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Dettol (also called parachlorometaxylenol, or PCMX) is the name of a commercial liquid antiseptic belonging to a product line of household products manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser and marketed in South Asia, Africa & Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe, Australasia.


The key ingredient which defines its unique antiseptic property is an aromatic chemical compound in chemistry known as chloroxylenol (C8H9ClO). This makes up 4.8% of Dettol's total mixture, with the rest composed of pine oil, isopropanol, castor oil soap, caramel, and water. Because several of the ingredients are insoluble in water, Dettol produces a white emulsion of oil droplets when diluted during use. It has a characterisitic phenolic odour similar to trichlorophenol and the explosive compound known as trinitrotoluene (TNT). Apart from its low toxicity and low metal corrosivity, it is also relatively cheap compared to other disinfectants and is effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, fungi, yeast, mildew and even the frightening "super-bug" MRSA, thus giving it a broad spectrum of antimicrobial action. It is able to kill 98% of microbes in just 15 seconds as shown in agar patch studies[citation needed], by disrupting the bacterial cells' membrane potential, drastically affecting its ability to produce Adenosine triphosphate and thus leading to its rapid death.

Dettol can also be used to treat acne in small quantities[1]. Its topical application is a remedy for boils (skin abscess) and mild forms of musculoskeletal tenderness/pain.[citation needed]

The bottle cap also doubles as a container for pouring increments of 10 ml for its various uses. However, like other household cleaners, it is still poisonous and should not be ingested. In an extreme case, a 42 year old English man died from Dettol overexposure in May 2007. [2] Overuse of Dettol can also cause bacterial resistance, but the risk of infection can be reduced considerably by using it in addition to soap and water.


  1. ^ Dr. Mike Thompson Molecule of the Month: Dettol
  2. ^ Lester Haines 'Dettol Man' cleans himself to death
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dettol". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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