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What Are the Chemical Ingredients in Ivory Liquid Dishwashing Soap?

Emily Jarvis

Proctor & Gamble, which produces Ivory products, claims to use gentle ingredients in its cleaning products, but the company does not list the ingredients for Ivory dish liquid on the packaging.

To avoid irritation and other unwanted effects, know the chemical ingredients in your household products.

Whether you are concerned about allergens and irritants or a cleaning product's effect on the environment, it is helpful to know a product's chemical ingredients and their purposes.

Ingredients in Ivory Dish Liquid

Proctor & Gamble puts the following ingredients in its Ivory dish liquid: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, alkyl dimethyl amine oxide, sodium choloride, PPG-26, cyclohexanediamine, phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone and fragrance. The ingredients in Ivory dish liquid have one of four purposes -- they are processing aids, cleaning agents, preservatives or fragrances.

Processing Aids

The processing aids are water, sodium chloride, PPG-26, cyclohexanediamine and phenoxyethanol. Water is the foundation of the solution, and the other ingredients are chemical. Processing aids provide the physical characteristics of the detergent, like proper pour, viscosity, stability and uniform density. Sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt, is a viscosity-increasing agent. It has no effect on the cleaning power of detergent, but thickens the solution. PPG-26 is a lubricant and penetrating agent. It is considered a cosmetic additive, and the ingredient behind Ivory's claim to be gentle on hands. Cyclohexanediamine is a solvent, much like water, used to break down food and grease on dishes. Phenoxyethanol is a solvent and a preservative used in cosmetics. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers of a risk of respiratory distress in infants exposed to a product containing phenoxyethanol. Although the chemical should be washed away in the dishwashing process, products containing phenoxyethanol should always be kept out of reach of children.

Cleaning Agents

Cleaning agents in Ivory dish soap include sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and alkyl dimethyl amine oxide. Cleaning agents, or surfactants, interact with a liquid and solid to break their bond, allowing the food to be removed from your dishes. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are lathering agents. They produce the bubbles that indicate a detergent's cleaning power. Both are irritants; if dish liquid comes in contact with your eyes, flush immediately with clean water. Alkyl dimethyl amine oxide is a thickener and foam booster.

Preservatives and Fragrances

Preservatives are used in cleaning and cosmetic products to protect against the natural effects of aging on the product itself. Discoloration, separation and bacterial growth can occur in products over time, and preservatives delay those processes. In Ivory dish liquid, methylisothiazolinone is used primarily to stave off bacterial growth. Methylisothiazolinone was once suspected to be a neurotoxin, causing cell damage, but testing by regulatory agencies has shown the product to be safe for humans. Fragrance refers to a number of natural and chemical ingredients that add scent to products. Certain fragrances can irritate sensitive skin and the nose and throat if inhaled.