Carbopol 940 lumps when rubbed in

with all that's going on I've made numerous attempts to create a nice hand sanitizer gel using carbopol 940 just for my use and my partners, I'm getting really close now its a pretty basic formula just

134g 99% IPA
65g Boiled Water
1g Vegetable Glycerin
0.7-1g Carbomer

I use Triethanolamine to adjust the ph and I get a really nice clear gel however when she rubs it into her hands it produces little lumps that don't appear to be in the gel, I don't experience it as much however if I rub some in a concentrated spot quickly the lumps start to produce. I originally started with 8g of glycerin and I have been reducing it because I assumed it was the culprit although my last batch contained no glycerin and I had the same results, I also attempted adjusting the amount of carbopol I was using and i did receive less or more lumps depending on the amount used so I'm guessing that's the problem.

I just don't know the solution, I've tried dispersing the carpobol in water at different temperatures, in alcohol first, tried making a paste then adding the rest, I've tried a magnetic mixer and also a fast blade mixer, mixing for over an hour and letting the carbopol wet for about 30 min, I'd really appreciate a tip from the pros.

I should mention I'm using tap water as its just for us, I live in Scotland we actually have really good water its about 6.9ph 40ppm


  • BelassiBelassi Member
    If I am making sanitiser I normally leave 940 to hydrate overnight.
    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.
  • haktarhaktar Member
    I thought that might have been my issue, perfect, do you know if you can keep the solution mixed for a good while? Just carbopol and water. 
  • "Balling" is a common phenomenon with carbomer. Some formulas actually do it on purpose to create a soft exfoliant (
    From what I've read it happens because carbomer is hydrating with skin's moisture on contact and create tiny gel clumps. This is usually because there's too much carbomer in a formula, but I get the feeling that's not your issue. You probably just aren't letting it hydrate enough. I've been told a million different ways to go about doing that, I would just experiment with what works for you.

    Also I recommend distilled water whenever possible.
  • em88em88 Member
    Pretty sure you are not dispersing carbomer properly. 
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Standard carbomers make lousy alcohol:water gels, period, no matter how well you hydrate them. This is why everyone who manufactures these gels commercially  - like my company - uses Acrylates/C10 -30 Alkyl Acrylates Crosspolymer (Ultrez-21). Now 3V Sigma USA has developed an acrylic/PEG co-polymer called RapidGel EZ1. That stuff outperforms them all. If only 3V Sigma could make it fast enough to supply us all during this COVID-19 crisis! They are steady trying though.

  • em88em88 Member
    Carbomers can be used to make good gels with high concentrations of alcohol if the method is done right. 

Sign In or Register to comment.