An interesting story to share…. I am sure most may have used Cinthol Soap during the years…


For the last several decades, Cinthol has been ruling the roost as the most popular mid-segment soap with its “in-built” deodorizer which beats competition by a mile.

What could have been the secret behind it which no other soap-makers were able to match for decades? Well, the secret lies in the 10 years of intense research carried out by Dr Burjor Godrej, who was so passionate about soap-making that he actually took it up as his thesis for PhD during the 1930s while pursuing higher studies at a prestigious University in Germany.

In 1939, as war broke out in Germany, Dr Burjor returned to India with his incomplete thesis, but continued working on it at Godrej which was headed by his father Pirojsha Godrej (Co-Founder of Godrej Group). Although he managed to submit the thesis at the German University after the war, he wanted to utilize that knowledge to develop an idigenous product of world class standards.

Dr Burjor Godrej had noticed that most of the working professionals in India, who were upwardly mobile, used to buy perfumes or deodorants as well because their soaps were not sufficient to tackle the tropical climate prevalent across the sub-continent. That’s when he decided to take up the challenge of producing a soap which could play the role of a deodorant as well, and carried out further research on various chemical combinations.

During his research, he found that a certain Phenol based advanced composition could be an effective deodorizing agent along with anti-bacterial properties, which could be combined with soap. In the early 1950s, Dr Burjor applied for a patent for the technique of producing soap using those Phenol based compounds, and started a new division in Godrej for the soap project. Since the Phenol based compound was produced synthetically, it was initially codenamed “Synthetic Phenol” soap.

When it was time to give a commercial name to the “Synthetic Phenol” soap, Dr Burjor Godrej combined the first few letters of Synthetic (SYNTH) and last few letters of Phenol (OL) to form SYNTHetic + phenOL => SYNTHOL. Just to give some youthful twist, he replaced SYN with CIN which still resulted in the same pronunciation (Synthol = Cinthol), and thus the final product called Cinthol Soap was launched on15th Aug 1952, and there has been no looking back since then.


  • The scions of the Godrej industry founders have added value through their commitment to be active participants in the company’s advancement. They did not choose to live lavish lives as the financial heirs of the founders’ successes and efforts! A truly great example of corporate responsibility.

  • I really enjoy reading your articles. They bring back old time memories.

  • Knew Burjorji well. He was very enthusiastic about soap making. This was not the only patent to his credit. There were others too

  • How interesting! It’s always thrilling to learn the origins of things!

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