Lysol Ads from the 50’s


“A man marries a woman because he loves her. so, instead of blaming him if married love begins to cool, she should question herself. Is she truly trying to keep her husband and herself eager, happily married lovers? One most effective way to safeguard her dainty feminine allure….”


See the whole bloody thing at: Feastoffools’ Flickr Account


  1. Holy Crap!!! OOOwwwwwwwwww…..

    I bet there were women who did this too…

    Thats just wrong…..

    Words cannot convey my feelings of horror!!!

  2. Wasn’t it phenol, or carbolic acid (a benzene ring with a hydroxyl stuck on) back in the day? Is it still, these days? It sure doesn’t smell like phenol anymore.

    Incidentally, I see nothing horribly or inherently dangerous in… ahem, proposed procedure. The dose makes the poison, so at low enough concentration phenol may have the desired effect, and still remain nontoxic to a person.

  3. Omigod, I think my mom used to do this before switching to vinegar and water…what a nightmare that the chemical industry and society made women afraid of themselves…

  4. Crap, I’m getting confused — is marriage being threatened by the homos, or is it just the damn bitches not using Lysol anymore?

    Man — the good old days, when women were appealing, dainty and non-caustic. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

    ::drags knuckles on ground and farts::

  5. I guess hubby took a whiff of what wifey had to offer and decided to lock himself in the bathroom with a copy of Playboy. The Girl Next Door doesn’t offend in this way…

  6. I’ve dated girls (in the old days) who sorely needed something like that.

    “Damn, next time you take the car to go fishing, don’t clean ’em in the back seat, OK?”

  7. Apparently, this was actually a birth control ad (from

    From 1930 until 1960, the most popular female contraceptive was Lysol disinfectant — advertised as a feminine hygiene product in ads featuring testimonials from prominent European “doctors.” Later investigation by the American Medical Association showed that these experts did not exist.

    “The fraud of the Lysol douche was a byproduct of illegality,” Tone says. “Because birth control couldn’t be advertised openly, manufacturers would use euphemisms to refer to birth control. They took advantage of consumers’ hopes.”

  8. You know, my Mom long ago told me that my crazy aunt Flo used to douche with Lysol. I had no idea that the Lysol company ITSELF was encouraging women to do this—I thought it was some twisto idea my aunt had come up with on her own. (If you knew Flo you’d understand.)

    Anyhow, there is really no biological need for women to douche with anything, under normal circumstances. The vaginal canal cleans itself out on a regular basis.

    I will admit, though, I DID feel rather funky just after I had my daughter. That was the only time in my life I felt the need for “a little help.” But no Lysol, thank you.

  9. I cannot believe that women fell for this type of nonsense. However, considering the limitations of the day – it doesn’t surprise me. I know women did not write these ads. And a woman would not have thought something like this up!! This type of information infuriates me and should infuriate all women. There should be (or should have been) a thorough investigation into the company “Lysol” to make them support their reasoning for this archaic crap. It doesn’t matter if it was 1928 or 2008 – it’s just plain wrong – even abusive. Lastly, I will never buy Lysol again. Never. It no longer exists in my mind.

  10. I know some things were to be highly reviered about the 1940’s and 50’s but this would not be one of them. The guys who wrote these ads also Im sure are the ones that insisted it was just as safe and saved a whole lot of hard earned money to opt for the coat hanger approach to an unplanned pregnancy……
    “well if anyone found out, you’d never be able to step foot inside town again Gracey”

    *vomits profusely*

    Glad someone came up with women’s lib…..cause heck if it were me back then I’d prolly have fallen for it!!

  11. These ads go a long way to explain the “Lysol abortion” stories. I’m guessing that some of them may have been hygiene gone wrong, or attempts at spermicidal douching. And if these ads were encouraging lysol douching as hygenic, why would a woman think that trying to abort with something so healthful could possibly be harmful?

  12. The Lysol contained creosol, poisonous to male “germs” which was the sperm. They also used phenol and these were all caustic to bacteria but worse to vaginal tissue. Women died from this, especially if they tried to
    put in the cervix for abortion.

  13. Hi Lynn, I’m a historian rewriting a paper that cites some 1920s Australia women about these products being used as douches; I wrote in the draft that Lysol could be deadly when used as an abortifacient and a reviewer has argued that this is unproven and unlikely. (Grrr) Do you have a source that can support my claim, which I’ve picked up somewhere but lost the references for? If so, are you on Facebook – I am working on this paper at home this week. If not, well, I’ll just let it go.
    Dr G, Queensland, Australia

  14. What a great deal-Two products in one. It’s a douche! It’s a household cleaning product! For example, you can clean the bathroom and then use the leftover solution to douche.

  15. Dr. G:

    Don’t know if you are still looking, but I googled a bit and found this:

    New England Journal of Medicind 1969 Oct 2;281(14):747-53.

    Management of septic chemical abortion with renal failure. Report of five consecutive cases with five survivors.

    Bartlett RH, Yahia C.

    The woman with complications of chemical abortion (often induced by soap or Lysol solution) is a prototype of the critically ill surgical patient. Usual mortality where hysterectomy is delayed or not done is 60%. 5 such patients, all with sepsis and uterine necrosis were treated by hysterectomy. All had renal failure, 4 required dialysis; 1 underwent diuresis after injection of ethacrynic acid. Major complications, in addition to renal failure, were pulmonary. 2 patients who had prophylactic vena-cava clips and ligation of ovarian veins escaped pulmonary complications. All patients survived without physiologic disturbances.

  16. my grandmother killed herself in 1937 by drinking a bottle of Lysol – she was three months pregnant at the time with a man she could not marry. . . .

  17. Okay.. although this is ill advisable and generally rejected by doctors these days, this is not quite as horrible/terrifying/dangerous as some seem to think.

    No, it was not full strength stuff – the concentrate would have been diluted to 2% or so with water, as per instructions. At this level it’s not really a toxicity concern. It turns out to be about as potent as watered-down mouthwash.

    There were some who were injured because they overused this stuff and did it over and over with concentrated lysol. The reason was that it was believed it would help as birth control. As it turns out, it is totally ineffective as birth control.

    As for when “properly” used: It did a pretty good job of killing most of the bacteria in there. That was actually the problem. In the long run, this is not helpful because the normal flora actually prevent pathogenic bacteria from colonizing. Thus, when they’re killed off, there is actually a higher probability of infection.

    So it’s just not a good idea… But it wouldn’t kill or cause direct injury if done as directed. The problem is that many seemed to over-do it badly because of the myth that it prevent pregnancy. It doesn’t because by the time they start using it, the sperm were already moving far up past the cervix.

    But meh.. If hubby locks himself in the bathroom because wife is not “fresh” enough, then perhaps drastic measures are warranted?

  18. My mom told me her alcoholic brother in Alaska killed himself by drinking Lysol. He confused it with an alcoholic drink of some sort.
    Who invented this product and decided it was safe for women to use? What I am reading about Lysol douche is mind blowing!

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