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Dettol is a disinfectant and antiseptic, been around for roughly 80 years and is sold all over the world. Active ingredient 5% Chloroxylenol (C8H9ClO), also contains pine oil and a little soap. Mainly seen in liquid form, or as a soap bar, although the manufacturer has fairly recently expanded the product range to include bath and laundry products. This may be good business, but detracts from the simple unique charm of this multipurpose miracle liquid.

It can be used for anything, you see....

Dilute and wash your hands, dilute again for your bathroom floor. The label on a standard bottle of Dettol could be peeled back and has a list of dilution ratios, including a concentration that should be used when delivering a baby. It's not for internal use, but can disinfect wounds. My favourite concentration is one capful in half a cup of water, gargled right into the back of your throat, which will kill a sore throat in a day. That's only for the brave. You won't swallow it by mistake, believe me.

I tend to take Dettol or TCP as part of my first aid kit if I'm camping, hiking or backpacking. In another recent writeup I mentioned a pretty bad stomach infection I got in Nepal, I think from drinking bad water. I was in a pretty bad state for about 5 days, very weak, at the mercy of my body and whatever was cohabiting it. I had nothing but water and chocolate to eat and drink. At the end, as I came out of the realm of pain, I remember gargling with Dettol, and using my pen knife to make a 2 litre spray bottle to douse and scrub the bathroom with a dilute concentration. Some kind of atavistic or cathartic purification ritual.

The slogan used to be "Dettol protects - fact". After my illness, I developed an affectation, a kind of semi ironic dedication to Dettol. I extolled the virtues of the product and encouraged others to place themselves under its protection. I used to have a mental list of mythical properties of Dettol that I would throw out when the mood took me. I remember one was, "Did you know, if you rub Dettol in your eyes, you can actually see time". Dettol on your balls before you sleep will allow you to telepathically communicate with your own sperm cells.

Seriously though, Dettol, I never stay home without it.