TCP (antiseptic)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

TCP is a mild antiseptic, produced and sold in the United Kingdom by Pfizer. The brand name comes from its original chemical name, which was Trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl (not to be confused with Trichlorophenol, a common fungicide). Trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl was replaced as the active ingredient by a mixture of phenol and halogenated phenols in the 1950s. The liquid form of TCP is one of the most well-known brands of antiseptic in the UK, and its distinctive sweet, medicinal odour can be identified by many as the generic smell of antiseptic.

The rights to TCP have been sold by Pfizer for "strategic reasons" to a Belgian company known as Omega Pharma.[1][2]


TCP is available in 50 ml, 100 ml, 200 ml and 500 ml bottles as a clear yellow liquid. It is also available as a cream and as throat lozenges.


The instructions on the TCP bottle say that TCP can be used on the following conditions:

  • Sore throats - Gargle a solution of TCP with 5 parts water twice a day. Do not swallow.
  • Mouth ulcers - Dab undiluted three times a day.
  • Cuts, grazes, bites and stings - Dilute 1 part TCP with 1 part water and apply freely. (TCP may be used undiluted in an emergency).
  • Boils, spots and pimples - Dab undiluted once every four hours.

TCP can also be used as a mouthwash when diluted, and can also be used as a general disinfectant. Certain sources[2] suggest that when diluted it can be used as a vaginal douche, although the safety of this has not been fully ascertained.


Care should be taken not to swallow large amounts of TCP as it may have an adverse effect on the kidneys. If one starts to feel unwell after using TCP, they should see a medical practitioner immediately. TCP should not be used on cats, as its phenol content makes it toxic to felines.[3]


TCP Liquid's active ingredients are halogenated phenols and phenol. (One source says each mL of TCP antiseptic contains, Chlorinated Phenols 6.0 mg; Phenol 1.75 mg; Iodinated Phenols 0.95 mg; Sodium Salicylate 0.5 mg.[3]) It also contains glycerol, concentrated phosphoric acid, E104 (quinoline yellow) and water.

See also


  1. According to a spokesperson for Pfizer in South Africa, as reported by Liz Clark, Daily News, March 06, 2006 Edition 1, Durban, South Africa
  2. "Omega Pharma acquires a portfolio of OTC and personal care brands from Pfizer" (PDF) (Press release). Omega Pharma. 2004-05-26. Retrieved 2007-07-30. Omega Pharma has agreed to acquire a portfolio of 60 European OTC and personal care brands from Pfizer for cash consideration of €135 million (approximately $US163 million). The transaction is expected to be completed at or shortly after the end of June 2004. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Fight Wound Infections and Bite Abscesses in Cats, Downland Veterinary Group web site. Article retrieved 2006-12-31.

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