Dettol (also called parachlorometaxylenol, or PCMX) is the name of a commercial liquidantisepticbelonging to a product line of household products manufactured by the Reckitt Benckisercorporation, known in the United Kingdomand in various parts of North Americafor famous brand names such as Lysoland Veet.
The key ingredient which defines its unique antiseptic property is an aromatic chemical compound in chemistryknown as chloroxylenol(C8H9ClO), which causes dettol to turn white when mixed into a solution with water. This makes up 4.8% of Dettol's total mixture, with the rest composed of pine oil, isopropyl alcohol, castor oil soap, caramel, and water. 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/negative bacteria, fungi, yeast, mildewand 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 agarpatch studies, by disrupting the bacterial cells' membrane potential, drastically affecting its ability to produce ATPand thus leading to its rapid death.
Dettol can also be used to treat acnein small quantities. The bottle cap also doubles as a container for pouring increments of 10ml for its various uses. However, like other household cleaners, it is still poisonous and should not be ingested. Overuse of Dettol can also cause bacterial resistance, but the risk of infection can be reduced considerably by using it in addition to soapand water.
Thompson, M. Dettol - Molecule of the Month
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