What is Dettol Used For?

What is Dettol Used For?

Published by Solomon on 10th Sep 2023

Dettol shines as a stalwart guardian against germs and infections. But what is Dettol used for, beyond its familiar amber-hued bottle and distinct antiseptic scent? In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the multifaceted world of Dettol, uncovering its origins, ingredients, and the myriad ways in which it plays an indispensable role in our daily lives.

What is Dettol?

Dettol is a well-known brand of antiseptic and disinfectant products that have been trusted by millions around the world for decades. The brand is owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British multinational consumer goods company. Dettol products are primarily used for their germ-killing and hygiene-promoting properties.

Ingredients in Dettol Antiseptic

Dettol's ingredients contribute to it's antiseptic properties, making it water-soluble and giving it it's color. They are:

  • Chloroxylenol BP 
  • Isopropyl alcohol 
  • Pine oil
  • Castor oil soap
  • Caramel coloring
  • Water

Chloroxylenol BP

The primary antibacterial component of Dettol, chloroxylenol, eliminates bacteria, mycobacterium, fungus, and some viruses.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl, a potent-smelling, colourless, flammable chemical molecule, serves as a secondary antiseptic and gives Dettol its capacity to fight bacteria and viruses.

Pine Oil

Pine oil is used to Dettol to give it its distinctive scent and because it has mild antibacterial and disinfection effects.

Castor Oil Soap

Castor bean oil is used to create castor oil soap. The main component of castor oil, ricinoleic acid, is present in significant amounts in the soap. Before being diluted with water for usage, the ricinoleic acid keeps the other active chemicals in Dettol in a cohesive solution.

How does Dettol kill Bacteria?

You might be wondering how Dettol does it's job of killing bacteria. Well it's through a series of processes.

The Chloroxylenol in Dettol works by disrupting the bacterial cell membranes. It interferes with the lipid (fatty) layers that make up the cell membrane of bacteria. This disruption compromises the structural integrity of the bacterial cell, leading to leakage of cellular contents and ultimately bacterial cell death.

This compound also inhibit certain enzymes that are essential for bacterial metabolism. By interfering with these enzymes, it disrupts critical metabolic processes within the bacterial cells, further contributing to their demise.

Chloroxylenol has the ability to denature or unfold proteins in bacterial cells. Proteins are essential for various cellular functions, and when they lose their three-dimensional structure, they become nonfunctional. This disruption of proteins can have a lethal effect on bacteria.

Dettol's antimicrobial action can lead to the lysis or bursting of bacterial cells. This occurs as a result of the damage to the cell membrane, the loss of structural integrity, and the disruption of vital cellular processes. Bacterial cell lysis is a final step in the bactericidal (bacteria-killing) action of Dettol.

In addition to killing bacteria, Dettol can also inhibit the growth and replication of bacteria. This is important for preventing the resurgence of bacterial populations after initial disinfection.

Is Dettol the Same as Bleach?

This is a commonly asked question, Dettol is not the same as bleach. The fact that both contain disinfection qualities and may be used to clean many of the same things may be one reason why people mistake the two.

They also frequently need to be diluted before usage, which is another similarity between them. 

While Dettol includes chloroxylenol BP and gentler isopropyl alcohol, Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, a potent chlorine chemical. 

Dettol can be used for medicinal applications, such as cleansing skin wounds, and is less abrasive than bleach when diluted.

Uses of Dettol

Dettol is a versatile product that can be used for a variety of purposes to maintain cleanliness, hygiene, and to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Here are some common uses of Dettol antiseptic:

Wound Disinfection

Dettol can be used to clean and disinfect minor cuts, scrapes, and wounds. It helps prevent infection and promotes the healing process. To use, dilute Dettol with water as directed on the product label and apply it to the affected area.

Hand Disinfection

Dettol can be used as a hand sanitizer to kill germs on the skin when soap and water are not readily available. Simply apply a small amount to your hands and rub them together until dry.

Personal Hygiene

Dettol can be added to bathwater to help maintain personal hygiene and keep the skin clean. It can also be used in foot soaks to prevent foot odor and fungal infections.

Surface Disinfection

Dettol can be used to disinfect various surfaces in your home, including kitchen counters, bathroom fixtures, and doorknobs. Dilute it with water and use it to wipe down surfaces to reduce the risk of disease transmission.


Some formulations of Dettol are designed for use in the laundry. Adding Dettol to your laundry can help disinfect clothing, towels, and bed linens, especially when someone in the household is ill.

First Aid Kit

Dettol antiseptic is a staple in many first-aid kits to treat minor injuries and prevent infection.

Disinfecting Medical Equipment

Healthcare professionals may use Dettol to disinfect non-critical medical equipment and surfaces in healthcare settings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Floors

In some regions, Dettol is used to clean and disinfect floors, particularly in households with young children or in healthcare facilities.

Outdoor Activities

Some people carry a small bottle of Dettol when participating in outdoor activities, such as camping or hiking, to disinfect wounds or sanitize hands.

How to use Dettol

The usage of Dettol can vary depending on the specific product and its intended purpose. 

Dettol Antiseptic Liquid (For Wound Disinfection)

Always dilute Dettol antiseptic liquid with water as directed on the product label. The typical recommended dilution is one capful (about 5-10 ml) of Dettol in half a liter (500 ml) of water for general antiseptic use.

Clean the wound gently with the diluted Dettol solution using a clean cloth or cotton ball.

Apply the diluted solution to the affected area and allow it to air dry. Avoid rinsing off the Dettol solution after application.

Dettol Surface Disinfectants

Follow the dilution instructions on the product label. In most cases, you'll need to dilute Dettol with water before use.

Apply the diluted solution to the surface you want to disinfect. Use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe the surface.

Allow the Dettol solution to remain on the surface for the recommended contact time as specified on the product label.

Depending on the product and surface, you may need to rinse the surface with water or allow it to air dry. Read the label for specific instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who owns Dettol?

Dettol is owned by Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, a British multinational consumer goods company. Reckitt Benckiser, often referred to as RB, is a major player in the global household and personal care products industry.

How much Dettol should you put in Bath?

In most cases, the recommended dilution for adding Dettol to a bath is about one capful (approximately 5-10 ml) of Dettol Antiseptic Liquid for a standard-sized bath.

How much Dettol is Dangerous?

Dettol isn't considered dangerous as far as it is being used in the correct way. There are few instances where Dettol can become harmful:

When used undiluted, Dettol can be harsh on the skin and may cause irritation, especially for individuals with sensitive skin. It should always be diluted as per the instructions.

Dettol should be kept away from the eyes, as contact with the eyes can cause irritation and discomfort. In case of accidental eye contact, rinse the eyes thoroughly with clean water and seek medical attention if irritation persists.

Dettol should never be ingested. Swallowing even small amounts of undiluted Dettol can lead to serious health risks, including chemical burns in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Can Dettol be used for Pets?

Regular Dettol Antiseptic can be used for pets but it is not ideal when undiluted. Dettol, in its concentrated form, should not be used directly on pets, as it can be harmful to them. The chemical ingredients in Dettol, such as chloroxylenol, can be irritating to a pet's skin and mucous membranes if used undiluted. Additionally, pets are more likely to lick their fur and paws, which could result in the ingestion of Dettol, and ingestion can be toxic.

Where to Buy Dettol Antiseptic?

You can purchase Dettol Antiseptic with us here at Niyis.


Dettol is far more than just a familiar amber bottle with a distinctive scent. It is a trusted guardian of health and hygiene that has been a staple in households around the world for generations. From its humble beginnings as a wound disinfectant to its role in modern-day personal hygiene, surface disinfection, and more, Dettol has evolved to meet the diverse needs of individuals and families. If you're looking to get Dettol and other groceries, why not try our African Grocery Store?