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Sodium Maleate Acrylate Copolymer

Used with care
Sodium Maleate Acrylate Copolymer

Sodium Maleate Acrylate Copolymer

Sodium maleate acrylate copolymer is a synthetic ingredient with a range of cleaning applications, and usually appears in the form of white granules. We use this in some of our laundry detergents an an anti-redeposition agent, to help prevent dirt removed during the washing cycle from re-attaching to laundry.

Sodium maleate acrylate copolymer is in a diverse group of materials known as Acrylic Polymers. Not to be confused with those polymers used to create plastic beads, this ingredient comes in the form of a sodium salt derived from maleic acid and acrylic acid. It's commonly used in laundry detergents, and is particularly effective at removing magnesium and calcium ions in hard water, improving cleaning performance. It's removed during wastewater treatment, is biodegradable and not known to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms.

Though this is a synthetic ingredient, it presents a low hazard to human health in this context. A 2002 paper, which was reviewed again in 2018, by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel concluded that acrylates copolymer and related ingredients are safe for use in cosmetics when formulated to be non-irritating. We continue to monitor for emerging suitable alternative ingredients from renewable sources.

Chemical class: Synthetic Polymers

Chemical structure depicted: Sodium Acrylate, Maleic Acid


Zondlo Fiume M. (2002). Final report on the safety assessment of Acrylates Copolymer and 33 related cosmetic ingredients. International journal of toxicology, 21 Suppl 3, 1–50.

Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. (2018). Amended Safety Assessment of Acrylates Copolymers as Used in Cosmetics.

Gaytán, I., Burelo, M. & Loza-Tavera, H. Current status on the biodegradability of acrylic polymers: microorganisms, enzymes and metabolic pathways involved. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 105, 991–1006 (2021).

INCI Name:
Sodium Acrylates Copolymer
Ingredient origins:
Anti-Redeposition Agent
Common name:
Sodium Maleate Acrylate Copolymer
EWG score: The EWG score is a hazard score ranging from 1-2 (low hazard), 3-6 (moderate hazard) and 7-10 (high hazard) published by the Environmental Working Group. Their data is sourced from the Skin Deep® database and studies published in open scientific literature.