What Are the Ingredients in Dettol Antiseptic?

Dettol, an antiseptic cleaning product made by Reckitt Benckiser, was developed based on modifications of phenol, an antiseptic that kills germs, discovered in 1860, by Joseph Lister. The active ingredient in dettol is chloroxylenol BP 4.8 percent w/v (which means that the British Pharmacopoeia standard reports that dettol should contain chloroxylenol in a 4.8 percent concentration of weight to volume).

Antibacterial products in dettol kill germs.
Credit: happy_lark/iStock/GettyImages

Its other ingredients include isopropyl alcohol, pine oil, castor oil soap, caramel and water. These ingredients make dettol an effective antiseptic-disinfectant that kills bacteria, according to Chemistry In Your Cupboard website.

Chloroxylenol for Killing Bacteria

Chloroxylenol is the antibacterial in dettol that acts to kill germs and reduces inflammation. Chloroxylenol makes dettol an effective household disinfectant. According to the Drugs.com website, chloroxylenol could cause mild skin irritation in some individuals, or cause an allergic reaction in others. An allergic reaction is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these signs occur while using dettol: a rash or hives with swelling of the face, mouth, throat or tongue. There may also be tightness of the chest and difficulty breathing, as well as redness, burning, blisters or peeling of the skin.

Read More: The Difference Between a Fungus & Bacteria

Antiseptic Properties of Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl is a secondary alcohol. This colorless, flammable, chemical compound has a strong odor. Isopropyl alcohol has antiseptic effects which gives dettol the ability to kill bacteria and fungi when used for wound care. Isopropyl alcohol is the main ingredient in the disinfectants hospitals use for cleaning, and makes dettol a good household cleaning product. Isopropyl alcohol solutions of 90 to 99 percent are used to preserve specimens. Sterilizing pads usually contain a 60 to 70 percent solution of isopropyl alcohol, according to Germblast website.

Pine Oil Natural Antiseptic

Pine tree is the source of pine oil. Pine oil is made from the cone, twigs and needles of the pine tree. When pine oil is diluted in water it emulsifies, or forms a cloudy liquid. This cloudiness also occurs when dettol is diluted. Pine oil is used in a variety of bath oils and bath soaps and as an essential oil in aromatherapy. Pine oil has antiseptic and disinfectant properties and a distinct aroma that characterizes dettol and other products made with pine oil.

Read More: What Is an Antiseptic?

Castor Oil Soap and Other Ingredients

Castor oil soap is a product made from castor oil. It contains a high concentration of ricinoleic acid, the active ingredient in castor oil. Castor oil soap is used to keep the phenol in dettol in solution until it is diluted with water for use.

Caramel and water are the other ingredients in dettol. Caramel gives dettol its yellowish brown color and the water acts as a diluent, binding the other ingredients together.

Dettol Products

A wide range of Dettol products are safe to use on skin but are powerful enough to use for all your germ-killing tasks. Product designed for surface cleaning come in convenient forms, including sprays, liquid, gels and wipes. The company claims that their powerful disinfecting formula removes grease and dirt from surfaces, killing 99.9 percent of bacteria without the harshness of bleach.

Dettol's skin care products includes a hand wash. The antiseptic liquid, also available with pump, can be used for first aid on cuts, scratches and insect bites to kill germs and prevent infection. The bar soap form contains moisturizers and protects your skin from bacteria. It is also available in a sensitive skin formula.

As a laundry sanitizer, Dettol is available as a powder or liquid. The product hygienically cleans laundry even at low temperatures. Dermatology tested, the laundry detergent kills bacteria, sanitizes and deodorizes. Dettol also makes a product that removes limescale and bad odors from your washing machine.

Dettol hand sanitizers are convenient when you are on-the-go and provides a fast and effective way to wash your hands without soap or water. Available in a choice of scents, they kill germs and viruses, according to the website.

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