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?

Thanks,

Gary

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,

Soapman

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,

Soapman

 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.

Hello,
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.
Thanks

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 germ killers 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. 34 seconds of exposure kills 99.8% of all germs. Use 45 seconds.

For even greater disinfection power and a wide range of uses try our new Universal Sanitizer Spray.

All the Best,

Larry Plesent

Hello,

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!

-Kelsey

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 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,

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,

Soapman

 

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!

Soapman

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!
Thanks.

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,
Rebecca

Hi Rebecca,

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

Thanks for asking!

Soapman

Hello!
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 and disinfects all bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Safe, nontoxic and scentless. For a deeper level of sanitizing we have our USDA Organic Universal Sanitizer Spray debuting next month. 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.

Enjoy!

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 Sanitizing spray for BEST results and healthy gums.

Wishing you Well,

Soapman

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,

Soapman

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.

Thanks!

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

Best!

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,

Soapman

 

 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,

Soapman

 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.

Regards,
Diane

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.

Best!

Soapman

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!

Soapman

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!

Soapman

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.

Best!
Soapman

Hello!
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,
DeAnna

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.

Best!

Soapman

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?

Thanks,
Suzanne

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 or to kill flies or insects in your garden.
  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,

Soapman

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!

Soapman

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

-Maureen

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!

Soapman

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 kills 99.9% of all germs.

Thanks for asking!

Soapman

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?
Thanks

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,

Soapman

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!

Jen

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!

Soapman

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,

Soapman

Dear Soapman,

Keeping clean naturally is all well and good. But I am tired of predicting the weather by the pain in my joints. Do you have anything for achy people?

Signed, The Human Barometer

Dear Human,

No need to hire yourself out to the Farmer’s Almanac HB.

In our continuing quest to soothe the minor injustices of human existence, VT Soap now offers Old Fashioned Arnica Salve to soothe your everyday aches and stiffness.

Made from certified organic coconut oil, shea butter, hemp seed oil, wintergreen oil, beeswax, arnica, St John’s wort and rosemary extracts. Every ingredient works together to provide gentle, soothing relief.

Vermont Soap manufactures both vegetarian products and vegan products. A few of our products, like Old Fashioned Arnica Salve include organic honey or beeswax. Look for 100% natural and organic Vermont Soap products at vermontsoap.com and a health food store near you!

I want to make a constructive criticism (not a complaint :o). We recently purchased tooth salt, and love the product – but surely there is another way to deliver it to the toothbrush? It doesn’t ‘squeeze’ out, as mentioned in the directions; it only ‘shakes/poofs’ out like a salt shaker, and most of it ends up on the sink and not the brush. I’m sure you’ve been working on this, but just wanted to let you know our experience with it. Thank you.

Yes it’s true. We OVERFILLED a couple of thousand Tooth Salts and they do not dispense properly until the level drops a bit. Here are several useful suggestions:

  1. Tap it out rather than squeeze to dispense onto your wet toothbrush
  2. Empty some out for now
  3. Take off the cap to dispense for a week or so until the level drops.

Apologies for the inconvenience!

Larry Plesent and the Soap Crew

Just learning about real soap & started out with Dr Bronners. TOO drying. Came across your website and ordered some stuff yesterday. Today I realized coconut oil might be irritating my already dry skin. Can coconut & palm oils become irritants? I was reading something about developing allergies to them. Do you have liquid soaps without them? Worried I’m going to have trouble with my liquid sunshine that is coming…. Does it stay in your clothes and build up? Would that dry my skin? What about residues on dishes? My new baby has some ezcema and I’m trying to resolve it. In the process, I’m finding out how sensitive I am too!

Help!

Thanks

Jennie

Hi Jennie,

Thanks for contacting us.

Bronners is very drying for almost everyone who uses it it – except for their chemist who does NOT have sensitive skin. Let’s back up a bit…..

Knowing that you have dry skin I recommend that you try our Shea Butter Bar which is specifically formulated for dry sensitive skin. Try it – it will rock your world. I use it to wash my (thin) hair and shave with too. Fine for baby too.

People with extraordinarily reactive skin use liquid on their clothes with great success and sometimes with a relief of symptoms caused by mass market laundry products. No Worries!

Read some of the back Ask the Soapman questions about dry skin.

You will also like our foaming hand soap. Try Unscented first. Refill with 1/2 liquid sun and 1/2 water when you use it up as a comparison to see if essential oils make any difference to your skin.

On the formulation side: the more coconut oil in a formula the higher the percentage of the population that gets dry skin from it (coconut oil turned into soap harshness). Bronners is 99% coconut oil. Allergies to soap are VERY VERY rare and certainly not your issue or you would know it by now.

We have a number of excellent organic moisturizers. Try Green Gold. It is amazingly healing. Keep it in the fridge after opening.

Go easy on bleach and babies. They often react to detergent laundry products. You are much better off and safer using natural soap for laundry and dishes than synthetic detergents that did not exist 75 years ago!

 

I am going to bottle both 4 and 8 ounce size bottles of the shower gel. Could you tell me how much fragrance I should put in each. I will be using both fragrance oils and essential oils. I want the scent of the gel to match the fragrance scent of the body oil and body spray that will go in the kit.

Essential oils are usually added at 2% to 3% of the total. If you measure out 100g of soap gel base it makes it easier to calculate percentages first time. These are guidelines only as aesthetics and scent strength will vary. Fragrance oils start at ½ the percentage of essential oils. Have fun!

Can I buy your products anywhere other than online? Are you in any stores?

Vermont soap is carried by over 1500 stores nationwide. We are usually found in health food stores and co-ops but also in bookstores, gift stores and country stores and sometimes even by hair stylists. Email customerservice@vtsoap.com with the zip codes of some of the larger towns in your area and we will check our database for outlets close by.

And always feel free to email info@vtsoap.com with suggestions for stores near you where you would LIKE to see us carried. We will follow up, send small samples etc. If you have a name or business card of the buyer or owner that is even better. Most owners and buyers are responsive to their customers. If they hear Vermont Soap asked for a by name a few times, and then they get a call from us, overall response is usually good.

Thanks for emailing. Spring is coming!

The Soap Crew

Where may one find fragrance descriptions for your products? Thank you!

Lavender: This is Vermont Soap’s signature lavender blend (not your Great Grandmother’s lavender).
Forget the mediciney, overpowering and often synthetic blends of the past, this is a clean light lavender blend with hints of citrus and echoes of deep woods. It reverberates in the heart and is both calming and cheering.

Citrus Sunrise: If you could capture sunlight and happiness in a scent this just might be it. Light as a Spring morning yet full like good Asian food. It will put a smile on your nose.

Peppermint Magic: You’ve heard it all before; bracing, refreshing, uplifting. Look for a broader boof here beyond the twangy one note of less complex blends.

Sweetgrass: Complex best describes this sophisticated lavender/clove blend with hints of forest and garden.

Woodspice: An organic blend similar to the original Old Spice™ blend.

Patchouli (now Patchouli Rose:) Like patchouli on steroids. Rose geranium and patchouli compliment each other in a clean, refreshing and spiritually uplifting blend.

Rosemary Herb: A layered lavender rosemary blend which reveals itself over time. Lavender combined with mystery…

Balsam Pine: A blend of North American evergreen oils. Like a walk through a balsam pine forest.

Blue Bar: A double strength tea tree and peppermint blend.

Shampoo Bar: Very lightly scented with our signature lavender blend; as is the Baby Bar soap.

Honey: A citrus clove blend with notes added from local honey.

What is the difference between your castile soaps, bath & shower, and hand soaps? Aren’t they all oil based and foam equally?

I love this question.

Just as a baker will take different types of flours, different yeasts, waters, salts, sugars and extras to make an astonishing range of baked goods, so too our master soapmakers work with different plant oils, lyes, waters and extras to create a very wide range of foaming products.

The differences are in:

ASTRINGENC or how pore tightening or loosening a formula is. Dry skin formulations are the least astringent. One way to vary this effect is by altering the essential oil combinations. Mints are most astringent, then citrusy blends, then lavenders. Our Unscented blends are the most moisturizing and least astringent.

MOISTURE in cosmetic marketing speak usually means the amount of free oils in the formula. We can add exotic oils to bar soaps all day long. Liquid soaps not so much; most of the oils rise to the top and have to be shaken in each time. So by default, dry and sensitive skin people will enjoy our handmade organic bar soaps on their face and bodies.

FOAMABILITY refers to, well, how easily the stuff builds foam over a variety of conditions like temperature of the water, minerals in the water etc. The foamer formulas for example are designed to maximize small and medium bubbles to form a creamy smooth skin feel while being de-greasing enough to be able to quickly remove a wide range of materials without drying out your hands.

GEL SOAPS are a hybrid. We start with a special high olive oil body care liquid soap base. This is thickened using vegetable glycerin and organic guar gum, a food grade plant based thickener. VT Soap invented this process and although we never have patented it our exact methods are a trade secret and have never been successfully duplicated. Gel Soaps are milder than castile liquid soap but a little more astringent than our special bar soaps.

CASTILE LIQUID SOAP refers to the base or concentrate that is used to make all of our cleaners, foamers and gels. Vermont soap has developed 5 unique liquid soap bases formulations (to date) that we use in different types of products and for our custom contract work for other companies.

Many of our customers save money by buying a gallon of castile soap or Liquid Sunshine. Dilution instructions are printed on the bottle and on line to help you to make your foamers and spray cleaners simply by adding more or less water and changing the dispensing system. The premade stuff is perfectly adjusted already but you can still get good results by doing it yourself. When you look at the wide range of toxic cleaning products out there you quickly realize that adding a little extra soap to your spray cleaner makes a whole lot more sense than buying a new bottle for every item you own. ALL watersafe surfaces clean up well with natural soap and water.

Thanks for reading labels, asking questions and thinking about these things!

All the Best,

Soapman

 

 

I am chemically sensitive but I usually can tolerate essential oils if they’re organic. I’m attracted to lavender scents so just wondering if the essential oils included in your lavender soaps are all organic?

We use an American Lavendin that is steam distilled on farm in the USA. It is 100% natural but not certified organic. US farmers growing crops for distillation typically grow without pesticides (the plants themselves take care of that) but use ammonia nitrate fertilizer towards the end to boost yields another 10%.

Many essential oils are “stepped on”; blended with fragrances and/or diuted with cottonseed oil which is full of pesticides. Our essential oils are not stepped on – we have a way of testing them for that here.

Try a bar of oatmeal lavender. That is our best seller. As a back up get a butter bar (my personal fave) which is not scented but has a fresh herbiness that is quite pleasant. I suspect that you can use most of our stuff.

Have you downloaded your free copy of The Reactive Body Handbook yet?

All the Best!

Soapman

 

Hello,

Interested in the Bulk Liquid Castile soap. Does Castile Soap expire? If so, how long can I keep it for after purchasing?

Thanks for your time.

Roxann

Hi Roxann,

Great question. Thanks for writing.

We rate all of our products for a three year shelf life. For comparison, mass market products are formulated for a minimum seven year shelf life – think Twinkie ™.

The enemies of all natural products are ultraviolet light, which breaks things down, air, and temperature. The less of those things you have i.e. seal the bottle and store in a cool dry place out of sunlight; the longer the shelf life.

Castile soap is a completely natural multi-purpose foaming liquid. It will clean all water safe surfaces including you. It can be a body wash as long as you do not have dry or sensitive skin; we make very special bar soaps for that. Results as a shampoo vary widely. Thanks for making your home a less toxic household!

Larry Plesent aka Soapman