• Julia Corsetti

Lysol, Is My Disinfectant Expired? ...Hello, Anyone There?

Who would’ve thought that in the year 2020, cleaning supplies would be prized possessions.

If you’re lucky, you experienced the feeling of pulling everything out from under your sink and seeing a shimmering beacon, a precious jewel in the humble form of a dusty spray bottle of clorox disinfectant. You pulled it out, slosh it around to feel what’s left, praising whomever had the brilliant foresight to purchase this formerly mundane household item. You remember the good old days when you could walk into any grocery store and find walls of these bad boys floor to ceiling, stocked to the brim night and day. It’s a different world now. You read the label, “Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.” Does that include Covid? Probably. But... turning the bottle around you scan the small print… does it expire?

Well, does it expire??

Great question. We were wondering the same thing. So we did what any quarantined, isolated, modern American would do: we started Googling. Lysol has a Facebook page, perfect! And other people have asked the same question, great!

So the question was posed. Four years ago. And Lysol responded. But the response wasn’t exactly a direct answer to the question. It’s like if you asked your co-worker, “how long are you going on vacation for?” and they said “When I depart I will board a plane.”

Um, okay....

There must be some more recent activity. There must be some answers. So, we scrolled on and found the topic of expiration brought up again, five weeks ago:

And again Lysol responded, but without a direct answer.

You: “I get that the mode of transportation you’ll use is an airplane, I was more wondering about the specific dates you will be gone so I can plan my work schedule.”

Coworker: “Jeffrey, there are many ways to travel. Planes are the fastest. There are snacks on the plane. I will go when I go and I’ll get there when I get there.”

Other coworker: “Just tell us when you’re getting back!!”

The thing is, this is serious. This is about life and death. And in a time like this (you know, world wide pandemic and global shutdown due to a contagious and deadly virus), the companies that manufacture the products we need to stay safe and sanitized are doing very well. The least they can do is give clear answers when it comes to the products they are selling off the shelves.

As a communications agency as well as Lysol product consumers, we were surprised to see this response from the company, both from a public relations standpoint as well as a loyal customer’s perspective. In this modern age of accessible customer service thanks to public forums on social media, we expect the leader in disinfectant products to share important, potentially life-saving information with customers. This would be a bad-look for Lysol in normal times, but during a pandemic when we’re all hyper-focused on cleanliness, it’s even worse for the consumer-goods group to take such a tone deaf response when addressing real concerns from their customers.

Reckitt Benckiser, the consumer goods company that makes both Dettol and Lysol, saw revenue rise 12.3% ($4 billion) in the first quarter of this year.

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