What is it?
It is the sodium salt of gluconic acid. It’s a colorless powder that is soluble in water.
What does it do?
Sodium gluconate is used as a natural preservative. It prevents the growth of microbes in our products to keep them safe for our consumers. It also works as a chelator (or sequestrant) which helps cleansing products to foam better in hard water.
How is it made?
Sodium gluconate is most often made by the aerobic fermentation of a sugar, which can come from corn or beets, to produce gluconic acid. The fermentation product, gluconic acid, is neutralized to create sodium gluconate.
What are the alternatives?
Tom’s of Maine uses multiple different natural preservatives in our personal care products, like benzoic acid, lactic acid and gluconic acid. Other 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?
Sodium gluconate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA.1
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.
1 21 CFR 182.6757 (as a sequestrant)