Cresols (methylphenols, hydroxytoluenes) - There are ortho-, met- and para-isomers - colorless crystals or liquids. Cresols are readily soluble in ethanol, diethyl ether, benzene, chloroform, acetone; soluble in water, alkali solutions (with the formation of cresolate salts). Like phenol, cresols are weak acids.
Applications They are used as solvents and as intermediates in organic synthesis.
Cresols are used in the production or laboratory preparation of aromatic compounds, antiseptics, dyes, synthetic rubbers, fuels and lubricants, phenol-formaldehyde and other resins, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides and medicines.
It is also a potent broad-spectrum antiseptic. It is used mainly in the form of soap solutions for general disinfection (See Lysol). In small concentrations it is sometimes used as a preservative for injection solutions