What is it? d-Limonene (citrus terpenes) is a natural solvent derived from citrus peels. I mostly use it in cleaning applications. It is a terpenoid hydrocarbon found in many essential oils. It can also be found as an adulterant in low quality essential oils (especially citrus ones).
INCI d-Limonene
Appearance Clear liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%, though that would be a very strong cleaning solvent! Recommendations for incorporation in formulas are typically 20% or less.
Texture Thin, volatile liquid
Scent Citrusy—orange/lemon
Approximate Melting Point -74ºC to to -96.9ºC (-101.2°F to -142.6°F)
Solubility Oil, alcohol
Why do we use it in formulations? d-Limonene is an excellent de-greasing solvent that also adds a fresh, citrusy scent to our products. I have only used it in cleaning products.
Do you need it? It’s great if you intend on making your own cleaning products, but beyond that I wouldn’t bother.
Refined or unrefined? d-Limonene only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Fantastic natural de-greasing solvent that also smells great.
Weaknesses Can degrade/break down some plastics in high concentrations with extended exposure.
Alternatives & Substitutions Citrus essential oils are typically high in d-limonene; sweet orange, grapefruit, clementine, bitter orange, tangerine, and satsuma essential oils can all contain upwards of 90% d-limonene. Those essential oils seem like a reasonable place to start, though they are all likely to be more expensive than isolated d-limonene. Out of those essential oils sweet orange, satsuma, and tangerine are not photosensitizing, so I would likely choose one of those.
How to Work with It Include in the oil phase of your products or solubilize into the water phase. Avoid heating as the flash point is quite low (43–49°C/109–120°F).
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, d-limonene should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try solubilizing some d-limonene with vinegar for an excellent cleanser.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use d-Limonene


Posted on

April 5, 2019