Ask the Soapman
I love your Shea butter but I am wondering what grade is it considered?
There is no official grading system for shea butter but I found this on the web:
The United States Agency for International Development and other companies have suggested a classification system for shea butter separating it into five grades:
- A (raw or unrefined, extracted using water)
- B (refined)
- C (highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane)
- D (lowest uncontaminated grade)
- E (with contaminants)
Commercial grades are A, B, and C. The color of raw (grade A) butter ranges from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow. It has a nutty aroma which is removed in the other grades. Grade C is pure white. While the level of vitamin content can be affected by refining, up to 95% of vitamin content can be removed from refined grades (i.e., grade C) of shea butter while reducing contamination levels to undetectable levels.
Our shea butter starts out as raw village made (A). Then it gets filtered under pressure through natural clay (bleaching clay), neutralized with organic citric acid and super filtered. This would then be (B) lightly refined and also certified to organic food standards. The filtering processes removes the latex in raw shea butter which can be a big issue for latex sensitive people and removes excess water, insects, wood ashes and sometimes bicycle parts from the shea butter which increases shelf life.
I tried the liquid sunshine concentrate yesterday as a dishwashing liquid. My dishes and stainless steel dishwasher had a film all over the inside. I’m thinking this was probably because of my hard water but this doesn’t happen with regular dishwasher liquid. Any suggestions? (I used a 50% solution of the liquid sunshine concentrate mixed with water and filled the little detergent dispenser with that.)
The film you are seeing is soap scum. According to my friend Google: “Soap scum is an informal term for the white solid that results from the addition of soap to hard water. Hard water contains calcium or magnesium ions, which react with the fatty acid component of soap to give what are technically called lime soaps: 2 C17H35COO−Na+ + Ca2+ → (C17H35COO)2Ca + 2 Na.”
Best way to remove soap scum is:
a) Neutralizing with a mild acid ie vinegar or
b) Scrubbing it off with a mild mineral abrasive ie Bon Ami (unscented, natural and cheap)
Detergents don’t create soap scum. One of the advantages of a synthetic detergent system (there are a few) is that they can be made to foam better in hard and cold water, and they do not tend to create soap scum as a generalization.
Is your shower gel just castille soap thickened with guar gum?
No. Shower gel is base made from a different formula of the same ingredients. It is milder and more moisturizing.
What would be the difference between the liquid sunshine and plain citrus castile?
Liquid Sunshine is castile soap with a powerful added essential oil blend
Can the Spray and Wipe be used on windows or is there something better?
Oh yes! Use a crumpled up black and white newspaper to wipe with. Crumple a singles sheet into a palm sized ball. Change out when it begins to shred. Castile soap also works with a squeegee. Wipe soap spots on sills and walls with a cotton rag afterwards.
What is the difference between your liquid sunshine concentrate and spray and wipe?
Spray and wipe is diluted. We use special water. If you have a lot of minerals in your water use distilled for dilution.
If its just that the spray and wipe is diluted, why isn’t water listed as an ingredient?
It is in a strange way. Saponified means, “interacting oils with water and alkali to make soap”. So water is in the ingredients listing.
Hi! I REALLY love your liquid sunshine and castille soap and am interested in buying it by the gallon and using it for everything ( laundry, dishwasher, cleaning etc…). Can I buy just one product for all?
Yes! The liquid soap base on the cleaning products is the same. The essential oil blends differ. Orangy products tend to clean a bit better, but unscented works well too. Spraying orange oil in spray cleaners makes some people sneeze so keep that in mind when making your own spray cleaners.
Help I have contact dermatitis. What can I use that won’t irritate it??
Have no fear. Soapman is here.
Here is a link to a free book download for you: www.reactivebody.org
Soap: Use the shea butter bar soap on body and face and shaving
Hand washing: Unscented foaming hand soap
Laundry: Unscented liquid sunshine. Never use fabric softener or dryer sheets and wash new clothes several times before using.
Hair is the tough one. Soap based products straighten hair and remove coloring. They work best on fine hair. If this is you try the shea butter bar on your hair. Japanese women seem to like the lavender shower as shampoo. I’ve met people who swear by the pet shampoo. We are all different; you will have to experiment.
I have had problems with scented dish soaps. The smell seems to penetrate into the lids and then I can taste it on the food. Liquid Sunshine sounds great but how would it affect my plastic lids?
Thanks for an easy one.
Here is a link to our unscented version of Liquid Sunshine:
My 11 year old son has bumps on the back of his arm and his back, which soap would you recommend?
There are so many things that can cause bumps on the back. Have you seen a doctor? They can biopsy a bump to see if this is an infection or a reaction.
Prescription Cortisone cream is the modern solution to the many topical inflammation symptoms. This is your best bet for acute medical symptoms. Vermont Soap carries shea butter and Green Gold; two safe and effective skin soothing salves. Our most soothing soap is the Shea Butter Bar, which I recommend to you for sensitive skin issues. If this is an oily, acne type situation use the Blue Bar instead.
Has your municipality recently switched to Chloramine in the water instead of Chlorine? Some people react to chloramine with red back and chest bumps after showering. Onset of puberty can also increase skin sensitivity as the liver becomes busy trying to process all those new hormones.
Here is a free book download about reactive bodies: www.reactivebody.org
I love your shea butter soap and am interested in your other shea butter products and have a question about your shea butter. I read that high quality shea butter is lab tested to make sure there are no impurities such as lead, mercury, mold, yeast, coliform bacteria (shigella, Ecoli, salmonella etc.) and that the highest quality is grade A. Is the shea butter used in your soap and other products lab tested for these impurities and is it grade A? I know it is organic certified but something could be organic and have these impurities. Thank you.
Our shea butter is certified to organic food standards. It is first extracted by water, women and wood in West Africa. Then it is shipped to Europe where it is low heat pasteurized, mixed and dewatered and filtered (again per USDA organic regs). Then it is organically refined, which means pushing it through a tube full of clay under pressure, then neutralizing it with organic citric acid. This process insures that the latex inherent in shea butter is completely removed. The final batch is thoroughly tested as if it were for food use.
As someone who tries to avoid toxins, sometimes a balance needs to be made and one item I have struggled to find is a effective toothpaste with fluoride without SLS. Nearly all companies who make SLS free toothpaste are also fluoride free but some people do need fluoride. I am one example. I have receding gums and because of it, it exposes the sensitive dentine of my teeth which is painful when touched. But fluoride has been a savior because the whole purpose of fluoride and why it prevents cavities is because it hardens teeth so sugar can’t eat away at them and it hardens that fragile area on my teeth where the gums have receded making it pain free when touched. I know fluoride is a neurotoxin. And I take every precaution to ingesting a little as possible. but I need my teeth to live and have to find that balance. And so far I have only found one company that makes a SLS Free fluoride tooth paste and its has a lot of other unhealthy ingredients. So if you want to fill another huge void in the world like you did with your amazing effective organic deodorant, please consider finding a way to making a fluoride SLS-free toothpaste without any unnecessary junk. Thanks for reading.
We make an excellent oral care product: NEEM Toothsalt. This is a safe and effective alternative to toothpastes and in particular to SLS toothpastes. Try wetting the brush with hydrogen peroxide, then add a good sprinkle of NEEM Toothsalt and brush. Swish extra long for double duty as a gum healing mouth rinse.
I refer you to this link: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/30/water-fluoridation-facts.aspx
Remember that only calcium fluoride has any real evidence of efficacy, and only when used topically at that. The amounts required are very minimal ie 7 parts per million. Most receding gum sensitivity goes away after a couple of weeks on its own but we are all different and water fluoride content is considered low in about 20% of water sources.
I also recommend dipping your toothbrush in vodka after each use to kill the germs you work so hard to remove.
I just recently purchased your shea butter and like it but its very hard…can i heat it up to make it soft to put on my face or will that change it somehow? Please offer any other suggestions, I want to use it as an all over body moisturizer.
No worries. Shea butter is temperature sensitive. As it warms it melts, as it cools it gets harder. Just keep it in a warmer spot for a short while and you are good to go.
Use shea butter twice a day as an anti-aging moisturizer. Excellent for cuticles and feet too. I like to scoop out a bit and moisturize my hands, then gently rub into my face from my hands (pushing upwards).
It is best to not keep it in a hot car or carry bag. When it melts completely (to salad dressing consistency) it can get grainy when it re-hardens. IF this happens remelt and put into the freezer for 20 minutes. This will restore the smooth creamy consistency.
My green gold herbal moisturizer started to crystallize after a few days of opening. Is it normal?
Is it ok to keep using?
We recommend keeping oil based organic personal care products (Green Gold, shea butter, underarm deodorants) in the fridge for long shelf life and to prevent the issue you see. Crystallization occurs when the product gets hot and melts. The beeswax uncouples from the oils and separates. Those are the grainy things you see, bits of beeswax or shea butter. You can fix grainy green gold or straight shea butter by melting it in hot water or a microwave, giving a quick stir, and putting it into the freezer for 30 minutes. Voila! Perfect again.
Is the Liquid Sunshine Dish Foam okay to also use and a hand soap for use in the kitchen sink?
Are all the plastic bottles/containers you use BPA free and non-toxic? What is the number rating on the bottles? i.e. 5, 2. I am just concerned that toxins may leach into the great products you have. Do yo know if the heat or cold will release any toxins from the bottles/containers? I am sure they are fine but can’t find any info on your website or questions anywhere with this info. Thanks! I am so happy to have found you!
Yes! All of our bottles/containers are BPA free and non-toxic.
All the clear bottles are PET. (8, 16, and 38 oz)
The gallon bottles are HDPE – the same stuff milk bottles are made of; as are the 5 gallon cubes. The 7 oz foamer bottles are now HDPE, but may be transitioning to PET as soon as possible. (We’re waiting for the samples to arrive). The Body Foam are now in HDPE.
The Tooth Salt are packaged in LDPE.
White 16 oz, and 4 oz bottles are also PET. They were HDPE, and there may be a few of these left in stock, but as time goes on these bottles begin to panel (look dented) which has lead us back to using PET.
The white carafe bottle (Green Car) is HDPE – but will be replaced with PET next time we buy them.
The Body Care jars (Green Stuff, Green Gold, Shea Butter, etc) are PET.
All the best!
I recently bought the Liquid Sunshine Spray and Wipe to try it out. I love it and am going to buy a jug of the concentrate. Is the Liquid Sunshine in the Spray and Wipe bottle diluted or just the concentrate in a spray bottle?
We use fancy de-mineralized water, but you can buy the concentrate and make your own. Always add soap to water rather than water to soap when diluting or you will make a lot of suds.
Liquid Sunshine literally cleans EVERYTHING under the sun. See the website and fine print on the label for dilution instructions.
Do any products contain cocoamidopropyl?
Our foaming bases (bar, liquid, gel, paste) are all soap based; made from organic oils. Thanks for asking.
I thought I’d seen a bar soap good for dirty, greasy, mechanics hands. Am I wrong or did it go away?
The Honey love Beauty mask and Clay mask are only different with the addition of clay correct? Does this end up more like a scrub? Why did you add clay? The description is the same for both and no mention is made of the clay.
We had a pumice bar soap some 15 years ago. It was actually a soap failure that worked well on greasy hands. I like to use straight castile liquid soap or liquid sunshine on my greasy working hands. Use it twice for best results.
The addition of the clay makes it best for Oily Skin. So we have a dry skin exfoliator and an oily skin one. Thanks for asking!
All the Best,
Soapman Larry Plesent
Do you know if your foaming soap works in all foaming soap dispensers?
We are a yacht and have foaming dispensers in all crew cabins and are looking for a compatible organic refill solution.
Hello and thanks for your question. Our foamer soap should work fine in whatever foamer dispenser you have. However you need to rinse any detergent residues from the container. Three rinses should do it. Organic soap and detergents are evil opposites and annihilate each other. Rinse the container when you refill it too. This will keep your soap fresh.
All the Best,
Does your Organic Castile Soap clean well using cold water? I’ll be cleaning beakers and metal pumps which are used to measure and dispense essential oils, but have no hot water at my cleaning station.
Yes, castile liquid soap will work in cold water. Foamy stuff always lathers and rinses better in hot water, but with enough of a rinse you should be fine. Pick up 8 oz of unscented castile and give it a try. You must Experiment!
All the Best, Soapman
My liquid soap got left out in the cold, and now it’s white and opaque instead of transparent. What happened? Is it still good to use?
Castile Liquid Soap, Liquid Sunshine and other castile related products such as our foamers and spray cleaners will turn white after being cold or frozen. This is completely normal. All of our organic liquid soap products will return to their normal clear amber color as they warm back to room temperatures. Cold temps and freezing may also cause some white soap to precipitate to the bottom of the bottle. This does not harm the function of the product. Simply warm and shake everything back into solution during cold weather.
Store your Green Gold Herbal Moisturizer, Shea Butter, Coco Luscious and Arnica Salve in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life and to maintain a nice even consistency. Oil based salves and balms are temperature sensitive. This means that they will be hard at cold temperatures and creamy at warmer ones. Choco Luscius might arrive very solid in the Winter (warm to room temps before using). Conversely it might be too loose when it arrives in Summertime (refrigerate for an hour before using). Being aware of the intrinsic temperature sensitive nature of organic salves makes them easier to use and enjoy as well as extending the shelf life of the product inside the jar, protecting your investment. Keep your salves and balms in the refrigerator to greatly extend the useful life of your products. Discard Green Gold if it turns yellow from air and UV exposure. Discard any organic personal care product that has a sharp rancid aroma or color change.
If your salve or balm melts (temperatures over 110 F will typically do this given time) it will separate into a liquid and solid layer. When it solidifies back the product will be grainy and less desirable to use in terms of look and feel, though still usable. This is because the beeswax unattaches from the lighter oils when it melts and reforms into small grainy nubs when it re-solidifies. You can fix grainy salves, balms and moisturizers by heating them back to liquid, stirring the contents until smooth and immediately placing the jar into a freezer for about an hour. Tip: Place your lidded jar in a sturdy non-plastic bowl and cover with boiling water. It may take several changes of water to fully melt the product. Stir thoroughly and place into a freezer. The colder the better. The idea is to get the product to set up quickly. This insures a smooth, creamy finish and lower melt point when applied.
Could I use this soap in a foaming pump if I dilute it in the bottle? How does it compare to your foaming hand soap in ingredients?
Yes you can! First rule is to add the soap to the water – not the water to the soap – as adding water to the soap will make a lot of foam in your bottle. Second rule is ALWAYS rinse your foamer dispenser three times in hot water when refilling. Your organic soap is only as fresh as the oldest soap molecule in the bottle. Dilute about 50% to make a good foamer soap. The range is pretty flexible, from 60% to 40% depending on your preference in skin feel and foam durability.
Thanks for asking!
The Soap Crew at Vermont Soapworks
I wanted to make my own foaming dish soap. You sell an 18 oz bottle of liquid sunshine dish foam. Could I buy your Liquid Sunshine All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate and use my own foaming bottles to make a dish soap by using the concentrate and adding a certain amount of water to it so it would perform like the 18 oz bottle? Thanks for any help or ideas you might have.
Sure thing Kelly. Dilute about 50-60% with water.
Hints: add Liquid Sunshine to the water not the water to the soap.
Use this trick to make spray cleaner using 5-10% Liquid Sunshine,
Always rinse the bottle 3x in hot water before refilling to keep it fresh.
Foam directly onto applicator or brush to use.
There you go Kelly. All the Best,
What is the weight of your bar soap?
One day old bar soap averages 4.25oz (120.5g).
Under ideal drying conditions this is reduced to 3.75 (106g) to 3.85 (109g) in 30 days.
We label our soap as 3.25oz (92g) for legal reasons as this is sometimes the weight after a year to 18 months. We are allowed to be over weight but not under.
Hope this helps!
Soapman Larry Plesent
Do you have a product to recommend that will take out the chemical smell in my new black jeans? I’ve tried washing several times with vinegar and the smell is still very strong. Thanks for your time.
Try using Liquid Sunshine without softener or drier sheets. Should be fine after a couple of washes.
What is the expiration date on organic Shea butter?
Store natural Shea butter in a cool place. It should be fine for a year or more. Refrigerate for longer shelf life. We add natural rosemary extract as a preservative when we melt it down and pour it into consumer sized packages like the Shea tins.
Which is better for my drains, your bar soap or your shower gel? In other words, which makes less scum? Sorry for this bizarre question, but I can’t decide which one to purchase. Thanks.
Soap scum is a mixture of soap and minerals. Filtering your water will reduce the minerals. That’s probably the best way to avoid the issue. Clean soap scum with vinegar (acidic vinegar cleans alkaline soap), with Bon Ami the unscented scrubby cleaner, or with Liquid Sunshine nontoxic cleaner.
Best to order your soap products based on your skin type rather than how often you have to scrub the tub. Our organic bar soaps are for sensitive skin, especially dry sensitive skin. The soap based shower gels and body foams are for all but the most dry and sensitive skin types. And liquid castile soaps are for oily skin people. Look for the skin type graphic on our website and on many of our products.
Do u sell shampoo for hair
If you have thin undyed hair the Shea Butter Bar might work for you.
Soap shampoos remove hair dyes, and the usually do not work well on thicker and curlier hair.
You will have to experiment. Try the Shea Butter Bar (great for dry skin even if your hair doesn’t like it) and the Baby wash/Shampoo. This product might best with a lemon juice water rinse and conditioning.
All depends on your hair. This is why we do not sell a product as shampoo.
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.
What 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 www.reactivebody.org and www.vermontsoap.com
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,
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? ”
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!
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:
- Remove soap scum with vinegar, or in more extreme cases vinegar and baking soda OR
- Use Bon Ami on your porcelain surfaces. Cheap, effective and scentless. OR
- Hire a cleaning service OR
- Soften your water so soap scum won’t form OR (and this is the saddest alternative):
- 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?
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:
- Are you using palm oil or palm kernel oil?
- 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!
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.
All the Best,
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?
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 north.so 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: http://vermontsoap.com/corporate-responsibility/vermont-soap-in-africa/
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 YOUTUBE.com
I am not traveling much these days but instead, am using the internet as a teaching aid.
Wishing You All the Best,
I’m leaving for Central America soon. I’m looking for a good, nontoxic sunscreen and insect repellant. You cookin anything?
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,