Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Advanced Questions Preserving room spray (preservative vs. alcohol)

  • Preserving room spray (preservative vs. alcohol)

    Posted by DiscoMonkeys on April 5, 2024 at 10:08 pm

    Hey guys,

    I’m working on a room spray and it seems the big brands (and small brands) use a water-based formula. I even found an old post on here saying there was a benefit to using water as opposed to pure alcohol for room sprays.

    As the title says, I’m having trouble with the preservative. Or rather, the shelf life. I was planning on using Saliguard PCG but the seller told me it should preserve for about 12-18 months. That’s pretty good, but the big brands I see have a shelf life of 3 years which is a huge difference.

    I have a couple of questions:

    1. The preservative has a shelf life of 2 years. Why is that shortened when I use it? And does that mean I only get the 12-18 months of preservation if I use it right now? As in, if I wait until next year to use this preservative, will it no longer give me 12-18 months? How does the preservative’s shelf life work in terms of actual preserving? And why don’t I get the full 2 years if I use it now?

    2. How can I get 3 years of preservation? Would a pure alcohol recipe potentially extend the shelf life of the room spray? I was currently testing with 25% alcohol 75% water + fragrance oil + emulsifier + preservative. If I upped to even 75% alcohol would that help? Would pure alcohol (and no water) last for years?

    Thanks guys

    PhilGeis replied 2 months, 2 weeks ago 4 Members · 20 Replies
  • 20 Replies
  • mikethair

    Member
    April 5, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    Hi, @DiscoMonkeys I would be looking very carefully first at your brand ideals before going too deeply into the product. It helps if there is a common thread tying your brand and products together.

    In our case with my brand, we had two themes (1) to replace more functional benefits with experiential ones, and (2) we were all about “trading down,” down to the local, the simple, the unrefined but raw and true. And we went for prestige, high-quality products, and high retail/wholesale price.

    So in our case with room spray, I went for very high-quality hydrols imported from Grasse, France. There was no preservative, and the shelf life was short. So, therefore, this puts this product into the exclusive high-price category because of the source, and short shelf life. These factors provided customers with the allure of a balance between inclusivity and exclusivity so consumers experience both - belonging and longing - proximity and distance. And we did not SELL, I preferred to turn the sales pitch into the art of seduction.

    • DiscoMonkeys

      Member
      April 6, 2024 at 5:17 am

      Very interesting, and a good point about how we want to brand the product.

      We currently make candles and try to use the cleanest scents we can find. So it would be nice to follow that theme. It does feel “wrong” to me to have to put preservatives in, and I think we would have a hard-ish time explaining how that fits with our brand.

      That being said, unless i go full alcohol, from what I know water-based solutions are really only going to be “safe” a matter of days, right? You run the risk of things growing in there quite quickly. Water is life, as they say.

      I’d be interested to hear more, obviously if you’re willing to share. What kind of shelf life are you seeing with yours right now?

      Thanks again

  • PhilGeis

    Member
    April 6, 2024 at 5:49 am

    If you’re in US, Saligard is neither legal nor esp. good for your application. Again in the US - regulations limit how much alcohol you can use.

    To the “shelf life” - is the supplier stating their product is not chemically stable? Think they’re pulling that stuff out of their butt.

    Wrong to add preservatives? This is an aerosol product that folks will inhale. It’s very wrong to risk their health with a poorly preserved product.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  PhilGeis.
    • DiscoMonkeys

      Member
      April 6, 2024 at 6:31 am

      Hi Phil!

      Thanks for the info. I chose Saliguard since it’s approved in the EU, does it not perform well in sprays? The US one I was originally looking at (Germall Plus) is actually banned in the EU now. It seems the EU regulations are much stricter. The only other commonly mentioned one I’ve found is Optiphen Plus which does seem to be available in the EU.

      I understand the need to add a preservative. I’m just thinking customers probably don’t want to think about it.

      • PhilGeis

        Member
        April 6, 2024 at 6:41 am

        Neither would be legal in US. Add alcohol think the limit is 5%- not enough on its own but it helps. Preserve with Dantogard +- DMDM hydantoin + IPBC - legal in this application. Some add phenoxy with the “solvent” excuse but it’s not thre best if you have freedom to use others.

        https://www.azelisamericascase.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Dantogard-Plus-Liquid.-PDS.pdf

  • PhilGeis

    Member
    April 6, 2024 at 6:04 am

    I‘ll add, presuming a short shelf life for any category of product is irresponsible. Hydrosols are not preservatives.

    • mikethair

      Member
      April 6, 2024 at 7:28 pm

      @PhilGeis there is nothing irresponsible about a short shelf life if the consumer follows the product instructions.

      And of course, Hydrosols are not preservatives.

      And I should add that I produced these products in a GMP Certified production facility, so we had full compliance and safety regimes.

      • Perry44

        Administrator
        April 6, 2024 at 9:38 pm

        There are lots of people who ride around in cars without seatbelts and never get hurt. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

        • mikethair

          Member
          April 6, 2024 at 9:47 pm

          Hi @Perry44 with respect, I see riding around in a car not wearing a seatbelt akin to producing room spray without GMP compliance. It’s dangerous and can cause injury.

          A good idea is to produce room spray with all the safeguards of GMP compliance.

          • PhilGeis

            Member
            April 7, 2024 at 4:45 am

            Perhaps it’s not irresponsible. Assuming one knows the risk, I’d call it cynical marking to support a meaningless claim. I haven’t encountered many of this consequence that actually went to market in my career.

            Cynical contrivance to excuse an unpreserved product with an irrelevant metric borrowed from cosmetics. The consumer does not control timing of warehousing, distribution and retail shelf life. I don’t know if labeling cites a date certain or a period, but the scenario offered relies on consumers compliance to toss a product when they 1) don’t expect such caution on products of this category and 2) do not comply even to cosmetics EX dates.

            Waving “GMP’s” flag is pretty silly for an unpreserved susceptible household product- it has have limited to no relevance re. its micro contamination.

            This is not a seat belt dynamic - where consumers make the affirmative decision of compliance.

            Mike - to the technical point - what database established even this brief ex/self life date? Unpreserved products would seem to have no confident expectation of any uncontaminated period. Also, how much of the designated self life period is consumed by consumer gets the product?

            • mikethair

              Member
              April 7, 2024 at 7:22 pm

              @PhilGeis

              Hydrosols are common, they are not an invention of mine. The hydrosol is collected directly from the still where it is sterile, and then rebottled under sterile conditions. Under the supplier’s GMP, bottles are retailed and tested beyond the designated shelf life. These products are not preserved.

              With our GMP facility, we retained bottles, and these were tested regularly to well beyond the marked shelf life.

              All in all, all the boxes ticked, and over many years we did not experience any issues.

  • PhilGeis

    Member
    April 7, 2024 at 6:41 am

    Be aware of the risk. The bacterium in question is endemic to the SE Asia, Japan, Australia - less common in Western hemisphere and was (maybe still is) designated a bacterial warfare agent.

    https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2022/Walmart-Recalls-Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Essential-Oil-Infused-Aromatherapy-Room-Spray-with-Gemstones-Due-to-Rare-and-Dangerous-Bacteria-Bacteria-Identified-in-this-Outbreak-Linked-to-Two-Deaths

    • PhilGeis

      Member
      April 7, 2024 at 8:36 am

      manufactured in India

      • mikethair

        Member
        April 7, 2024 at 7:25 pm

        No surprises here. Have you spent any time in India?

        • PhilGeis

          Member
          April 8, 2024 at 8:17 am

          This is a water bug along the lines of cepacia, Mike. Most likely from an out of control water system. A condition not isolated to India. There are irresponsible folks making products globally.

          Again Mike - on what technical basis did you establish the brief “shelf life” date in your unpreserved product?

          • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  PhilGeis.
  • mikethair

    Member
    April 8, 2024 at 7:32 pm

    hi @PhilGeis the limited shelf life was based on a series of trials we did in our laboratory and a number of simulated shippings plus actual data from selected consumers before we shipped proper.

    As a scientist, I tend to go to extreme lengths to test out our systems and products.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  mikethair.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  mikethair.
    • PhilGeis

      Member
      April 9, 2024 at 4:34 am

      As a scientist, could you be specific? What test(s), what period of “shelf life specified, what time distribution and retail management?

      • mikethair

        Member
        April 9, 2024 at 7:32 pm

        @PhilGeis , NO, I do not need to be any more specific. You are not a Compliance Authority, and for 20-plus years I have responded to global compliance authorities with these sorts of questions for this Room Spray.

        • PhilGeis

          Member
          April 10, 2024 at 8:26 am

          Sure Mike - no need to justify what appears to be more self-serving BS.

        • PhilGeis

          Member
          April 10, 2024 at 10:14 am

          Let me explain my concerns. You marketed an unpreserved product in a very micro sensitive context and volunteered a novel concept - “shelf life” control/labeling/something as the critical quality parameter. I’ve not seen this in relevant experience in the global consumer product industry - and it appears to establish a finite period of quality that would not appear to consider/extend into consumer exposure. That regulators in your region haven’t exception is irrelevant - most anywhere have little to no real life experience/insight and those in your region, with exception of TGA, are not known for their expertise.

          You volunteered it - so why would you not explain? Is this like your all-natural product that is less unnatural than other formulations or has the concept more substance?

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