Potassium citrate is an organic salt, usually appearing as a crystalline white powder that is hygroscopic (readily absorbs water). We use this ingredient in some of our laundry products as a detergent builder, to improve overall cleaning performance. Builders reduce water hardness; and help bind and capture removed soil to prevent it from redepositing during the wash.
Potassium citrate is a mineral-derived ingredient, produced commercially by reacting a high-purity potassium source such as potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) with citric acid. Potassium carbonate is a strong base (high pH) and can be used to make high-alkaline solutions. Its uses include in some food products and pharmaceuticals.
Potassium citrate was assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel in 2014, who reviewed its safety for dermal exposure in cosmetics and concluded it is “safe in the present practices of use and concentration.” It's also listed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) as having low toxicity and ready biodegradability.
Other names: K3C6H5O7; Citric Acid, Tripotassium Salt; Kalii citras; Potassium Tribasic Citrate; Tripotassium Citrate
Chemical class: Organic Salts
Fiume, M. M., Heldreth, B. A., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Liebler, D. C., Marks, J. G., Shank, R. C., Slaga, T. J., Snyder, P. W., & Andersen, F. A. (2014). Safety Assessment of Citric Acid, Inorganic Citrate Salts, and Alkyl Citrate Esters as Used in Cosmetics. International Journal of Toxicology, 33(2_suppl), 16S-46S. https://doi.org/10.1177/1091581814526891
European Chemicals Agency (2022). Tripotassium citrate. EC number: 212-755-5 | CAS number: 866-84-2. https://echa.europa.eu/registration-dossier/-/registered-dossier/14309/6/1
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2022). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 13344, Potassium citrate. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Potassium-citrate.
TGSC Information System (2022). Potassium citrate anhydrous. http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/rw1352921.html