Dear America: You are not this dumb. Tell Lysol you ain’t buyin’ it.

Health (‘helth)(n.) the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit Example: “She was in good health.”
Healthing (‘helth-ing)(v.) a gerund-nonsense form of the noun “health,” created by the Lysol marketing team. Example: “It’s not cleaning, it’s healthing.”

Lysol's Healthing Logo

Lysol’s Healthing Logo

Lysol wants to convince you, once again, like every other chemical or single-use-product manufacturer, that your home is wrought with disease and you are a filthy, filthy cretin barely fit for human society. But you can be saved (of course)! Lysol’s new ad campaign is a social studies teacher’s wet dream, chock-full of so many examples of propaganda techniques, that there’s an entire day’s lesson plan right here. (You’re welcome, my overworked compatriots in education.)

Glittering Generalities

– “Are you cleaning or healthing?” In using, ahem, MAKING UP, this word “healthing,” Lysol wants you to associate their brand not with cleaning, but being healthy. (Um, this is painfully obvious, but someone got paid a lot of money for this genius plan. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a consumer out there going, “Ohhhhhhhh! Those tricksters! They done got me a-gin!”) You can download “The Official Healthing Guidebook,” which is really just a bunch of graphic ads and catchphrases containing the word HEALTH repeated so many times it’s obnoxious.


– “LYSOL is proud to have partnered with numerous groups and Centers of the CDC since 1998 in an effort to help promote health and hygiene both in the U.S. and around the world.” People, this does not mean the CDC endorses Lysol. It means Lysol funds THEM.


– “Families Everywhere Are Healthing” When you click on “In Your Community,” a giant ticker of the [supposed] thousands of families using Lysol products appears. And don’t forget to join these families on Facebook, where I’m sure everyone is dishing about their latest “healthing” spree!


– Take the quiz on Healthing and you’ll find out whether what you’re doing in your home is leading to true “health,” or frothy sludge piles. The “quiz” (which is not really an assessment of anything, but we knew that) plays out like a condescending parent quizzing a messy toddler, with questions akin to, “Would you rather wipe your heiney with toilet paper or get poopie on your hands?” In each scenario, you’d be a jackass if you didn’t choose the “healthing” way. Lysol doesn’t SAY you need their product to have a healthy home, but that’s what they’re IMPLYING. HealthfulMama_LysolPropagandaThey have programs for schools (germ-fests!), newborns (weak and vulnerable!), and disaster relief (exposed to the elements!). The sentiment seems to be that Lysol will keep your kids from getting sick at school, your newborn free of disease, and will help you after a disaster. A miracle in a bottle, y’all!


Watch the vid (well, don’t, really, unless you’re up for wasting two minutes of your life) which tells us that Lysol is the number-one pediatrician-recommended brand. Huh. “Spray a little Lysol on that wart; should take care of it. Little trick I picked up in med school.” What authority do pediatricians hold on chemical cleansers, honestly?

So, here’s the thing: disinfectants are necessary–IN HOSPITALS. (Although the inappropriate use of disinfectants in hospitals has been leading to superbugs, or drug-resistant bacteria.) In schools, there is sometimes a need (like when the wrestling team contracts MRSA). However, Lysol’s products that are being marketed to you, for your home, are COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY (read another article on disinfectants causing superbugs). The best way to kill bacteria? Handwashing. Soap and water. And not antibacterial soap, for god’s sake. Just use regular, old castile soap. If you really feel the need to sanitize, you can make your own hand sanitizer. Wanna kill bacteria on countertops and doorknobs? Straight vinegar. Spray it on. Let it air dry. In short, why introduce more chemicals (solvents, surfacants, fragrances, labeled “not toxic” or not) into the atmosphere of your home when you don’t have to? Why let a marketing scam INSTEAD OF YOUR BRAIN guide your decisions? Just don’t buy this propaganda from Lysol.

What say you? Do you feel that Lysol is playing to your emotions with this campaign?

photo credit: Kory C. via photopin cc


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13 Responses to Dear America: You are not this dumb. Tell Lysol you ain’t buyin’ it.

  1. Anastasia @ eco-babyz March 20, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Thank you, finally someone said it. I’ve seen their marketing campaign and it drives me nuts that they market these highly toxic chemicals as ‘healthy’ and moms will believe them. YUCK!

    • HealthfulMama March 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      I hadn’t seen this campaign before yesterday and my eyes did a major roll to the back of my head.

  2. cassiemdow March 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    well said. I am personally a vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda cleaner. I’m allergic to all the “healthy” chemicals marketed as cleaners. Feel free to message me if you or any of your readers are looking for effective soaps, shampoos, detergents with no added fragrances….Unfortunately I am a bit of a knowledge source on these.

    • HealthfulMama March 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      That’s exactly it, cassie. So many cleansers use chemicals that are supposedly “not toxic” but aren’t exactly free of allergens or caustic chemicals.

  3. michelle (@queentob) March 21, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    lysol makes me sick, the smell, what it makes the public think about cleaning and how products like these help to create super- bugs…we need anti lysol campaigns…and help sprerad the word that a good hand scrubbin’ is all we really need!

  4. Brenna March 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Great post! I have luckily not seen this campaign yet, but this shouldn’t be surprising. Some people are starting to realize how unnecessary and harmful products like Lysol are, so they are coming up with stronger advertisement to keep as many customers as possible. Frustrating, but we have to stay vigilant and show the manipulation of the marketing at work.

  5. GGirlGGreen March 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Great post! I hate Lysol. End of story!

  6. Julie March 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    I missed this particular campaign, but recently was annoyed at another ‘green’ perspective that joked around using harsh chemicals & disinfectants. I’ve swapped out for baking soda and vinegar (and the occasional “method/7th generation) and am happy with my floors, counters and bathrooms.

  7. Martha May 21, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Thank you! I just found your blog because I was looking to confirm that I’m not the only one thinking this campaign is stupid. The first time I saw one of these “healthing” ads I was embarrassed, in the way that I would be embarrassed for a friend who is table dancing while drinking Wild Turkey. Now I just get angry. It’s shameless and transparent. I have long been disgusted with Lysol and their green CGI amoeba commercials, and now it’s getting even worse. I agree that hand washing is one of the best ways to stay healthy, but of course Lysol wants us to believe it’s unsafe to touch a soap pump (cue the CGI amoebas). Surely I’m not the only one who realizes that the actual hand washing takes place AFTER touching the pump. Being treated as thought I am stupid does not make me want to purchase their chemicals. I think I’ll stick with my vinegar and soap. I am glad to see that I am not alone.

    • HealthfulMama May 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

      I thought I responded to this earlier, but I love you so much for “in the way that I would be embarrassed for a friend who is table dancing while drinking Wild Turkey.” Excellent, excellent. Thanks for dropping by!

  8. Marcy October 29, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    So my family and I have been sick the entire month. The only thing I have been skatin spraying lately blindly thinking that this “would help ” I finally googled and searched around and what do ya know, it’s been the Lysol this whole time!! I’m so done using their products!

  9. dj June 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Yeah, I agree that the unbelievably stupid commercial is embarrassing, misleading, and who’d a thunk it, simply to make the rich guys richer. It’s painfully obvious that they rule and as long as they get one more dollar in their overstuffed wallets it’s worth ruining people’s lives. “Healthing” is not now and should never be allowed to be a word.
    I grew up with the original Lysol spray in the house although it was used sparingly. We had always heard (never really had confirmation) it was toxic to cats. I have spent many years of my life trying (inside and outside) to use as few chemicals as possible. I like my germs, I like my dirt, I like my friendly bacteria. After all they make up a good portion of our beings. I read recently that much of our behaviour is due to gut flora. Cool article in Scientific American. Don’t remember which month, though. I regress. Lysol’s ad campaign stinks, I have written to them with my little opinion, but as I am a lowly poor person I don’t count. Hopefully many people will write and complain. After all, it’s our dollars they are looking for, yes?

  10. dj June 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    Oops, sleepy eyes meant to type digress, not regress. Regression isn’t a bad idea in many things though. Didja know our brains are smaller now that we don’t have to think for ourselves or do anything for ourselves? My new anthem will be “In the Year 2525” If you youngsters have never heard it, give it a listen. Scary but true.

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