Ask the 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!
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 ?
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:
- Always rinse out your refill bottles 3x in hot water. Soap is only as fresh as the oldest molecule of soap in the bottle!
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not worry about exact concentrations. If it isn’t strong enough, add more. Too soapy? Just dilute.
- 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!
I want a soap that cleanses and washes off completely to remove as much bacteria as possible.
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?
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?
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!
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!
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.
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,
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
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:
- Tap it out rather than squeeze to dispense onto your wet toothbrush
- Empty some out for now
- 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!
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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
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!
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.
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
We are looking for dried castile soap. Can you help us?
Hard to find. There was an outfit in the UK making it but they left the business maybe 6 or 7 years ago. My understanding is that you could start with liquid castile soap. Then it would be spray/freeze dried. This type of machine is out there and if you find a company that will take on the project I am happy to work with you guys by supplying the castile liquid soap.
On a smaller scale you can take always unscented handmade bar soap and grate it.
This is a picture of a friend in Liberia, West Africa who makes this product from a handmade soap she creates from palm kernel oil, water and lye.
There are undoubtedly other formulas and other ways of making castile soap flakes out there as well. Hope this helped!
All the Best,
Could I add my own choice of essential oils to your unscented shower gel or would that ruin the soap?
Yes! You can mix your own pure essential oil blends into our unscented gels and liquid castile soap. Real essential oils stay in much better than fragrance or perfume oils will. Use about 2% scent or just put it in a few drops at a time until you have the boof where you like it.
All the Best,
I like your foaming soap very much, and use it in several places in my home. A friend recently bought me a decorative foaming soap dispenser for my main bathroom. I would like to use your soap in it. The instructions on the new dispenser say to dilute soap – about 1 part soap to 4 parts water. But when I use your soap in your dispensers, I don’t dilute it, of course. Do I need to dilute your soap for my new dispenser, or use it as is? The foaming mechanism looks pretty basic, similar to yours.
Hi Lori. Thanks for the kudos on the foam soap.
I would expect your decorative foamer to work just fine with our natural soap formulas. They usually do.
We put a lot of work into getting the foamer refills just right and we add extra vegetable glycerin to them to make the foam last longer and to alter the skin feel slightly. I recommend using our preformulated foamer refills if you like things to be perfect every time (as much as that is possible in life).
But when I run out at home – I dilute whatever Vermont Soap is around. You can even dilute one of our shower gel soaps in a pinch but they come apart and you have to shake the bottle first every time.
If you want to save yourself some money you can use any of our Castile Liquid Soaps or Liquid Sunshine as a base and dilute it to foamer strength. The dilution range here is very wide – this does not have to be an exact science. 25% makes a dry foam; which is cool, but there are not a lot of soap molecules in there to do the cleaning. Most people prefer a 30% to 40% soap in their dilutions but tastes vary so experiment.
Some folks like to wash their dishes with their foamers. Use a 50% to 60% soap in your cleaning foamers. They make great spot removers and spot carpet cleaners too.
Always add soap to water (not water to soap) when diluting castile soap – unless you want to make a LOT of foam!
Be sure to rinse the foamer bottle in hot water between uses to keep things fresh. Soap is only as fresh as the oldest molecule in the bottle. Everything else quickly comes down to that level diminishing the shelf life of the product. You would notice this as a slight unpleasantness to the otherwise sweet scent and the skin feel would not be as nourishing.
Thanks for writing. Foam rocks!
What does the vegetable gum/glycerin extract in the baby wash and fine hair shampoo do? I am asking because I originally was planning to purchase unscented castile liquid to use as baby wash. Then I came across the baby wash and saw that the ingredients are identical except for this one.
Definitely go with the baby gel. It is much milder than castile liquid soap for baby and for all human skin.
We make it from a special body care soap base that we developed for this purpose.
The way we formulate, every ingredient serves double duty. The guar and gum and glycerin are our thickeners. They serve additionally to increase the mildness of the product.
Thanks for asking.
Thank you for your time. If you go to ewg.org (Environmental Working Group) website, they have a link to healthy cleaning products. You can type in any ingredient, and they will rate it A-F. When you type in the ingredient Saponified Coconut it is rated an A, but I thought you could help me understand the ingredient more. I want to order the unscented house cleaning products from your company. It has Saponified coconut, Olive & Jojoba oils, Rosemary extract. I have respiratory problems and hope this will be a wise choice for house cleaning. It’s the purest I can find! Thanks….
EWG is a good tool to use in your search for truly safe and natural products. I disagree with them about the topical use of essential oils but otherwise great stuff!
Vermont Soap works with thousands of people with Reactive Bodies like yours (and mine).
Here is a link to the Reactive Body Survival Kit of unscented body care and cleaning products. Every product in the kit is certified to USDA organic food standards; the highest standard for natural on the planet.
Saponified means literally, “turned into soap”. We take organic food grade coconut, olive, and jojoba vegetable oils and turn them into soap. We preserve this with a scentless, organic food grade preservative made from rosemary. We even superfilter the final liquid soap through a variety of mediums to reduce it’s natural soapy aroma.
I am now completing the editing of a short book I wrote titled,”The Reactive Body Handbook”. This will be available as a free download on our website very soon. Sign up for our eSpecials on the home page to stay in touch with us on this, and also to learn about other strictly natural products as we develop and release them.
Congrats! You found the right stuff. Plus you don’t have to mortgage the house to buy factory direct from us.
Wishing You All the Best,
Larry Plesent, CEO and Soapman
The floor in our house is ceramic tile. We use the Hoover Floor Mate to clean the floor. Do you have a product that could be used to clean our ceramic floors?
Hi Vermont Soap,
I watched several videos over the weekend of your operation in Vermont and the founders trip to Africa. They were GREAT! You have a very cool factory. It was also nice to see the founder giving his time and knowledge to those who are less fortunate. It was inspiring to see him helping to teach skills that will lead to self sufficiency.
I noticed the large soap molds appeared to be made of plywood in the Vermont factory. I’m just curious, what do you line the wooden soap molds with to keep the raw soap from leaking out? I would assume that the raw soap would eat away at the wood and leak out before the soap becomes solid. How many bars of soap come out of one of those big blocks? How much does the soap block weigh?
Thank you for your time.
There are many people who would like to know the secret of what we use to protect the soap and release it from the mold. BUT! That is a trade secret.
We pour up to 110lbs per block which makes about 400 standard sized bars.
All the Best,
How much shea butter is in your Butter Bar in terms of percentage?
I have been using it for years and it is the only soap I use in the winter because it is mild and does not aggravate my eczema.
Thanks for the kudos!
The Butter Bar is our mildest soap for dry skin.
I use it for face and body, shaving and hair washing.
The exact percentage is a secret but I can tell you that it not only contains our own special shea butter but we also use calendula and St John’s wort oils which are also potent anti-irritant/ anti-inflammatories.
Thanks for asking and Stay Well!
How do you use the toothbrush cleaner on dental appliances?
Simple! Spray and allow ten minutes to evaporate off. Thanks for asking.
Do you have any products that offer natural sun protection?
Most natural formulators agree that a big floppy hat is the #1 best sun protection system available. For a great natural zinc oxide sun block see our friends at Badger Balm.
47 years old male. I have has a rash rash very bad for almost a year. Derm and allergist suggested patch test. It’s scaly burning inflamed red and hurts daily. I’m thinking maybe the soaps? I use dove bar and head and shoulders. Do you think your products will work?
Hi Tony. Ouch! Sounds painful. The only way to know what is causing this is through an elimination diet. This means eliminating every possible cause which should soothe the heat down considerably. You then add one thing at a time and wait a couple of hours to see what starts the irritation back up. Your doctor is suspecting that this is a dietary reaction, and he could be right. Fortunately for you it is much easier to test for topical irritations than for food allergies. Here’s how.
The most sensitive skin on your body is at your inner elbow on your forearm just below where your elbow bends. Dip the product (like Dove detergent bar) you want to test into distilled water and gently rub some into one arm. Leave the other arm alone for comparison. If you are reactive to something in the test product you will know it within two hours.
Test your shampoo, shaving cream etc the same way.
If you are reacting to detergents or artificial scents (toluene carrier) in your products pretty much everything will irritate your skin; from laundry to underarm deodorant to bubble baths, bath gels –you name it. If this is the case Vermont Soap makes products for people like you (and me) so no worries. Try some Green Gold Unscented to soothe the heat of the rash. Our Butter Bar (soap) is also unscented and full of herbal anti inflammatory molecules. Use it for hair and shaving when you need a soothing alternative.
Some municipalities are foolishly using chloramine sanitizer in the water supply. Find out if this poison is in your water. You may possibly be reacting to that molecule. If they started putting it in about a year ago this is worth filtering out with activated charcoal. Certainly you do not want to be drinking it.
Many people react to laundry products. Stop using fabric softener and switch to Liquid Sunshine multipurpose nontoxic cleaner if laundry products are suspect.
Rashes are your bodies way of telling you to stop doing something you are not yet aware of. Pay attention to the intensity of the rash. Keep a log of everything that goes into and onto your body. Then gradually replace anything that is not natural and is healing to you – inside and out.
If everything that goes into and onto your body is “medicine” for you; you will quickly be healed.
Reactions affect our mental and emotional states too. Stay cool and calm and figure your way out of this through careful observation. I have a new book “The Reactive Body Handbook” coming out soon as a free download. Sign up for our e-specials mailing list so you will know when it is done being edited and available.
All the Best,
Is there info anywhere about which essential oils are included in the different blends? I just got the country lavender/lavender ecstasy (which is it??) gel and it smells kinda woodsy, almost like pine…. I’d like to try another one after this but it would help to know what it will really smell like first. Thanks
Sorry. Some of our scent blends are trade secrets!
Hi, do you have any products that will kill mold between the tiles in a shower? Thank you
This is a great question. Tile grout and sealers contain mold retardant chemicals. But over time their effectiveness lessens and we see various types of mold/fungus stuff growing on the grout between the tiles. The easiest, safest and most effective way to clean this stuff off is with Bon Ami. This is a 160 year old product. Near as I can tell it’s a mixture of powdered feldspar and lime. These guys still use the original formula so there is no weird fragrance or colors or inputs from chemical manufacturers. A can costs less than the toxic cleaners and is pretty easy to find.
Unfortunately these nice folks did not heed the Soapman’s advice when they formulated their line of “green” surface cleaners. I guess somebody in a suit with a nice full color brochure convinced them that diluted shampoo base constitutes a green cleaner! Regardless, try Bon Ami powder. It’s inexpensive and effective. I put the label that covers the holes back over half of them to better control the flow. Scrub into the tiles and grout with a small stiff bristled nylon brush. I scrub the shower when I am in there and leave it to dry right on the tiles overnight to put real pressure on the fungus. Then I rinse and scrub it off before taking a shower the next day. There is one corner in my shower that seems to harbor the mother spores. I throw some dry Bon Ami on it from time to time so I don’t have to scrub the tiles as often.
What type of organic alcohol (grain, cane or corn) is used in your products like the toothbrush cleaner?
Thanks for asking. Our organic alcohol comes from organic corn which is gluten and GMO free, and certified by the USDA. All the corn used to make this alcohol was grown in the US.
I was in Vermont during the recently holiday and had bought one of the Vermont Soaps. I had used it and love it and wish I had bought more! Before I place my order… Wondering which soap has the most scent? Thank You.
Thanks for writing.
We try to maintain a fairly even level of boof in our bar soaps so one scent does not dominate the others on the shelves. There are now almost twenty scents to choose from. Because we use real essential oils, the scents actually do something besides just smelling nice. In fact, they alter the astringency of the soap. If you have pretty normal skin utilize the range of citrus scents including lemongrass and also Rosemary. Dry skin prefers the unscented or lavender products and mint family (including the Blue Bar) are good for oily skin.
All the Best!
I see that your products are manufactured in a peanut free facility, but is it also a tree nut free facility? I got super excited, then saw an answer to a question about almond oil being okay once it is saponified. For someone with life threatening allergies like me, it is NOT ok and I’m desperate to find a company that I feel safe with!
Ouch. I hear you Taylor. While we do not use almond oil here typically (that was a question from a customer) we do use palm, palm kernel, coconut, olive, jojoba and shea nut oils everyday. Hope these are off your list!
I love my husband but every winter he grows a beard that comes in so scratchy I cannot kiss him! Please do you have a natural way to soften beards and save my marriage?
Mountain woman33 in Vermont.
Dear Mountain Woman,
Fear not! Soapman is here to bring the zing back into your married life.
- First, wet that beard thoroughly. Then moisten a BUTTER BAR SOAP.
- Rub the bar right into the beard and then massage it in for a half a minute.
- Rinse as normal with warm water.
After just a couple of uses his beard will soften and scratchiness will lessen even more with every treatment. It makes the beard sit better on the face too.
All the Best,
I’m interested in your toothbrush cleaner. How do you ensure that your alcohol is organic?
Thanks so much, Nate
Love your stuff!
Great question. Thanks.
To make organic toothbrush cleaner spray we first had to become USDA certified organic handlers. This means that we are trained, certified and inspected to conform to the NOP (national organic program) standards. So basically, we are licensed to make genuine organic products, and all the raw materials going into these products have to have a chain of paperwork confirming their veracity and origin. Next we had to obtain a Homeland Security license for handling cosmetic alcohol. Once we had these two things we were able to create this unique and effective product for your oral health!
All the Best,
Is neem oil safe a safe ingredient to add to making baby bath/shampoo bar to help combat cradle cap and eczema? If so, how much and at base or trace?
Of course, there is no presumption of diagnosing, treating or curing any ailment. However, I will attempt to gove you some good common sense advise here.
A baby’s liver does not really kick in until about 5 1/2 months. Until then, they may develop uniquely baby diseases such as cradle cap or infant seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is not completely clear what causes this common condition. One line of thinking links it to antibiotics given at birth to the infant. This destroys much of the intestinal flora in the baby. The infant then develops a mild biotin deficiency. Biotin is normally produced by intestinal bacteria and a biotin deficiency is associated with cradle cap. If baby is of yogurt eating age, stirring in some supplemental intestinal flora will be easy and you can repopulate the intestines.
Also associated with this condition is a high hormone internal level, which may be left over from before birth. These may not be getting cleaned out quickly or easily because the baby’s liver is new and still sluggish. While you cannot easily influence the hormones circulating inside of baby you can influence the hormone mimickers that come in from plastic in the food and drink supply. Wash baby items several times in castile liquid soap or Liquid Sunshine to wash away germs to help remove mold release agents and “new plastic smell”.
The fungal infection associated with cradle cap should be relatively easy to deal with using FUNGASOAP. We have 15 years of use and 2 studies proving its effectiveness against body fungus. Keep out of eyes or it will sting. We make this for our friends at PEDIFIX who sell it nationally, and it is available on our website.
Eczema is a different story. First place to look is laundry and soap products. Use Unscented Oats and Aloe bar soap for baby’s skin. Best to avoid bleach in the laundry. It is poison and baby is not ready to deal with poisons right now. Better to wash clothing and bedding in good hot soapy water with a hot rinse and to use disposable diapers right now.
Remove any air fresheners immediately; especially if they are designed to kill germs. And please avoid non-alcohol based germ killers (for other reasons).
Using natural liquid soap for laundry and natural bar soaps for skin you have a good shot at avoiding eczema symptoms on baby.
Hope this helps. If symptoms persist see your doctor.
All the Best!
I need a soap that does not make my face all red and cause it to break out. I cannot buy store soap as it causes breakouts. What soap do you have that will help me?
There are two kinds of soapy stuff sold in stores; detergents and poorly made mass market bar soaps. It is very possible for you to have become sensitized to both.
I want you to try our Butter Bar. It is chock-full of botanical soothers. Use it on your hair if you can (best for thin hair) and for shaving too. Clean your razor with alcohol after every use. If you do not have oily skin use unscented Green Gold to soothe flare ups. There is more; sounds like you will eventually be changing out most of your personal care products. Stay in touch with Vermont Soap via Facebook and sign up for our eblasts so you can read the new blogs and free information we disseminate about living in a Reactive Body.
Do not despair! The products causing this really ARE junk!
All the Best,
Can people with nut allergies use soaps with almond oil in them?
Hmm… depends. If the almond oil is saponified (turned into soap) then it is probably ok. If it is superfatted (added to the batch later) probably not.
Best thing to do is to experiment on a small spot on your inner arm above the elbow. Dampen the area and rub in a little soap. Leave it for an hour. If there is a raised welt of any kind or irritation soothe with Green Gold or organic olive oil.
All the Best!
Is your organic Shea butter fair trade certified? How do you recommend to store it?
Vermont Soap chooses not to participate in the Fair Trade program which we feel charges excessive rates for dubious results. We do however pay well above market rates to the women supplying our vendor.
We also engage in an unusual practice: Vermont Soap insists on a strict quality control regarding the shea kernels that go into our butter. The spoiled nuts are fine for short-term, local use but shea butter made from them will have too short a shelf life for our standards. We let the workers keep these culled shea kernels as a bonus, giving them free stock to make their local/family’s shea butter.
I truly believe that the shea butter polishing process we developed makes superior butter. I taste, smell and feel our raw materials and over time began developing an allergy to the latex in shea butter. So we experimented and came up with a way to remove almost all of the latex from the butter without voiding the organic certification on it.
Store shea butter and ALL natural products in a cool dry place away from sunlight (and any other ultra-violet light sources such as fluorescent bulbs). You want to avoid temperature extremes and exposure to air and light.
Do you think you’ll ever make frankincense or myrrh soaps for the holidays? I would love that…
mmmmm. Me too! We are doing some experiments for a potential customer with these two botanicals in them. Might see some available on the internet in six months (under another label and website than ours). Best!
Laundry in Washing Machines: HI, Fragrances bother me. (Allergy? Sensitivity? Which ingredients? Don’t know.) What is the difference between Liquid Sunshine & Unscented Castile Soap for use in the washing machine? Thanks!
Hi Carla. Got it. Fragrances are not for you. Pick up the Unscented Castile Liquid Soap. Works good in the laundry too (follow the instructions). Liquid Sunshine comes from the same base but we add grease cutting essential oils which might bother your fragrance sensitivity (asthma?).
All the Best,
- It appears that you are set up to ship UPS or Fed Ex, but their rates are exorbitant to Hawaii. Can you ship USPS Priority Mail?
- Do you have any dealers on the Big Island of Hawaii?
- Do you have any dealers in or around Seattle?
Thank you for emailing from so far away.
Vermont Soap does not use dealers as part of our distribution system. We try to cut out as many layers as possible between our customers (you) and the CEO of the company (me). But yes – shipping can be high these days! Email email@example.com and we will work with you to get your order to you the best way possible. Yes, we CAN send your order to you using USPS Priority Mail. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will make the arrangements.
All the Best!
I suffer from a neuropathy in my feet. I’ve spent the last 10 years with various doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, etc etc to remedy the situation. I have Lyme disease and have a high level of mercury having been a fishetarian for 40 years. In an effort to leave no stone unturned, I’m thinking I might have been poisoning myself with consumer products like soap, both body and clothes, which together have conspired to make a toxic concoction which is inflaming my nerve endings and giving me pain 24/7. I like natural. I’m hoping a solution to my plight might be as simple as finding a “cooling agent” to stop irritating my extremities. Thanks for any insight, thoughts, or recommendations. Chris
Wow. Sorry Chris. This sounds very difficult to live with. I am going to make some out of the box suggestions for you to try.
First: Eliminate all sources of triclosan. This may be hidden unlabeled in grapefruit seed extract, high endurance style underarm deodorants, many hand sanitizers, toothpaste and air fresheners that kill germs. It is in some socks, sneakers and other odor killing clothing. Triclosan is not your friend and sometimes appears to attack the nervous system in very strange ways for people sensitive to it. Triclosan exhibits broad spectrum anti-microbial effects in dilutions as tiny as six parts per million. Its closest cousin is the Agent Orange herbicide defoliant.
Second: Try a six week sodium alginate detox. Sodium alginate sequesters metals and radiation (less effective on mercury sorry) which might help your overall health. NOW foods has a detox product that contains this.
Third: Are you taking chelated magnesium malate (magnesium and malic acid)? This is an important nutrient for Lymes people. If you also experience episodic cramping spasms this may help. Do Epsom salt foot soaks have any positive effect for you? This is another way to deliver magnesium to the site and may have a positive effect on your pain level.
Four: Stop a moment and visualize the air around as swirling with invisible yang energy which you take in with your breath. From the earth flows yin energy through your feet and out the top of your head. Synthetic carpets block much of this yin energy from flowing into you. Spend an hour bare foot every day with your feet touching the bare earth. OK – its winter now for many of us; but keep this in mind and practice it whenever and however you can. Visualize your feet grounding (electrically) with the earth. Barefoot at home (not on synthetic carpets) will help too especially if you visualize and feel a grounded connection to the Earth at the same time.
We have a new product launching in January; Old-Fashioned Arnica Salve for everyday aches. Cannot make a lot of claims behind it but it may have a cooling and soothing effect for your feet. Email me your address and I will send you some from the next test batch to try and report back to us on if you would.
Wishing You All the Best,
Hi! New question :), are there any essential oil of rosemary in your hand soap? Or what is rosemary extract? Is it essential oil in any other products, like in your shower cream?
Great question Angelica!
Rosemary extract is our anti-oxidant natural preservative. It is in everything we make except for our cleaning sprays like Toothbrush Cleaner. Like iron or metal, natural oils will “rust” or oxidize. An anti-oxidant fills the spot that oxygen would have attached to, thus helping to preserve oil based products like soap and our type of herbal moisturizers. A good rosemary extract will double or triple the shelf life of an organic body care product.
Natural Rosemary Extract or ROE is made by heat extraction of rosemary herb into alcohol. The alcohol is then carefully boiled away until a thick liquid – almost a paste – is left. This concentrate has a very very slight rosemary scent. The concentrate is then added to the melting oils at a small fraction of a percentage per drum. The oils are heated and stirred before we use them and this served to drive off any residual alcohol or rosemary aroma. It would take a world class nose could actually detect any of the molecules in our products, though it does happen.
Our cardboard packaging on the other hand absorbs essential oils from the air around them and begins to take on a lavender/orange/herb-y aroma that some people identify as rosemary. This can confuse people ordering unscented products from us and since this reply will be posted on our website it is worth mentioning here.
We do have a rosemary/lavender blend we like a lot and you will see it in some of the new products we are bringing to market over the next few months.
Thanks for writing!
Which of your soaps would you recommend in place of soap from the drug store that contains triclosan? I am a person with diabetes and found myself with an abscess on my trunk which was treated by a surgeon. He is the one who recommended triclosan because of a desire to keep my skin extra clean. My diabetes is well controlled, however I am still prone to fungal skin infections. Thank you for your answer.
I recommend the Fungasoap that we make for our partners at Pedifix. We like it so much we sell it on our website.
Two studies have been done on it; one for fungus and one for Staph.
This is actually the best selling product we make. Pedifix markets it in pharmacies nationwide.
Thank you for asking!
I am searching for a product to clean my hardwood floors with. In the past I used Murphy’s oil soap and almost passed out. The smell is strong and lingers for days. I have read about your liquid gold concentrate. Would that be a good substitute? i do have MCS.
Thanks for taking the time to contact us.
Since you are dealing with multiple chemical sensitivities I am not comfortable recommending any scented product to you including Liquid Sunshine, which uses orange oil and other essential oils along with organic soap to cut grease.
Instead, I recommend Unscented Castile Liquid Soap. I like to use a 2 part floor cleaning system. First I wet the floor fast and sloppy with a wet mop. This gives things a minute to soak in and loosen up. Then I do a dry scrub with a dry mop. Use about ½ shot glass of liquid soap per gallon of hot water.
Always add soap to water rather than water to soap when washing floors to reduce foam.
Unscented Castile Liquid Soap will replace ALL the cleaners in your home including laundry. I also recommend adding the Unscented Foamer, Butter Bar (for dry sensitive skin, shaving and sometimes hair) and Unscented Green Gold to soothe skin related flare ups.
Look for a free download of the first 40 pages of my newest book, “Handbook for the Reactive Body”. This will be posted in a few weeks, will be announced on Facebook and to customers receiving our weekly eblasts.
All the Best!
I tend to have dry skin all over, so I am buying the soaps you recommend for dry skin, but I also want to buy a few other soaps you guys have listed for “combination and oily skin” because of the scents they have, will this be bad for my skin?
Also are all of your soaps safe for all over the body, EVERY INCH, of the body? From private areas to the face?
Thanks so much
Thanks for the email.
Combination skin for us means that we formulate those particular products with more astringency (pore closing-ness) than with our dry skin products.
I recommend the Butter Bar for dry itchy skin – all over. I also shave and wash my thin/thinning hair with it.
The best way to test a new product is use it on your inner forearm at the elbow. The skin there is among the most sensitive on your body. Wait an hour and compare the washed arm to the untouched one for comparison.
A lot of dry skin comes from laundry product residue. Throw away your dryer sheets and fabric softener, and add a second warm water rinse to the cycle. If you still notice issues from laundry (hint: cuffs and belt lines and inner thighs will get itchy first) switch to Liquid Sunshine Nontoxic Cleaner for all your laundry needs.
Please try our Unscented Green Gold Herbal Moisturizer – there is nothing like it in the marketplace. I won’t rave about it (again) just try some. The Unscented Foamer for your hands is also a good addition to the kit.
Serious dry skin is your body’s way of telegraphing that you are sensitive to some of the molecules in the products you use everyday. We make our products from different molecules than 99% of the brands out there so you have a good chance of finding safe, effective, non-reactive products using our stuff. Eventually you will figure out what molecules you react to.
Oh yes: drink more water (not in PET plastic) and take a multi vitamin and chelated mineral supplement.
All the Best,