Comet (cleanser)

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A can of Comet

Comet is a powdered cleaning product sold in North America and distributed in the United States by Prestige Brands. Scratch Free Comet with Bleach Disinfectant Cleanser contains 1.2% sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione dihydrate (a derivative of cyanuric acid) and 98.8% "other" ingredients. The only clues about the other ingredients in the product are disclaimers on the label that mention that the surfactants in the product are biodegradable and that it contains no phosphate. Despite being labeled as scratch free, its label also advises the use of plenty of water on delicate surfaces. Comet is not recommended for use on silver, painted surfaces, walls, soft plastic, aluminum and rubber. Mixing Comet with other cleaners, specifically dish soap, toilet bowl cleaners and products that contain ammonia, is dangerous.

Popular Culture[edit]

In the 1960s and 1970s, Comet was known for a series of popular television ads featuring the character of "Josephine the Plumber" (portrayed by actress Jane Withers). Later, in the 1980s, she gained a niece named JoAnn or Jo, who, after helping her customers with their plumbing issues, would show them a picture of her beloved Aunt Josephine, who uttered, via voiceover, "Nothing can hold a can to Comet!".

The brand was introduced in 1956 by Procter & Gamble, and was sold to Prestige Brands in 2001. Procter & Gamble retained the rights to market the brand in Europe, and to the professional (non-home consumer) market in the USA.


In 1969, The Wacky Packages series included a mock ad, drafted by Art Spiegelman and painted by Tom Sutton, depicting a flag-waving American Revolutionary soldier and a pair of club-wielding policemen chasing a group of hippies carrying picket signs inscribed "For Freedom!" and "Love! Not War!", with a prominent slogan, "Keep America Clean with Commie Cleanser" and a can, depicting a caricature of Uncle Sam, and inscribed, "Extra Strong Commie Cleanser" and "Gets Rid of Reds, Pinkos, Hippies, Yippies & Flippies". The mock ad has also appeared depicting the can alone.[1]

A children's song about Comet is sung to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March. It rhymes "Comet" with "vomit." The complete lyrics are:

Comet, it makes your face turn green
Comet, it tastes like gasoline
Comet, it makes you vomit,
So get some Comet, and vomit today!

See also[edit]