Antibacterial Soap - actives in the EU

Good Evening Guys,

I am sure this is a topic which will resonate with many who are formulating and working in the EU market.

We have been making a very basic liquid soap for many years, containing triclosan. As you are all well aware, we have the biocidal products directive/regulation which requires that actives are registered and supported through said regulation. Since this is something which costs 100s of thousands of Euro, it is becoming increasingly difficult to source actives. At this time, our existing supplier has dumped us in a hole and dropped the bombshell that they cannot supply us any more. So we are in need of something else.

Formulation - really simple, SLES/Coco diethanolamide/CAPB. Cost is crucial, the cost price needs to be less than 20c to be competitive.


1) Lactic acid - being pushed at us even though there are doubts about efficacy. That said, at this level of the market, this is not a deal breaker. The trouble is that we would need a thickener to help us out. The likes of lubrizol ultrez 20 would do great, but the cost of this element alone will bust our budget. So, unless anyone can suggest a suitable (cheap) thickener, I don't know how we could go this way.

2) Quats - this will preclude our anionics and makes the viscosity even harder to achieve. I suspect that we can get an acceptable foam characteristic but is there anything out there that can get us viscosity, cheaply, with quats in there?

3) PCMX - would be fine if I was in the US but I cannot find anyone in the EU supporting it through BPR.

I have some suggestions such as CMK and bronopol, but I don't know whether either of these is suitable (and without major reformulation). Can anyone else make any suggestions?

Many thanks


  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Use the MIC dose level of an essential oil, eg Tea Tree or Neem or both. 
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Many thanks for the reply. Unfortunately this will tend to be used in food preparation areas, so we cannot tolerate strong odours, which would result from both tea tree or neem.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    salicylic acid works well, is cheap, is relatively easy to incorporate, and won't thin your formula significantly; in fact, if you get the pH right (3.5 - 4) it actually works better than triclosan

    only point to watch is that you'll need plenty of surfactants in your formula to ensure it stays soluble, particularly at low temperatures

    personally I'd avoid using bronopol, unless there were no alternative whatsoever - even as low as 0.01% it causes terrible yellowing 
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
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