Is Coco Glucoside Safe? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Marilee Nelson |

Is Coco Glucoside Safe? Here’s What You Need to Know

Have you noticed the ingredient “coco glucoside” on Branch Basics labels and wondered what it is and if it’s safe?

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about this non-toxic surfactant, including what it is, where it's sourced from, how it works, what it’s used in (beyond cleaning products), and why we chose to use it in Branch Basics products.

What Is Coco Glucoside? 

Coco glucoside is a non-toxic surfactant and foaming agent sourced from coconuts, corn, or potatoes (ours is from coconuts).

It’s used in various natural cleaning and personal care products, including Branch Basics Concentrate (the base of All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free, Laundry, and Foaming Wash).

So, what exactly is a surfactant? 

A surfactant is a natural or chemical substance that reduces the surface tension of water, allowing it to spread more uniformly. 

Surfactants also act as emulsifiers, foaming agents, conditioners, stabilizers, thickeners, anti-static agents, and moisturizers. Surfactants are used in nearly all cleaning and laundry products to help the cleaner spread out and get underneath dirt, grime, food particles, etc. 

Unfortunately, as discussed in Are Surfactants Toxic? The Dangers and Alternatives, many synthetic surfactants, especially those considered “forever chemicals”, are dangerous to humans and the environment.

This is why using non-toxic alternatives like Coco Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside is a must!

Coco glucoside is in the family of mild alkyl glucoside surfactants. Although it is a plant-based, non-toxic, non-GMO surfactant, it is considered a naturally derived synthetic surfactant.

Wait, aren’t synthetic ingredients considered unnatural? Let me explain.

The word “synthetic” in the description does not mean Coco Glucoside is derived from petroleum and/or highly processed. Instead, it is because of the number of steps required to process the natural source into a surfactant.

Coco Glucoside is made by mixing alcohols (plant-based) with a sugar, glucose, or glucose polymer sourced from plants such as corn, potatoes, or coconuts (again, ours is from coconuts). Coco Glucoside is rated a “2” by the Environmental Working Group, is non-GMO, 100% biodegradable, appropriate for sensitive skin, irritated skin, babies, pets, or allergies, and considered “low risk” for development and reproductive health. 

Choosing Ingredient Coco Glucoside in Branch Basics 

When we set out to create Branch Basics, we were adamant we only wanted a 100% natural soap. We also wanted an aerosolized product that didn’t irritate the eyes, skin, or lungs. 

After many formula attempts, we realized that we weren’t going to be able to eliminate the irritation issue. We asked people if they would prefer a natural soap that irritates the eyes and lungs or a safe surfactant-based soap that does not. The unanimous answer was a desire for a mild yet powerful, safe cleaning soap. 

We then explored the world of natural surfactants such as quillaja, yucca, soapwort, etc. We quickly learned that 100% unprocessed foaming plants could not provide the consistency and cleaning power needed for a diverse all-purpose Concentrate.

That’s when we learned about mild alkyl glucoside surfactants, like Coco Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside.

We chose Coco Glucoside for Branch Basics Concentrate because it comes from plants and is extraordinarily gentle and non-toxic yet ultra-effective for all types of cleaning and laundry jobs—from cleaning surfaces and floors to removing stains, washing produce, and as a hand wash.

Combined with Decyl Glucoside, another mild alkyl glucoside, it created an exceptionally foamy, dirt, grease, and grime-loving, consistent all-purpose cleaner that could rival any harsh chemical-based cleaning product.

Learn more in: Is Branch Basics Safe? Your Questions Answered.

How Does Coco Glucoside Work? 

Coco Glucoside has several functions as a natural surfactant, including acting as a:

  • Foaming agent
  • Moisturizer
  • Thickener
  • Softener
  • Cleanser

Its diverse range of action makes it the perfect non-toxic ingredient for Branch Basics Concentrate.

Coco Glucoside Use Cases

As you’ve just learned, Coco Glucoside has many functions, making it a popular ingredient in non-toxic cleaning and personal care products..

Here are four common examples of products that may contain Coco Glucoside: 

1. Non-Toxic Household Cleaning Products

Coco Glucoside is included in Branch Basics and other natural and non-toxic cleaning products.

Note: Due to prevalent greenwashing in the industry, we always recommend vetting any cleaning and personal care products (non-toxic or not) using EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

We recommend that products kept in the home should have all ingredients rated a 1 or 2 on EWG Skin Deep (with some usage exceptions). Simply go to EWG Skin Deep’s website and search the ingredients. The ingredients are rated 1-10, with 1 being the safest to 10 being the most toxic. Toss all products with any ingredient rated 3 or more. Hint: To save time, start with the last ingredient on the list. Typically, you will find preservatives here and you may only have to look at one ingredient to find a 3 or above rating. Once you find an ingredient rated 3 or more, look no more and “toss that product.”

People trying to heal inflammatory skin conditions, hormone disruption, or chronic illness should also avoid products used on the skin with the following ingredients that can be inflammatory (citric acid, sodium coco sulfate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol, and any ingredient with a quaternary ammonium component like polyquarternium - 11) even though they are rated a 1 or 2 on EWG Skin Deep. 

Learn more in: 3 Tools Your Need To Be Your Own Product Advocate.

Note: Typically, products with MADE SAFE certification do not need further vetting as their standard is the most stringent in the industry.

2. Shower Gels 

Coco Glucoside’s natural foaming, conditioning, and moisturizing action make it a popular ingredient in natural shower gels.

Use EWG’s Skin Deep Database or the ThinkDirty app to vet personal care products.

3. Shampoos 

Coco Glucoside is a safe and non-toxic alternative to surfactants like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) or SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) in shampoos.

Use EWG’s Skin Deep Database or the ThinkDirty app to vet hair care products. 

4. Moisturizers

Coco Glucoside’s conditioning and moisturizing properties make it ideal for creating luxurious, non-toxic moisturizers for the face and body.

The same vetting tools apply. Discover our favorite non-toxic moisturizers and other skin care products in: Our Favorite Non-Toxic Personal Products.

Learn How to Toss the Toxins With Branch Basics

We hope this article has helped you understand why Coco Glucoside is safe and why we use it, along with other non-toxic, plant-based ingredients, in Branch Basics Products.

Ingredients like Coco Glucoside are part of the reason our Concentrate has over 3,000 five-star ratings or 94.2% of all Concentrate reviews.

It really is powerful enough to replace every single cleaning and laundry product in your home without compromising safety or ingredients.

If you’d like to streamline your non-toxic cleaning routine, we invite you to check out Branch Basics Starter Kits.

When you order a Branch Basics Premium Starter Kit (available in reusable plastic or glass), you’ll receive the Concentrate, Oxygen Boost (a bleach alternative, laundry booster, natural scouring agent, and so much more), and five bottles to make your own All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free, Laundry, and Foaming Wash.

Once you receive your products, simply follow the instructions to mix the Concentrate with water in the different bottles to create your non-toxic cleaning kit.

Learn more about Branch Basics all-in-one non-toxic cleaning system in: 

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.