Coco Glucoside: What Is It & Is It Safe for Your Skin?

By Marilee Nelson |

Coco Glucoside: What Is It & Is It Safe for Your Skin?

If you use natural cleaning and personal care products, you’ve likely come across Coco Glucoside in your label reading.

It sounds natural (sort of), but what exactly is it, where does it come from, and what is its purpose in cleaning and personal care products?

Coco Glucoside is a natural surfactant derived from coconut and is used as a foaming agent and cleaner. 

But there is so much more to say about this gentle, safe, and non-toxic cleaning ingredient!

In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into Coco Glucoside, including more about what it is, what it’s used for, its benefits, and FAQs about using it around children, pets, etc.

What is Coco Glucoside? 

Coco Glucoside is a natural surfactant* and foaming agent used in non-toxic cleaning and personal care products.

We use it in Branch Basics Concentrate (the base of All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free, Laundry, and Foaming Wash) as a wetting, cleansing, foaming agent, and stabilizer.

It is made by mixing alcohols (plant-based) with a sugar, glucose, or glucose polymer sourced from plants such as corn, potatoes, or coconuts (ours is from coconuts).

Coco Glucoside can also be used as an emulsifier in face or body creams.

*What is a surfactant? Surfactants are molecules that reduce the surface tension of water, which helps it spread out more uniformly.

In cleaning products, surfactants help the cleaner spread out and get underneath dirt, food particles, grime, etc. They are used in just about every type of cleaner and laundry detergent.

Unfortunately, synthetic surfactants have enormous adverse effects to humans and the environment and are among the most challenging emerging contaminants as they are constantly entering our waterways from our sinks, dishwashers, showers, washing machines, etc.

This is why looking for non-toxic alternatives like Coco Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside is essential.

Back to Coco Glucoside.

We chose Coco Glucoside because it is one of the gentlest cleansing agents available, is environmentally friendly, and is a natural alternative to the harsher cocamidopropyl betaine and sulfates. 

It’s also:

  • 100% natural and non-GMO
  • Comes from 100% renewable, biodegradable, vegan resources.
  • Is Ecocert and COSMOS approved for certified organic formulations. 
  • Does not bioaccumulate
  • Leaves no residue, like saponified natural soaps
  • Is mild, gentle, and non-drying, making it ideal for even the most delicate skin
  • Is non-irritating, non-allergenic, non-carcinogenic, and non-toxic
  • EWG (the Environmental Working Group) rates it a “2”, meaning it is of “low concern” in terms of any safety issues
  • It works great as a fruit and veggie wash (one of the many uses for our All Purpose).
  • It’s safe enough for babies and pets! (verified not to be a skin or eye irritant by independent third-party testing)
  • It can be combined with other non-toxic surfactants to enhance cleaning power
  • It does not harm the environment or waterways - produces NO surfactant by-products such as ethylene oxide or 1,4 dioxane (we’ll cover this more coming up)
  • It helps create a non-toxic and highly effective end product with serious cleaning and foaming power

Before we started Branch Basics and started learning about formulations, we had no idea how difficult it is to find a surfactant that meets this criterion and actually works as well as the conventional surfactants , especially in a multi-purpose cleaner, like Concentrate.

After much searching, formulating, and re-formulating, we are thrilled with the results of using Coco Glucoside in Branch Basics Concentrate.

What is Coco Glucoside Used For? 

Coco Glucoside’s safety and versatility as a natural surfactant and emollient make it a common ingredient in many non-toxic and natural cleaning and personal care products.

Foaming Agent

Coco Glucoside is often added as a sulfate-free foaming agent to:

It may be added as a primary or co-foaming agent depending on the formula.


Coco Glucoside has excellent moisturizing and conditioning properties and can help hydrate the skin.

For this reason, it’s often used in moisturizers, conditioners, and facial cleansers.


Coco Glucoside acts as an effective thickening agent in natural products without the harshness or irritating and drying effects of other thickeners.


Coco Glucoside acts as a natural skin softener when added to facial cleansers, soaps, moisturizers, etc. 

A skin softener provides intense moisturizing and conditioning benefits and helps prevent dryness while infusing skin with added moisture.

It also acts as a natural fabric softener, such as in Branch Basics Laundry, without leaving behind the typical residues of synthetic chemicals.


Coco Glucoside’s action as an incredibly gentle surfactant, foaming agent, moisturizer, and softener makes it an excellent addition to non-toxic facial, hand, baby, pet, and body cleansers.

This is partly why we’ve enjoyed (and recommend) using Foaming Wash on our babies as a natural baby body, hand, and hair wash. 

It’s completely safe, natural, and will not irritate the eyes or even the most delicate skin.

As previously discussed, it is also one of the most effective, safe, environmentally friendly, and gentle non-toxic surfactants available for natural cleaning products.

Benefits of Using Coco Glucoside in Cleaning Products

There are many benefits to using Coco Glucoside in non-toxic cleaning products. Here are a few of our favorites.

100% Biodegradable 

Part of the problem with many of the conventional synthetic surfactants is they do not break down easily in the environment and can create toxic by-products.

Studies have shown approximately 60% (by weight) of surfactants end up in our aquatic environment by being washed down the drain. 

That’s equivalent to around 7 million tonnes globally at current levels. And yes, they are believed to be present in some drinking water.

Surfactants in aquatic environments have been listed as organic pollutants by the British Geological Survey, and some pose a severe environmental and public threat to humans and ecosystems.

Fortunately, natural surfactants, like Coco Glucoside, are 100% biodegradable, making them safe for our waterways, aquatic life, and human health.

Low Risk to Developmental & Reproductive Health

Coco Glucoside is rated a “2” by the Environmental Working Group and is considered “low risk” for development and reproductive health.

Unfortunately, many synthetic chemicals used in cleaning and personal care products do pose undeniable risks to children and babies.

Two examples (of many) are: 

It is appalling how many proven endocrine-disrupting chemicals are allowed in our cleaning and personal care products. 

This is why we always recommend vetting your products before buying. To learn more, check out: 3 Tools You Need To Become Your Own Product Advocate.

Low Risk for Chronic Diseases

Mainstream synthetic cleaning products and personal care products contain a hotbed of ingredients that trigger the worsening of many chronic conditions in adults and children.

Our co-founder, Marilee Nelson, has worked with people with chronic conditions for decades to help them identify triggers in everyday household products and foods so they could finally heal.

Conventional synthetic surfactants can be one of these triggers, which is another reason we use Coco Glucoside, rated a “2” on EWG for safety and appropriate for those with chronic conditions.

Read about our founders’ journeys to reclaim their health by tossing the toxins here.

Safe for Sensitive Skin & Allergies

Coco Glucoside is an excellent surfactant for sensitive skin, irritated skin, or allergies.

Its ultra-gentle nature and its hydrating and conditioning properties make it suitable for all skin types.

Combine this with the other skin-soothing ingredients in our formulas, like Organic Chamomile Flower Extract and Decyl Glucoside (a co-surfactant), and you have an ideal formula for sensitive skin and those with allergies.

Coco Glucoside FAQs 

If you’ve made it this far in the article, it’s clear you take your ingredient knowledge seriously!

Let’s take it a step further and answer some Coco Glucoside FAQs.

How do I safely store Coco Glucoside? 

Branch Basics Concentrate (which contains Coco Glucoside) can be stored in a cupboard or on a countertop. It’s very stable and works best if used within a year or so.

Does Coco Glucoside smell?

No. The Coco Glucoside in Branch Basics Concentrate does not have a scent.

The only scent you’ll detect from our naturally fragrance-free product is a mild, soap-like Chamomile smell from the Organic Chamomile Flower Extract. 

Is Coco Glucoside safe around kids and pets? 


The chemical nature and production process of Coco Glucoside result in a surfactant that is free of impurities like ethylene oxide, and 1,4-dioxane, making it suitable for babies and pets.

Toss the Toxins With Branch Basics 

We are so passionate about sharing the details of every single ingredient in our products because we believe you deserve full transparency.

If this deep dive into Coco Glucoside has you excited to test it out in your cleaning routine, we’d highly recommend trying Branch Basics Concentrate.

This all-natural, non-toxic, naturally fragrance-free, Made Safe, EWG-verified, vegan, and cruelty-free product was designed to replace every single cleaning and laundry product in your home.

Talk about simplifying things!

As you’ll see in our Starter Kits, Concentrate can be diluted with water to create All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free, Laundry, and Foaming Wash. 

You can also do custom dilutions for floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, and many other applications.

We’d also invite you to read the thousands of reviews of this 5-star-rated product so you can see first-hand how well it works on just about everything.

For more non-toxic personal care, cleaning, and lifestyle tips, check out our blog, podcast, and Toss The Toxins Online Course.

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.