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Barbicide is a translucent blue disinfectant solution manufactured by King Research. It was invented in 1947 by Maurice King and marketed heavily by his brother, James King, around the United States. It is used in barber shops and hair salons to disinfect items such as combs and scissors, where it is a very well-recognized symbol of cleanliness and sanitation, and has been for decades; indeed, a jar of Barbicide sits on display in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. In many salons, each barber or hair stylist will have his or her own supply of Barbicide displayed on a shelf in a distinctive glass-and-stainless-steel Barbicide jar, also made by King Research, and many customers demand that a comb or scissors be dipped in it if dropped.
Barbicide is a United States Environmental Protection Agency-approved hospital disinfectant. It is a germicide, pseudomonacide, fungicide, and a viricide, which is effective against the HIV-1 virus (AIDS virus), Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Contact can cause irritation to the skin and eyes, and consumption of as little as 50 mL can cause a person's system to go into shock and may lead to death if not treated quickly.
Barbicide technicians claim it is the only disinfectant of its kind which holds its power and color over time; all of its competitors' products eventually turn green or brown.
Barbicide's active ingredient is Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (5.12% by volume). It also contains sodium nitrite, amongst other things. It is sold in concentrated solution which salons dilute with water, generally in a ratio of 1/4-cup concentrate to 4 cups of water (2 oz. in 32 oz.) or 59ml in 946ml, which the accompanying jar is perfectly sized to hold.
According to Ben King, son of the inventor, Maurice named the solution Barbicide because "He hated barbers. Barbicide meant 'to kill the barber'. It was his secret joke." At one time, its use in barber shops was mandated by law - by name - in several US states; it still is in two.
- Martin, Douglas (1997-06-22). "The Smithsonian Celebrates Barbicide, A Barbershop Germ Killer Born in Brooklyn". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 2. Retrieved 2007-09-20.