How Does Lysol Kill Bacteria?

lysol-kill-bacteria Credit: Mike Mozart/CC-BY 2.0

Most scientists believe Lysol Disinfectant Spray works by denaturing proteins. The spray itself is composed of 79 percent ethyl alcohol, which is what gives the spray its disinfecting properties.

Different Lysol products work differently because they use different chemicals. However, the Lysol Disinfectant Spray relies mostly on alcohol. Scientists are not exactly clear on how alcohols kill germs, according to the Center for Disease Control, though they think it has to do with denaturing proteins. Essentially, denaturing a protein destroys the tertiary structure that gives the protein its three-dimensional shape. Destroying the structure interrupts how it functions, in effect killing the cell. It may also affect the membranes of cells.