The company behind disinfectant products like Dettol and Lysol has urged people not to drink or inject them, after the president of the United States flagged this as a potential medical treatment. Boy, there’s a sentence I could never have imagined I would one day write, but here we are.

In a press conference yesterday, Donald Trump essentially proposed his own version of the Tide Pod Challenge, saying that medical researchers should look into household cleaners as a possible cure for COVID-19. He told reporters:

“I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute … Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with that, but it sounds … it sounds interesting to me.”

His ramblings were met with widespread disbelief, and Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes Dettol and Lysol, posted a statement to their website, urging Americans not to use their products as medical treatments, for Coronavirus or anything else. They wrote:

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information.”

Trump has since backtracked on the comments and claimed that he was just kidding, telling a journalist today:

“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters just like you, just to see what would happen … I was asking a sarcastic and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.”

Even Fox News did not appear to buy this explanation, with anchor Bret Baier saying “it didn’t seem like it was coming off as sarcastic when he was talking and turning to Dr. Birx on the side.”

Image: Getty Images / Drew Angerer