Are you planning to eat your underpants? Suck your jeans? Bandage a nasty cut with your freshly washed sweater?
No? Then you do not need Dettol® Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser.
This is the ultimate three-card trick of the laundry world, the cleverest, most pernicious con-job I’ve seen in a long time. Talk about inventing something completely unnecessary…
I am racking my brains to think why you might need hygienic clothing.
Are you working in a research lab under the strictest of conditions? In which case, the lab will have its own routines, procedures and special clothing that keep the lab sterile. Same with a hospital.
Are you looking after someone ill? You still don’t need antibacterial laundry cleanser because believe me, if the patient is THAT sick that they need totally sterile conditions, they won’t be at home under your care, they’ll be in an Intensive Care Unit.
Do you work with livestock? Have you just chucked up all over a favourite blouse? In which case, soaking the soiled articles in a bucket overnight, rinsing and then washing in a modern machine with modern detergent should do the trick. Repeat the process if there’s still a whiff or a stain.
Look, clean clothing is nice. We all enjoy putting on a crisp, freshly laundered shirt. But it’s a shirt. It’s not dinner. It’s not a bandage. It doesn’t need to be hygienic.
The power of three
Dettol® are really onto a winner here, because this product is being sold as a third component of your wash. Yes, they advise you to use it IN ADDITION to detergent AND fabric conditioner. (I assure you, there’ll be a piece here on fabric conditioner later, fret not.)
Here are the ingredients. I don’t pretend to understand them individually, all I know is that they are yet more ENTIRELY unnecessary chemicals being put into the poor overloaded sewage system.
Per 100 g Liquid, contains 1.44 g Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, Di-C8- 10- Alkyldimethyl, Chlorides and 0.96 g Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, Benzyl-C12-18-Alkyldimethyl, Chlorides, Contains 5% Non-Ionic Surfactants, Disinfectant, Perfume, Butyl Phenyl Methyl Propional, Hexyl Cinnamal and Citronellol.
That’s a lot of chemicals to get out of the system to make our tap water drinkable. Even if you insist on drinking bottled water (and I most sincerely hope you don’t), it’s nice to know you have potable water to make your tea and boil your vegetables in.
New products make waves
As far as I am aware, this is a new product on the market. I haven’t yet discovered any other anti-bloody-bacterial bloody laundry bloody cleansers for sale. (Let me know if I’m wrong – I can always edit!) But I have a ghastly feeling that now this has come on sale, the suits in the other detergent/cleanser companies will be cacking themselves in fright because Dettol® have stolen a march on them.
“Say, Chuck! Have you seen this new product, Dettol® Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser?”
“OMG, Sir, I just saw the cutesie-cutesie ad on TV last night for the first time and I shat my pants, it was such a great idea!”
“Yes siree, bob, and it’s for moments like that that we NEED to be selling an Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser of our own!”
“Don’t worry, Sir, I’ve authorised the Research and Development Team to get working on our own product!”
“Good man. We’ll strike the fear of laundry-related disease into the public.”
This product is a perfect example of Steve Jobs’ theory that we, the public, don’t know what we want until we see it in all its glory.
There are various marketing strategies that companies use, but the cleverest inspire either Lust or Fear. The iPhone was such a glorious piece of technology it made us weak with lust. On the other hand, this new laundry product reminds us that we are scared rigid about bacteria and socially terrified of being smelly.
Here’s some of the blurb from the Sainsbury’s website.
“Dettol Laundry Cleanser is an additive that kills 99.9% of bacteria giving odour-free freshness : 1. Kills 99.9% of bacteria, even below 20ºC so that you can be confident that your laundry is hygienically clean every time, whatever temperature you wash at (proven to work in rinse cycle temperatures as low as 15ºC) 2. Gives odour-free freshness for up to 12 hours. It doesn’t just cover up malodour but eliminates odour causing bacteria at source….”
“Ideal for towels, children’s clothes, underwear, socks, bedding …and more…”
To kill viruses**
Soaking: add 1 cap to 2.5L of water and leave to soak for 15 mins
**Laboratory tested on influenza H1 N1; RSV; Coronavirus; Herpes Simplex Type
Note the various fear-triggering words in there…
…all designed to make you worried about something you NEVER thought of before – the fact that your laundry might emerge from the wash like creatures from the deep… contaminated and riddled with viruses!
Listen. You get your clothes out of the washing machine and dry them – tumble drier, washing line, heated towel rail – it doesn’t matter which. During the drying process they will come into contact with the air which is full of all sorts of microscopic bugs that we can do NOTHING about and which mainly do us NO harm.
Maybe a fly lands on your t-shirt while it’s drying. Are you going to wash it again? Don’t be daft.
You pop your knickers on and, whoopsie doo! A wee fart escapes. Are you going to wash them again? I no nink no.
You do your trousers up and the dog jumps up to say hello. Are you going to put them back in the machine immediately? Don’t be ridiculous.
And if you’re not completely convinced, here’s this from the product description.
Causes serious eye damage.
Ah. That’s not so good. Here’s another.
Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects.
We are washing this stuff into the sewage system???
Oh, and there’s yet another empty plastic bottle at the end of it which is going to go… er… where? Landfill, of course!!!!
Time was when Dettol® was a comforting product. Mum always had a bottle under the sink so that if a kid got sick on the bathroom floor, or the cat pooped in the kitchen, she’d clear it up, mop the floor and then go over it with a bit of Dettol®. She dabbed cuts and grazes with it too. The smell was clean and hospitally and safe. That’s not so surprising, as it started its life in hospitals where it was used in surgical procedures to clean cuts, wounds etc.
Now, it’s owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British multinational consumer goods company, and it’s just another brand trying to make a buck in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. Long term responsibility towards the planet doesn’t figure in the world of retail sales, I guess. Shame on them.
YOU DO NOT NEED HYGIENIC CLOTHING. I REPEAT, AND I MAKE NO APOLOGY FOR SHOUTING, YOU DO NOT NEED HYGIENIC CLOTHING. YOU DO NOT NEED THIS PRODUCT!!!
I hadn’t bargained with a worldwide pandemic when I wrote this last year. A couple of folk have contacted me to say that in the light of Covid-19, Antibacterial laundry IS necessary after all – but I’m relieved to say this is not the case. Covid-19 is a virus, not a bacteria, and therefore CANNOT be destroyed by an antibacterial product. I’ve checked with various NHS websites and this is from the government website.
Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.
Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.
Finally, a word from Miss P.