Phenoxyethanol is an organic chemical compound, a glycol ether often used in dermatological products such as skin creams and sunscreen. It is a colorless oily liquid. It is a bactericide (usually used in conjunction with quaternary ammonium compounds), often used in place of sodium azide in biological buffers as 2-phenoxyethanol is less toxic and non-reactive with copper and lead. It is used in many applications such as cosmetics, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals as a preservative.
It is also used as a fixative for perfumes, an insect repellent, a topical antiseptic, a solvent for cellulose acetate, some dyes, inks, and resins, in preservatives, pharmaceuticals, and in organic synthesis. It is moderately soluble in water. It is used as an anesthetic in the aquaculture of some fish.