Thank you for the most complete information for making potash!

What I can’t find on-line is, can you use commercial potash to make a BAR soap? (plenty of info on liquid soaps)

My friends who use their grey water for their garden told me that my CP or HP soaps which contained sodium hydroxide added too much sodium to their plants and I read that a potassium hydroxide would actually benefit a garden. So in effort to create a “environmentally compatible” soap I am looking for the answer to that question.

Soap calculators have KoH but no one can tell me if it will work

Thanks

SJ

Hi Susan,

“Black Soap” or “Alata Soap” (Alata is a Nigerian name as some claim the knowledge of how to make Black Soap came from there) is made with potash.

With black soap the water is seared out of it in the final stage and the soap is dried overnight. You might be able to find some videos of it being made.

You can also make paste soap which is pretty cool. 1/3 sodium and 2/3 potassium will do it.

All the Best!

What is the difference between castile soap and liquid sunshine? The ingredients are the same.

Hey! You’re right!

Liquid Sunshine is a type of castile soap. We tweaked it’s formula to be degreasing without drying- – a fine line! Actually it’s pretty amazing how many things can be made from the same dozen main ingredients we use here. We make one castile base for cleaning and for hands and feet, and another for body care shower gels. Then we thicken or thin and add botanicals and essential oils to change the characteristics of the product we are making.

All the Best!

Soapman

I have seborrheic dermatitis due to Parkinsons disease. Can you tell me if any of the bar soaps would help this. Bar soap rather than liquid soaps were recommended as I have it in scalp (hair cut like a man’s  cut to allow soap to get to scalp), face ears, neck and chest. The last soap for this had sharp pieces of oats that my 72 year old skin could not tolerate.

Hi Julie,

Thanks for contacting us here at Vermont Soap.

According to the Mayoclinic.com website: Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by A yeast (fungus) called Malassezia. This fungus is one of the normal microscopic life forms that grow, along with certain bacteria, in your skin’s oily secretion (sebum).

This is actually good news, because malassezia responds very well to soap products that contain tea tree oil (a distilled essential oil from a bush from Australia). We make three products with very high grade tea tree oil in them.

While we do not claim that organic soaps can help any disease, I do have some suggestions for you to try. Try using one of each of the following products in the order listed:

Fungasoap: This is very strong and comes in gel soap (not a detergent chemical) form. Try this first, leaving it on for a minute if possible before washing it off. It will tingle!

Blue Bar: This is not as powerful as Fungasoap. Use this on face/body/hair after you use up the Fungasoap, or if Fungasoap is just too strong for you to use.

Tea Tree Bar Soap: This is even milder than the Blue Bar and is very gentle on your face. Use this ongoing for face/body/hair. This will be your maintenance product for daily use. You may need to use the Fungasoap every 2 weeks for a while once you are on top of the fungus.

 

Other tips to try:

Try avoiding all detergent products. These may irritate your already sensitive skin. Vermont Soap makes a variety of products (foaming hand soap, Liquid Sunshine Cleaner) to replace detergent products.

Wash your pillow and pillow case and sheets frequently once you start testing the Fungasoap, until symptoms subside. Try washing in Liquid Sunshine if you can. ALWAYS avoid dryer sheets and fabric softener and use a double rinse with one cycle hot if you have a newfangled laundry machine that allows that.

Do not moisturize for a while. Vegetable and petroleum oils can actually help spread the fungus. However, you might want to try using the Honey Love Face Mask from time to time. This exfoliates and conditions without chemicals or oils and is very mild.

Once your on top of this use Unscented Green Gold to moisturize.

Wishing you All the Best!

Larry Plesent

Is there any soy in the soap??

Nope. The Soapman does not like the way soy oil foams when it is turned into soap.

There is no soy used in ANY Vermont Soap product.

Best!

I absolutely love your soap, but I am starting to feel guilty about using so many bottles. Is there a way to get bottles refilled? Or can I return the empty bottles to you to be reused? Thanks

Hey Adam!

You can buy gallon refills at our store in Middlebury (cheap) or online and refill those bottles.

Always rinse a bottle several times in super hot water to remove any soapy residue inside.

The shelf life of the product equals the shelf life of the oldest molecule of soap in the bottle.

Thanks for keeping it natural!

Soapman

Hi Larry,

Is there any harm in using a solution of diluted Liquid Sunshine to wash produce? I noticed that LS has the same ingredients as the Fruit and Veggie Wash.

Thanks,

C.L.

NOT AT ALL! And yes – BOTH products are castile liquid soaps.

 

I am looking for a bar cleansing soap in the 4.5 – 5.5 range. Do you have any? thanks

Hi Nancy,

There are probably some types of synthetic detergent products that have been altered to foam at this pH range.

One of the Alkylethylbenzylsulfonate industrial degreasers or their derivatives perhaps.

You can also try Soap Nuts. They do not foam much but if you have a rare illness that requires that you use a specialized low pH cleaner on your skin this is what I would recommend.

If you do not have a rare illness I recommend the Butter Bar for facial cleansing of dry, sensitive skin and for shaving. Finish with Unscented Green Gold Organic Herbal Moisturizer. Use certified organic Honey Love Facial Mask occasionally for natural exfoliation and conditioning. For combination skin try Lemongrass bar soap and for oily skin Peppermint Magic.

Thanks for writing!

All the Best,

Soapman

Hello there,

Saw your videos very educational and interesting, especially the liquids soap. Does your liquid soap making go through the paste and dilution process like majority of the world. What types of alkali do you use Potassium Carbonate or Potassium Hydroxide for your liquid soap and Sodium Carbonate or Sodium Hydroxide for your bar soap?

Is hydroxide better or carbonate for soap making?

Also, are there any goat milk soap from your company and what is your opinion of using goat milk in the soaping process, please. Thank you.

Respectfully,

Danny

Hi Danny,

Glad our videos inspired you to write. It is always a pleasure to meet other people who get excited about saponification!

Does your liquid soap making go through the paste and dilution process like majority of the world?

Danny: I am sorry but this information is a trade secret. I will tell you that we did not develop ANY of our formulas or processes by simply reading a book or by watching a video. I learn something about soap every day because we experiment here EVERY day. Hint: You learn more from your failures than you do from your successes.

What types of alkali do you use Potassium Carbonate or Potassium Hydroxide for your liquid soap and Sodium Carbonate or Sodium Hydroxide for your bar soap?

Is hydroxide better or carbonate for soap making?

Hydroxides are stronger and purer and cleaner and more generally available in developed countries. Potassium carbonate is what we used to make Black Soap (Alata Soap) in West Africa. Potassium carbonate takes longer to set the soap because it has a lower pH.

Also, are there any goat milk soap from your company and what is your opinion of using goat milk in the soaping process? Thank you.

Danny: I am lactose intolerant and milk in soap creeps out my skin and leaves it feeling weird and itchy. Since I test everything on myself (not on animals) well, you can see where I am going here. VT Soap does not use the processed lactation product of our or other mammalian species in any of its products. (Vegans Rejoice!).

All the Best Danny!

Soapman

Hi Larry,

Evelyn here. I bought a bottle of your pet soap to use on my American Bulldog, Delilah Pearl. I like the way it smells, and am generally very happy with how it lathers and cleans my furry friend. However, I’m concerned about the TeaTree Oil in the product. I know Tea Tree oil is fine for humans, but I’ve seen some really nasty horror stories abt TTO used on dogs. While Miss Pearl has not shown any problems, I worry about the long term side effects or liver damage that could occur. Do you guys offer a tea tree free dog wash? Thanks -Evelyn

Evelyn my dear… if we heard it on the net it MUST be true!

Here at VT Soap we have heard outrageous stories about every essential oil that can go into a pet shampoo from day one.

Let’s take a look at the facts:

  1. This is a wash off product
  2. There is less than 3% essential oils in the product to start
  3. There is no measureable penetration into the blood barrier by using a 3% essential oil wash-off soap product.

So what are they talking about? Eating or ingesting teas tree oil or other essential oils is NOT a good idea for you or your pet as it is hard for livers to filter that stuff out quickly.

Neither is eating soap, and we wash with that too!

As the man said,” Just the facts ma’am”.

However, if you are concerned about ANY essential oils going on or near your pet in general; we make a lovely Aloe Castile Liquid Soap Concentrate that works great as a Pet Shampoo too.

All the Best,

Soapman

Do you recommend washing or rinsing out the foaming hand soap containers before refilling or not?

Thank you for your awesome products.

Thank YOU Nancy.

Always rinse out your bottle a couple of times with hot water before refilling.

Otherwise the soap on the bottle is only as fresh as the oldest soap in it! The older soap will decrease the shelf life of the new soap and the foam won’t smell as fresh and clean with each new fill.

Best!

Soapman

I am interested in purchasing some of your soap, specifically the lemongrass zen and I wondered if there are locations other than your store in Middlebury, Vermont that sell your soaps.

Hi John,

Thanks for asking.

Vermont Soap is sold in 1500 health food stores, co-ops and neighborhood markets across the US.

You can find us at the Whole Foods Co-op in Erie and at Honest Weight and Deans’ in Albany.

All the Best!

Soapman

For the castile liquid soaps do you need to put water in it? And are they concentrated?

Hi Monica,

Our Castile Liquid Soaps are quite concentrated. You can use them straight from the bottle or use different dilutions for different solutions.

We are reprinting our castile liquid soap labels with solution dilutions on them. In the meantime check this out:

Floors: Add 3oz of Liquid Sunshine to mop water. Clean as usual, and allow to dry.

Laundry: Use about 1/3 cup per load – a little more for hard water. Liquid Sunshine may be neutralized by detergent residues in the machine so use enough to get the barest start of foam on top. You may have to use a little extra the first time. Always mix into warm water before adding the clothes. Softens clothes with natural aloe! Also has a mild whitening effect. Great for silks and fine fabrics, wool and suede (may darken).

Stain Removal: Safe and effective. Wet surface and apply full strength. Work into the material from several directions and let sit a moment. Rinse and dry.

Woodwork, Floors and Walls: Dilute 1/4 cup per 1 gallon of hot water. Clean, rinse and let dry.

Bathrooms: Use full strength on sponge and rinse. For all porcelain and tile surfaces.

Vehicles: Saturate sponge with Liquid Sunshine. Work over vehicle in sections, wetting first, applying Liquid Sunshine and then rinsing. Always wash vehicles out of direct sunlight.

Carpets: Replaces detergent concentrates. Works well in all carpet cleaning machines and on stains.

General Cleaning: Stovetop, refrigerator, etc. Wet surface. Scrub with sponge saturated in Liquid Sunshine. Rinse and dry. For ALL water safe surfaces.

Most products made by Vermont Soap are certified to USDA organic standards by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF), the certification program of NOFA-VT.

 

I am allergic to latex. Does Shea butter contain latex?

Thanks for asking!

Shea butter and cocoa butter both contain a latex/protein that people with TYPE B Latex allergies might react to.

I am told that specific tree nut allergies must all be present for a reaction to occur. Because of these two factors, reactions to shea butter are quite rare.

Additional good news is that Vermont Soap invented a way to remove MOST of the latex/protein before we use it in our products further reducing the likelihood of a reaction. We will be using this technique; called “polishing” on our coco butter products as they come up in the production cycle.

Some shea butter like raw Nigerian butters have a much higher latex content than others. So remember that all shea butter is not alike in latex content.

This is what I recommend.

Get yourself a .3oz pocket shea butter from Vermont Soap and a sample of another company’s shea butter. We are adding .3oz shea butters to the site today in response to your email. Take a cotton swab and dip it into one of the test shea butters. Gently touch/dab it to one forearm. Take a clean swab and repeat the test on your other forearm. Wait 4 hours. If you have an allergy there will be a raised bump on the test spot or an obvious reddening with irritation. Use this test on other products you are unsure of.

Wishing you All the Best!
Soapman Larry Plesent

Wanting to know when you will make Vanilla Calendula again. We loved it and want to stock up on it.

Sounds like a flavor you found in our Retail Store.

We sell off seconds from soap runs we make for other companies there.

You never know what you will find there and inventory changes monthly.

Glad you liked it but there is no telling when it will be made again.

All the Best,
Soapman

do you have a catalog if you do can you send me one

Hi Eugene,

We have a paper order form we can send, but our website is our catalog.

We invent and change things so often a paper catalog would not be realistic!

Thanks for asking,

Larry Plesent

Are your products or their ingredients tested on animals?

No way! We test on ourselves.

Vermont Soap is a member of Leaping Bunny.

We are reprinting our labels soon and the new ones will say, “Vermont Soap never tests on animals.

Thanks for asking!

Larry Plesent

I am inquiring of your hand soap? Since your hand soap has castile soap in it. Is it sticky after use? I tried bronners and felt their product had a sticky film on it. Does all castile soap require vinegar wash?

Monica

Hi Monica,

I have not tried any of the Bronners products in 15 years so I cannot honestly comment on the state of their current formulations. I have sensitive skin and stopped being able to use their stuff back when I was a hippy kid of 17.

However I am very sorry to hear that their products are giving a black eye to Castile Style liquid soap.

The first recorded liquid soaps in Europe were developed in Castilla La Mancha, a region in central Spain that grows a lot of olives. There, a beautiful liquid soap was made from olive oil and coconut oil. Over time real liquid soap became know as Castile Soap, mostly through the promotional efforts of the founder of Dr B’s many years ago. The American meaning of castile soap is now, “any liquid soap that has some olive oil in it”.

At Vermont Soap we see ourselves as craftsmen and women in the European tradition. Our medium is soap molecules made from organic vegetable oils, and we also manufacture other “yummy” products to replace all the “yucky” ones out there and on the shelves. We have developed two different formulas for making liquid soaps and their many product variations.

One is our Standard liquid soap base. This is the base we use to make all of our hand and foot soaps, cleaning products, pet shampoo and hand foamers. It cleans well and washes off smooth with just a hint of glycerin left behind to re-moisten your skin. We also make a Body Care base which is more moisturizing and has a longer rinse off period. This is turned into our Bath and Shower gels.

Vermont Soap invented the first certified organic pet shampoo, foamer soap, shower gel, multi purpose cleaner and spray cleaner in the country. We haven’t been around for a hundred years like Dr Bronners (21’st year) but it sounds like we are better at our jobs.

Try a Lemongrass Foaming Hand Soap. You will be very pleasantly surprised.

 

All the Best,
Larry Plesent, CEO
Vermont Soap
Aka Soapman

Hi,

Are any of your soaps good facial cleaners? I have normal to oily skin.

And how many oz. are your bars of soap?

Thanks

Michelle

 

Hi Michelle,

Both good questions.

Handmade soap has a high water content. It starts out the consistency of pancake batter and then sets up solid in block molds. Freshly cut bar soaps weigh about 4.2oz. After a month in the curing room (yup it really does take a month to make a great bar of soap) they weigh about 3.75oz. One year later they might weigh 3.25oz which is how we label them. In terms of size the bars measure a little over 1x2x3” or the same size as most 3.75oz bar soaps.

I shave and wash my face and body with the same bar of soap. One bar used this way lasts about 3 weeks for me, but results will vary with technique!

For normal to oily skin the Lemongrass bar is a real favorite. Lemongrass oil provides mild astringency (closes pores a bit) and it smells terrific. Give it a try!

You can buy bar soap from us a number of ways. Boxed bars are available singly and they make great gifts. Once you know what you love to use, go ahead and order 12 “Naked” bars and save big time. Every time you order Vermont Soap online you earn points towards Bubble Bucks discount coupons good towards a future order.

Thanks for writing!

Soapman

 

Hi,

My 18 month daughter insists in licking her skin while I am soaping her with your shower gel.

I try to discourage it but usually loose the battle… Should I be worried?

Thanks a ton,

Mia

PS we love your products – all we use in our home

Hi Mia,

I am flattered that your daughter likes to taste our soap! Our shower gels are safe and nontoxic and a few molecules picked up on the tongue will do no harm. I would ignore it so it doesn’t become a game.

Humans are generally hardwired to avoid the taste and smell of caustic/alkali which is why most soap products are scented. The reason for the avoidance mechanism is that caustics are not food. Our Baby Wash Gel is superfiltered and has little of that classic soapy/caustic edge to it. If you taste it yourself you will see however that even natural organic soap…tastes like soap. Check to see if she is getting enough potassium these days. It is hot in PA these long summer days and she may be sweating out potassium faster than she is ingesting it. I mention this because we use potassium salts to manufacture this product and her body may be craving it. Just a hunch but worth checking into.

All the Best!

Soapman

 

 

I purchased a gallon bottle of the liquid Lavender castile soap. Is it concentrated and need to be diluted or should I just use as is? I’m wanting to combine it with some other ingredients for dishwashing detergent. Thanks,

Cindy

Hi Cindy,

Use abut ¼ cup of castile liquid soap per load, it is very concentrated. If you are hand washing your dishes first, do not rinse off the soap – just place the soapy dishes into the machine and add an 1/8 of a cup or so extra.

Best!

Soapman

I bought the bluebars to give to people with acne. Who do you suggest using them (how many times a day….)?

Yehuda

Thank you for that Yehuda.

Acne is a disease and we would never claim to cure diseases with natural soap.

However many people with oily skin issues and red angry skin are soothed by using the Blue Bar two to three times a day.

All the Best!

Soapman

When I’m on a road trip with my family, I have occasion to wash my hands at various restaurants and rest stops. I end up skin perfumed with floral-cranberry scent or who-knows-what. Sometimes my nose tickles for hours. I take my Vermont Soap foaming hand soap with me to our destination, but is there any soap product you could suggest for roadside rest stops?

P.S. Love your Unscented foaming hand soap and liquid castille soap. My son’s skin finally feels healthy and soft.

Hey Julia, Thanks for the note and the kudos. Sounds like Junior could be detergent sensitive. Does fresh laundry or shampooing make him itch? If so, I recommend the Butter Bar for hair and your favorite Castile liquid soap or Liquid Sunshine for laundry.

I would bring along a foamer when traveling. The tops swivel and lock down for travel. Because the bottles sometimes leak around the pump tote it in a zip type plastic bag. Tighten the cap occasionally as these caps mysteriously loosen over time. Alternatively bring along a pocket full of travel/amenity size bars to use and give away as small gifts.

All the Best!

Soapman

Hi Soapman,

Can Vermont soap bars be used to wash hair?

Thanks

The answer is yes – with some qualifications.

  1.  essential oils do not do well over the long term in hair care products
  2.  the finer the hair the better the results

Soap products do not do as well with kinky/curly hair for some reason, but excel with finer hair types. I recommend trying the Butter Bar. You are most likely to have satisfactory results with it.

All the Best,

Soapman

Does the Classic Lavender Soap that is currently on special have lavender blossoms in it, or just lavender essential oils. I prefer a soap without the actual lavender blossoms in it.
Thanks,
Cindy

Hi Cindy,

Classic Lavender – no blossoms

Lavender Blossom – with

Thanks for asking!

Soapman

Hi,

Does your Oatmeal Lavender soap contain gluten? I know that many times oats and wheat live in close proximity in the fields, and I have an allergy such that I want to make sure the oats and facility used to make the soap are gluten-free.

Thanks,

Melissa

Thanks Mellissa, we appreciate your concern. Our Operations Manager (the gal that runs the place) is celiac so we are very gluten conscious here. Our Oatmeal soap is in fact gluten free.

Best!

Soapman

I’ve heard that glycerin is genetically modified, but ‘vegetable glycerin’ is not. Which one do you guys use?

Glycerin is a component of natural oils. Your body is made from it.

Our products are USDA certified organic. In order to be certified organic, no GMO products may be used. So if it is certified organic you know that it is safe.

There are three types of glycerin:

  1. Animal based
  2. Mineral based
  3. Vegetable oil based

We do not use animal fat glycerin out of respect to our many Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Kosher, Vegetarian and Vegan friends and fans of Vermont Soap.

Petroleum of mineral oil based glycerin is just bad. It does not smell right, feel right or formulate right. We never us it and it is not organic.

Most vegetable glycerin comes from palm oil trees which are not GMO at this time. Palm oil plantations being monoculture have their own issues which is why we buy our palm oil from Agro Palma, winner of the Green Peace award for low carbon footprint palm oil. Click here to learn more about our sourcing practices.

 

 

hi larry!

i’m wondering if your ‘unscented bath and shower gel’ can be used for dishes, laundry, etc., (like the other formula with the essential oils).

thank you!

christy

Hi Christy,

No, I would not recommend using our unscented shower gel for your cleaning needs. We make it moisturizing which means it was not formulated for quick easy rinse off. You CAN use it that way, but I recommend using Unscented Liquid castile soap instead. This is what the product was designed for and I think you will prefer it for your cleaning needs.

All the Best! Soapman

Is your baby shampoo and wash tear free?

Nope. Soap stings eyes a bit. So do chemical detergents. In fact anything that foams will irritate eyes.

In order for eyes not to sting multi national companies employ two strategies.

One is to anesthetize the eyes. By putting a topical anesthetic into the shampoo, mass market products avoid the sting. Alternatively, a filming agent which coats the eyes is sometimes used. Here, the eyes are not in contact with the shampoo due to the film that forms over them

We recommend using organic personal care products and buying a shower visor to deflect suds from young eyes.

All the Best!

Soapman

Is your camping spray (bug repellent) safe for pregnant women?

Sarah

Hey Sarah,

Citronella Camping Spray is an herbal perfume to keep your campsite comfortable. According to the EPA calling it a bug repellent would make it an illegal pesticide. Anything that keeps bugs away is called a pesticide even if it does not actually kill insects. We learned that when the EPA ordered us to recall Insect Armor (the predecessor of Camping Spray) from the shelves of our stores.

We manufacture products for human beings. We would not put anything out there we would not use on our own wives and children.

There is a lot of scuttlebutt about essential oils on the internet. We routinely see the rosemary rumor repeated (claiming that bathing in rosemary soap will bring on a miscarriage for example). This is just irresponsible rumor mongering. But if you want to use safe organic products without essential oils, just spray the camping spray lightly onto clothes rather than skin. We also make unscented baby wash, bath bar soap and castile liquid soap (for cleaning) if you desire.

So yes, Camping Spray and everything we make is safe and nontoxic for humans, pregnant and otherwise – especially when placed side by side and compared to mainstream products.

Wishing you All the Best,

Larry Plesent

I’m interested in buying your products but I have one concern. Why don’t your bottles show a USDA Organic seal on them?

Luisa

Great question Luisa!

According to the USDA organic program (NOP) any product that contains soap molecules is a “Made With” product. This is a weak organic claim that only lets us say “Made with organic oils” on the front panel and limits our verbage elsewhere. Made with products cannot bear the USDA seal. However they must carry the name of the certifying agency so you know it is the real deal. Our certifier is VOF or Vermont Organic Farmers, a division of NOFA –VT. Only our oil based products like Green Gold bare the coveted USDA seal even though MOST everything we make is certified organic.

Best!

Larry Plesent

I am so happy to have found your soap! By the way, solveeczema.org is where I found you! I’ve heard you can make baby wipes with your soap. How do I do this?

Trisha

Thanks Trisha.

Try 5% unscented aloe castile liquid soap in 95% water. Add the soap top the water not the water to the soap. Soak your paper towels and use! You can also put this into a spray bottle and use on baby or any surface needing cleaning with soap and water.

Best!

Soapman

I am using your fruit and veggie spray and thinking about carrying it on our store. I realize that it states that it makes food taste better but how does it do against pesticides, food wax, etc? Any idea? Thanks

Sharon

Hey Sharon,

Our Fruit and Veggie wash makes food taste better because it is washing away pesticides, grit, and mineral wax much better than water alone. We actually have attest on it’s effectiveness against e coli bacteria and how using natural soap and water reduces e coli on our food. My veggies taste better just knowing that!

All the Best,

Soaopman

 

 

What is the shelf life on your shower gels?

Julie

Hi Julie,

We put a 3 year shelf life on all of our products.

That said I have seen shower gels over five years old and still quite fresh.

Ultraviolet light, heat and air are the enemies of natural stuff. Store your cubes in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and all should be well. Under 58°F is a good storage temperature if you can.

Thanks for working with us!

Larry Plesent

What is it about bug spray that repels insects? Is it the smell, the plants being used, or a combination of the two?

Bee

Good question Bee!

Herbal insect repellers are INSECT ADDLERS. They addle the insects so their sensors do not work as well. A mosquito might fly right into you and never “see” you there. Plants produce essential oils to combat insects, mold and fungus. Humans can harvest those plant oils and use them ourselves. So in this application it is the smell. Thanks for asking!

Hi!

I LOVE your soap products that I’ve bought so far. I especially love the unscented Aloe Castille Liquid Soap and am using it all over the house for cleaning, showering, shampooing, etc. A question. For my general kitchen countertop, stovetop, and bathroom fixtures I currently use distilled water, or half and half distilled water and white vinegar, and sometimes full strength vinegar. It works pretty well, however, the vinegar is not “organic” and I wonder how healthy that really is. Tell me if and why your new unscented Liquid Sunshine surface cleaner is a better, healthier choice.

Thank you so much!

Nancy

Hey Nancy,

Thanks for the kudos. We like our Unscented Castile Soap too! It really is the best liquid soap out there and you get to buy at factory direct and bulk prices.

Vinegar and distilled water is a good mix for many cleaning jobs including shining up those faucets. We use white vinegar here at the Soapworks to remove soap build up from our stainless steel work tables. Vinegar would be a good choice for attacking soap scum build up on bathtubs for example as it is an acid and thus the opposite of soap. Opposites clean opposites in this realm. It does not matter if you use certified organic vinegar or not for cleaning. However for eating, organic apple cider vinegar is so flavorful and yummy that the small amount you pay extra for it is well worth the gourmet appeal – let alone that it fosters responsible long term agricultural practices and a safe and sustainable food supply.

Vermont can get dusty faster than you could imagine. And if you heat with wood like we do in our home it is even worse. I use a 5% Castile or Liquid Sunshine spray (95% water) for pretty much every surface in the house from computer screen to window screen. Hint: First add the water THEN add the soap. Ball up newspaper and this mixture makes a very good window cleaner too. For oven cleaning, first knock off/brushoff/wipe off whatever you can. Make a 10% solution (double strength) and mark the bottle HEAVY DUTY. Let the mix do the work by applying liberally and letting it soap in, then wiping off and repeating. It might take 3-4 treatments to get things clean and shiny again depending on the condition of your oven. For regular surface cleaning just spray and wipe – which is what we call our pre-diluted spray cleaners for easy use.

As you experiment you will find that some things like woodwork and porous plastics respond better to your organic soap and water mixture. Others, like porcelain may sparkle better with vinegar or with a vinegar/baking soda paste that you rub on with a cloth.

Best!

Hi, I am hoping you can help me….

I have been extremely itchy for years. Forearms and legs mostly, but can be horrible all over. All I can think it that is it an allergic reaction. I can’t sit in upholstered chairs or I get visible bites and horrible itching.

My skin gets broken scratch like spots and my hands are often swollen. I tried Bronners but it got much worse– it dried my skin out horribly. I’ve used other things also, but they leave a terrible soap scum. I use 7th generation laundry soap and it doesn’t make me itch but just saw that it is mostly SLS. Laundry soaps esp. make me unbearably itchy. Even ones that say they are fragrance free.

OK– so.. what do you suggest to help me? I saw you recommended for non-detergent items that will help ezcema… I need laundry soap (incl for delicates, silk, wool, etc), shower gel, hand soap, dish soap, face soap, etc. But ones that will not leave a residue if that’s possible with soap (ideally without having to rinse everything in vinegar……). Something that will help the dry skin but not make me itch or leave a residue on my skin or clothes……

Can you help me?

No guarantees but I will try:

  1. Do you have cats or other pets?
  2. I suspect that you may have strong dust allergies. If there are no fleas or bed bugs present this is the most likely culprit for “old furniture rash”.
  3. You are going to have to experiment to find out what your triggers are. Dust is probable. Fake scents seem to be implicated since 7Gen did not make you itch yet it is full of detergents. The common element in fake scents is “toluene”, a commonly used scent carrier and solvent that does not appear on any label. If someone becomes sensitized to toluene they will not like any fake scents or flavors. This means you should avoid prepackaged processed foods of any type.
  4. “Everything that goes into your body or on your body must be medicine!” This means that if something is not healing for you leave it be. This is particularly true for Reactive Bodies – like yours.
  5. Always do a “patch test” when trying new products. Gently rub a small amount of the product on one inner arm near the elbow. Wait 90 minutes. Compare arms. Products you cannot use will often raise a bump or a rash or itch.
  6. Test our latex reduced shea butter in a patch test. If all is well, use our Butter Bar to soothe and Green Gold to heal and moisturize.
  7. Try Unscented Castile Liquid Soap for laundry, dishes and general cleaning.
  8. Try Unscented Foaming Hand Soap for daily hand washing.

Wishing you all the Best,

Larry Plesent

 

I see on your site that you recommend using liquid castile soap for laundry. Can it be used in HE washers without gumming them up? If so, how much do you recommend using for either light or heavy soiled loads in an HE washer?

Hi Suzen,

Here it is fresh off the website:

Laundry: Use about 1/3 cup per load – a little more for hard water. Liquid Sunshine may be neutralized by detergent residues in the machine so use enough to get the barest start of foam on top. You may have to use a little extra the first time. Always mix into warm water before adding the clothes. Softens clothes with natural aloe! Also has a mild whitening effect. Great for silks and fine fabrics, wool and suede (may darken).

Before detergents were invented people cleaned their clothes with… natural soap! Do not be tricked into believing that only petrochemical companies know how to make cleaners – castile soap is what the wealthy and royal of Europe used for centuries before SLS was invented.

HE washers have a defect. Their feeder hoses are miniscule and eventually clog up. So:

  1. do not put your soap into the #2 cup – it has a long thin feeder hose that will clog
  2. dilute your soap 50% in water to thin it out (add soap to water – not the other way around)
  3. clean your feeder hose occasionally by pouring hot (not boiling) water through it.

Thanks for writing and HAPPY LAUNDRY!

 

Hi Larry! Can you imagine…. I have a soap question! I have been using the Liquid Castile soap for laundry, per your advice. I am wondering if I use too much per load. My clothes, towels, are definitely lots softer than they were. However, the towels are not as absorbent. I use about 1/3 cup per load, maybe a touch more. Because it does not foam up, it seems like it is not going to get everything clean. So I maybe tend to use more than I should.

Thanks for your help!

Nancy Schuler

Wow! Great soap question Nancy.

Try a double final rinse setting OR program for hot water final rinse.

That should do it.

The amount of liquid you need varies with the mineral content of the water, size of the load and the amount of soil to remove. ¼ to 1/3 cup should do it. I like to see the barest foam in the washer a minute after it is turned on. Then I know I used the right amount. Rub directly into soil spots for direct cleaning power.

All the Best!

Soapman

 

 

What is the percentage of pine oil in your “natural pine floor cleaner”?

Hi Mark,

I see you wrote natural as “natural” meaning that you are suspicious that this is indeed a “natural product”.

You are looking at the first floor cleaner that is made and certified to USDA organic food standards.

It contains about 3% essential oil blend.

For “scentsative” individuals I recommend our unscented castile liquid soap.

All the Best,
Soapman

Hello, love your soap!

Is it possible to melt your bar soaps and pour them into my own molds? Can you recommend any resources or provide guidance on how to learn the process?

Many Thanks,

Ben

Hi Ben,

It IS possible to remelt our bar soaps with 50% distilled water and pour into block molds. You will have to cure out the water for at least three weeks. Keeping the mass in air conditioning during this period will help a lot. Try not to whip air into it when you stir – unless you want floating soap. The final product is not excellent. One year we made thousands of bars this way from scraps and such and gave the lot away to non-profits. The bars were usable but they were substandard in every way.

Our friends at Blue Moon Elise in North Carolina run soap making classes. Contact: Blue Moon Elise [rachel@bluemoonelise.com]

All the Best!

Soapman

 

hi!

i have the ‘vermont organic soap’ that can be used for laundry, wood floors, etc. do you have a soap that would be more ideal for using with dishes, or is this the one?

thank you!

christy

 

Liquid Sunshine and other castile soaps work well on dishes – even greasy ones. However, because this is organic liquid soap and not detergent chemicals, you will want to use it a little differently. We’ve been testing and using these products at my wife’s restaurant/bakery for eight years now and here is what we learned about hand washing dishes/pots and pans with organic liquid soap:

First: Use hot water – this is soap, not industrial degreaser

Two: Soak greasy pans in soap and water and set aside while you clean the dishes and glasses. If you are throwing a party are have a big household soak eating utensils in soap and water too – makes them very easy to hand wash.

Three: Put a squirt of liquid soap into your dishwashing basin, fill part way with hot water. Now soak the applicator/scrubby in soap. I like to use a small soaking bowl with a good amount of soap in some water to re-up the applicator. This little trick is what really what makes it all work.

Remember: Soap is low foaming as compared to synthetic detergents so the suds will not hold up while you check your text messages.

For machine washing use just as you would a dishwashing concentrate, but adjust a tad less for soft water and a tad more for hard/greasy/larger loads. I prewash dishes in the same organic soap anyway so there is no need to rinse off the dishes before loading them in. This saves on soap and time.

 

All the Best!

Soapman

 

 

Can you use your soap in the dishwasher?

Bonnie

Oh yes. Liquid Sunshine and our Castile liquid soaps can be used right in the dishwasher. Use about ¼ cup per load – same as a detergent concentrate. Use a tad more for hard water/big or extra greasy loads and a tad less for soft water.

What is the pH balance of your Organic Pet Shampoo?

Hi Holly,

Our certified organic pet shampoo is made from natural oils turned into soap (which makes it foam instead of being salad dressing).

Soap based products have a pH of around 10. Our pet Shampoo averages 9.87.

This pH is perfect for humans and animals as this helps to kill germs yet is well within bounds for comfort and tolerance.

Certified Organic soap based pet shampoos are not allowed to contain artificial detergent chemicals (ALL chemical detergents are artificial – even if they call themselves “natural” and “herbal”) and artificial preservatives; which many pets are becoming sensitized and intolerant to. That is why the fastest growing market for organic pet shampoos is with the professional groomers!

Don’t let anyone convince you that humans and animals were put here on God’s green earth to clean ourselves with foaming chemicals that were not even in existence 80 years ago.

Soap molecules are made in nature and in your own body. No one ever got cancer from soap. Can we say the same about detergent shampoos?

 

All the Best,

Soapman

 

 

How do I refill my liquid sunshine spray bottle with concentrate? Do I dilute the concentrate, or use it at full strength?

Thanks.

Hi Michelle,

  1. Rinse spray bottle and sprayer in hot water
  2. Fill 90% +/- with warm water
  3. Add Liquid Sunshine
  4. Ready to go!
  5. If too soapy – add more water

Happy Soaping!

For the castile soaps do you need a soap container that has a pump on it to make it foam in order to use?

Our personal size bottles have dispensing snap caps that self clean when you close them.

Pumps for gallon refills can be ordered separately.

We also make castile soap based foamer soaps. Here the foamer cap makes it dispense like shaving cream. We sell pre-diluted ready to use foamer soap in bulk (for best results) or you can try diluting castile liquid soap concentrate with about 60% water. Always add soap to water unless you want a big foamy mess.

Castile liquid soap is similar to the detergent chemicals you have used all your life. It is ideal for cleaning all watersafe surfaces, laundry and dishes (soak dish scrubby in castile soap for best results rather than just adding it to the water) for pets, floors, hands and feet.

For sensitive skin and bathing please try our handmade bar soaps. We make different bar soaps for different skin types so be sure to check them out too.

Best!

Am I able to use my castile soap for all my cleaning?

Kind regards, Marita

Oh yes. Castile liquid soap was the original “detergent” used by royalty and riches 300 year ago. It is the safe, natural and nontoxic alternative to all those synthetic detergents which have “eth” and “ate” after their names.

We recommend different dilutions for different solutions! Check out the Vermont Soap website for more information on using ALL of our castile liquid soap based products (including our new Zero VOC Spray Cleaner) in your home and business.

Best!

Soapman

Do you have any products recommended for normal, naturally curly hair?

Kerry – I wish I could guarantee you perfect hair every time with a nontoxic organic shampoo, but you will have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you.

I can only recommend that you try the baby wash/shampoo with a conditioner and see how you like the results. Remember: Organic shampoo removes hair dyes!

  1. wash with VT Soap Baby Wash/Shampoo
  2. rinse well with water
  3. squeeze ½ lemon into 1 liter (quart) of water and work it into your hair. Count to ten and rinse with water. This will help rebalance your hair pH.
  4. Use your favorite conditioner and rinse
  5. Wash hair every 2 or 3 days rather than every day for best results moving forward.

What is the difference between your Castile soap and your new VOC free cleaner? Thanks, Marita

Great Question!

Our new Zero VOC cleaner is made from super filtered Castile soap and super filtered water with nothing added that might give it an aroma.

This makes it safe for use around asthmatics and highly reactive bodies.

Thanks for asking!

 

 

Do you have a facial wash that won’t burn if it accidentally gets in the eyes?

This is a terrific question Mary.

ALL stuff that foams stings the eyes. No exceptions found to date.

Some large chemical companies found a way to anesthetize the eyes but putting something into their baby shampoo that acts like novacaine for the eyes. In other words; the kids are still getting their eyes irritated but they don’t know it. Concerns about this scheme prompted a change to a new chemical that that puts a film over the eyes instead. The irritating foamy stuff washes out of the eye without touching it directly. BOTH schemes are sketchy and have their detractors.

If your eyes are super sensitive switch to unscented bar soaps like the Butter Bar or Unscented Coco-Butter. Natural Bar soaps are always milder than liquids anyway. Try one of these bar soaps if you tend towards dry skin. If you really like the pump format try our Baby Wash and Shampoo. This might work well for you if you have larger pores/oilier skin.

For babies try the bathing visors. Not perfect, but they help.

 

All the Best!

Soapman

Hi,

A few years ago Vermont Soap made a wonderful insect repellant that I loved! It smelled great and it was not greasy, so it did not need to be washed off at the end of the day or at the end of a hike or gardening session. It smelled mostly like soap. It worked! It kept the bugs away really pretty well. We have a lot of bugs here in Marshfield and I use a lot of insect repellant. Why isn’t Vermont Soap still making this wonderful product? Any chance you will consider it?

Thanks,

Laura

Hi Laura. Insect Armour was replaced by camping spray which is even stronger. Camping lotion has the same formula as the spray but lasts longer. The labels are at the printers for that one now. Thanks!