HistoryThe History of Cleaning Product Lysol, Used As Contraceptive...

The History of Cleaning Product Lysol, Used As Contraceptive In the 1920s


Many people recognize Lysol as a cleansing and disinfecting product mainly used in households all over the world, but only a few have knowledge of its wonderful history and what it was originally used for?

The home cleaning product is very popular in the US, UK, and Europe where it is purchased and used in very large numbers. Parent company Reckitt Benckiser owns the product and has factories set up in various locations all over the world for its manufacturing. 

However, Lysol was not always famous as a household cleaning product. Seeing old advertisements of Lysol, it becomes clear that Lysol was originally marketed for a completely different purpose.

What was Lysol’s original purpose?

The first-ever Lysol antiseptic disinfectant was made in 1889 by Gustav Raupenstrauch. It was created in order to end the cholera epidemic in Germany, where it was causing huge destruction. Next time, the product was advertised by Lehn & Fink in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic. It was advertised as an effective product for fighting the influenza virus.


Finally, Lysol was introduced to hospitals and drug stores in 1930, and around 1962 the company began manufacturing the Lysol disinfectant spray. 

Lysol’s ‘Contraceptive Advertisement’ Explained

According to a leading informational website, Lysol was marketed as a “feminine hygiene” product in the 1920s. 

 The publication collected some old advertisements from the 1920s and found that Lysol was advertised as a vaginal douche, making claims that it could effectively help women preventing genital infections and odors. 

lysol originally used for?

However, the publication also explains that the term “feminine hygiene” was actually a secret code for birth control. Oral contraception was not invented in the 1920s yet and other contraceptive means such as condoms and diaphragms were very expensive, so many women adopted Lysol as a contraceptive as it was relatively cheap.

According to writer Nicole Pasulka of Mother Jones, using Lysol internally caused many deaths at the beginning of the 20th century. This also includes many women who tried to use Lysol as a contraceptive.

Historian Andrea Tone in her book Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America explains that the term “feminine hygiene” was often used as a euphemism for birth control when the use of contraceptives was considered scandalous. 

It is clear that Lysol must not be used as birth control or for any other purpose inside the body. It is a fact that Lysol does not give any greater protection from unwanted pregnancies than what is offered by random luck.

what was lysol originally used for?

Recently, the brand issued a statement that clearly discourages the product’s internal use. The stamen says that “under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body”. It also added that “Lysol disinfecting and cleaning products are for surfaces and not for personal use. They cannot be used on the body or on food and always should be used as directed.”

What Is Lysol Currently Used For?

Most of Lysol’s products are made for use on surfaces only. The brand offers a wide range of products such as sprays, wipes, and multi-surface cleaners. The brand has also created hand soaps and hand sanitizers which claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria on hands. 

Lysol’s major competitions in the market are Febreze, Cif, Tilex, Mr. Clean, Oust, Pine-Sol, Domestos, and Clorox. Well, none of the other brands have such mysterious history. 

In 1911, one of the most common ways of suicide was drinking Lysol in New York and Australia. It happened because of an active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride in the Lysol which is slightly toxic to mammals. 

Take a look at the various product innovation Lysol went throughout the years

In 1930, Lysol introduced disinfectant liquid to hospitals and drug stores. 

In 1957/58, Lysol bought the rights to private label National Laboratories, Inc’s Disinfectant spray. 

By the end of 1962, Lysol introduced Disinfectant Spray, which was a new method regarding the aerosol application. 

In 1968, Lysol started manufacturing bathroom cleaners and especially launched the Toilet Bowl Cleaner. 

In 1985, Lysol made a big movie by launching an all-purpose cleaner. 

After 3 years, another addition was made as Lysol started shipping aerosol disinfectants to other humid areas that include Houston in order to fight “lung rot.”

In early 2000, Lysol introduced Disinfecting Wipes, these wipes are pre-moistened cleaning wipes for non-porous and hard surfaces especially. 

By 2009, Lysol started manufacturing hand soaps as well. From 2015, Lysol products were owned and distributed by Reckitt Benckiser LLC of Parsippany, New Jersey.

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Traveler & Writer. Love travel, dry red wine, & videos of dogs getting adopted. Sarah is an accomplished writer with a passion for capturing the essence of entertainment, health, and sports. Her diverse background and keen interest in these subjects have made her a sought-after voice in the industry.


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