Here's Why You Shouldn't Drink Everclear

Real talk: Alcohol is dangerous. For how accessible it is, it's easy to forget that all those "dangers of alcohol" assemblies at school actually had a purpose. 

An average of 88,000 people in the United States die each year from alcohol-related causes. That makes it the third most common preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Even more deal with alcohol-related illnesses, including liver disease, cirrhosis, and brain damage.

There are safe and unsafe ways to enjoy alcohol, and Everclear is definitely one of the latter. Everclear isn't just strong alcohol — it's 190 proof, or 95% alcohol. Keep in mind that most strong spirits are around 80 proof, making Everclear extraordinarily strong. In fact, it was one of the items people panic-bought as a sanitizer to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to DCist.

Just one shot of Everclear can significantly impair you

While its potency makes Everclear ideal for disinfecting surfaces, making infusions, or making homemade alcohol, it shouldn't be thought of as a drink. Even the Everclear website states that the product should be considered an "unfinished ingredient" on its own. But even as a mixer, Everclear can still be dangerous.

If the revelation that drinking Everclear is basically the same as drinking disinfectant isn't enough of a deterrent, try this on for size: You're more likely to overdose or get alcohol poisoning when drinking Everclear. It comes down to the product's strength, which means it takes less of it by volume to cause an overdose. When you combine that with Everclear's lack of smell and taste once diluted, the result is you can easily have a more difficult time monitoring your alcohol consumption, making it much easier to overdose on Everclear than on something like beer or wine.

Arete Recovery explains that Everclear is an extremely potent and pure alcohol, being twice the proof of standard hard liquor. "Because Everclear and some other types of grain alcohol are so potent, one shot of liquor is more than two standard servings of alcohol. If you drink Everclear as you would drink other types of hard liquor, you can quickly reach alcohol poisoning levels," the recovery program notes. The serious symptoms of alcohol overdose include vomiting, seizures, trouble breathing, slowed heart rate, and even death, per the NIAAA.

Everclear is a grain alcohol

It's no secret that most liquor uses some form of produce in the brewing process. These could range from barley to corn mash to wheat grain, which are some of the key components in whiskey, for example. Everclear follows this formula of using produce in its brewing process.

It's important to keep in mind that drinking grain alcohol isn't the same as having a cold beer or a glass of wine. Thanks to grain alcohol's natural traits of being flavorless and odorless, one can easily down a few shots — unknowingly consuming more alcohol per glass than what they were expecting.

Although you may understand that Everclear can cause alcohol poisoning, there's another danger that you should be aware of: flammability. Chemical Safety Facts reports that the ethanol found in alcohol is extremely flammable. In 2014, a bartender in Oregon was severely burned when a container of Everclear broke open near a lit candle, causing a fireball that consumed the bartender's arms, legs, and torso (per OregonLive). Everclear, for its part, has a warning label on its bottles, warning consumers to be extremely careful around open flames when consuming it. 

It's illegal in some states

Everclear is so dangerous that some states have banned the grain alcohol entirely. According to VinePair, the list of states that have outlawed Everclear includes California, Hawaii, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington. 

Wisconsin, too, considered banning Everclear in 2013, according to a report from The Badger Herald. Democratic Rep. Terese Berceau, who sponsored the bill, argued that high-volume alcohol, including Everclear, posed a danger for students in particular. "I think it's been a challenge for a long time to get students to understand the dangers of high levels of alcohol use," she told The Badger Herald at the time. "There's no real social purpose for this other than to get stinking drunk to the possible level of death."

And while Everclear sales aren't banned entirely in Virginia, the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority notes that a "grain alcohol permit is required to obtain" Everclear in the state.

The band named after it calls it 'evil'

If you have a band that's named after something that can get you blackout drunk and can cause fireballs if poured near an open flame, your band is probably between hair metal or grunge genre-wise. For one Portland rock band, Everclear is the inspiration behind their name, thanks to its extreme nature. 

Started back in 1991, Everclear was formed by front man, vocalist, and guitarist Art Alexakis. Perhaps you'll recognize the band's most famous track, "Santa Monica," which spent three weeks in the number-one spot on the Billboard chart in 1996.

In a 2009 interview with The Discovering Alcoholic, Alexakis explained that the name Everclear did indeed come from the infamous alcohol, which he had dubbed "pure white evil" due to its unassuming water-like appearance. The interviewer noted that the alcohol seemed to be symbolic of the band: an unassuming object that one could pass off for water but was actually incredibly powerful, much like the men who turned Everclear into one of the most popular bands of its genre. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).