Antibacterial testing??

If I created a cosmetic hand soap containing mostly:


Potassium Hydroxide

Coconut Oil

Lauric Acid

Oilve oil

I have been reading that Lauric Acid is a great antibacterial agent. How would I go about finding out/getting certified to market this soap as antibacterial, if indeed it is? Would I just send it to a testing lab and then can test and provide a certificate if approved? Or someone may be able to chime in here and tell me right off the bat if I am wasting my time. If anyone has any labs they have used before I would love to maybe get some contacts. Thanks in advance for any help!



  • Natural soap (as your formula) is pH=10 which is quite antibacterial enough. The only reason you find "antibacterial" soap in stores, is because commercial soap is merely solid surfactants with no inherent antibacterial properties.
    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.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    If you are in the US, to have an "antibacterial" claim, which makes your product an OTC pharmaceutical, you need to use Monograph ingredients or be prepared to file a NDA. The soap would have to be made in a FDA-registered, cGMP-compliant facility, as well.

    Also, how would you keep the Lauric Acid from being saponified?
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Interesting. Thanks for the information! I know in order to make the "claim" on my bottle there would be a lot more testing/compliances I would need to comply with. I just was more so curious for my own good, how good my "home made" soap was at disinfecting my hands.

    And Bobzchemist, I actually did saponify the Lauric Acid with the hydroxide. And it actually makes a very nice soap when combined with the other ingredients. Thanks for the help as always!

  • DavidWDavidW Member, PCF student
    Just because your product itself may not need added preservatives you can't make an antibacterial claim.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    @gripclean, once you saponify it, it's not Lauric Acid any more - and all the antibacterial activity goes away...

    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    Why don't you use Monolaurin instead of Lauric Acid ... it has very good antibacterial activity and is a multifunctional ... an emollient, an emulsifier and an antibacterial.  You can purchase it from Sabinsa.  You might also consider throwing in a bit of ethylhexylglycerin.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • Hi Everybody - nice discussion.  Antimicrobial is my game, so allow me to opine :)

    There is a whole spectrum of activity that falls under the term "antimicrobial," from preservatives that exert growth-inhibiting effects slowly over time to potent disinfectants that literally break cells apart within just a few minutes.

    In the context of hands, contact times are on the order of seconds so a very potent, but very skin-safe antimicrobial would be needed to realize any appreciable biocidal effect. 

    There are only two actives that fit that bill:  ethanol at >60% and quaternary ammoniums.  Both are problematic to formulate into soaps. 

    Note that FDA now requires clinical studies showing effectiveness for consumer antibacterial soaps, which effectively killed the whole category.

    Natural ingredients and the ingredients discussed above are just not powerful enough to make much of a dent in that short period of contact time. 

    Thus, in my view, those interested in hand hygiene should focus on building soaps with excellent detergent/cleaning properties that promote frequent use by being easy on skin, having great texture, and smelling great; essentially shift the goal to handwash frequency and germ removal rather than germ killing.

    Microbial removal from handwashing can be studied pretty easily on volunteers, so it can be a substantiable (is that a word?) claim.

    Just my thoughts :)
    For testing help visit us at Cosmetic Test Labs
  • Awesome information. Thank you everyone. I think my question has been answered! I am not so much in need of trying to create a formula that is antibacterial, is I feel it will set me back to square one. But I was curious as to if my formula had any antibacterial properties. I am indeed to cosmetic chemist, but appreciate all of your guys advice. I think I will just have to stick to creating a quality hand soap, and stay away from making any "claims" on my label. Sounds like a big headache to me...
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