From Surgery Antiseptic to Modern Mouthwash

From Surgery Antiseptic to Modern Mouthwash

Ever wondered where LISTERINE® rinse got its name?

Dr. Joseph Lawrence, the creator of LISTERINE® mouthwash, wanted to name his work after a scientist who paved the way. Lister, an English doctor and surgeon, became the first surgeon to perform an operation in a chamber sterilized with pulverized antiseptic.

The result? More patients survived than ever before. Inspired, Lawrence created a unique formulation of his own that was perfect for killing germs in tissues, like your mouth.

From Surgery Antiseptic to Modern Mouthwash


The original formula for LISTERINE® is discovered by Dr Lawrence as an effective antiseptic for use in surgical procedures.

Louis Pasteur


Dr Lawrence transferred ownership of the LISTERINE® formula to Lambert, who established the Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. to manufacture and market LISTERINE®.


LISTERINE® was marketed to dentists after studies showed that it was also good for killing germs found in the mouth.


LISTERINE® became the first prescription product in the US to also be sold over the counter, as a product to kill oral germs.

Inspired by Lister, Lawrence creates LISTERINE®


LISTERINE® coins the term 'halitosis' to describe bad breath and sales take off.


LISTERINE® was introduced into the UK as an antiseptic medicine to reduce bad breath.


Clifford the Dragon makes his animated TV debut, wooing damsels with his LISTERINE® fresh breath.


The tooth fairy commercial aired, starring Keith Allen. Allen played a disgruntled tooth fairy made redundant as a result of LISTERINE®.


A powerful new message is added to LISTERINE® packaging, stating that LISTERINE® reduces plaque by up tp56% more than brushing alone.

2007 - 2011

LISTERINE® Total Care products win four Oral Care Product of the Year awards in just five years. 


LISTERINE® launches its YouTube channel with the Mouth vs Life digital campaign & LISTERINE® alcohol-free less intense range launches. 


LISTERINE® first adult alcohol-free mouthwash wins the brand's fifth Oral Care Product of the Year award.