What is Glycerine?

Glycerine is a simple polyol compound, obtained as a by-product of saponified, hydrolysed or transesterified fats and oils. It is a water-soluble, non-toxic, colourless, odourless, viscous liquid with a boiling point of 290°C. Chemically, glycerine is a trivalent alcohol that can be made to react but is stable under most conditions.

The term glycerine was introduced in 1811, by French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul, to describe commercial materials containing more than 95% glycerol. Although Chevreul was the first to give glycerine its name, the substance was first isolated long before, by German chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1738, through the saponification of olive oil.


Glycerine is a versatile chemical and is used in a variety of applications including food and personal care products among others. Our quality grade glycerine meets both domestic and international regulatory requirements as seen here.


As it is harmless for health and environment, skin-friendly and odourless, glycerine is used both as a humectant and an emollient in cosmetics, personal care products and household products. It is often used as a substitute to sorbitol but tastes better and is is more soluble.

In creams, glycerine is a moisturizing component. It supports skin care and, at the same time, prevents the cream from drying out. As glycerine is also odorless, it is a good base for adding perfume and is used as a substance carrier in personal and hair care products.

The production of toothpaste, for example, is a large area of application. Here glycerine is used to improve the taste, prevent dehydration and lend a shine. Toothpaste can contain 20-30% glycerine.


There is also broad scope for the use of glycerine in foodstuffs and beverages: as a preservative, a consistency and flavour enhancer, as a solvent for flavours and food colours in soft drinks and confectionary. In sweets and cakes as well as casings for chocolates, meat and cheese it serves as a humectant and emollient. It is also used as a sweetener, and a filler in low-fat food products.


Glycerine is one of the most often used ingredients in medication. It acts as a solvent, moistener, humectant, and bodying agent in tinctures, elixirs, and ointments.

Other well-known uses include gargles, cough medicines, capsules, lozenges, suppositories, and anaesthetics, as well as an additive in antibiotics and antiseptics.

Chemical Uses

In the technical field, glycerine is used to manufacture antifreeze agents, among other things. The solidification point of refined glycerine 99.5% is +18°C. Mixed in water at a concentration of 66.7%, its solidification point is 

This property is excellent for glycerine’s use as an antifreeze agent in formulations. As a chemical alcohol, glycerine is also needed in numerous reactions in the production of chemicals. Here the range of applications is very broad. It is also commonly used as a lubricant.


Glycerine is commonly used in the production of various resins, and in various applications in the resin industry. It is used in surface coatings and paints. As well as a softener and plasticiser to impart flexibility, pliability, and toughness.

It is also used as a plasticiser in cellophane.


Animal feed also benefits from the advantages glycerine offers: it is used in dry feed to store moisture and improve the taste. In veterinary medicine, glycerine is used as a source of glucose in bovine ketosis.

Due to its superior hygroscopic or humectant nature; by which it attracts and retains moisture under unfavourable temperature and climatic conditions, glycerine has been used to assist in the transportation of agricultural products as well as in the long term preservation of flowers. Glycerine preservation is said to preserve flowers for up to 12 months.

Properties of Glycerine

Alternative designations:
– Glycerin
– Glycerol
– Propan-1,2,3-triol (IUPAC)
– 1,2,3-Propantriol
– Propanetriol
Molecular formula:
CAS number:
Molar mass:
92.09 g/mol
Aggregate state:
Colourless (Clear)
pH value:
Structural formula:
1.26 g/cm³ (at 20°C)
Melting point:
Boiling point:
Flash point:
Spontaneous ignition:
Solubility in water:
Fully soluble