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Creolin is a generic name for disinfectants and whose composition varies according to origin.


Creolin is a registered trademark of Guglielmo Pearson S.r.l., Genoa, Italy, and corresponds to a disinfectant product, a mixture of chemical compounds, whose names, company and product, are inspired by the English disinfectant prepared by William Pearson.

The article on Newland, Kingston upon Hull, mentions that Pearsons was established by William Edward Pearson in 1880. The maker of Creolin's black disinfectant derived from creosote. In Italy, the company that owns the brand Creolin, and is the only manufacturer of the disinfectant, registered with the Ministry of Health with the number 148/10. Internationally, creolin also corresponds to the trade name of other disinfectant products for example by Mark Cansick Co, in addition to the same William Pearson (chemicals). From 1888 to date the creolin has undergone several changes. The original composition was tar oil, soaps, caustic soda, and very little water. Its use was multiple: in the field of medicine, in the animal husbandry, civil and veterinary sector. On the other hand, creolin—in the field of motor restoration works—is used to return to the original condition of the casting of oil-stained aluminum parts and the vapors of the same.

"Prophylactic Hygiene Lecture V.- On Disinfectants" by Professor Georges Dujardin-Beaumetz, Paris France, Published in The Therapeutic Gazette 1889.

While extolling the virtues of some new remedies, it will not be amiss to call attention to the drawbacks and disadvantages of another new drug, which of late has become quite popular, viz., creolin. Although the disinfectant properties of creolin have now been definitely proved, the drug has certain disadvantages which contraindicate its use for certain purposes. The solution of creolin is wholly opaque, hence it cannot well be used for the basin, in which the instruments are placed before an operation, as it renders their finding difficult. Another disadvantage is that it renders everything with which it comes in contact so soapy that it materially interferes with the firm hold on instruments and parts to be operated upon. That creolin is by no means a harmless agent, but can give rise to serious intoxication, has been amply proved by the publications of Rosin and Cramer.[1]

Creolin and Bacillus Pyocyaneus by Austin Flint II[edit]

Cases in which Bacillus pyocyanus (Synonym Pseudomonas aeruginosa) was found in the dressings, and cultivations of it obtained. Gauze impregnated with corrosive sublimate or carbolized cotton-wool was found to not contain the organism Bacillus pyocyanus. A creolin lotion containing more than 2 percent is used for moistening the dressings, concentrations of creolin higher than 2 percent produced unbearable pain.[2]

Burns by Austin Flint II[edit]

Creolin oil 1 percent strength was used for the treatment of burns.[3]


In the Spanish-language wikipedia airticle about San Juan de Ulúa, it is mentioned that in 1914: "The cleaning of the prison was a work more prodigious than the market, and needed the work of marines, sailors and prisoners for several weeks. The floors were scraped, steam treated, creolin washed, and rinsed with high pressure hoses."


Creolin is a natural disinfectant that is extracted from the dry distillation of wood. This procedure consists of distilling the wood in large autoclaves. From the vapors that emanate from this distillation extracts the vegetable aguarrás also known as essence of turpentine. The residue remaining in the autoclave vessel is a dark, syrupy mass called creosote. It is composed mainly of phenol (phenolic acid) and cresol (cresylic acid). It is a very powerful disinfectant, of natural origin, and is used to make different compounds intended for cleaning and disinfection.[4]

The main active ingredient are phenols (26%), coal tar neutral oils (51%), soaps (13%) and water (10%) . The main toxicity of this product is that of phenols, which are non-specific cellular toxins causing damage to the gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal and neurological systems.[5]

Cresylic Acid is a composition of a number of mixtures of several acids that are derived from petroleum and coal tar, boiled above 204°C, contain varying amounts of cresols and other phenols, and are used in resins, disinfectants, solvents, preservatives, wood preservatives and electrical insulation.

o-Cresol is used as a solvent, disinfectant, and chemical intermediate.
m-Cresol is used to produce certain herbicides, as a precursor to the pyrethroid insecticides, to produce antioxidants, and to manufacture the explosive, 2,4,6-nitro-m-cresol.
p-Cresol is used largely in the formulation of antioxidants and in the fragrance and dye industries.
The EPA has classified o-cresol, m-cresol, and p-cresol as Group C, possible human carcinogens.[6]


Exposure to 26% Creolin disinfectant (26% phenol) produces vomiting, coughing, stridor, tissue sloughing and first degree burns in patients with oral exposure and with dermal exposure. Central nervous system toxicity from exposure to a high concentration phenol containing cleaning product appears to be rapid in onset.[7]


The ideal concentration for the manufacture of disinfectants is a phenol content of 15% on the product. In this way, when the disinfectant is prepared for use, it will always have a final concentration of phenols higher than 1%, which is used for cleaning and disinfection.

For the preparation of phenol disinfectants, liquid soaps of different types are used which aid in cleaning and, mainly, the solubility of the active substance (phenols or cresols). It has been standard practice to use soaps which, upon dissolving the finished product in water, give a white, milk-like emulsion. This emulsion contains, dissolved in small particles, the active material, whether phenols or cresols.

Creolin Soap[edit]

Creolin Soap not to be confused with Creolin deodorant cleanser which may contain a concentration of "20-26%" toxic phenols.[8] See Exposure

The active ingredient in Creolin Soap is Cresylic Acid. Creolin Soap is "advertised" as an anti-dandruff, lice treatment, hair root strengthener, hair loss treatment, scalp acne treatment and antibacterial. Unlike Creolin deodorant cleanser with "20-26%" toxic phenols Creolin soap is formulated for human use.

Oral myiasis[edit]

Treatment of Oral myiasis caused by the screwworm consisted of subcutaneous ivermectin therapy and the application of a phenol preparation (10% creolin) as a local measure for the control of larvae. Healing was uneventful in the six cases presented, and no undesirable reactions were observed throughout the period of treatment.[9]


Creolin is also used as a home remedy for hair growth and as a lice treatment. Recipes using drops of Creolin deodorant cleanser with "20-26%" toxic phenols mixed with shampoo or mixed with the lather of bar soap can be found online. There is no scientific evidence that Creolin promotes hair growth.[10][11]

Inappropriate uses[edit]

There are a number of incorrect or undesirable uses of creolin, such as: bathing pets, deodorant, or for delousing hair. These can cause harm due to the toxity of phenol.[12]

Religious uses[edit]

Creolin is commonly used as tar water in spiritual cleansing rituals performed by Voodoo, Hoodoo, Santeria and some Afro-American religion practitioners.[13]


  1. ^ Dujardin-Beaumetz, Georges (1889). "Prophylactic Hygiene Lecture V.- On Disinfectants". The Therapeutic Gazette. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ Flint, Austin (1888). "A Text-Book of Human Physiology". The Therapeutic Gazette. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  3. ^ Flint, Austin (1888). "A Text-Book of Human Physiology". The Therapeutic Gazette. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Creolina: Qué es y para qué sirve". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Trivia 2: creolina". SerTox. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Cresol/Cresylic Acid" (PDF). Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  7. ^ "A five year evaluation of acute exposures to phenol disinfectant (26%)". 1993. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ Vearrier, D; Jacobs, D; Greenberg, MI (2015). "Phenol Toxicity Following Cutaneous Exposure to Creolin®: A Case Report". J Med Toxicol. 11 (2): 227–31. doi:10.1007/s13181-014-0440-1. PMC 4469710. PMID 25326371.
  9. ^ "Oral myiasis caused by the screwworm Cochliomyia hominivorax treated with subcutaneous ivermectin and creolin: report of six cases after trauma". Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Creolin to make hair grow longer?". 2013-12-27. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  11. ^ "creolina hair growth results 8" in 10 months fast". carolina sanchez. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  12. ^ Vearrier, David; Jacobs, Dorian; Greenberg, Michael I. (2014). "Phenol Toxicity Following Cutaneous Exposure to Creolin®: A Case Report". Journal of Medical Toxicology. 11 (2): 227–231. doi:10.1007/s13181-014-0440-1. PMC 4469710. PMID 25326371.
  13. ^ Hurston, Zora; Neale (1931). "Hoodoo in America". American Folk-lore Society. Retrieved 9 May 2018.