Saphonol-The Magical Raw Material used in Dettol.


Touted as the most distinguishing trademark for Dettol and Savlon, the ouzo effect makes the antiseptic turn milky (cloudy) upon contact with water.

The ouzo effect is undoubtedly the most remarkable physical characteristic of dettol. It makes it difficult for potential competitors and cartels to copy/fake the brand.

Originally, the antiseptic that is sold and rebranded as Dettol by Reckitt Benckiser , Savlon by Johnson & Johnson and Roberts was made in Egypt by SCITTRA, a company owned by two brothers.

The ouzo effect was, until recently, a top secret by the original maker of the antiseptic, that is why it has never been faked!

But did you know that a component know as Saphonol is the agent behind the clouding effect seen in Dettol and Savlon?

The exact mode of working has not been revealed yet, but the maker of Saphonol, Betty Industrial Chemicals says that Saphonol is now available in commercial scale and the minimum quantity is 100g, retailing at Ksh 500. In my own view, saphonol works by scattering light in the water and one of its listed ingredients (potassium salts) undergo Cationic exchange in hydrolysis thus the cloud effect.

Saphonol meets the standards set by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and a pack of 1 kg comes with the manufacturer’s directions of use.

People who have been trained at Cosmetics and Detergents Kenya Limited Institute have successfully incorporated the ingredient in their brands which have all been certified by KEBS.

Saphonol comes in two grades: Thick gel and coarse granules. The manufacturer intimated that on first day of official release, saphonol recorded impressive sales across Africa. The pocket friendly price makes it an ingredient of choice for makers of Dettol-type antiseptic product.

Saphonol is available in Nairobi at Nyota building along Accra road room 105 first floor and room 309 third floor.

Thank you for your time to read this article.

The writer is a training officer at Cosmetics and Detergents Kenya Limited Institute.

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