Ask the Soapman
What is it about bug spray that repels insects? Is it the smell, the plants being used, or a combination of the two?
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!
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!
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.
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:
- Do you have cats or other pets?
- 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”.
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Try Unscented Castile Liquid Soap for laundry, dishes and general cleaning.
- Try Unscented Foaming Hand Soap for daily hand washing.
Wishing you all the Best,
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?
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:
- do not put your soap into the #2 cup – it has a long thin feeder hose that will clog
- dilute your soap 50% in water to thin it out (add soap to water – not the other way around)
- 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!
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!
What is the percentage of pine oil in your “natural pine floor cleaner”?
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,
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?
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 [firstname.lastname@example.org]
All the Best!
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?
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!
Can you use your soap in the dishwasher?
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?
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 wash away 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,
How do I refill my liquid sunshine spray bottle with concentrate? Do I dilute the concentrate, or use it at full strength?
- Rinse spray bottle and sprayer in hot water
- Fill 90% +/- with warm water
- Add Liquid Sunshine
- Ready to go!
- If too soapy – add more water
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.
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.
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!
- wash with VT Soap Baby Wash/Shampoo
- rinse well with water
- 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.
- Use your favorite conditioner and rinse
- 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
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!
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?
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!
What’s the difference between your regular castile soap and your camping soap?
They are the same. If you only need 4oz, the Camping Soap is the only liquid soap in that size. If you need a lot save money and go with the Lemongrass Castile or Liquid Sunshine.
I just recently bought the green gold moisturizer and on the label, it says to refrigerate after opening for long storage. Does that mean I have to keep refrigerated at all times? Also, is there any specific instructions on application?
Thanks for asking.
Green Gold is an organic multi-use herbal moisturizer with anti aging properties.
Use on your face twice a day to help smooth lines and soften wrinkles. It is even more effective for this when used after the Honey Love Beauty Mask.
Green Gold promotes healing and is good for all dry irritated skin conditions. We first tested it on a little girl who had been extensively burned when her home caught fire and she went back in to save her infant brother. The nurses used it to help her heal. I am happy to report it was a success.
Because the product is under preserved in comparison to mass market products it needs to be protected from sunlight and heat. If you are not using it every day store in the fridge. Otherwise it will be good for about half a year.
All the Best!
I’ve been a fan of your soap for a few years. I seem to remember that reviews raved about one of your soaps for use with excema or other allergic reactions. I promised a friend that I would get soap for her young daughter. Any specific suggestions?
Change out laundry products with Unscented castile liquid soap; no drier sheets or fabric softener.
No more bubble baths either!
Can I add a touch of bleach to a dilution of Liquid Sunshine for bathroom cleaning? While I love the way it cleans, I notice mold comes back a bit quicker in the shower area than when using Soft Scrub with bleach. Thanks!
Dear Mr. Soapman,
I would like to know whether Vermont Soap has a dishwashing liquid soap? And If you have, is it less sudsy (so I do not have to use so much water to rinse)? Please reply.
Hello Mrs J,
Liquid soap foams less than detergents so saturate your applicator with the soap, put a squirt into your dish pan and go to it. Wash and rinse in hot water,
All the Best!
First let me say that I’m so happy to have found your company! I was looking for a detergent-free laundry soap, and happened upon a short interview of you on YouTube, where I think you mentioned you had dermatitis, which is what prompted you to start the company. My 6 month old baby boy also has atopic dermatitis (eczema), which has gotten so severe, that I’ve reached total desperation. I’ve tried nearly everything, and realized last night that I hadn’t addressed our laundry “soap”, which is huge. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it up until now! I’ve been using Seventh Generation all along. It turns out 7th Gen. is not so wonderful if you have super sensitive skin…
Anyway, I’m so looking forward to getting your “Liquid Sunshine” in the mail, but until it comes, I am trying to make my own laundry soap to hold us through. My question to you is, does one need Borax in the mix to effectively clean laundry? I noticed the Liquid Sunshine doesn’t have it in the ingredient list, which I’m happy about (it’s on the EU’s could-cause-reproductive-harm list), so I’m wondering if I can use just a mix of washing soda/ sodium carbonate and soap flakes? Random question, I know, but if anyone would know, I figure it would be you! Also, is it possible to overdose on the washing soda, and exacerbate the skin even more?
Thanks again for making great products!!! I can’t wait to try them out! …and I loved your tidbit on Louis XIV… so interesting!
Thank you for your enthusiastic letter.
What you are saying is that you suspect that your son is detergent sensitive.
This is entirely possible and easy to test.
I would start you with a gallon of unscented castile liquid soap – no essential oils. Wash everything that touches his skin including blankets and pillowcases in it and rinse well in hot water. You will know in one day of this is the root of it.
Do not use detergent shampoos or mass market body washes during this test. Does he have an irritated scalp too? Try a bar of our Butter Bar soap instead. You can wash his hair with it – a bath visor helps to keep it out of eyes. No dryer sheets or fabric softener (ever!) and if you are using bleach you really have to pay attention to get it out of the cloth diapers.
Use Unscented Green Gold to soothe eczema patches.
Sodium carbonate, borax and washing soda are primarily builders. That means they soften the water to make it work better with the soap. Unless you have very hard water and you are dead set against water filtration units don’t worry about adding them. Borax will have a mild bleaching and sudzing effect. Some people would consider it safer than chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) if that is the alternative. Fortunately soap and very hot water washes away germs effectively and it is possibly to avoid using these substances with a little planning.
Do you use plug in air fresheners or antimicrobial products that advertise killing 99.99% of germs? Please consider not using these products in a house with an infant. I would tell you to throw them away immediately but they are technically hazardous waste.
It sounds like your son has a reactive body. If so treat him as if he were asthmatic (he may be that to if he is reactive) ie avoid artificial scents and perfumes and plastics. Wash plastic things in castile soap three times to remove the mold release agents left on the surface of plastic objects. Use it like Liquid Sunshine for floors, walls and all washable surfaces. Wash clothes three times in castile liquid soap to remove sanforizing agents and dye residues and other nasties in clothing.
There you are. Try these things and let me know how things go.
All the Best,
Soapman Larry Plesent
I’m wondering how large your soap bars are. I can’t see a size listed on the website.
Standard bar size: 1.25 thick x 3.25 long x 2.25″ wide. We call them 3.25 oz because that is what they weigh after they sit for about 2 years. Thanks for asking! We will try to make that more clear.
I buy Vermont Soap at the outlet in Middlebury and love it.
My question is about natural gas distribution to Middlebury. What is your stance on the distribution of natural gas to Middlebury proposed by Vermont Gas Systems’ Addison Natural Gas Project, given as demand for this fuel increases, more natural gas will be sourced from fracked wells, polluting our water supply with chemicals.
Do you use alternative sources of energy to manufacture your soap?
God Love Ya Renee.
Thanks for thinking about this stuff – we do too!
Vermont Soap made an executive decision last year to transition off propane/electric to 100% electric. We have only one large machine left that cooks on propane. That old propane boiler will be upgraded to a high efficiency electric boiler later this year. We are investing in serious money upgrading our electrical service to do this. Our decision is partly based on the availability of local hydropower, made right down the block to help offset our use. The second is that we in no way support methane gas fracking. There are a number of good reasons for this including damage to our clean water resources. But fracking NOW precludes ever pumping any OIL from the ground there. The day will come all too soon when $20 gasoline makes this type of pumping a viable option; plus you can harvest gas and oil at the same time for a double punch. Stealing methane gas now is shortsighted considering that this was our local (NY) last chance emergency petroleum source.
The Soapman wants to see algae to methane/alcohol/bodiesel farms covering large areas not suitable for organic food production. But stealing the methane gas out of the ground and dumping it on the market cheap is just plain sociopathic. These guys should face a 100% tax with the proceeds to be reinvested in renewable sources.
I live in an off grid solar log home so I think about these things every time I turn on an appliance. Glad you do to.
Look up next time you come to the factory outlet and you’ll see the three solar hot water panels on the roof of the factory.
All the Best,
Soapman Larry and the Soap Crew
I am interested in the pet soap. However, I have a question. I have a horse and a dog, reading the ingredients on both products, it seems to be identical. I assume I can use either product for either animal.
These two products are similar but they are not exactly the same.
If you are only buying one I would have you go with the Horse Shampoo and then use that on your dog and other pets.
Thanks for asking!
All the Best
can your castille soap be used as a base for shampoo. i use castille soap for my hair product line and it will be added to other organic ingredients for a finish product. this will be for all hair types. thank you
If you are using another formula castile soap our will probably work too. Give it a try. No promises but I think you will like our supermild formula.
I have a HIGH EFFICIENCY front load washer. Can I use your castile liquid as laundry detergent? And if so, would I dilute. My washer uses very little detergent as it is, but I must use a HE detergent.
We make soap not detergent, so if using soap voids your warranty use what they tell you to use.
That said plenty of people use our castile soap products in their HE laundry machines. The one issue we saw was a clogged capillary feeder tube from the cup to the machine.
Someone pointed out that on the new machines this feed tube is only on the softener cup. Check your machine to see. The soap will eventually clog a tiny tube and it is not made in such a way as to be easy to clean or replace.
BTW Do not use softener (more detergent and fragrance at a higher price point) with soap. Soap and detergents are evil opposites and will annihilate each other.
Love your products!
What is the best product to use as a shaving cream for my husband?
Nancy Lee Cryer
I always recommend the Butter Bar. It has no real scent and a nice creamy lather. Wet face with warm water and work up a good lather on hand. For a real treat get him a boar bristle brush and a coffee cup to lather it up in. The bars are easily cut in half with a table knife to fit into the cup. For skin that has zits and odd things going on use the Tea Tree Bar. I also recommend picking up the Toothbrush Cleaner. Not only does it clean your toothbrush; a quick spray on the razor keeps it clean and sharp.
Thanks for Writing!
I saw the article on the Liberia, West Africa visit and was wondering – are you planning to carry African Black soaps?
Hard to find a good Black Soap these days! The black color comes from using old palm kernel oil from the local wild trees. It gets darker as it gets older. The Black Soap I made in Ghana was actually brown and we had similar results with improved Iron Soap (a quick version of black soap) (when made with improved techniques). We may carry good quality Liberian box soap (African cold process bar soap) in the future as my students there continue to improve at their businesses. All the Best!
Are the products containing Aloe Vera latex free?
Ok – good to go. Please avoid our shea and cocobutter containing products: Green Gold, Butter Bar, Cocoa Butter Unscented, and Shea Butter (various sizes).
Everything else is latex free and safe. Our organic aloe vera has been guaranteed latex free by the supplier.
I have dreadlocks and I find them much easier to wash with a bar of soap as opposed to a liquid. Some things that are great for dreads are aloe and peppermint, so the peppermint magic scented aloe castile liquid soap fit the bill almost perfectly, but it’s a liquid. I was wondering if you have that or anything really really similar to it in bar form, or if making that in bar form is even a possibility. Thanks so much!
Hello Anna in VT!
Thanks for asking.
Many dreadlocks have been successfully washed using our very special liquid soap.
I suspect yours will be happy as well.
What I do not know is what kind of hair you have and how often you wash your dreads, as these are factors that might affect your choice of dread soaps. Peppermint oil is stringent. If you have oily hair and wash them every four days or more this might be appropriate. If your hair is thin and not oily I would continue using handmade process bar soaps as these are the mildest and most appropriate for use on fine hair. I find that essential oils and hair do not mix well and over time the hair gets weird. It is hard to describe but the essential oils seem to make it dry and oily at the same time after 3-4 uses. There are three natural options I can offer you.
The first is unscented liquid castile soap. I put this first as it is the most likely product for you to use. People with very fine hair seldom go dread but if they do, our Coco Butter Unscented would be a very nice choice. I use the Butter Bar on my hair as my skin prefers this during the cold heating season which makes the whole process easier. Another option is our Baby Wash and Shampoo. This is a gel soap –thicker than liquid soap and more shampoo like in consistency. The organic guar gum thickener makes it a bit harder to wash out but it is a beautiful product with no essential oils added (I only recommend that essential oils be used on infants under 6 months of age to control diaper rash, a type of skin fungus).
Please email back and tell me which soap worked best for you and your hair type to add to my own body of knowledge.
I saw that a woman was recommended to use the lavendar gel body wash on her baby. I’m trying to buy gifts for baby showers, and was wondering if that lavender gel body wash is truly safe for all babies since it’s not listed under your “baby care” section of the website. Also, I saw people making baby wipes with castile soap, would you recommend your soap for that use? Thank you!
Great questions! Here is my opinion on the subject.
The Soapman does not recommend using essential oils, detergents (as in shampoos) or petrochemical unguents (mineral oil and paste) on infants under 6 months of age.
My reasoning is:
a) infant livers are not full functional until 6 months
b) there is an increased risk of molecule specific sensitivities when infants are exposed to the modern world too quickly
c) a Danish study with infant mice strongly indicates that Sodium Lauryl(eth) Sulfate is quickly absorbed through skin and can potentially damage the optic nerve (skin to optic nerve, NOT absorption through the eyes to the optic nerve) Extrapolating human time from mouse time we once again get the 6 month age limit.
d) Castile soap baby wipes is a pretty cool idea and way safer than detergent wipes. Castile soap is the natural liquid foaming agent that replaces detergent foaming bases.
e) I have a saying, “Scent is for moma. Baby doesn’t care”. That is why our simplest, least reactive soap gel is the unscented baby gel/shampoo
just wanted to know if there is lye or do you use glycerin? in your body soaps.
Sure. This is a good question. Crafters like to use something called Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap. This is a semi clear block that can be melted down and will reform upon cooling. It is fun to add strange scents and colors and even to put little toys inside of the bars. Thing is, these so-called “Glycerin Soaps” are mostly chemicals that you might want to avoid. M&P “soaps” may or may not contain any actual soap molecules. The foaming agent is triethanolalomine, about 15%. Glycerin (vegetable, animal or synthetic) is about 20%, and the bulk of the formula is propylene glycol (antifreeze). Soap molecules can be added to the ingredients to further obfuscate (cover up and confuse) the identification of the product.
While some people like to use M&P bars on their skin, many others do not, particularly people with Reactive Bodies or sensitive skin, which are a good portion of our Vermont Soap family of loyal customers. Vermont Soap is home to Master Soapmakers, who are quite dedicated to their craft. We start with certified organic vegetable oils and mix them with water and lye to make soap and glycerin. After several hours the batch thickens and is poured into wooden block molds. Several days later the molds are opened and the blocks are cut into bricks and then into bars. Next we use a month long slow curing process to perfect the bar. THIS is how the mildest soap that can be made is created.
All the Best!
Will you make wonderful lipbalms? I like your organic products very much. They are so natural and wonderful. Hopefully you can make wonderful lip balms
Yes! We are working on this right now. Thanks for asking.
I have eczema and the prevailing medial opinion is to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate. The other recommendation is to avoid soaps with perfumes or dyes. Which bar soap should I select? The ones you have listed for sale all have a perfume in them.
My personal take on eczema is that it starts as a topical dermatitis and if left untreated can become infected ie “wet or weeping eczema”.
If you have the more extreme form Porter’s Lotion is an excellent product to try. It is the original hand sanitizer from the 1890’s and it really works when infection is present.
But the initial issue of product residues touching your skin still needs to be addressed, and that is where Vermont Soap comes in.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and its many cousins and versions is actually best thought of as a “detergent bundle”. You may be able to find less de-greasing and irritating detergents, but it is also possible that you will have increasing reactions to them over time as well. As a detergent sensitive individual I formulate non detergent soap and natural oil based alternatives for Reactive Bodies.
Laundry, dishes, dishwasher, per shampoo, car wash etc: Start with a gallon of Unscented Castile Liquid Soap.
Hand Soap: Unscented Foamer
Moisturizer: Green Gold Unscented
Cuticle Cream: Shea Butter
Body Soap: Butter Bar
This is easy once you get used to products that work slightly differently from the detergent products you are used to.
Add soap to water for low foam
Add water to soap for high foam
Soap likes hot water!
Wash out your washing machine in hot water if you can before switching over. Make sure everything that touches your skin – esp pillow cases and a top and bottom sheet is cleaned in castile soap. Detergents are on your dishes and in your clothes. Within a few days you will either notice a difference or you are not particularly detergent sensitive and should continue your detective work of finding which molecules trigger your eczema flare ups.
All the Best!
Do you happen to sell the camp soap in one gallon containers? If so, how much are the containers?
Liquid sunshine is very close to camping soap. You can buy gallons for the $49.95 every day special.
You should think about making Neem toothpaste. An ayurvedic doctor on the Dr. Oz show recommended using Neem toothpaste, but the ones I found online have SLS, xylitol and other bad ingredients. If you do make it, please leave out peppermint or mint which I hate in mouth products.
Neem is awesome. When I am teaching scientific soapmaking in Africa I always whittle Neem Toothpicks to floss my teeth with. The taste is a bit much but my gums love it.
You know Janice, The Soapman loves foam; just not in one’s mouth. I am not a toothpaste guy. The whole foaming paste thing is strange to me.
You know all those weird detergent chemical that are even in the natural toothpastes? They are in there as foaming agents and emulsifiers. They help to hold the paste together and to slip thrugh the filler without sticking or forming air bubbles. Toothpaste may be great for cavities, but detergent chemicals increase skin permeability dramatically, increasing the risk for gum disease, and making it more difficult to get rid of it if you have it.
does this not have a fragrance or odor to it Organic Rosemary Extract
Rosemary extract is NOT rosemary oil and has no odor. It is the scentless preservative we use in all of our products. Thanks for asking.
Hi– Love your products (especially the Lemongrass Zen in all the varieties.) I notice that you seem to have discontinued the Lemongrass Zen Shower Gel in the 8 oz pump dispensers. Will you be restocking this? If not, does that also mean that you are discontinuing the Lemongrass Zen shower gel? Thanks very much-Len
Thanks for the email and for your question.
We do have plans to bring back Lemongrass Zen in the 8oz size later this year.
Right now you can buy gallons of it on line – that is the only size we offer at the moment.
Thanks for your input!
What is the texture of the green golden moisturizer? How could i package it for customers? In a jar or bottle with pump? Would it be safe on all skin types for a facial moisturizer?
Green Gold is a squeezable salve like consistency. We can fill your containers with it – 336 min. Good for All skin types that require a moisturizer!
I have recently become very allergic to sodium laurel sulfate and a huge host of other items ………… I am looking for some type of soap for my laundry and cannot seem to find anything – what would you recommend? Can the Castile soap be used? In what amount per load? Any help would be appreciated greatly. Thank You
Sorry to hear that you have a Reactive Body right now.
Detergent sensitivity is more common than you might think.
Unscented Castile liquid soap by the gallon (5 gal cube is the BEST buy) is great for laundry. Use this for dishes and dish washers too.
Liquid Sunshine is excellent IF you are not reactive to citrus oils.
Unscented Foaming Hand Soap is a blessing for daily hand washing.
Regular customers save an additional 5% through our Bubble Bucks Loyalty Program (launching soon!)
Remember: It is not that you are broken. That chemical stuff is no good for you anyway!
All the Best!
I have purchased some cubetainers and was wondering if you sold some type of pump to get the product out of the container?
Open the portal (white plastic round thing taped to the box) and reach inside.
There is a dispensing spigot right inside.
Place the cube with the portal facing up to the sky and pull out the spout in there.
Unscrew the spout and firmly screw in the spigot.
Ready to go!
I really like your soap line. I was wondering if you had any plans to make a hand moisturizer line of products. All the natural lotions I’ve used do not leave my hands smooth. Would you happen to have any insight to what ingredients I should be looking for to find a better natural hand cream? I noticed that you have one moisturizer that contains Organic St. John’s Wort Extract. I prefer not to use it because I’m breast feeding and I’ve read that St. John’s Wort should be avoided.
Also, I was looking at your products for private labeling. Can your product be bought at wholesale and rebottled not using your bottles? Do you offer label services? Thank you in advance for your time and information that you provide.
A little topical St Johns Wort oil for inflammation is fine. Taking it for internally for mood swings is another story.
Internal St Johns Wort use only seems effective for about 6-8 weeks. Then the body becomes used to it.
If you are still concerned about though, use our unscented shea butter instead.
We have a new product coming by early April called Choco-Lucious Organic Skin Smoothie. You might like it too!
Question: Do your aloe baby, and unscented fragrance free cocoa butter bar soaps lather well? I have sensitive skin, as well as chemical sensitivities, and am searching for a gentle fragrance free bath soap. Hope to hear from you.
The Unscented coco butter bar soap lathers pretty well, and it does have its fans.
But my favorite is the Butter Bar. Fragrance free but it has a light herbal aroma from the inflammation soothing herbs we put into it.
I have thin hair and use the Butter Bar instead of shampoo (and also for shaving).
I have a jug of the Aloe Castile Liquid Soap. The info on label indicates that it can be used for laundry. How much would you suggest for one load of laundry? – thanks!
All water, load size and degree of soiling vary, so here are some tips for you:
If you can, get a little water into the machine, then add the soap, then add the laundry.
Use directly on heavily soiled spots like pants knees.
Warm and hot water is best for general cleaning.
The rule of thumb is that you need just enough soap to make the barest amount of foam on top of the load at the beginning of the cycle.
The more you do your laundry in castile soap the less you need per load. Start with 1/3 cup or so and reduce to ¼ cup after 3-4 loads are run through the machine.
Thanks for your help, Larry. I confess, it is weird not to have all the bubbles. But I am trusting that the clothes are still getting clean – perhaps better cleaned than before.
Ok – ready for this?
Soap and detergent are evil opposites.
When soap meets the detergent build up on the inside of the spinner in your laundry machine it begins to strip it off.
This neutralizes some of the soap that would be used to clean your clothes. The more you use it the less you need.
Remember that fabric softener (more scent and detergent) is never used with our products since they will just cancel each other out.
You will find that the aloe in the formula will soften up your clothes nicely.
Use a hot or warm rinse setting for best results.
Do any of your ingredients and packaging come from China?
Chinese Organic has a bad reputation and we do not want to be faced with a recall because an ingredient we use turns out to be fake organic.
We do not like buying bottles from China and have changed suppliers over the years as many of them moved production off shore.
I cannot guarantee 100% China free all the time, but our prime bottle suppliers all manufacture in the USA and that is why they have our business.
We do buy off lots of nail brushes from Chinese suppliers, We also buy Ayate washcloths from a women’s co-op in Mexico.
All the Best,
I have hard that even organic soaps can have chemical residues from the processes used to sterilize the containers. (as in the liquid soap bottles)
Can you shed some light on this subject and ..What chemicals/processes do you use in the preparation of the soap bottles.
Wow! Another great question.
As a certified organic factory everything that might touch or contaminate the soap is looked at. Certified organic means audited natural and most certifiers take their jobs very seriously. If the product is CERTIFIED ORGANIC it is as safe as they can make it and you can be assured no extra artificial disinfectant is used in your bottle.
Our factory cleaner is alcohol. We rinse out our filling hose and lines with a hot water rinse, then we follow with alcohol. This evaporates off in about 10 minutes, but our protocol is to wait at least a ½ hour before using to be sure.
Soap washes away germs, so we do not pre-disinfect ANY bottles we fill here. Every extra step adds time and money and we prefer keeping our bottles sealed in bags inside boxes until we use them to trying to pre-treat a bottle.
Hi Larry, I’ve been a hair stylist for 30 years and struggle with finding the purist haircare possible. I don’t see any hair cleansers in your lineup (?)
If I could figure out how to make a truly organic shampoo I would be emailing you from a sailboat in the South Pacific.
Here is what I have learned from working on this for the past 20 years:
1) Hair does not like essential oils esp when used over time.
2) Fine hair does real well with the Butter Bar (I have been using it for over 10 years with great results) but most Americans are not used to washing their hair with a bar soap and only fine hair gets good results.
3) Liquid soaps as is are too drying except as a Dreads Wash – where they work very well.
4) We have a mild gel soap marketed as BabyWash and Shampoo (no essential oils). Most babies tend to have fine hair and often do not get their hair washed every day so we are generally getting good results from that product. You can give a try and see how it works for you.
5) And lastly, soap based products tend to lighten hair and remove color. Dyed hair and soap are not a mix.
This leaves us the option of making a better detergent shampoo. It would have to be a less than natural formulation but we could make it less harmful that most formulations out there. Not sure we want to go in that direction but it would be worth polling our customers to learn what they want.
All the Best!
Are all ingredients and packaging made in USA?
We use a lot of certified organic palm and coconut oils. These are not grown on the continental US in any marketable amount. We buy these ingredients from an organic cooperative in Brazil that is recognized world wide for having the smallest carbon footprint of all the palm oil producer world wide. For every acre under production they put 3 acres into a Nature Preserve. We get our famous organic shea butter from Ghana, the result of 10 years of volunteer efforts in West Africa to improve the shelf life of village made shea butter while helping African women in remote villages. Additionally, our shea butter is HIPPO FRIENDLY contributing to the care and preservation of the last remaining black pygmy hippos in the region.
Our essential oils come from all around the world; Bulgaria, Canada, India and the US. Our peppermint oil, most of the herbs we use, most of our packaging, labels and bottles, all of our displays, our wooden soap dishes and hand woven washcloths are all made in USA; where we take raw materials from around the world and craft some of the mildest and most well made soap products manufactured anywhere in the world today.
Thanks for asking and for thinking about local issues.
We like to say, “Buy local. The job you save may be your own”.
All the Best,