is ivory soap environmentally friendly

Is Ivory Soap Environmentally Friendly? (An In-Depth Look)

Ivory soap has long been known for its simple ingredients and biodegradable formula.

But how environmentally friendly is this classic bar soap really?

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the biodegradability, ingredients, and sustainability of Ivory soap.

Is Ivory Soap Environmentally Friendly?

ivory soap
Image Credit: Wall Street Journal

Ivory soap is a biodegradable and environmentally friendly soap. It is considered one of the best biodegradable soaps available.

It is made with simple and natural ingredients. Ivory soap is packaged in biodegradable paper.

Key Points

  • Ivory soap is biodegradable
  • It contains simple, natural ingredients
  • Ivory soap uses minimal, eco-friendly packaging

Our Opinion

Based on its biodegradable formula, natural ingredients, and minimal packaging, we believe Ivory bar soap is an excellent environmentally friendly option for hand and body washing.

It meets criteria like biodegradability that make a soap eco-friendly.

Is Ivory Soap Biodegradable?

different bars of soap
Image Credit: Editorialge

Yes, Ivory soap is biodegradable and breaks down quickly in the environment. Here’s why:

  • Made with simple, natural ingredients like coconut oil, palm oil, and tallow that can biodegrade
  • Free of synthetic ingredients that persist in the environment
  • Packaged in biodegradable paper, not plastic

Ivory soap meets the standards for ready biodegradability set by OECD 301 testing methods. Its ingredients can readily break down into carbon dioxide, water, and mineral salts when exposed to bacteria, sunlight, and other environmental factors. This makes Ivory soap an environmentally friendly option compared to soaps with harsh detergents and preservatives.

The biodegradable paper packaging is also a plus. Most bar soaps come wrapped in plastic which ends up in landfills. Ivory’s simple paper wrapping decomposes naturally.

So if you’re looking for a classic bar soap that won’t pollute lakes and rivers, Ivory is a safe bet. The biodegradable formula makes this an eco-friendly choice over heavily scented soaps filled with synthetics. Just be sure to buy the original Ivory bar, not the liquid hand soap or body wash which contains different ingredients.

Ivory Soap Ingredients

When it comes to ingredients, Ivory soap keeps it simple. Here’s what you’ll find in an Ivory bar:

  • Coconut oil – A moisturizing oil that lathers well. Coconut oil is biodegradable.
  • Palm oil – Adds lather and hardness to the bar. Palm oil must be sustainably sourced.
  • Tallow – Rendered and purified beef fat. Adds moisture and creamy lather.
  • Sodium salts – Like sodium cocoate and sodium palm kernelate. Help the oils mix with water.
  • Water – Helps blend the oils and salts.
  • Fragrance – Light scent from natural oils. No synthetic perfumes.

That’s it! No preservatives, dyes, or harsh detergents. This simple recipe makes Ivory soap gentle on the skin. It also biodegrades readily when washed down the drain.

One downside is that palm oil, may not be sustainably harvested. Choose Ivory soaps with the RSPO certification to ensure responsible palm oil use. Or look for the Rainforest Alliance frog seal.

Overall, Ivory relies on simple, natural ingredients we can pronounce. This plant-based formula is gentler on the skin than soaps pumped full of synthetics. And it breaks down naturally without toxins lingering in lakes and rivers.

Ivory Soap Energy Use

When it comes to energy use, Ivory soap has some positives but also room for improvement.

On the plus side, Ivory’s simple recipe requires less energy to produce than more complex soaps. Fewer ingredients and processing steps lower the energy needs for manufacturing.

However, palm oil cultivation can be energy-intensive, with deforestation, machinery use, and processing facilities consuming fossil fuels. Sourcing RSPO-certified palm oil helps encourage more sustainable practices.

Ivory’s plastic packaging also has an energy footprint from raw material extraction, transport, and manufacturing. Increased use of recyclable materials, reduced packaging, and plastic-free options would lower energy demands.

When it comes to your use of Ivory at home, bar soap generally requires less energy than liquid hand soap or laundry detergent. No plastic bottles to produce and less water heating for washing needs.

Overall, Ivory soap’s energy profile could improve by addressing palm oil sources, packaging, and product formats. But the simple bar already has some energy advantages over more complex soap products.

With a few tweaks, Ivory could further lower its energy demands. This would benefit the environment while keeping its classic bar soap affordable for consumers.

Ivory Soap Compared to Other Soaps

vintage ivory soap ad
Image Credit: Chemistry Cachet

When stacked against other soaps, Ivory holds up well in some areas but falls short in others.

On the plus side, Ivory’s classic bar is free of dyes, perfumes, and harsh chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. This makes it a good option for people with allergies or conditions like eczema.

Ivory is also more affordable than premium or boutique soap brands. The simple ingredients keep costs down. This makes Ivory accessible to a wide range of budgets.

However, Ivory lacks some of the skin-nourishing oils and butter found in handmade artisanal soaps like shea butter. Many competing brands tout natural ingredients and essential oils for added skin benefits.

Ivory also trails in the eco-friendly department. Small-batch soap makers tend to use more sustainable practices, recyclable packaging, and plastic-free options. Ivory has room to improve here.

While not perfect, Ivory holds a solid middle ground. It balances simplicity, affordability, and classic familiarity. Upgrades to sustainability practices could help Ivory better compete with greener specialty soaps. But for a straightforward clean, Ivory remains a household name.


Is Ivory Dish Soap Biodegradable?

Yes, Ivory dish soap is biodegradable.

What Is the Most Environmentally Friendly Form of Soap?

Bar soap tends to be the most environmentally friendly, as it has less packaging waste compared to liquid hand soap. Castile soap and other plant-based bars are especially eco-friendly.

What Bar Soap Is Environmentally Friendly?

Castile bar soap and vegetable oil-based bars like Dr. Bronner’s are some of the most environmentally friendly bar soap options. They use natural, biodegradable ingredients.

Is Ivory Bar Soap All-Natural?

No, Ivory bar soap contains some synthetic ingredients like sodium tallowate. It cannot be considered 100% natural.


Ivory soap can be considered an environmentally friendly soap option. It is biodegradable, contains simple ingredients, and has minimal packaging. While not 100% natural, Ivory is a good choice for an eco-friendly hand or body soap. Evaluating factors like biodegradability, ingredients, and packaging shows that overall, Ivory soap is environmentally friendly.

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