Propylene glycol is a clear, colorless and hygroscopic liquid. Propylene glycol contains an asymmetrical carbon atom, so it exists in two enantiomers. The commercial product is a racemic mixture. Pure optical isomers can be obtained by hydration of optically pure propylene oxide.
The freezing point of water is depressed when mixed with propylene glycol owing to the effects of dissolution of a solute in a solvent (freezing-point depression). In general, glycols are non-corrosive, have very low volatility and very low toxicity; however, the closely related ethylene glycol (a key ingredient in antifreeze) is toxic to humans and to many animals.