Alternatives to Embalming Fluid

Embalming Fluid
What many people don’t realize is embalming fluid isn’t necessary even if you plan to have a viewing service. Today there are embalming alternatives that work just as well without leaching toxic chemicals into the ground.

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Most people have heard of embalming fluid even if they aren’t sure exactly what it is. However, once they learn what embalming fluid is it becomes clear why burial is so toxic for the earth. Ironically, the chemicals in embalming fluid that can preserve a body prior to cremation or burial do the exact opposite to the environment.

Enigma Ecobalming Solution

The worst ingredient in embalming fluid is highly toxic formaldehyde. If you absolutely need to embalm there’s an alternative that eliminates this harsh ingredient. Enigma is a non-toxic solution of chemicals and plant-based essential oils. It’s been shown to be a viable temporary preservation solution. 

All four Enigma products have been certified by the Green Burial Council. Enigma products include:

  • Enigma Arterial
  • Enigma Cavity
  • Enigma Topical
  • Enigma Compound

If you plan to cremate after a viewing service we recommend using the Enigma Compound solution. This option creates a nominal amount of residue on the remains.


Another common method of preserving a body without embalming fluid is refrigeration. This is the method of preservation used at the morgue after a person passes away at the hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, refrigeration became a serious concern in Texas when cases spiked. Fortunately, Green Cremation Texas and other funeral homes that invested in additional refrigeration were able to help out.

Because we are an eco-friendly facility, Green Cremation Texas never uses embalming fluid. Instead, bodies are kept cool in special refrigeration units, which preserves the body temporarily. Ice packs and dry ice can also be used to cool the body to delay decomposition. 

If dry ice is used it must be replaced every 24 hours. When using ice packs it’s best to place them directly below the body to cool from underneath. The ice packs will have to be changed every few hours. 

Skip the Embalming and Bury Immediately

It doesn’t happen often, but if you are in the position to bury the deceased immediately you can skip the embalming. This is a must if you choose green burial because embalming fluid isn’t allowed due to its toxicity.

Most funeral homes can accommodate an immediate burial that doesn’t include a memorial service or viewing. In addition to eliminating the need for embalming fluid, immediate burial is also more affordable. 

Keep in mind, with this option the funeral director will decide when the burial occurs based on how soon they can fit it into their schedule. This may make it difficult to have a graveside service, but that is still a possibility with immediate burial. If you do want to have a viewing before the burial that needs to be done within 48 hours of the death. 

Opt for Direct Cremation

Another option that’s becoming more common is direct cremation. This is a cremation service that doesn’t include a viewing or memorial before the body is cremated. Because memorial services aren’t held until after the cremation there’s no need to embalm. This is one of the reasons direct cremation is considered a green end of life service.

There are currently two direct cremation options:

Flame-Based Cremation –  This is the traditional type of cremation that has been used for over 120 years. It’s extremely efficient and affordable, especially compared to conventional burial. Green Cremation Texas has improved upon the process so that our flame-based cremation is much cleaner, produces less waste and requires less energy. 

Water Cremation – A new method of cremation that’s even more eco-friendly is called water cremation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis or aquamation. No flame is used in this process. The body is put into a pressurized chamber filled with a water/alkaline solution that accelerates decomposition. Although the family will receive remains just as they would with flame-based cremation, aquamation uses 90% less energy and doesn’t create air pollution.

Technology brought about the creation of embalming fluid, but it’s also given us alternatives that aren’t as harmful for the environment. If you’re concerned about the impact of funeral services it’s important to choose a provider who is dedicated to eco-friendly practices and offers options. Green Cremation Texas always works directly with families to ensure that the experience is positive all around. 

We’re available 24/7 to answer your calls, texts and emails regarding green direct cremation in Texas.

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