Benzethonium Chloride

Title: Benzethonium Chloride
CAS Registry Number: 121-54-0
CAS Name: N,N-Dimethyl-N-[2-[2-[4-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)phenoxy]ethoxy]ethyl]benzenemethanaminium chloride
Additional Names: benzyldimethyl[2-[2-(p-1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutylphenoxy)ethoxy]ethyl]ammonium chloride; diisobutylphenoxyethoxyethyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
Trademarks: Hyamine 1622 (Rohm & Haas); Phemeride (Parke-Davis); Phemerol Chloride (Parke-Davis)
Molecular Formula: C27H42ClNO2
Molecular Weight: 448.08
Percent Composition: C 72.37%, H 9.45%, Cl 7.91%, N 3.13%, O 7.14%
Literature References: Quaternary ammonium salt with antimicrobial activity. Prepn: H. A. Bruson, US 2115250 (1938 to Rohm & Haas). Germicidal activity and toxicity data: P. Weiss et al., J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. Sci. Ed. 40, 267 (1951). HPLC determn in fish: T. B. A. Reuvers et al., J. Chromatogr. 467, 321 (1989). Use for determn of total protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF): R. W. Luxton et al., Clin. Chem. 35, 1731 (1989). Review of properties, commercial uses and toxicology studies: J. Am. Coll. Toxicol. 4, 65-106 (1985).
Properties: Odorless, colorless crystals with very bitter taste. mp 160-165°. Sol in water giving a foamy, soapy soln. Sol in alcohol, chloroform; slightly sol in ether. Incompatible with soap, anionic detergents. LD50 i.v. in mice: 29.5 mg/kg (Weiss).
Melting point: mp 160-165°
Toxicity data: LD50 i.v. in mice: 29.5 mg/kg (Weiss)
Use: In cosmetics as preservative; cationic surfactant. As disinfectant in dairies and food industries. Clinical reagent for determn of protein in CSF; pharmaceutic aid (preservative).
Therap-Cat: Antiseptic, disinfectant.
Therap-Cat-Vet: Antiseptic, disinfectant.
Keywords: Antiseptic/Disinfectant; Quaternary Ammonium Compounds.
Benzetimide Benzhydrylamine Benzil Benzil Dioxime Benzilic Acid

Benzethonium chloride
Kekulé, skeletal formula of benzethonium chloride
CAS number 121-54-0 YesY
PubChem 8478
ChemSpider 8165 YesY
UNII PH41D05744 YesY
EC number 204-479-9
UN number 2923
KEGG D01140 YesY
MeSH Benzethonium
RTECS number BO7175000
ATC code D08AJ08,R02AA09
Beilstein Reference 3898548
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Image 2
Molecular formula C27H42ClNO2
Molar mass 448.08 g mol−1
Melting point 163 °C; 325 °F; 436 K
Solubility in water 40 g dm-3 (at 20 °C)
Routes of
Legal status


GHS pictograms The corrosion pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) The skull-and-crossbones pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) The environment pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
GHS signal word Danger
GHS hazard statements H301, H314, H400
GHS precautionary statements P273, P280, P305+351+338, P310
EU classification Harmful Xn
R-phrases R22 R37/38 R41
S-phrases S26 S36/39
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Benzethonium chloride is a synthetic quaternary ammonium salt. This compound is an odorless white solid; soluble in water. It has surfactant, antiseptic, and anti-infective properties, and it is used as a topical antimicrobial agent in first aid antiseptics. It is also found in cosmetics and toiletries such as mouthwashes, anti-itch ointments, and antibacterial moist towelettes. Benzethonium chloride is also used in the food industry as a hard surface disinfectant.[1]

Benzethonium chloride exhibits a broad spectrum of microbiocidal activity against bacteria, fungi, mold and viruses. Independent testing shows that benzethonium chloride is highly effective against such pathogens as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and norovirus.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies that the safe and effective concentrations for benzethonium chloride are 0.1-0.2% in first aid products.[2] Aqueous solutions of benzethonium chloride are not absorbed through the skin. It is not approved in the US and Europe for use as a food additive. Being a quaternary ammonium salt, it is more toxic than negatively charged surfactants.[3] However, in a 2 year study on rats, there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity.[4]

In addition to its highly effective antimicrobial activity, benzethonium chloride contains a positively charged nitrogen atom covalently bonded to four carbon atoms. This positive charge attracts it to the skin and hair. This contributes to a soft, powdery afterfeel on the skin and hair, as well as long-lasting persistent activity against microorganisms. Also, this positively-charged hydrophillic part of the molecule makes it a cationic detergent.[5]

It is available under trade names Salanine, BZT, Diapp, Quatrachlor, Polymine D, Phemithyn, Antiseptol, Disilyn, Phermerol, and others.[6] It is also found in several grapefruit seed extract preparations[7] and can be used as a preservative, such as in the anaesthetic Ketamine.[8]

In Popular Media

In Star Trek: Enterprise, benzethonium is used as a painkiller in hospitals on the planet Risa. Ensign Travis Mayweather was given it after a rock climbing accident but he turned out to be allergic.[9]