I’m a long term veteran fire breather. And I teach people to breathe using Isopropyl alcohol. Eventually, I move them up to other fuels, and typically this happens quite fast, but some breathers don’t understand the reasons for this. Since there are many, I’ve elected to condense them here.
First and most important, Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) tastes like ass. Ass on crank, Lysterine for Godzilla. In short, It’s incredibly non-palatable. It’s so offensive that if “breaks” most people. They find themselves unable to drink fluids for some time and not while in “fire breathing mode” . I find this to be most important, as it is far too common to decant large bottles of (clear water-looking) fuel into smaller water bottles for stage use. I’ve seen all kinds of breathers drink, or nearly drink from one of these bottles thinking it was water.
Second, 70% isopropyl atomizes almost exactly like water. It contains 30% water, it should. For someone who has been practicing with water, This allows them to experience part of the fire breathing effect in stages without worrying about other things. Oils don’t atomize like water. They produce huge, hot flames, bright flashes, and immense danger when done right. Best job on iso is a watermelon sized flame and a nice flash. This steps up the experience in the same way the nicotine patch steps down.
Third, If you have any fuel burning on your body, 70% is exactly the stuff you want. It’s very unlikely, but it is possible that you could catch you shirt on fire and try to blow out the flame with fuel in your mouth. Most petrol fuels will do horrible things if this were to happen, but someone using iso might barely feel it. Similarly, Iso can be extinguished with water, making it just another step safer.
Fourth, despite being a class I fuel, I have found, subjectively, that the use of iso will often ease the minds of fire marshals. Your experience may vary, but I’ve been allowed to breathe in national monuments, protected building, historical landmarks, etc. all because I was willing to switch to iso.
Fifth, of the types of readily available alcohols, only iso will not get you drunk. Methanol and ethanol can both be absorbed through the skin in the mouth, both can get you drunk, both can impair judgement. Iso can make you queezy, and repeated exposure can desiccate (dry out) the skin. So, it’s use should be limited to no more than 5-6 pops.
Sixth, consistency of product. Breathers that use kero, zippo, charcoal fluid, or even basic oils can attest that product variation is the bane of most breathers. That’s why many people have joined me on the UPLO wagon. But along the same lines, I can get Rite Aid 70% rubbing alcohol and get EXACTLY the same product over and over again. Two ingredients, same proportions. WAY easier to get than other fuels, particularly in a pinch.
Back to the beginning, Iso often comes in hands-free dispenser containers that feel NOTHING like a water bottle. If you’re scrounging around in the dark, in a cluttered fuel station, you’re unlikely to mistake iso for water. Also, many come with squirt caps that can be opened and closed with the mouth, making them just a little safer than some open bottle.
Clean up with iso is easy, just let it evaporate, takes 20 minutes on cold cement. Also, wipe downs on face and clothing are notoriously difficult to do well with oils, but not so with iso. Any rag or napkin can completely remove residue from the chin.
Iso is the active ingredient in most mouthwashes, so it’s use is generally good oral hygiene.
Iso is also the active ingredient of most facial cleansers. So if it gets on your face, it’ll do more help than harm.
Iso does not clean nor does is stain fabrics. It acts almost exactly like water on most fabrics.
There’s more, but that should be enough.
All that said, I’m still a big fan of UPLO for my primary breathing tricks, But it’s nice to have a second weapon around….