Gluconic Acid

What is it?

Gluconic acid occurs naturally in fruit, honey, and wine. As an additive, it helps regulate the acidity in food. Horace Terhune Herrick, a scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, first discovered the process for making gluconic acid via fermentation in 1929.

What does it do?

Gluconic acid is used as a natural preservative. It prevents the growth of microbes in our products to keep them safe for our consumers.

How is it made?

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

Gluconic acid is made from the aerobic fermentation of glucose (liquid sugar) derived from corn in an alkaline environment. This liquid is often preserved itself with a synthetic preservative, but Tom’s partnered with our supplier to use a naturally derived preservative for our supply of this ingredient.

What are the alternatives?

Tom’s of Maine uses multiple different natural preservatives in our personal care products, like benzoic acid, lactic acid and sodium gluconate. Commonly used synthetic preservatives include sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin, among others. Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin are "formaldehyde donors", which act by releasing microbiocidal levels of formaldehyde. While formaldehyde and formaldehyde donors are safe when used at approved regulatory levels, we recognize that consumers have questions. Therefore, Tom's of Maine does not use formaldehyde donors as a preservative system in any of our products.

Is this the right option for me?

Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.