Anionic surfactant compatible anti-microbial

I want to reformulate a sanitizing hand wash for use in the food industry. I like the idea of using around 5% SLES and salt (around 6%) to thicken it with an anti-microbial agent (no colourants or flavourants are permitted by our food industry clients). I will also most likely add 1% glycerine as a humactant. Most of the anti-microbial agents I have considered, i.e. Salibact or Chlorhexidine Gluconate seem to be incompatible with anionic surfactants.

Can anyone offer me some advice about which anti-microbial agents I should consider using? A Google search is giving nothing (expect peptides) and I am close to forming the opinion that anti-microbial agents that I can use hand soap are all chlorine based. Any input that can steer my opinion in a direction would be welcome.


  • 1. 5% sles won't properly thicken with salt, you'd need at least 7-8%.

    2. SLES in a leave-on product will likely cause irritation and an unpleasant feeling.
    Please consider switching to milder surfactants, or dropping surfactants altogether.

    3. Is that a leave-on sanitizer i.e. alcohol gel
    or just a liquid wash meant to be rinsed off?

  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    try salicylic acid
    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
  • It sounds contrary to current wisdom,I found that silver nitrates and cuprous oxides were extremely effective as anti-microbial,antibacterial agents.

    I used these compounds effectively in micro-water filtration systems for eradicating cryptosporidium and giardia.

    Very minute doses in colloidal solution have been found by CDC and WHO to destroy nearly all known viruses and bacterias with the important caveat that the metal ions function by destroying the outer cellular walls of germs in general.

    It is believed that silver and or copper ions provide effective destruction of bacteria cell walls, though science is still in a quandary over the statements that bacteria are not able to build tolerance or resistance to metal ions, unlike triclosan and other antibiotics.

    The metal ions listed are still believed to be GRAS or "generally regarded as safe" and with the development of antibiotic resistant strains of MRSA etc, many in the medical field believe these metal ions may be our last "great barrier wall" to maintaining human health.

    I would stay away from "nano-particulates" of metal ions though, as the jury is still out on long term flora and fauna exposure to nano particles.
  • Do you really need an antibacterial agent? There really isn't any proof they are beneficial?  Tried Caltaine ?
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