Good question again Becky,
Detol and other cleaning products kill germs by breaking down the cell walls of these germs (bactiera, viruses, worms, and other nasty buggers).
It does this by hitting the with some really strong acid or base which causes a breakdown of the structure of their cells. It doesn’t just kill germ cells though.
It attacks all cells! Which is why you should always wear gloves when cleaning as some of these products will attack your own skin cells on your hands.
Dettol is an antibacterial agent, which means basically that it has an ingredient in it that can kill or prevent the growth of bacteria.
Bacteria are actually sensitive structures, and certain chemicals can damage their cell shape or metabolism, preventing them from surviving.
An easy way to test this at home is by letting some cheese or fruit get mouldy or infected at home (urgh i know!), and then get some cotton buds soaked in dettol and place them on the surface – you should see that after a while the area soaked in dettol kills the microorganism!
Dettol is one of those pesky chemicals that just can’t go unnoticed because it smells so strong! It’s this aromatic compound (derived from phenol) that helps us fight unwanted bacteria. The -OH group of the molecule binds to proteins present on the cell membrane of bacteria and disrupts the cell membrane by allowing the contents of the cell to leak out, thus killing the unwanted bacteria! Excellent question again Becky 🙂 good job!