Dettol bottles claim to 'kill' coronoavirus- but scientists disagree

The bottle reads "Kills human coronavirus and RSV."

Editor / February 02 2020

A shopper has shared a snap of the back of a bottle of Dettol, where it reads: "Kills E.Coli, salmonella, MRSA, rotavirus, flu virus, cold viruses, human coronavirus and RSV."

Stunned, he wrote: "This kills coronavirus how did they know about it in 2019?"

Watch: Conavirus Declared A Global Emergency By World Health Organisation

But while Dettol anti-bacterial surface cleanser spray can help protect against many bugs, there is no evidence the spray works on the new strain of the virus. 

Coronavirus is the name for a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS.

The killer bug can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have warned.

Droplets of the deadly virus can live for up to 45 minutes on surfaces - long enough for people to unwittingly pick up the killer germ.


One shopper shared a post on Facebook pointing out Dettol's ability to kill coronavirus. Image: Mark Carter/Facebook

One shopper shared a post on Facebook pointing out Dettol's ability to kill coronavirus. Image: Mark Carter/Facebook

With the text from the bottle going viral, experts have warned against panicked people drinking the spray or acting without medical advice, especially as Dettol contains chemicals that may be dangerous if ingested. 

Professor Hunter told MailOnline: "Chloroxylenol is poisonous if ingested and it should not be used as an aerosol that people may breathe.

"Whether it offers any advantage over standard cleaning and washing with soap and water is unclear.

"It has been possible for scientists to test the activity of soap, detergent and disinfectants on this group of viruses."

Professor of Molecular Virology told The Sun that Coronaviruses have "a lipid envelope" which is an outer layer made up of oil-like substances.

This layer is sensitive to the action of soap and many disinfectants- which means handwashing should help protect from the virus.

"If the manufacturers have tested their product against the existing coronavirus it will work against the novel coronavirus, as indeed would simple soap and hot water.

"But of course, these should only ever be used to clean surface and can not be taken internally."


Dettol anti-bacterial surface cleanser.

Dettol anti-bacterial surface cleanser.


Coronavirus Prevention Tips:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

A spokesperson for Dettol has said: "Based on the information available in the image, we are not able to confirm the source of the label or its authenticity."


To prevent risk of coronavirus infection, we recommend people continue to follow the ongoing advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Australian Government, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals 
  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands frequently with soap and water ensuring that all the surfaces of the hands are cleaned.  Once washed, dry hands thoroughly with a clean dry towel. If soap and water is unavailable use a hand sanitizer
  • Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette to prevent spreading germs to others – i.e. cough into your elbow rather than your hands and sneeze into a tissue to minimise hand contact transmission of germs. Throw used tissues away immediately and wash hands properly using soap and clean water
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your hands

Michelle Connolly has worked as a photo director, social media manager and photo editor at some of Australia's biggest media companies, including New Idea. She is now editor of Practical Parenting and loving mum-of-two.