But is the alcohol in whiskey or vodka the same as alcohol in regular hand sanitizer? AdvertisementEthyl vs. Isopropyl AlcoholThe most common hand sanitizers use isopropyl alcohol, aka isopropanol, 2-propanol or just rubbing alcohol. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a solution of 65 to 95 percent alcohol using either ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol in any hand sanitizer to do the job. Isopropyl alcohol evaporates more quickly, but it doesn't dry out our hands so badly. Now That's History Isopropyl alcohol got the more common name \"rubbing alcohol\" in the 1920s because it was used in liniments rubbed into the skin for health and healing.