Lysol M’Lady’s Personal Disinfectant

Vintage Lysol Ads (L) 1934 Lysol Personal Hygiene (R) 1937 Lysol Disinfectant for Home

Given Lysol’s history, it’s ironic that Lysol was first out of the gate with a strong warning against following our toxic president’s suggestions of using their product for internal disinfection against the coronavirus.

Once upon a time, Lysol actually advertised itself as both a disinfectant for the home and for m’lady’s internal private parts. Both forms of strict housekeeping would assure a happy hubby.

According to Lysol in a series of ads that ran 70 years ago, there were two neglects few husbands could forgive- but Lysol promised it could correct both in a jiff.

No decent woman would neglect her lovely home and risk being called a poor housekeeper, and it was the wise wife who made sure to protects her personal daintiness- the very thing that won over her husband. That’s why no wise girl trusted a bath alone to keep her fresh but relied on  Lysol, just as no wise girl trusted housekeeping to anything but Lysol.

Vintage Lysol Ad

This was why many doctors advised patients to douche regularly with Lysol just to ensure daintiness and to use it as often as needed to protect their married happiness…keep you desirable. Now we know why the happy homemaker was so happy. She had Lysol in her corner.

And in all her private nooks and crannies too.

Perhaps that is how this disinfection notion came into Donald Trump’s addled mind, recalling that brown glass bottle of Lysol in its familiar yellow box that stood in the medicine cabinet of his youth. The one that mother Mary Trump used religiously to feel fresh, desirable, and dainty for Fred.

Like every smart post-war wife did. If she wanted to hold onto her marriage.

You Can Trust Lysol

vintage Lysol Ads

Vintage Lysol Ads (L) 1934 Lysol Personal Hygiene (R) 1937 Lysol Disinfectant for Home

Lysol, long a trusted disinfectant in hospitals and homes since 1884, began advertising in the 1920s for use of their product as a douche. The question of woman’s daintiness  “so vital, so important that it cannot be ignored” Lysol explained,” yet it had long been embarrassing to discuss.”

Truth would be the best disinfectant.

Who better than a manufacturer of a product to clean your linoleum tiles to address this shame. Suddenly Lysol morphed into advice for the lovelorn, hanging up their shingle for Marriage Counseling. The use of their product would not only revive a loveless marriage but promote confidence as nothing else could. “When marriage is freed of fear marriages were remade by the advice of proper marriage hygiene,” Lysol advised.


Vintage Ad 1928 Lysol

Vintage Ad 1928 Lysol

Speaking frankly to the newly emancipated woman of the twenties who was a gal on the go,  Lysol addressed her greatest fear. Losing her desirability.

Vote shmote!  An unhappy marriage would lead to disaster.

Ladies, if you hope to stay young sweet-natured energetic and joyous you must be well. A woman’s neglect of herself often leads to serious consequences. No woman can afford to be indifferent to the delicate matter of  feminine hygiene or ignorant of the means now offered by science for problems of health youth and happiness.

Even today, many girls don’t realize what is involved in treating “the delicate zone”. They don’t ask, nobody tells them. Often a young wife was too timid and shy to learn the intimate facts.

It was time to talk frankly to the American woman about internal cleanliness – to arm them to combat one of woman’s most offensive deodorant problems known to man!

It’s the Woman’s Fault, Naturally

“Worry and nerves in so many cases are a woman’s own fault,” begins this ad from 1928 that ran in Ladies Home Journal, “ Neglect of the proper care of herself or misunderstanding of the facts about personal hygiene often lead to listlessness premature old age needlessly unhappy marriage.”

“And  in this enlightened frank day, a woman can scarcely be forgiven for not knowing about this vital subject”

Just the Facts Mam’

Vintage illustration Doctor 1950s

But don’t just take our word for it.

To the enlightened woman of today, this subject is too important to be trusted to hearsay. She wants authentic facts.’,” Lysol stated somberly.” Then she can judge for herself

Glowing testimony from eminent doctors attested to both the safety and effectiveness of the product. What could be wiser than to rely on the antiseptic that experienced doctors all over the world, in hospitals and private practice have used since 1884?

That they used it on their instruments and equipment was not mentioned.

They swore on its proven ability to rid the body of this most offensive enemy.  As though they were  Edgar Hoover and his G-Men  in pursuit of Al Capone,  Lysol swore to “pursues germs into hidden folds and crevices,” in its pursuit of the hidden unseen enemy.

“Lysol has amazing proved power to kill germ life-truly cleanses the vaginal canal even in the presence of mucous matter. Appealing daintiness is assured because the very source of objectionable odors are eliminated.

“Using just anything is practically a crime against yourself in this day and age,” claimed one expert.


Vintage Lysol Ad 1934

Vintage Lysol Ad 1934 Number 11 in a Series of Frank Talks by Eminent Women Physicians

A 1934 ad presented the testimony was from dr Clotilde Delaunay a leading gynecologist of Paris whos declared “Lysol is Safe.”

Score of women come to me every year with their married happiness tottering on the brink of ruin, all because they are positively ill from fear. Needless fear. In 9 cases out of ten the way out is merely simple education in marriage hygiene. My advice is given in 2 short words – use Lysol.”

“I always recommend Lysol because it is certain,” another doctor advised. “It always destroys germs. Yet it is safe. …soothing to the most delicate feminine membrane.  It can never sear or harden as others do. I prescribe it regular use in marriage hygiene for the health and peace of mind of every wife. Yet gentle noncaustic Lysol will not harm delicate tissue.”

The Age of Anxiety

Vintage ad 1946 Lysol

Vintage ad 1946 Lysol

It was in the post-war years Lysol ramped up the fears directing their advertising to the now pitiful young woman who definitely needed to be instructed on how important vaginal douching was to feminine cleanliness, health, charm, and married happiness.

If she were to survive an Atomic Attack, she’d best not have offensive odor while stuck in a fall out shelter, lest her husband becomes sulky and resentful.

Vintage Lysol Ad 1951

Vintage Lysol Ad 1948

The old story. An ideal marriage…until fear crept in.

Doubts, inhibitions ignorance misgivings. Too often…too frightfully often…the romance and tenderness of married love is shattered on one sad neglect.

She feels her marriage is breaking up heading for divorce. Yet she finds herself helpless,

This neglect makes a wife unsure of her feminine daintiness…slowly but surely succeeds in causing trouble between her husband and herself. Far too many wives are guilty of this neglect…fail to practice the complete effective feminine hygiene that assures allure. Yet all they need to do is take regular vaginal douches with a scientifically correct preparation such as Lysol.

Yet all they need to do is clean regularly with a scientifically correct preparation such as Lysol. So easy a way for a wife to banish this unsureness…which may stand in the way of normal happy love

Vintage Lysol Ad 1948

Vintage Lysol Ad 1948


Vintage Ad 1949 Lysol

Vintage Ad 1949 Lysol

It was so easy to offend and never know it.

Take the case of poor Joan,  a peach of a girl:

She didn’t realize that she herself had been at fault….in a matter of feminine hygiene Lysol would have helped save the happiness of marriage.

“Popular girls everywhere use Lysol. Many a girl who could be attractive is losing out because she isn’t dainty. That’s why nowadays no wise gal trusts a bath alone to keep her fresh in treating a woman’s delicate zone.

Send for our free booklet put out by Lysol, sent in a plain envelope. This book shows that Lysol is as safe to use as pure water. It cannot harm or poison your delicate danger zones. No powder or bleach can clean your delicate zone like this…especially made for the job and non-injurious to paint or hands.

In fact even if accidentally swallowed it would not produce fatal results. Yet Lysol is actually far stronger in its power to kill germs than any dilution of carbolic acid. Imagine that! Don’t experiment with new preparations. Don’t take unnecessary chances.

Now you can see why screen stars and the very nicest women of two continents never think of neglecting the ritual of Lysol…it is regarded by them as fundamental to daintiness and good breeding.”

If you are in doubt regarding the wholesome method of Feminine hygiene, ask your doctor about Lysol’s disinfectant.

Just don’t ask your President!


Copyright (©) 2020 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved






  1. bernesemtdog

    This is horrifying.


  2. jmartin18rdb

    Great, great post. Was there some point when the manufacturers of Lysol explained the whole feminine hygiene ad campaign was just the company being sarcastic?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been puzzling over old feminine hygiene ads for a few years now. Some were so subtle that even as an old married woman I’m not always sure what problem they are attempting to solve. I suspect a coded hint at douches for birth control? Of course, making women paranoid about their normal bodily functions is a classic advertising ploy, but the ads’ hints at undesirable odors do make me wonder if there was a lot more oral sex in the 1920s & 30s than I realized…. 🙂


    • jmar

      That’s a “fresh” thought. I myself was told rather later in life that it was the neglect of a post-coital of a vinegar douche (TMI!!!) that resulted in my unexpected birth 9 and 10 years after my siblings were planned for. Begs many questions. But I do recall my dad having a heightened appetite for anything pickled….


    • From sources that I have been reading, these douches were coded ads for birth control at a time when that was pretty taboo. I only recently learned from a friend that she tried to have an abortion in the late 1950s as a teenager using Lysol full strength.

      All that said, if there is anything odious or offensive it is the tone, language and perspective of these ads. The self consciousness it created in women about a normal function lasted for generations and us pretty unforgivable. You might be right about oral sex being more prevalent than we thought about that time period, but this was a time when Lifebouy soap coined the term BO and the hint of any human odor was very scorned upon, lest you offend others.


  4. Yikes!!! 😲 Is this where *Prez Trump gets his medical ideas from? From old timey Lysol adverts?!


  5. anon

    honey, you’re not reading the subtext; the “organic matter” that it’s working in the presence of is semen and the “irregularity” is in the menstrual cycle. Lysol (and Zonite, a bleach solution with very similar ads) were being sold on the down-low as spermicidal douches. All of the sexist language is to get the real ad in under the radar of anyone else who picks up the magazine. Not that they worked, but then before the 60s very little in the way of birth control did. (And believe it or not, the use of Lysol or a similar disinfectant in the birth canal during childbirth was at one point an accepted practice, meant to prevent postpartum infection, although it was mostly abandoned upon discovery that the Lysol was doing more damage to women’s own tissues than to the germs it was meant to destroy)


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