By Joshua Collis-Bird
‘Kill All Germs’ was the motto and the name of KAG manufacturing company’s latest revolution in the world of antiseptics, but what did this ground-breaking new medicine actually do?
The KAG Company claimed this to be the only antiseptic you would ever need when at home, in the office or even in the factory - if there were any germs, KAG would kill them all. In the early 1900s, which was when this product was used, it was rare for an antiseptic to be found in homes let alone near children. However, KAG promised that this was the first ever “non-poisonous” antiseptic that could be used on anything, even kids.
In 1910, you could purchase a 4 fluid ounces (approx. 120mL) bottle of KAG over the counter at any chemist or local store. Inside the carton you would find an impressive list of the uses of KAG, such as for sterilising toothbrushes, stopping sore throats, healing cuts and wounds and stopping colds.
KAG was also used as a deodorant, to treat sunburns, to get rid of the smell of pets and could even freshen your food. The list found inside the bottle of KAG contained 31 different, effective uses of the antiseptic, and each and every one of them promised a cure or relief. However a lot of these problems which were easily fixed by KAG were not even caused by germs in the first place, and antiseptic would have been useless against them.
The antiseptic in KAG is in fact a hypochlorite, which is the name used for the ethanol sodium hypochlorite. In essence, KAG was just a combination of alcohol and chlorine bleach, which is obviously why the label said “Do not use on dyed fabric or wool or silk materials.” Chlorine is a dangerous poison and so in the end, KAG, the end to all your germ troubles, did not work, was a weak alcohol, and was extremely toxic, making KAG and old pill for old dills.