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What Is Barbicide®?

By Deb Clark
Updated May 21, 2024
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Barbicide® is a disinfectant used in hair salons, hospitals and other areas where germs and fungus can easily be transmitted. When used properly, Barbicide® is claimed to kill surface germs, fungi and viruses, including hepatitis B and C and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This famous blue disinfectant has been used since the late 1940s in barbershops. The Barbicide® brand has expanded to include hospital-grade disinfectant products, sanitizing products, talcum powders and more.

In 1947, a chemistry teacher named Maurice King created the barber shop disinfectant in the bathtub of his New York apartment. His mix of chemicals eventually revolutionized the way barbershops did business. The risk of infection and cross-contamination between customers was no longer an issue.

King's brother, James, was instrumental in marketing the new product. It quickly gained popularity as a hair salon disinfectant across the United States. Eventually, its popularity spread to other countries.

It is suggested that this disinfectant be replaced at least once a week when used in hair salons. The disinfectant properties will last far longer than that according to its manufacturer, King Research Inc. The distinctive blue color will not change with time.

The full combination of ingredients in Barbicide® remains a proprietary secret. Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride is the active ingredient. Barbicide® also includes a blend of isopropyl alcohol, sodium nitrite, benzyl ammonium chloride and water.

The Barbicide® brand includes many products that are useful in hair salons. Not long after the original blue disinfectant was created, Maurice King created another useful product that dissolves hair. This powder is used on hairbrushes, clippers and combs to remove hair and prevent it from building up.

Other products in the line include aerosol sprays that disinfect surfaces quickly, disinfectant wipes, concentrated formulas for large areas and appliance cleaners. These products can be found in hospital supply stores and salon suppliers. They also can be ordered online.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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