What is Bitrex? | Bitrex - Keeping children safe

What is Bitrex?

We thought you might ask that. So here are lots of perfectly correct answers to that question.

Bitrex is...

  • Denatonium Benzoate – to give it its full, technical name. Ironically, that’s a bit of a mouthful. So we call it Bitrex®.
  • The bitterest substance known to man, woman or child. That’s according to The Guinness World Records.
  • A substance that’s put into household, garden and automotive products to ensure that if a child or animal ever tried to swallow it, they would spit it straight out before they could be poisoned.
  • Completely harmless if consumed. It just tastes really, really horrible.
  • A lifesaver. Literally.
  • The product of a happy accident. Bitrex was discovered in 1958 by a team of Macfarlan Smith scientists who were working on a new local anaesthetic. Our chemists realised immediately that they had found a remarkable substance – the world’s most bitter material – and quickly put it to good use...
  • Helping to make accidental poisoning a thing of the past.


Bitrex is not…

A substitute for other common sense precautions for preventing poisoning, such as keeping chemicals out of a child’s reach, using safety closures properly and reading labels carefully.

But we pioneered this child safety additive precisely because we know what it’s like to be a parent. We understand that parents get harassed, tired, and up to their eyes. And that is why Bitrex is there. For the moments of inattention when most accidents happen. 

Did you know?

Young children are particularly sensitive to bitter tastes