One of America’s most recognizable icons of fresh-scented cleanliness comes from New Jersey. No matter where U.S. shoppers are lucky enough to spot cans of Lysol, the sanitizing spray was almost certainly produced at the same sprawling, tan-colored factory, in a suburb an hour’s drive from New York City. Over the noisy plant’s concrete floors, a steady stream of empty cans clink through an assembly line, waiting to be filled. On the line, a machine packs them all with a blend of ethanol, another disinfecting chemical called a quaternarylan ammonium compound, or quat, and some scent. Employees call the mixture the Juice.
A machine called a Filtec scans each can to make sure it got exactly 19 ounces, then a device called a crimper adds the metal top that will spray the Lysol through the attached plastic straw. In a separate room, another machine uses the straw to inject the butane that propels the spray.