Saturday, January 8, 2011

What does 99 44/100% pure mean?

Ivory Soap:

The famous Ivory slogan originated in the 1800's when samples of Ivory were sent to college chemistry professors and independent laboratories for analysis. Comparison tests were made with castile soaps - the standard of excellence at that time. One chemist's analysis was in table form with the ingredients listed by percentage. Harley Procter totaled the ingredients which did not fall into the category of pure soap - they equaled 56/100%. He subtracted from 100, and wrote the slogan "99-44/100% Pure®: It Floats." This became a pledge of quality to Ivory consumers. This phrase is so identified with Ivory, it's registered as a trademark with the United States Trademark office. "It Floats" was added to Ivory's slogan in 1891.

Last night Ellie was up vomiting mucous and in need of a bath. In times like these baking soda doesn't do the job. I had recently purchased ivory soap because someone recommended it as the soap ingredient for homemade laundry detergent because it is 99.44% pure. I used it growing up all the time, and have no idea why I stopped buying it. We had no other options that did not knowingly contain corn or soy so we gave her a shower using Ivory. Today? No increased eczema, no reflux, no inflammation.....hmmm. That led me to look at the Ivory website and what P&G says are the ingredients. This is what I found:

Ingredients for the Original Ivory Bar Soap are listed on the Simply Ivory package. We upgraded our packaging Fall of 2007, but there was no formula change.

The Original Ivory Bar is made of both vegetable oils and animal fats. Two different kinds of vegetable oils are used in Ivory - coconut oil and palm kernel oil. We add a preservative (magnesium sulfate and sodium silicate) to keep the bar as white as its name.


Ivory contains no heavy perfumes, creams, or dyes. A light fragrance is added to provide that Ivory clean smell.


Other research said that the animal fat is beef tallow, but the website did not confirm that. I have emailed the manufacturer to confirm, as well as get any other ingredients they are willing to provide. I specifically asked about the masking fragrance. Fingers crossed!

On another note, the original Ivory soap was compared to Castile soap in the 1800's, which is completely pure and why Ivory did not get the 100% rating. I can not find a castile soap today that does not have citric acid (corn) in the ingredients, so we have not been able to use it.

By the way, Ivory soap was originally sold as a great bath AND laundry soap!

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