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Lysol Concentrate as a Germicidal Agent:


NOTE: As a boy in the 1950s, I remember that "hospital smell". I was later to learn that the smell was that of a powerful chemical, phenol, which was used in the mop water on the universally hard hospital floors. The only antibiotics in the early 1950s were "sulfur drugs" and the new one, penicillin. So, PREVENTION of spreading of any local skin infection was of huge importance (it STILL is)! Once you open the Lysol concentrate bottle, the contents invariably get in the bottle and cap threads & will give off the "hospital smell". So, we store that previously opened concentrate container in a closed plastic container such as Maxwell House coffee container...just to contain that strong odor between occassional uses. My mother was (died late 2011 at age 93) a nurse, and our family used "red medicine" (iodine or mercurochrome which "burned") on scrapes and cuts.

OVERVIEW: If that "red medicine' didn't prevent infection & the infection-related pain, we had the bottle of Lysol [modern-day Lysol concentrate]. Or, we might go straight to the Lysol soaks if we stumped a toe or had something injure us on skin anywhere or underneath a fingernail or toenail.  A small amount of Lysol (such as 1/8-1/4 TEAspoonful per quart of water) was put into a container (just enough to barely "cloudy" the final amount of warmish-hot water), and then we soaked the body part about 10 minutes or until the skin wrinkled. For something like an infected toenail (paronychia), it might take a series of soakings 1-3 times per day (and maybe a toothpick under the nail edge to lift it so that the Lysol actually gets to the infected area). The Lysol soak is mostly effective on OPEN wounds & LESS likely to help if one, for example, has a deeper puncture wound [that is, a wound with small entry site that seals off quickly] from stepping on a nail (but still worth trying Lysol immediately...if the puncture has not yet sealed off). Though I mainly use the below soaking water to treat sore areas of skin, this is also a possible foot fungus and stinky feet (see also Clorox) cure.

I offer this information as what our family did/does AND NOT as a general medical recommendation!


PROCESS Details to mix the "soaking water":

Lysol concentrate (the "concentrate" is the only ordinary consumer-type Lysol product that contains the phenol [p-Chloro-o-benzylphenol, 5–6% and o-Phenylphenol, 0.1%] that kills germs) of about less than 1/8 to absolutely no more than 1/4 teaspoonful to each one quart of clean & clear & VERY warm (not too hot) tap water. Upon addition of the Lysol & mixing, he water should not turn any more than faintly "milky" colored. This, then, is the "soaking water".


First, wash off any vaseline or other greasy product that might be on the sore area. Any infection is below greasy stuff, and we need the Lysol to get to it. The above Lysol "soaking water" is (1) in a container large enough to soak the body part (for me, almost always just a foot or hand in a cook-pot of enough soaking water to cover). A finger can be treated with a water glass in which to soak. (2) If the "infected" skin area is in an area that cannot be soaked as above, then use a cotton ball or paper or cloth napkin pad to sponge some soaking water up and let the wet sponge set on the sore. An example of (2) might be an instance of a significantly painful skin suture line from recent surgery or surgical repair involving skin. I soak anything I'm actually concerned about until the skin gets wrinkled (at least 10...about 10-30 minutes), about 1-3 times per day until pain gone (it is often gone after the first soak). If you don't feel the intensity of the painfulness at least level off or improve after the first treatment, you can treat again in about an hour or two. If you have a germ contaminated injury(such as multiple oyster shell cuts on the feet) and know that travel to safety and then to an ER will take significant time (say, and hour or more), you could (1) wash the injury to remove debris & muck, (2) do one really good Lysol soak, and (3) then head for the ER.


If (1) soreness is still not better or (2) is worsening and (3) especially if the PAIN seems way worse than you'd expect from such a sore and/or (4) you feel bad or (5) have fever, seek a doctor's care right away THAT DAY ("urgent Care" or ER if need be). You DO NOT want to delay the diagnosis of the fortunately fairly rare "flesh eating bacteria" which is characterized by local pain FAR WORSE than one would expect from the size of or the "look" of the sore body part area!


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(posted 3/7/2009; update 25 September 2016)