Is Ivory Soap 99 pure?

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Ivory soap has been a household name for over a century, known for its purity and gentle cleansing properties. Its marketing campaign boasted that it was 99.44% pure, but is this claim true? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the ingredients of Ivory soap and the history of its purity claim to determine if it truly lives up to its reputation.

Is ivory soap 99 pure?

The Ingredients of Ivory Soap

The first step in determining the purity of Ivory soap is to look at its ingredients. According to the product label, Ivory soap contains the following ingredients: sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate or sodium palm kernelate, water, sodium chloride, fragrance, and tetrasodium EDTA.

Sodium tallowate is a type of soap made from animal fat, while sodium cocoate and sodium palm kernelate are both derived from coconut oil. These three ingredients are the primary components of the soap and are responsible for its cleansing properties.

Water is added to the soap to give it a more liquid consistency, and sodium chloride is used as a thickener. The fragrance is added to give the soap its distinct scent, and tetrasodium EDTA is a chelating agent that helps to stabilize the ingredients and prevent discoloration.

The History of the 99.44% Purity Claim

The 99.44% purity claim has been a part of Ivory soap’s marketing campaign since 1882. The story goes that an employee accidentally left a batch of soap in the manufacturing process for too long, causing the excess water to evaporate and leaving the soap with a higher concentration of the primary ingredients. When the soap was tested, it was found to be 99.44% pure.

This discovery led to the creation of the “99.44% pure” slogan, which has been a cornerstone of Ivory soap’s marketing ever since. However, it’s worth noting that the soap has been reformulated over the years, so it’s unclear if the current version of Ivory soap is still 99.44% pure.

The Science of Purity

When it comes to soap, purity can be a bit of a tricky concept. Soap is made by mixing fat or oil with an alkali, such as lye, which causes a chemical reaction called saponification. During saponification, the fat or oil is broken down into glycerin and fatty acid salts, which are the primary components of soap.

Because soap is made from natural ingredients, there can be variations in the composition of each batch. Additionally, the manufacturing process can affect the purity of the soap. For example, if the soap is left to dry for too long, it may lose some of its water content, resulting in a higher concentration of the primary ingredients.

So, while the 99.44% purity claim may be based on a true story, it’s important to remember that purity is not a fixed concept when it comes to soap.

The Effectiveness of Ivory Soap

Despite the ambiguity surrounding the 99.44% purity claim, there’s no denying that Ivory soap is an effective cleanser. The combination of sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, and sodium palm kernelate creates a rich lather that removes dirt and oil from the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture.

Additionally, the soap is gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin, making it a popular choice for people with conditions like eczema or psoriasis. And, because it’s free of harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens, Ivory soap is a more natural option for those looking to reduce their exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.

The Environmental Impact of Ivory Soap

While Ivory soap may be gentle on the skin, its impact on the environment is a bit more complicated. Like all soaps, Ivory soap can contribute to water pollution if not used and disposed of properly. The primary concern is the presence of sodium salts, which can affect the oxygen levels in water and harm aquatic life.

However, Ivory soap has taken steps to mitigate its impact on the environment. In 1990, the company committed to reducing its waste and emissions, and in 2008, it began using 100% renewable energy at its manufacturing facilities. Additionally, the soap is packaged in cardboard boxes, which are easier to recycle than plastic.

Alternatives to Ivory Soap

While Ivory soap may be a popular choice for many, it’s not the only option when it comes to natural, gentle cleansers. There are a variety of natural soap options available, such as castile soap, which is made from vegetable oil instead of animal fat, and Marseille soap, which is made from olive oil.

In addition to natural soaps, there are also a variety of non-soap cleansers available, such as cleansing oils and micellar water. These products are designed to gently cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.


In conclusion, Ivory Soap has long been renowned for its purity, with a claim of being “99% pure.” While this statement has been ingrained in the brand’s identity and marketing for decades, it is important to approach it with a critical eye. Scientifically, no soap can be 100% pure due to the nature of its manufacturing process, which involves combining natural oils or fats with an alkaline substance. However, Ivory Soap has consistently maintained a high degree of purity and minimal additives throughout its history.

The reputation of Ivory Soap as a mild and gentle cleanser can be attributed to its unique formulation. The brand’s commitment to using simple, straightforward ingredients has resonated with consumers seeking a soap that is suitable for sensitive skin. Despite the absence of specific information regarding the exact composition of Ivory Soap, it has continued to be a trusted choice for individuals seeking a pure and uncomplicated cleansing experience.

While the claim of being “99% pure” may be viewed as a marketing slogan rather than a scientifically quantifiable measure, Ivory Soap’s longstanding popularity suggests that it has lived up to its promise of delivering a mild and pure cleansing experience. Ultimately, the decision to use Ivory Soap or any other soap rests on personal preference and individual skin sensitivities. However, it is safe to say that Ivory Soap has maintained a reputation as a reliably pure and gentle option for generations of consumers.

Is Ivory Soap 99 pure?
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