Dear Soapman. Its getting colder and I noticed that my skin became more sensitive when the heat came on. Is there a correlation here or am I just B. Fuddled in Bennington

Dear B. F.,

Yes you are correct. There is indeed a correlation between heating systems coming on in the Autumn and skin sensitivity. Here’s why.

According to the National Institutes for Health over 25% of Americans test positive for dust mites as an allergen. Dust, and the mites that live on them deposit on baseboard heaters, fall down ventilation ducts and get through clogged and dirty air filters. As they burn off, we breathe it all in and get it on our skin. A very common reaction to this is to get rashy and sensitive.

shutterstock_157652471What to do: Use a damp rag to CLEAN every surface you can on radiators, baseboards and heating pipes. Change forced hot air furnace filters every year. Remove air grates and vacuum out the debris, wipe down with an organic spray cleaner like Liquid Sunshine or plain water.  Then turn the heat up, open the doors and windows, turn on the fans and go out for pizza (with lots of vegetables) and movie on top. Should be safe to go when you return, if you have done your homework well. This will DECREASE your reactions.

Now SOOTHE with Shea butter, Green Gold or your favorite herbal green salve. Bathe with the Shea Butter Bar from Vermont Soap or another superfatted handmade soap bar (but not melt and pour soaps which are pretty but non-therapeutic). Drink lots of pure non-plastic water and try sleeping with a window cracked open for a while. Learn more about chemical sensitivities at and


 Can I use the shower gel for my hair?

In a word…maybe

This is a soap gel, and soap removes coloring from hair. If you like your hair tinted or colored don’t use it.

If you wash your hair everyday soap based shower gel may not work for you unless you also use a conditioner of some kind. A vinegar or lemon juice rinse might work for your hair, but you will have to experiment. Some people need more moisture (oils) added than others. And that is what it comes down to. For those of us that want a nontoxic hair cleaner we must experiment. Here are some tips:

For thin, thinning hair use the Shea Butter Bar. This works without conditioners for thin hair.

Thick, curly hair has more difficulty with soap based cleaners.

Unscented soap products work better long term than products containing essential oils.

We have had reports that many Japanese women enjoy washing their hair with our shower gel. However they may use additional hair treatment such as the traditional oil comb (tsuge).

There are three types of bonds that make up hair. Three to the third power makes twenty seven possible bond combinations. That’s a lot of different types of hair! Soap products do not work for everyone all the time. But if you experiment you can probably come up with a nontoxic system that works for you.

All the Best,



Dear Soapman,
I recently purchased the Arnica Salve for my achy parts. Works quite well – thank you. I started to get a headache yesterday and instead of taking a pill I rubbed the arnica on the back of my neck. Worked great! Better than I ever expected. So my question is; “How come your Old Fashioned Arnica Salve is not categorized as a drug by the FDA? ”

– Quizzical

Dear Quizzical,
A drug is defined by its intent of use. Non-prescription items can claim to soothe, moisturize, ease, calm, relieve tension; but not much more. Pain for example, is a medical condition. If you are in pain see a medical professional. Aches and tensions are a normal part of life and are not considered to be illnesses or medical conditions. Thank goodness, since there many safe and natural ways to soothe life’s little owies!

OTC remedies cannot claim to diagnose, treat or cure any ailment without falling under FDA drug labeling rules. Do some companies make outrageous drug like claims for their OTC products? Yes, of course. But only until they get caught. Best to stick with Mother Nature!

Thanks for Keeping it Natural,


Does the quality of Castile liquid soaps vary that much between companies? How is your product different to others on the market?

Castile liquid soap is a nod to the coconut and olive liquid soap that is still made in the La Castilla La Mancha region, part of the ancient Kingdom of Castille in Spain. This was the soap and detergent of the wealthiest citizens of Europe for nearly two hundred years.

Over time, the term Castile Soap has come to mean any soap product containing any amount of olive oil. This is important because the main ingredient; coconut oil-turning-into-liquid soap is harsh and degreasing by nature. Great for grease, rough on skin. Adding olive and other food grade vegetable oils as a percentage of the formula will soften that innate harshness.

The pH of the soap is also important. Castile liquid soap can range from 9.2 to 10.2; with dramatic differences in skin feel resulting. This is basically a micro brewed soap process, and it is the art of the Soapmaker to balance the variables through years of skill through practice to get it right.

Like beer and wine, all castile soaps are NOT alike!

We recommend cold process handmade bar soap for the most sensitive skin, and craft foaming, gel and cleaning spray soaps from our several castile base soap formulas for specific uses.

Vermont Soap Castile is a multipurpose nontoxic cleaner concentrate that oily skin individuals can also use for bathing. It is milder than the majority of products you will encounter.

 Do your soaps contain sodium hydroxide?

Bar Soap is in fact a mass of crystals grown from the merging of oils and sodium hydroxide. No detectable sodium hydroxide is left in the final product when it is done the way we do it. In other words, sodium hydroxide is a processing aid that turns oils which make you greasy into soap which makes you clean.

We do not use melt and pour processes here. So called “Glycerin Soaps” are primarily radiator anti-freeze mixed with glycerin and usually triethanolalamine.

If you need a super mild soap for sensitive skin I recommend the Shea Butter Bar.

Love your liquid castile soap, however, my wife wants a clear (no color) liquid to put in bathroom/kitchen dispensers. Is this available ?

Our liquid soap soap is a natural clear amber liquid. Adding scent will darken it somewhat. Unscented Liquid Sunshine would be the clearest product we have. Remember to rinse your container 3x in hot water between refills to keep your organic soap fresh!

How many ounces are in each bar that comes in the 120 bar set?

Ahh…. the bar weight question again!

When we make our handmade bar soaps they weigh more or less 4.5oz/128g.

We cure the bars on custom made drying racks for a minimum of 28 days. This lowers their water content to 12.5% or about 3.75oz/106g per bar. That is the approximate weight of a fresh bar of our soap.

But let’s say that a particular bar should sit unpackaged in that crate display for a worst case scenario of 14 months. The average weight then would be 3.25oz/92g  In order to stay legal this is the weight we state on our unpackaged bar soap displays.

Although there is some shrinkage over time due to water loss, the size of a bar of soap remains surprisingly consistent. Our bars average 3.25”x2”x1.25” or 8.25cm x 5cm x 3cm

Thanks for asking!


Dear Mr. Soapman,

I love your Vermont Castile Soap! Thank you so much for making a difference!

Can I make soap bars from your Vermont Castile Soap? I am a beginner, and I have been looking for melt and pour base natural, chemical free through other companies. Both companies I had in mind, they carry melt and pour soap base, but do carry bad chemicals in them. So can I use your castile soap in a cold process recipe? I learned that cold process involves oils, butters and Lye. But have no idea where to begin. But desire to make my own. Please advise.

Thank you very much for the kudos! If you pour castile liquid soap into a shallow dish it will evaporate out and turn into a jelly like hockey puck. You can experiment with letting it dry into a hard ball or shape for example. NOT the same as bar soap (it will not get that hard) but it will certainly be different!

All the Best,


Question: It says on the website that you can use the Castile and the Sunshine products on your carpets but it doesn’t say how much.  I know it’s very concentrated and I don’t want to add too much.


Answer: Use like the detergent concentrates you are used to using. They should measure out the same.

Question: I have my own carpet cleaner that I bought and I want to double check and make sure it won’t hurt the cleaner.  I don’t see how it could but I’m just double checking.


Answer: The only issue is that soap and detergents are evil opposites and will annihilate each other. Best not to keep switching back and forth and to thoroughly wash out the machine and hoses with warm/hot water when you do.

Question: Usually a carpet cleaning company will put a stain guard on the carpet after they are done cleaning it and I really don’t want that chemical on there so is there something else I can use to protect my carpets from stains or do I still need to put that guard on there.


Answer: Stain guard is Teflon and fluorocarbons. Yuck! Unless you have a very messy life you should think twice about living with these molecules all around you. I was a messy little boy, but carpet guard products did not exist when I was growing up. Somehow we survived just fine without them. I suspect most people can too.


Question: Do the oils in the cleaner (Castile or Sunshine) attract dirt?


Answer: No. These are oils-turned-into-soap; not oils like motor oil. There are also volatile scents oils but these are more like orange oil in that they cut grease rather than making things dirtier.


Hope this helps!


Hello Soapman. My wife has banned any soaps or gels that leave a film in the shower. That includes some current Castile soaps. I love peppermint soaps. Does the Vermont Peppermint Castile Soap or Vermont Peppermint Shower Gel leave a film residue in the shower or tub?



I love this question!

Soap interacts with minerals in your water to leave a film, affectionately known as “Soap scum”. Wreaks havoc on a hot tub. Here are your options:

  1. Remove soap scum with vinegar, or in more extreme cases vinegar and baking soda OR
  2. Use Bon Ami on your porcelain surfaces. Cheap, effective and scentless. OR
  3. Hire a cleaning service OR
  4. Soften your water so soap scum won’t form  OR (and this is the saddest alternative):
  5. Use chemical detergent body washes instead of yummy organic soap (ouch!)

There you are Gary. I hope that you don’t have to choose between organic soap and your wife. In an ideal world you can keep both.

All the Best,


My husband likes a shaving cream that foams up. I would like for him to stop using the synthetic shaving creams with toxic chemicals. We would like to find a natural product that foams and lathers up when he shaves. Which of your products do you recommend that would be a good shaving cream?

Thank you.

Buy your man a nice shaving brush and he can lather up with organic Vermont Soap. I recommend the Butter Bar. No scent and it softens your beard while soothing your skin.

All the Best,


 Is Patchouli Hemp the same as Patchouli Rose? I love the Patchouli Hemp and I am down to my last bar!

Patchouli Rose is a new flavor. It is light and fresh and less earthy patchouli blend with a rosey heart note. Patchouli Hemp is the terrific patchouli blend you have loved for years. Thanks for asking!

Can I melt your Second Soap in the microwave and put it in a soap mold?

Not recommended. But in the interest of science you could grate the soap, add 50% water and heat gently while stirring. Cool and mold, then cure the water out for 3 weeks.

I am a soap maker in Ghana.  I’m interested in the distillation machine you made while in Ghana.  Can I use that type of machine to make distilled water for my shea butter soap?  I’m trying to work out a problem with discoloration and dreaded orange spots. Thank you.

Thank you for contacting us.

The essential oil distillation machine could also be used to clean water.

However, the dreaded orange spots are not usually caused by the water.

I can better help you if you will answer a few questions:

  1. Are you using palm oil or palm kernel oil?
  2. Are you making Box Soap or Black Soap?

After you answer these two questions I will ask you some more questions and then may have a correct answer for you.


I make cold process shea butter soap using refined palm oil, but it used to do it before I began using palm oil.  The major problem is the darkening of the soap after about 6 months.

Good to hear that you are making cold process Box Soap.

Please use palm kernel oil instead of palm oil. This hardens much faster than palm oil bar soaps and makes a better product. Your recipe should remain the same, palm kernel use the same amount of sodium hydroxide as palm oil. You can add 3% shea butter as a SUPERFAT to your recipe.

What are you using for scent? Do you add color?

To go over the basics (which you may already know):

I like to make a 25% lye solution: 4 parts clean water to 1 part lye. Let this rest overnight. Use this lye water up within 3 days or it will spoil.

Mix 1 part oil blend (melted palm kernel and shea butter) with 3 parts lye water.

Always add lye water to oils – not oil to the lye water. Take a long time to add the lye water. The stream should only be as fast or thick as pee and the oils must be moving as you add it. Takes about 20 minutes to thicken to trace. Pour into plastic lined molds.

You do not need fancy wooden boxes to pour into. Almost anything that will hold the weight will work.


How can I remove the dark color and strong scent from the palm kernel oil?

I use fragrance and essential oils, I also color some of my soap. I get some fragrance oils and soap color from Brambleberry and essential oils from Natures oils.The soap discolors in both the fragrance scented ones as well as the soap I use essential oil in, and it also goes darker whether I color it or not.

After approximately 6 months my soap goes from a nice light ivory color to a ugly beige. I thought it could be minerals in the water or the coconut oil I use. I have found a new source for quality coconut oil, but not sure what to do about the water.

Yes, you will have to refine the PK oil. The method I learned is this:

Put the PK oil in a place where it will get full hot sun all day. Place the amount of sodium hydroxide that will fit into the palm of your hand into the plastic PK oil container and let it rest on top. In two or three days the PK oil should turn lighter. Please do not use your bare hand to measure.

PK oil is sold in plastic containers, and these containers are never cleaned. Little bits of old oil stick to the inside of the bottle. This old oil spoils, and when it does, it spoils all the oil near it. This goes on until, very quickly, the entire bottle becomes strong smelling and  begins to spoil.

I recommend that you clean out your PK bottles with lye water, swish and rinse with cool water. Repeat until you can get the oil all off the plastic. You may need also to use a brush and hot water with soap. Mark them with a bit of colored cloth tied to the handle and insist that your supplier refills those same cleaned containers for you.

All the Best!

 Can women use spicewood extra strength deodorant or is it just for men?

You don’t have to be male to use and enjoy safe and organic odor control. Spicewood is a cedar/clove blend that is reminiscent of Old Spice ™ hence the “guy friendly scent” angle.

Clove, cinnamon and cedar wood oils are powerful plant concentrates that work with the other ingredients in the product to control bacteria. It is usually bacteria that cause strong perspiration aromas.

Hope this helps. Thanks for keeping it natural!

Hi Larry,

Thank you for providing this service. I am looking for the mildest soap I can find that does a great job cleaning body oils from plastic medical devices that come into contact with the human body. Another thing that would be helpful is any ability the soap would have clean the bacteria, sterilize, etc. Thank you very much for your assistance.

Brad Ingram

Hi Brad.

I would use Unscented Liquid Sunshine which we also sell as Unscented Castile Liquid Soap. It is generally non-irritating, de-greasing, scentless, and works well on plastics.

All the Best,

Larry Plesent


I got a free sample chapstick from you at NOFA VT and I LOVE it, but I can’t find where to order it on your website? I was also wondering what the difference was between the horse shampoo and the pet shampoo? Do you make a conditioner? I usually use vinegar after I bathe my horse to help with skin problems. Would it be ok to use your shampoo and follow with vinegar and skip conditioner? Is it ok to use the horse shampoo on a dog or the pet shampoo on a horse?

Thank you!


Hi Kelsey.

Lots of great questions.

Here we go:

I got a free sample chapstick from you at NOFA VT and I LOVE it, but I can’t find where to order it on your website?

THANK YOU for enjoying our latest product launch. There new lip balms will be available on line (and coming to stores) starting next week: Naked Lips (the one you sampled), Berry Berry and Cocoa Butter.

I was also wondering what the difference was between the horse shampoo and the pet shampoo?

Small changes in essential oils and glycerin are the only real differences between the two products.

Do you make a conditioner?

Sorry, we do not.

I usually use vinegar after I bathe my horse to help with skin problems. Would it be ok to use your shampoo and follow with vinegar and skip conditioner?

Yes. This should work fine.

Is it ok to use the horse shampoo on a dog or the pet shampoo on a horse?

Yes indeed! Thanks for asking.

Please sir when will your wife come and teach us how to make Black soap again. Will it be in Accra or in the that I may get ready too. I would love to learn how to brew the Shea butter too. Thank you

Thank you so very much for your interest in learning about soap making and about shea butter. We have some resources for you here:

Our NGO, Soap Peace International, will be putting up a website later this year with instructional videos.

You can email me directly with questions after you try making a small amount of soap yourself. It is best to learn to make African Box Soap, rather than Black Soap if you can get sodium hydroxide flakes. Read my manual and look for information on making soap such as videos on

I am not traveling much these days but instead, am using the internet as a teaching aid.

Wishing You All the Best,

Larry Plesent

I’m leaving for Central America soon. I’m looking for a good, nontoxic sunscreen and insect repellant. You cookin anything?

Yes indeed. Take the Camping Lotion and the Camping Spray. If you can only take one it should be the lotion.

I developed these products while working in malaria infested zones in Liberia, West Africa. They both contain the same essential oil blend. The lotion lasts a solid 4 hours before renewal. The spray lasts about 40 minutes but is good when you need something quick and is good to go over your clothing and on your hat. Be sure to use the lotion on your ankles and exposed feet near sunrise and sunset.

Bring along 16oz of our Tea Tree Castile soap. Use it to wash hands, clothes, dishes, washing out cuts and scrapes etc. If you are traveling in rural village areas this is not an option. Lots of people will want to shake your hand. Bump fists instead.

Be sure to pick up a 2oz tin of our shea butter. It works incredibly well on sunburn, scrapes and bites and lips. Shea butter has a mild spf of 2-3 (naturally occurring). Bring a big floppy hat like a TILLY hat as your first line of protection. I have never met a natural formulator who recommends the regular use of sunscreen on themselves or on their kids and I don’t either except for episodic protection in extreme conditions.

Best of Luck, travel in threes and bring emergency CIPRO antibiotics just in case.

All the Best,



Can you order products over the phone?

You bet!

Call us toll free at 1.866.SOAP.4U2 and a real human being located in Vermont will talk you through it.

All the Best

I would like to use your bar soap during pregnancy. I understand there is some question about the safety of using aromatherapy oils during pregnancy. Are the fragrances in the soaps diluted enough so I can use them during pregnancy?

A you know essential oils are powerful plant concentrates that contain hundreds of molecules that the plant produces to fight fungus, viral, bacteria and cancer and as an attractant or repellent. There is ample evidence that ingesting large amounts of essential oils during pregnancy is a really, really bad idea.

It stretches the imagination to consider that a highly diluted wash off product containing essential oils, which have to travel through 4 layers of skin to be absorbed would have any effects on your baby. And in fact, like pet shampoo warnings on the internet, there as absolutely no valid evidence available to back up the claim that wash off products containing this range of essential oils has any deleterious effect on mammals of any kind; in utero or not. Clearly I consider this use of essential oils safe and nontoxic to humans.

But why use scented soap anyway? We make two beautiful bar soaps, the Butter Bar and Unscented. They work great. I use the Butter Bar as my main skin and hair product every day. Use essential oils for specific skin type issues and then return to the unscented products after. Avoid regular use of essential oils on babies the first six months of life as it is possible to sensitize your kid to the oils. To this day my oldest daughter cannot use lavender oil (and a few other oils) on her skin.

Hope this answers your question. All the Best!


Is it safe to use Choco-Luscious Skin Smoothie as a lip balm? I am especially wondering about children using it, since they will lick their lips often!

Yes it is! Choco-Luscious Skin Smoothie has the same ingredients as natural lip balms. All ingredients are food grade and certified organic. The batch is pasteurized prior to filling. Best!

What is the difference between your Castile liquid soap and your Sunshine liquid soap?

Liquid Sunshine is a kind of castile liquid soap. We formulated it especially for its grease cutting essential oil blend.

I use (and love!) the Liquid Sunshine for almost all of my cleaning needs… general cleaning, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning… but I currently still use a specific ‘ toilet bowl cleaner’. I’m wondering if Liquid Sunshine will work well for cleaning toilets. I don’t know if there are any ingredients that aren’t recommended in toilets or sewage lines. Any thoughts?

Thanks for your help,

Hi Rebecca,

Liquid Sunshine is fine for sewer lines and for cleaning toilets.

Thanks for asking!


I just discovered your site and I’d like to order some items. I prefer unscented items because I have sensitive skin and other allergies.


Some questions before I order:


I am looking for a good cleaner that will disinfect kitchen counter tops as well as bathroom surfaces. What would you recommend for this type of cleaning?

Liquid Sunshine Spray and Wipe cleans all bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Safe, nontoxic and scentless. Sign up for our eblasts to stay in touch for the release of this and other yummy organic products for your life.

What is the difference between the Aloe Castile Liquid Soap and the Liquid Sunshine soap? It sounds like both are good for generalized cleaning but after that I can’t tell what differentiates them.

They are both liquid castile soaps and cousins. Liquid Sunshine (scented) has an edge for removing grease and oils.

Is Liquid Sunshine Unscented Zero-VOC non-toxic? I see your regular Liquid Sunshine Spray & Wipe Surface Cleaner is listed as non-toxic.

Vermont Soap’s mission is to replace yucky stuff with yummy stuff. We ONLY make nontoxic products using organic plant based ingredients. Most products are certified to organic food standards.

I want to try shea butter as a facial moisturizer. Any tips on applying this?

Wash face first if you have oily skin, then apply the shea butter. Give it a good 15 minutes to soak in and apply several layers in you want to speed things up. Pay attention to character lines forming on cheeks and the corners of your eyes. It takes 3-4 months before people start noticing a real difference. If you have dry facial skin use the Butter Bar for face washing. Other anti-aging products we make include Honey Love Beauty Mask and Green Gold herbal Moisturizer. Check them out too!


All the Best,

Larry Plesent, Founder, CEO and Soapman

sbathsaltgroupcutI purchased your Lavendar Vermont Soap bath crystals from Middlebury Co-op. I didn’t buy the one already in a container. The one I bought I had to measure out myself. Unfortunately, the label on the outside did not recommend how much bath salt to use. Please advise how much for a general bath.
Thank you.

This is somewhat subjective.

For a full bath use between two and five heaping tablespoons depending on the amount of water used and how strong you like it. I would start with two and work my way up.


The Soap Crew

 Can I brush my teeth with your liquid castile soap?

toothbrushTechnically you CAN brush your teeth with castile soap if you REALLY REALLY REALLY want to.

Having done the experiment I do NOT recommend it. I got a mouthful of sudz and my tongue tasted like soap the rest of the day. Not good.

Better to use Vermont Soap’s Tooth Salt, and especially our new Extra Strength Neem version which will be available in February. Toothsalt is an all-natural substitute for toothpastes. Once you get used to it there is no going back to sweet, foamy pastes.

Use Toothsalt with our Toothbrush Cleaning spray for BEST results and healthy gums.

Wishing you Well,


Hi there I have checked the site a few times hoping to buy the shampoo bar but it’s always out of stock. Will there be any more coming out? Thanks so much!

Shampoo bar is almost the exact same formula as Aloe Baby. Give that a try! All the Best

What are the dimensions of a bar of your soap?

That is a bit more complicated of a question than it would seem.

Handmade bar soaps contain water. This is cured out over time. As the water weight drops the dimensions of the bar change slightly. Freshly minted bars weigh 4.25oz. a year later they can weigh 3.25oz, and 2 years later about 3oz. That said, we cure our bars to a 12.5% min moisture content or 3.25” long x 2.15 wide x 1.15” thick when ready. This is of course a moving target as bar size and moisture content are intertwined.

Most people call bars this size 3.75oz, which is their weight when ready to sell.

Thank You and All the Best,


Do you carry wholesale lotion base? If not, could you recommend a supplier, who is devoted to all-natural products?

We’re a small St. Louis candle company hoping to expand.


Hi Robert,

Thanks for the email.

Lotions typically mean water in oil emulsions. The presence of water means that preservation is required which voids most organic requirements. We make waterless lotions aka salves and balms and other hot oil fills which require no microbial preservation typically. Here the ingredients are heated, pumped into containers, and chilled. We are happy to provide this service for you.

Vermont Soap manufactures a wide variety of certified organic personal care products. Most are available in bulk. We tend to fill hot fills here, but we also have clients that take Green Gold Herbal Moisturizer and fill jars with it cold using a spatula, which works pretty good for small amounts.

Give us a call if we can help. 802-388-4302


Soapman Larry Plesent

Are your products cruelty free?

Vermont Soap is a long time Leaping Bunny supporter. No cruelty on our products! Thanks for asking.

I thoroughly enjoy your unscented Castile soap in my personal care products. The gallon I just received is very light in color as compared to the last gallon I purchased which was surprisingly dark. I’m sure they are of equal quality, but I prefer the lighter color’s appearance in my products. What makes this difference in color?

Great Question! The longer the soap cooks the darker it gets. It also comes down in pH making it milder. However, the longer it cooks the more soapier smelling it gets, a definite turn off for most people.

We have a brand new facility now run on (mostly) renewable electric energy. Everything is working really well and we are making castile liquid soap that is both lightly scented and lower in pH than our former specifications. Hallelujah! A perfect batch…….


Have you considered making an organic shampoo and conditioner?

We certainly have (and are).

Always testing, but there are some real challenges here.

Will keep working on it.

All the Best,



 I wanted to purchase some of your foaming hand soaps as Christmas gifts but when I try to add to cart they will not add and a pop up states they are not available? Can you please tell if and when they will be available in the future?

We are re-stocking next week.

Sorry! Just getting back into production in our new facility.

All the Best,


 Do you have the organic soap processed machine? if yes how much per unit?

We make soap, but we do not sell the machines. We buy used equipment and modify them, an expensive and difficult task. It is often easier to make cookers from metal drums and heat with dried coconut husks or something similar. You will need a lot of clean air to clear the fumes from cooking liquid soap. Both bar and liquid soaps can be turned by stick as long as the mixer is not breathing the fumes (the smoke).

All the Best,

Larry Plesent

Hi Larry,
Approximately how long before the pet shampoo will be available.

Thanks for your help.


Hi Diane,

We are getting back into production now.

3-4 weeks.

You can also use any of our castile liquid soaps. Tea tree and Lemongrass Zen are popular for pets. Liquid Sunshine works great too. All of these are in stock as I write.



Are you ever going to produce hand and/or body lotions? I love your soaps and would love to be able to purchase hand and body creams or lotions.

Hi Beverly,

Thanks for the compliments, and for asking about moisturizers.

We make a product called Green Gold. It is a pretty amazing herbal moisturizer and anti-aging balm.

We also have pure shea butter in little pots for lips.

All the Best!


Hi, My friend and I were looking forward to visiting your booth at The Big E this weekend, but we didn’t see you. Are you going to be there at all or have you opted out this year? Thanks.

As you may have heard we had a factory fire on June 4’th and had to relocate (ipod speakers caught on fire). Just getting back into production now so we don’t have a lot to sell for the Big E. We WILL be back at the Big E next year.

In the meantime checkout our bar soap special (45% off list for naked 12 packs of one flavor) and sign up for our eSpecials to continue to save big-time.

All the Best!

Soapman and the intrepid Soap Crew

I have been seeing charcoal face soap suggested for breakouts and oily skin but I don’t see any on your site. Is this something you would consider having in your store?
Thank you!

Charcoal sounds interesting. The only downside I can see is a loss in shelf life. Working with African shea butter, I have observed that charcoal in oils causes them to oxidize faster.

For oily skin sensitive skin I recommend Clay Soap. This is a high quality, unscented bar soap that dries up oily skin and closes pores. We used a local green clay from an organic farm. The Blue Bar (double strength tea tree and peppermint) is quite good for red infectious oily skin conditions.

Many people on the oily skin side of their lives like the Sweetgrass Shower Gel. May or not be for your face but it is quite yummy.

Look for the Skin Type Spectrum on all of our product pages. This graphic matches your skin type with the proper products in your category.

All the Best!


We live in an area with hard water. To counteract the effects of hard water, we have a water softener. Unfortunately, softened water does not always completely wash soap away, leaving a slippery feeling on our skin. Is there a type of soap that washes away better in soft water? Thanks for your help!

Try the castile liquid soap and the foaming hand soaps. These will work better than our gels or bars.


How do I know if an all natural product needs a preservative for retail?

Is there a safe all natural preservative?

Do you know of any online classes for all natural skin care products?
Would a Pure Aloe Vera Gel product need a preservative ?

Thank you,

Hi DeAnna,

Thanks for writing.

How do I know if an all natural product needs a preservative for retail?
If a product contains water there is a very good chance that it will grow microbes. Always do a CTFA challenge test for any unique product that you make and an inexpensive plate test for variations.

Is there a safe all natural preservative?
pH can be adjusted, sugar or salt or soap at 20% or more concentration kills germs.

Do you know of any online classes for all natural skin care products?
Do not sorry!

Would a Pure Aloe Vera Gel product need a preservative?
Yes – typically potassium sorbate is used.



I would like to dilute the liquid sunshine all purpose concentrate to refill my Spray and wipe bottle. How much concentrate in water do you recommend for the 16 oz bottle?


OK – here you go:

  1. Always rinse out your refill bottles 3x in hot water. Soap is only as fresh as the oldest molecule of soap in the bottle!
  2. Always add water to soap only when you want a lot of foam, like when you wash a dog or a car. Otherwise add soap to water to minimize foaming in the bottle.
  3. You can use as little as 5% soap in a Spray for glass, windows and light surface cleaning. Go as high as 10% for extra heavy duty cleaning like oven cleaning.
  4. Do not worry about exact concentrations. If it isn’t strong enough, add more. Too soapy? Just dilute.
  5. Works great inside the automobile too, glass and vinyl. No need to use toxic car cleaners. Use at 5%.

All the Best,


Is it ok to apply insect armor directly to the skin? (I found a can hidden in the garage)

Yes it is but you should always test new products on your forearm for sensitivities first. We call it Camping Spray now. Best!

What is the ounce size of your wholesale bars?

This is actually a very good question. Handmade soap has a fairly high percentage of water in it. When it is first made it pours like pancake batter, lye water solution being about 1/3 of the mix at that point. After three days or so the product is hard enough to handle and cut. The bars are laid out on stainless steel screens and dried for a month. When water weight drops below 12% it is ready to take off the drying racks and can be sold. As water continues to slowly cure out of the bar the weight continues to drop.

We calculate that a year after a bar of soap is made its weight will occasionally drop below 3.3oz. This is a factor of, among other things, the barometric pressure the day the soap was made. Therefore we label our bars at 3.25oz. Our typical bar soap is 4.1oz (5 days after it is made) and average 3.8 oz +/- the day we ship it. For years we labeled our bar soaps at 3.75oz (now industry standard) but several fines later we have learned to err on the side of caution in labeling bar soaps.

All the Best!


Do you make or plan to make a organic hand sanitizer?


Hi Maureen. Yes indeed we have one close to launch but the factory fire this Summer set us back. Give us about 6 months or less. If you sign up for the eSpecials on the Home Page you will know as soon as we do.

All the Best!


I want a soap that cleanses and washes off completely to remove as much bacteria as possible.

– Marilu

Hi Marilu,

Our foaming hand soap works great and doesn’t dry you out. Try it!

According to the FDA washing your hands in pure soap and water for 35 seconds washes away 99.9% of all germs.

Thanks for asking!


I suspect this is on your website somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it. Do you use sodium hydroxide? If so, do you make your own from ash, or do you purchase it made by the electricity in water method?

Hi Garret,

Good questions!

When we make bar soaps we use sodium hydroxide. When we make liquid and gel soaps we use potassium hydroxide. Paste soaps (special order) are a mixture of both types of alkali.

I have made potassium carbonate from wood ashes and water and then refined that into potassium hydroxide when I was in Liberia teaching a couple of years ago. Here in the US we buy it fresh and US made – not from ashes.

All the Best,


How do the soaps hold up during shipping in the warm weather months?

Great Question!

Handmade soap melts at 128F; 53C so you should be good to go. If you live in a desert we can ship your order with a freeze-pack in it.

How can I prevent the regular castile liquid soap from clogging our regular hand soap dispensers? It doesn’t seem to like to be pumped in either non-foaming and foaming type dispensers. Thanks!


Hi Jen,

You want to thin down your castile liquid soap for most dispensing pumps and foamers. Try 40% soap/ 60% water for your foamers. Hint: add soap to water not water to soap here

You can cut you castile soap by 50% with water for your pump.

All the Best!


Dear Soapman,

I used to buy Insect Armor and really liked it. Then you discontinued it and came out with Camp & Garden Spray and Camp & Garden Lotion which seems to be pretty much the same thing as the original Insect Armor formula. What’s going on here? Bugged in Brattleboro.

Dear Bugged,

A few years back Vermont Soap was served a cease, desist and recall order from the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. They claimed that we were selling an unregistered pesticide across State lines.

“But this is a blend of all natural plant oils designed to confuse (or “addle”) insects so they avoid biting people,” we told them.

And they read us their legal definition of a pesticide; which includes repelling pesky bugs using natural plant oils.

So we recalled Insect Armor and soon came out with our new Camp & Garden Spray and Camp & Garden Lotion, neither of which makes any reference to insects, bugs or annoying pests. We only claim to “make you more comfortable with citronella and other natural essential oils.”

If this amazing blend of eight potent essential oils works synergistically to keep annoying insects at bay all the more power to ya. We will never say in writing that it is anything more than herbal perfume.

Now excuse me while I apply some more herbal perfume to my sun hat!

All the Best,