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Phenoxyethanol 3d structure.png
IUPAC name
Other names
Ethylene glycol monophenyl ether
Dowanol EP / EPH
Protectol PE
Emery 6705
Rose ether
β-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether
Phenyl cellosolve
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.004.173
Molar mass 138.166 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless oily liquid
Odor faint rose-like
Density 1.102 g/cm3
Melting point −2 °C (28 °F; 271 K)
Boiling point 247 °C (477 °F; 520 K)
26 g/kg
Solubility Chloroform, Alkali, diethyl ether: soluble
Solubility in peanut oil slightly
Solubility in olive oil slightly
Solubility in acetone miscible
Solubility in ethanol miscible
Solubility in glycerol miscible
Vapor pressure 0.001 kPa (0.00015 psi)
Thermal conductivity 0.169 W/(m⋅K)
1.534 (20 ℃)
Main hazards Harmful if swallowed
Causes serious eye irritation
GHS pictograms GHS07: Harmful
GHS Signal word Warning
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g. canola oilHealth code 3: Short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury. E.g. chlorine gasReactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g. liquid nitrogenSpecial hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Flash point 126 °C (259 °F; 399 K)
430 °C (806 °F; 703 K)
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
1850 mg/kg (rat, oral)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Phenoxyethanol is a germicidal and germistatic glycol ether, phenol ether, and aromatic alcohol often used together with quaternary ammonium compounds.


Phenoxyethanol is used as a perfume fixative; an insect repellent; an antiseptic; a solvent for cellulose acetate, dyes, inks, and resins; a preservative for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and lubricants; an anesthetic in fish aquaculture; and in organic synthesis.

Phenoxyethanol is an alternative to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.[4] In Japan and the European Union, its concentration in cosmetics is restricted to 1%.[5]


Phenoxyethanol is produced by the hydroxyethylation of phenol (Williamson synthesis), for example, in the presence of alkali-metal hydroxides or alkali-metal borohydrides.[1]


Phenoxyethanol is effective against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, and the yeast Candida albicans.[6]

Effective concentration and contact time to kill germs with aromatic alcohols[7]
Aromatic alcohol Concentration (%) Contact time (minutes)
Escherichia coli Pseudomonas aeruginosa Proteus mirabilis Staphylococcus aureus
Benzyl alcohol 1 >30 >30 >30 >30
Phenethyl alcohol 1.25 2.5 2.5 2.5 >30
2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 5
Phenoxyethanol 1.25 15 2.5 2.5 >30
2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 >30


Phenoxyethanol is a vaccine preservative and potential allergen, which may result in a nodular reaction at the site of injection.[8] It reversibly inhibits NMDAR-mediated ion currents.[9] Ingestion may cause central nervous system and respiratory depression, vomiting and diarrhea in infants, particularly when combined with chlorphenesin.[10]


  1. ^ a b Helmut Fiege; Heinz-Werner Voges; Toshikazu Hamamoto; Sumio Umemura; Tadao Iwata; Hisaya Miki; Yasuhiro Fujita; Hans-Josef Buysch; Dorothea Garbe (2007). "Phenol Derivatives". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a19_313.
  2. ^ Commission, British Pharmacopoeia (2009), "Phenoxyethanol", British Pharmacopoeia, 2, ISBN 978-0-11-322799-0
  3. ^ David R. Lide, ed. (2010), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (90th ed.), CRC Press
  4. ^ Wineski LE, English AW (1989). "Phenoxyethanol as a nontoxic preservative in the dissection laboratory". Acta Anat (Basel). 136 (2): 155–8. doi:10.1159/000146816. PMID 2816264.
  5. ^ Tokunaga H, Takeuchi O, Ko R, Uchino T, Ando M (2003). "市販化粧水中のフェノキシエタノールおよびパラベン類の分析法に関する研究" [Studies for analyzing phenoxyethanol and parabens in commercial lotions] (PDF). Kokuritsu Iyakuhin Shokuhin Eisei Kenkyūjo Hōkoku (in Japanese) (121): 25–9. PMID 14740401.
  6. ^ Lowe I, Southern J (1994). "The antimicrobial activity of phenoxyethanol in vaccines". Lett Appl Microbiol. 18 (2): 115–6. doi:10.1111/j.1472-765X.1994.tb00820.x. PMID 7764595.
  7. ^ Hans-P. Harke (2007), "Disinfectants", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (7th ed.), Wiley, pp. 1–17, doi:10.1002/14356007.a08_551
  8. ^ M. H. Beck; S. M. Wilkinson (2010), "Contact Dermatitis: Allergic", in Tony Burns; Stephen Breathnach; Neil Cox; Christopher Griffiths (eds.), Rook's Textbook of Dermatology, 2 (8th ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, p. 26.46, ISBN 978-1-4051-6169-5
  9. ^ Schmuck G, Steffens W, Bomhard E (July 2000). "2-Phenoxyethanol: a neurotoxicant?". Archives of Toxicology. 74 (4–5): 281–7. doi:10.1007/s002040000110. PMID 10959804.
  10. ^ "FDA Warns Consumers Against Using Mommy's Bliss Nipple Cream".