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Formula 409

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Title: Formula 409  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Clorox brands, 1957 introductions, Cleaning products, 400 (number)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Formula 409

Formula 409 Home & Industrial Cleaner
Product type Cleanser
Owner The Clorox Company
Country U.S.
Introduced 1957
Markets Worldwide

Formula 409 is a brand of home & Industrial cleaning products well known in North America, but virtually unknown in other English-speaking countries. It includes Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, Formula 409 Glass and Surface Cleaner, Formula 409 Carpet Cleaner, and many others. The brand is currently owned by The Clorox Company.

The flagship product was invented in 1957 by Morris D. Rouff which manufactured industrial cleaning supplies. Formula 409’s original application was as a commercial solvent and degreaser for industries that struggled with particularly difficult cleaning problems.

The inventor's family claim that it was named for the birthday of the inventor's wife, Ruth, on April the 9th (rendered in the American style with the month first as "4/09"). [1] The company, however, claims that it was named simply as the 409th compound tested by the inventors. Other theories exist as urban legends such as 409 being the telephone area code where it was invented, the birthday being that of other people such as the inventor's daughter and even a reference to a powerful Chevrolet car engine.

In 1960, Rouff sold Formula 409 to Chemsol, a New York firm, for an amount in the low six-figure range. In the mid-1960s, entrepreneur Wilson Harrell, along with longtime friend David Woodcock and television personality Art Linkletter, bought Formula 409. Harrell, Woodcock & Linkletter bought it for $30,000 and took it national. Linkletter also promoted the product in television commercials. The company eventually took Formula 409 to a 55 percent share of the spray-cleaner market, and six years later, Harrell, Woodcock & Linkletter sold the company to Clorox for $7 million.[2] [3]


Throughout the 1960s, commercials featured Betty Boop.

In the late 1990s to the early 2000s, a cover of The Beach Boys' "409" was used.

One commercial from 2005 shows a fictional Formula 410. As a character hits the trigger, electricity shoots out instead of spray. The announcer says, "Because the world is not ready for Formula 410, there's Formula 409".


  1. ^ "When Myth Becomes Reality". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  2. ^ "A business `buccaneer' laid to rest – Atlanta Business Chronicle". 1997-12-22. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  3. ^ "Unconventional financing ideas that actually work in practice – Atlanta Business Chronicle". 1996-10-21. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 

External links

  • Official site
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