fertility, heritable genetic damage and harm to unborn children.

Prolly not a grocery store.

Sulfuric acid is also a drain cleaner (with maybe impurities). Lowe’s sells this : Sulfuric Acid Drain Opener 32 oz https://www.lowes.com/pd/Zep-Sulfuric-Acid-Drain-Opener-32-oz/1001363084

Sodium Dichromate may be bought from amazon or other stores as suggested above. The local ceramic place in my city usually has it on hand.

If the above are not lab grade, you may get suspect results.

I recommend you check with local moonshine makers or brewers. You may have better luck with moonshiners since they check for methanol.

If you are really serious, you can buy this kit for $85 Methanol Test Kit - Mile Hi Distilling

Another idea; stay away from any of the sanitizers on this FDA list of ones that have been recalled.