Ode to a can of Lysol

While pondering a can of Lysol (don’t ask) several questions popped unbidden to my brain:

  1. The can is labled “Professional Lysol Brand II Disinfectant Spray”. The II are like a subscript, almost, and resemble Roman numerals more than anything else. In the text on the back they clearly are subscripts, tied to the word “Brand”. I’ve never seen any labeling quite like it, does anyone know what it means? Is there a “Lysol Brand I” around somewhere?

  2. In the active ingredients list the first item is “Alkyl (50% C14, 40% C12, 10% C16) …”, indicating the isotope ratios for that part of the ingredient. Does that make a difference? Do they make the same ingredient with different ratios, and which is better/worse? It’s only .1% of the active ingredients, but I’m guessing it’s a big deal.

  3. In the directions there’s a laundry list of bacteria and fungi that Lysol kills, from Salmonella choleraesuis to Candida albicans with lots of stuff in between. With the recent news story about various strains of E. Coli I wonder how specific the names of bacteria and fungi are? Is there a legal definition that covers what is and isn’t “Methicillin and Gentamicin Resistan Staphylococcus aureus” for example? And who tests it and validates that these claims are true?

Just doing my bit to keep us from trying to remember old song titles and lyrics.

I’ll take question 1 for $500, Alex.

Lysol Brand II Is the spray, and it’s a different formulation from the good ol’ Lysol(I) liquid in the brown bottle.

I can answer part of your question. The FDA has the interesting task of supervising this sort of thing. Here’s a sample.

And another one. WARNING!! A government report. Enter at your own risk…

(If you’re so bored that you’re sitting there reading the label on a Lysol can, then you’re probably bored enough to read this.) :smiley:


Actually, once you get past the prologue, it’s not too bad.

And something new to worry about:

Inquiring minds want to know. Scombrotoxin?

And last but not least:

Bureaucrats–gotta love 'em.

Very simply put (I took a class in this stuff once,) quaternary disinfectants will kill at least 99.9% of all bacteria, viruses and fungi present, except tuberculosis. Quats are mostly made from a handful of ammonium chlorides. They’re very tough on germs, and pretty much harmless to surfaces. Phenolic disinfectants, such as Lysol, will kill everything a quat will, PLUS tuberculosis. Phenolics, though, are hard on some materials. They’ll discolor stainless steel. They’ll erode some plastics. They’ll dull and discolor floor wax. Unless you have reason to worry about tuberculosis, you’re probably better off using the cheapest house-brand quat disinfectant you can find. It’s much cheaper than Lysol, smells better, and you don’t have to worry about damaging the things you spray it on.

Thanks all for your answers.

Anyone have any idea about the isotopes?

I don’t know what the C14, etc, there stand for, but I can state with confidence that they’re not isotopes. The only thing various isotopes do differently is decay, and Lysol wouldn’t be legal for sale if it relied on ingredients being radioactive. Besides this, I’ve never even heard of an isotope of carbon with a mass of 16. It’s theoretically possible, of course, but it wouldn’t be stable enough to put in a can.