Ask the Soapman
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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,
Your organic shea butter has been nothing short of a miraculous cure for stubborn patches of eczema and dermatitis. I would love to use it more liberally, but find it so hard to apply over a larger area (even softened in a jar in warm water). Would mixing it with a small amount of olive or almond oil affect the healing properties? Plus, I find the scent quite strong and unpleasant. Do you have any suggestions for masking the scent?
Thanks for your kudos and comments.
Have you tried Unscented Green Gold yet? It came out of a project whose working title was “Improved Herbal Shea Butter”.
Green Gold is spreadable, healing and soothing and is chock-full of inflammation calming herbs. Store in the fridge to keep fresh.
We also make a lavender scented version which should be fine once you are symptom free for six months.
All the Best!
What bar of soap is good for someone with eczema?
While VT Soap does not purport to diagnose, treat or cure any illness; many of our customers enjoy relief from dry skin conditions with the Butter Bar. To sooth dry irritated skin use Unscented Green Gold – you will love this product. Laundry is often implicated in these types of conditions and Liquid Sunshine Nontoxic Cleaner will help to transform your home (and laundry) into a nontoxic household. Our Unscented Hand Foamer will clean your hands without the stress caused by exposure to foaming chemicals that did not exist a hundred years ago. You may also want to check out our Organic Underarm Deodorant, also for sensitive skin.
Advanced weeping eczema has a bacteriological component. Porter’s Lotion is a powerful answer if this is the case. Use it in conjunction with our Vermont Soap family of products.
Most of our long term customers are people with Reactive Bodies and sensitive skin. We understand what it is like to not be able to use the products everyone else seems apparently ok with. And of course, drink extra clean water (not from PET plastic!) and take a multi vitamin, chelated minerals and a source of essential fatty acids each day.
Consider this a wake up call and a chance to make those healthy changes you have been meaning to make all along.
Wishing You All the Best,
My child is allergic to peanuts. Can she use your liquid castile soap on her hair and body?
Yes. All Vermont Soap products are manufactured and distributed in a peanut free facility.
Castile Liquid Soap might be a little strong for daily use on skin and hair. Have you ever tried an organic handmade soap bar? They are super mild and can be used on fine hair as a shampoo.
All the Best!
Question for Larry….
We used to source some wonderful JONQUIL bath oil in the UK but it seems to have dropped out of production. We assume it was mixed with other oils as Jonquil is we deduce VERY expensive, and wonder if you knew where we could source some of the raw oil or a ready mixed version…and how much it might cost?
Looking on-line we seem to find little available to the consumer, and wonder if you have contacts/suppliers you could ask for us? There is no hurry for a response but we’d love to be able to soak away our worries in a hot bath one day!
David & Dora + Daisy Doo
Hello and always good to hear from you folks. For our website audience David and Dora run an amazing award winning B&B called the Woodstocker Inn – and they are long time Vermont Soap customers.
I can understand why you love this scent Dora. According to the folks at White Lotus Aromatics:
Jonquil Absolute is a viscous brown liquid displaying a heavy, warm honeyed, sweet floral bouquet with a green, balsamic undertone of fine tenacity. “It bears great resemblance to the fragrance of longoza and tuberose and a remote resemblance to Hyacinth.” Steffen Arctander
In natural perfumery is used in high class perfumes, sacred bouquets, Oriental bouquets.
It requires 2500 kilos of freshly harvested flowers to produce 1 kilo of absolute (1 kilo is 2.2 pounds).
At $450 an oz I can understand the attraction. Have David order you a 1/4oz or more for your next birthday or anniversary. Two drops in a hot bath should be all you need. Dilute some in sunflower oil and store away from light to make it last longer.
According to Fine Gardening’s web site Narcissus jonquil can be grown in your region. If you were to pack a pickling jar with freshly picked and crushed flowers and tincture them in nearly pure alcohol you will get something like a perfume concentrate. Dilute to suit.
Note: The Narcissus family is poisonous (never let anyone drink this!), and repeated contact may cause a dermatitis reaction in some people.
Wishing You All the Best!
I have terrible dermatitis on my hand. I am a nurse and I have had it for one year _ and I have found nothing works even the four rx’s I have to use! Help!
OK, breathe deep. We can fix this.
Your condition did not arise out of no-where. Contact dermatitis is caused by, well, daily contact with something or things incompatible with your current metabolism. Given your occupation the obvious place to look first is the repeated daily use of anti-microbial detergent based hand cleaners. Fortunately for you, a recent article in the Harvard Review states that 30 seconds of hand washing with soap and water washes away 99.9% of germs (two rounds of “Happy Birthday”). I recommend the Unscented Foamer. If it helps (it will help) go ahead and buy gallon refills. This is a very different product than anything you have tried before. No detergents and no anti-microbial (except soap).
Next, look at the gloves. You may be getting sensitized to the powder. Try unpowdered blue nitrile gloves if you are not using them already.
It gets chilly up here in Vermont as well as in Minnesota. What happens is that dust, which has been collecting on pipes and radiators and such begins to burn off as we enter into heating season in the North Country. The dust and dust mite weirdness is super toxic to dust sensitive people. It can make your skin break out and things you normally can use without issue become extremely irritating. So if you had an issue before, you may find that it gets worse at the beginning of heating season. Take a damp cotton cloth to the heating registers. And open a window for ventilation when you can.
To soothe your reactive skin start with the Butter Bar. Use this for face, body and hands when at home. This is a very special bar soap full of anti-inflammatory botanicals. You will be amazed. I use the Butter Bar almost every day for bathing, shaving, and with my thin, thinning hair; as a shampoo.
To quickly soothe and heal flared up skin we have several excellent products for you. I am going to recommend Green Gold as a topical soother/moisturizer. It is super concentrated and should provide immediate soothing relief from symptoms.
I recommend that you try 1 Unscented Hand Foamer 7oz, a 1oz Green Gold and 1 boxed Butter Bar. We can second day air it to you. You will know within one day if I called this right. After that you can buy in bulk and watch for our specials and deals to save 25% or more.
Also Sharman, drink extra water; just not from plastic (and especially PET and PETE plastic). Avoid premade processed drinks and food, take a multi vitamin with B-12 and a mineral supplement with chelated minerals, and eat more organic local veggies. The thing about natural healing practices is that, even if you get the causality wrong, you are still making the healthiest choices you can every day.
Now I cannot guarantee that making the healthiest choices you can every day will clear up anyone’s skin or help us to live a day longer. But I can guarantee that if we don’t; it will be a heckofa lot harder to do so.
Wishing you All the Best,
Good morning Soapman,
I have tried using the Liquid sunshine at full strength and at half strength in our dishwasher and it seems to be leaving a coating of white residue on the dishes. Please advise as to how to eliminate this unfortunate result. Thank you.
I used liquid sunshine in our dishwasher for years.
The coating is soap scum, a mixture of minerals in the water and soap.
You can use less soap, you can filter your water. Still, some surfaces seem especially prone to mineral re-deposition. Pots and pans and knife handles where the worst as I recall. I used to take a clean, slightly damp cotton cloth and wipe the errant surfaces as I unloaded the machine like we used to do in the fancy restaurants I worked at as a kid. Hope this helps!
All the Best,
My customer is saying that 40/50 lavender essential oil has a lot of bad stuff in it and that it is not the real thing; I have never heard of this before. They wanted to know what kind is used in the bars that have the Lavender before they would consider buying from me. I never told them you used 40/50; they assumed that it could be that since it is a very flowery or perfumed type option that apparently a lot of soapers use? I have not heard of this.
What a great question. Most customers are not into it to this depth.
So we USED TO use the blended lavendins. However we found a US lavendin grower/distiller and contracted with him for all of our lavender/lavendin oil (see the corporate responsibility section of our web site). We buy it by the 55 gal drum.
We use in a little orange and cedar oils to fill out the boof in our blends; hence the more flowery effect. If they are using an older item it is always possible that it was made before the switch about this time last autumn.
Thanks for asking!
I have written before asking you about homemade laundry soap using your Liquid Sunshine, and you kindly took the time to explain in detail how to work with it.
At the time, I was struggling with a landlord’s front loader that wasn’t rinsing effectively and cloth diapering my daughter, all-the-while dealing with my husband’s skin allergy to artificial perfumes in many detergents. I just couldn’t handle the trial-and-error of trying to use soap that won’t rinse completely and leave a residue after a while.
I finally had the chance to use washing soda along with our usual “more natural” detergent, but it still is not where I want to be. My landlord switched our washer to a top loader and I am ready to tackle the LS + washing soda experiment. What I would like to know is about what proportion of LS to washing soda ratio I should start with for soft water. Do you have any ideas?
I am sorry Yuka. I have never used washing soda in my life and have no idea what to tell you.
I have been using Liquid Sunshine exclusively for 15 years with no issues using a variety of washing machines. Use ¼ to 1/3 cup in soft water depending on size of load and how soiled it is.
Wishing you All the Best,
Thank you, Larry. I appreciate your reply. If I remember correctly, it may have been Matt who suggested that I use washing soda to rinse out the residue from time to time. I’m glad to hear that you have no issues with it. I will give it a try with your suggested amount of Liquid Sunshine.
Residue is not normal for our products, but if it is going to occur you will see it on black clothing first. Reducing the amount of soap you use is the most economical solution.
That soft water you mentioned was supposed to save you money on cleaners – and it looks like you are seeing it in action. A ¼ cup might be all you need. Check your washing machine to see if it has a second warm rinse that you can dial in. This is also a good way to reduce residue. When you think about it, if you were hand washing an item you would probably double rinse it. Makes sense to do machine laundry that way too.
Stay away from fabric softeners (detergent with scent) which are not need and can contribute to residue in clothing. Also detergents are not compatible with organic soap. They neutralize each other which is a waste of your money.
All the Best,
Are all of your skincare products 100 percent organic?
Vermont Soap is a USDA inspected organic processing facility. Nearly every product we manufacture under our brand (we also make stuff for other companies) is USDA certified organic.
Our moisturizing and skin care products carry a USDA organic seal. Green Gold, shea butter, coco-lucious and Honey Love are all sealed products. Our bar soaps (except for a couple of colored ones), gels, foamers and nontoxic cleaners are also USDA certified organic, but because they are soap, they do not carry the seal. They still have the certifier statement on them attesting that Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) certified the product to USDA organic food standards.
We love organic certification because it is audited natural. From farm field to bottle, every step has been inspected to insure natural standards are kept to.
Thanks for asking!
I also read “if ingested drink milk or water” on the bottle (baby wash and shampoo). Are you for real? When a baby takes a bath it splashes water everywhere, in his eyes, on the floor and even in his mouth. He has toys which he has in his bath and puts in his mouth. To use this product is therefore impossible and not safe, that is what we think. We have bought soap that was just the opposite before we bought yours, could be ingested and contained only of eatable ingredients. However,we wanted a product that was organic and did not dry out the skin. Again, why is not this info not required to be put out there on your retailers online stores?
Thank you for emailing us from far away Sweden!
America has too many lawyers and we are extra cautious on our legal wording. That is why we have those extra precautionary statements on the bottle. I will consider taking them off in future label runs.
This baby gel is made from 100% edible food grade ingredients turned into a USDA certified organic soap gel.
In fact, Vermont Soap invented the first organic soap gel in the world. This product is safe and nontoxic. It is soap. Eating soap is not hazardous. However, in America if someone’s pet or child eats some soap they rush them to the hospital emergency room and send us the bill.
The only downside of soap is that is stings your eyes a little if you get soap in them. That’s it – sorry for the confusion.
This is as safe and natural and nontoxic and low eco-impact a foaming product as can made. It is the state of the art and I thank you for finding us.
All the Best,
Do you source your Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil organically and sustainably? There seems to be some controversy over the use of these ingredients. Any words to help us feel better about the use of these oils?
Thanks for asking!
You can find information about our sourcing practices under Corporate Responsibility under the About Our Soap tab.
Vermont Soap is proud to support the greenest palm oil available in the country! Check it out.
All the Best,
We just purchased the Yoga Mat Cleaner Cube Container. Do you have directions how to safely pour from the container into the 16 oz spray bottle?
- Place cube face up with the round white cover topside.
- Remove round white cover revealing portal.
- Reach into cube through portal and remove the dispenser.
- Pull bladder nipple through the portal.
- Remove the inner seal inside.
- Screw dispenser cleanly onto nipple.
- Stand cube up with dispenser facing you.
- Put something under the dispenser to catch any mess.
You are ready to go!
Do you really think the new organic deodorant needs to be reapplied after 6 hours? And what’s with that scent?
Most people do not need to apply Sage Lime organic deodorant every six hours. Use it as you would any other underarm deodorant. The Soapman uses his underarm stuff once in the morning, and once more when going out for the evening. Our toughest tester required an application every six hours to stay fresh. This statement is coming off the label next time we print the label.
The scent was a touch off last run. We are tweaking it!
This product has generated more comments than any other new product we have launched in recent years, both positive, negative and neutral. I think this reflects the divergence in skin chemistry, skin sensitivity (we formulate so very sensitive skin types can use our stuff) and aesthetic preference. Keep writing!
All the Best!
What is the weight per bar of your soaps?
Now THAT is a very good question! Handmade process bar soaps contain a lot of water; about 33% to start. The soap looks kind of like pancake batter at this stage. Once they are hard enough to handle (3 or 4 days later) and cut, they contain about 25% water. Our formula and process handmade palm oil based bar soap is good and ready to use at about 12.5% water content. This takes 4 weeks of curing under ideal circumstances. The curing process allows the soap to finish slowly as it off gasses moisture and expensive scent. The bar will continue to off gas over time, losing an additional 10% +/- for each year of its life.
Our bar soaps weigh 4.2oz (average) when fresh cut. We label them as 3.25oz currently. Naked bars that sat for a year in an open display (a travesty!) weighed in at 3.1 +/- so we now have to label bulk naked soap displays as 3oz!
Another way to look at bar soaps is by size, which does not always reflect the density (number of actual molecules you are actually buying) in the bar. We make ours to the classic 3.25” long by 2.25” wide by 1.25” thick. This size fits most easily into the greatest number of women’s hands. Thing is, as the bar loses water weight it shrinks a little too!
Let’s just call it a 3.25oz and be done!
All the Best,
Do you still carry aromatherapy refreshing spray — country lavender?
We sure do Dinah. It is in a bigger bottle (better value) but the scent is pretty much unchanged.
Here is a link.
With your deodorant being all-natural, please consider coming out with more scents, other than lime. The lime is nice, but why not some scents that match your soaps.
Thanks for the suggestion Deb!
We use the sage/lime combo because it fought BO better than any other essential oil combinations we tried. It also had a low reactivity to sensitive skin.
Thanks for keeping it natural!
How is your shampoo bar different from your soaps? What would happen if I used your soaps to wash my hair? I’m trying to find a shampoo bar I like but several of the ones I’ve tried leave a residue in my hair. What causes this? Is it the shampoo or is it my hair?
Here’s what I can tell you:
- The thicker and curlier the hair the less a shampoo bar will work for you.
- Shampoo bars will lighten dyed and tinted hair
- Thin hair will probably not need a conditioner. The thicker the hair follicle the more additional conditioning will be desirable.
- Use only low or no-scented handmade bar soaps for a shampoo bar (hint: I use the Butter Bar as a shampoo bar because I do not want to smell lavender all day). Essential oils and scents are not good for hair especially over time.
- Shampoo bars may thicken the appearance of thin hair. They may also temporarily straighten wavy hair.
- You may need to experiment to find if washing your hair everyday is best for you.
Everything I just listed above may not exactly apply to you and your particular and unique hair but this will provide a good guideline for you in your search for nontoxic hair care.
All the Best!
What is better to use on dishes: castile soap or liquid sunshine?
They are two different versions of the same liquid soap base.
Liquid Sun cleans grease better than any other blend, but in a pinch I use whatever Vermont Soap product is handy; including gels and foamers.
I can’t tell the difference between Castille liquid soap and shower gels. I am sure I’m not the first person to ask but I can’t seem to find the answer. I’d be using it for shower/bath and hand washing. thanks. MGB
Castile liquid soaps are multi purpose products used for hands and feet and general cleaning. Dilution and use instructions are on the product page of the website.
Shower gels are very differently made and formulated to be used on the body. They are more moisturizing and less de-greasing and not particularly suited for cleaning purposes.
I think you want our organic shower gels for hands and body.
All the Best,
Do you still sell seconds at your store and do you ship them? I met Larry quite a few years ago when you were on RT 7, in Brandon in a small house.
You bet! Seconds are still offered for sale at our Discount Factory Outlet and Soap Museum in Middlebury. Open m-f 9-5.
We also sell seconds and thirds on the website.
All the Best,
How come my sensitive skin can tolerate handmade bar soaps but regular bar soaps dry me out?
Soap is fascinating stuff and the same ingredients can take bar, liquid, gel, paste or foamer forms. But of all the forms soap can take, properly made and formulated handmade bar soaps are always the mildest soap that can be made. Here are three reasons why:
- Handmade soap has no measurable free caustic. Excess caustic in mass market soap insures an extra long shelf life and helps the bar foam more. Downside: your sensitive skin will get dried up and irritated!
- Handmade soap has extra oils in them. These help to moisturize tender skin. However the more moisturizing a bar soap is the less it foams. It is the art of the soapmaker to find that balance.
- Soap is a crystal and soapmakers are crystal growers. Properly made handmade soap takes a month before it is ready to use. Crystals that grow slowly are more uniform instead of being large and jagged. Here is a picture if some nice looking soap crystals being formed:
While driving around Vermont one summer many years ago, we stopped by the factory and bought the the soap scented as “fresh cut hay.” We absolutely love that scent……will you ever make that soap again? If so, I am going to buy loads of it! It was the best scent ever!
Our store, officially the Vermont Soap Discount Factory Outlet and Soap Museum, is located right next to our factory in Middlebury, VT. Glad you found us! We sell dents and bents and seconds by the pound. Vermont Soap makes a lot of soap for other companies and a lot of those seconds and not-quite-perfects you are buying at a discount are left over from those runs. We do make up new names for the soaps to preserve our client’s privacy.
You never know what will be there and the mix changes week to week. Our 17 stock bar soaps are pretty much always there, but the rest rotates through.
The leaves are peaking in Central Vermont right now! It’s a great time to visit your favorite soap company.
Why don’t Vermont Soap bar soaps lather more?
- There is an inverse relationship between lather and moisture. More moisture = less lather.
- Synthetic detergents lather better in hard water and cold water than soap does – and the suds last longer.
Downside; these synthetic foaming chemicals do not exist in nature. Thus there are unintended consequences that go with their production and use. Every foaming agent that ends with an “ate” or an “eth” contains minute amounts of 1,4, dioxane a potent tumor enhancer; for just one example. As another: sodium lauryl sulfate is suspected of deteriorating the optic nerve in newborns and premie babies.
Organic products are not for everyone, but they ARE for people who really care.
I am interested in your soaps for my bath and body liquid dispensers. We live in the Southern parts of NJ and our water is 25ppm of iron content. We use a salt water softener. We have iron deposits in our water and rinsing of traditional soaps is difficult at times – especially shampoo and conditioner. Thus we use minimal amounts and stretch it thin.
Anyway, I am interested in a bath & body gel/soap for the new dispensers we purchased. I wanted to choose a soap that is perfect for sensitive skin as my four young children have (8,6,4,2) my wife also has fair skin and I suffer from really dry flaky skin around my mouth and under nose/chin. My wife has oily skin and my children are just fair, all light (blonde hair and blue eyes).
I would like to now what you would suggest for us that we can use for our family? We have tried Aveeno, St. Ives., Dove, Irish Spring, and I am now using Dettol soap which is really strong for my kids.
Please advise on the scents too, it’s hard to get a description on what the scents are like.
Could you explain your smells? Are they very pungent? Does the orange smell like citrusolve or orange GoJo, etc.?
Does the Lavender present the best bouquet for a family – or will it leave the boys smelling like floral?
Those new dispensers sound pretty cool, but hear me out before you stock up on gel and liquid foaming products.
All of the foaming products you named are commercial detergents. Not a soap molecule to be found except in the AVEENO bar soap. All those gels and liquids are in fact, first cousins to your hair shampoo.
I would like you to take a step back and try a couple of our soap based products instead.
First, stop washing your face with chemical detergents! Those dry spots tell us your skin is not happy with your current product choices. I recommend that you try our BUTTER BAR. Use this on face and body. Try it on your hair and for shaving too! Super mild for the kids and pretty much unscented.
Try our Lemongrass Zen foaming hand soaps. This is our most popular foamer.
I find it hard to believe that your water softener is functioning properly. If it was there would be zero iron deposits and your water would encourage foam rather than suppress it. I like a simple string filter followed by a carbon cartridge. Get the bigger cartridge model and change them less often. Something is not quite right there.
Sounds like you have your hands full! I know you like the convenience of liquids and gels, but want you to try the mildness of handmade organic bar soaps instead.
Wishing You All the Best,
Organic liquid soap is it usually thin like watery or thick but not overly I guess my question is that I heard organic liquid soap is thin. Making it thick is difficult?
Our organic shower gels are made by thickening our liquid soap with vegetable gums and glycerin. You can buy this from us online for your use as a shower gel. It is tricky to do successfully on your own – despite some internet claims otherwise. For cleaning and general use you will want to use our liquid soap, which rinses off faster and is more de-greasing.
Even though our Castile liquid soap is liquid (not gel) it is very concentrated and will foam even when diluted by over 90% in water.
All the Best,
Are the liquid Castile soaps antibacterial?
Thanks for the question.
ALL real soaps wash away germs.
That is why the Vermont Sate Department of Health says to wash your hands well with soap and water after you potty; dry them, and go off to flip burgers without starting an epidemic.
The anti-microbial ingredient in soap is usually triclosan, a molecule that is only one carbon atom away from being Agent Orange defoliant. This product is suspected to be linked to meteoric rises in autism and depression today, an accusation for which there is ample anecdotal, but little clinical evidence.
Thanks for asking Roxie – Keep it natural!
How long do natural bar soaps last in storage?
Organic bar soaps should be viable for 3 years from manufacture. As with all natural products; heat and ultraviolet light break down organic soaps.
Store your organic bar soap in a cool dry place away from sunlight if not in active use. Put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of your naked bars and seal the box with tape for best results. For long term storage organic bar soaps can be sealed in plastic as if they were food and frozen.
I am using your liquid sunshine for house hold cleaning and it works great! I wanted to ask you how to use this liquid in dishwasher? Today I used it straight from the 1 gallon bottle in dishwasher and after washing there was a white layer on all my dishes. Please let me know which product I can use for my dishwasher and how to use it.
Thanks for switching to Liquid Sunshine organic cleaner!
The white layer on your dishes is “soap scum”.
From Wikipedia: “Soap scum is an informal term for the white solid that results from the addition of soap to hard water.”
The easiest option is to dilute the soap in half with water. Hint: Add the soap to the water when you dilute and it won’t foam up the way adding water to the soap will.
Next: Your dishwasher probably has a setting for a Hot Final Rinse. Hot water rinses off soap better than cold.
Long Term: Consider installing a simple water filter. All your plumbing appliances will last longer and your water will clean better and might taste better if the unit is working properly. We have hard water in the mountains where I live and we use a string type sediment filter followed by a carbon filter. I change them twice a year (install the bigger filter holders $99ea but they last twice as long) and buy replacements by the case which cuts the cost considerably.
Soap acts a little differently than detergents. (They are actually opposites and neutralize each other). Dishwashers were programmed with detergents in mind. By switching to organic soap you are actually participating in a cultural revolution; the change-over back to the use of molecules that are actually found in nature!
You may have to experiment a bit to get the dilution ratios that work for you, your water and your application.
All the Best!
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
“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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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,
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.
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!
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:
- This is a wash off product
- There is less than 3% essential oils in the product to start
- 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,
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.
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.
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!
For the castile liquid soaps do you need to put water in it? And are they concentrated?
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.
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