Ask the Soapman
I purchased a gallon bottle of the liquid Lavender castile soap. Is it concentrated and need to be diluted or should I just use as is? I’m wanting to combine it with some other ingredients for dishwashing detergent. Thanks,
Use abut ¼ cup of castile liquid soap per load, it is very concentrated. If you are hand washing your dishes first, do not rinse off the soap – just place the soapy dishes into the machine and add an 1/8 of a cup or so extra.
I bought the bluebars to give to people with acne. Who do you suggest using them (how many times a day….)?
Thank you for that Yehuda.
Acne is a disease and we would never claim to cure diseases with natural soap.
However many people with oily skin issues and red angry skin are soothed by using the Blue Bar two to three times a day.
All the Best!
When I’m on a road trip with my family, I have occasion to wash my hands at various restaurants and rest stops. I end up skin perfumed with floral-cranberry scent or who-knows-what. Sometimes my nose tickles for hours. I take my Vermont Soap foaming hand soap with me to our destination, but is there any soap product you could suggest for roadside rest stops?
P.S. Love your Unscented foaming hand soap and liquid castille soap. My son’s skin finally feels healthy and soft.
Hey Julia, Thanks for the note and the kudos. Sounds like Junior could be detergent sensitive. Does fresh laundry or shampooing make him itch? If so, I recommend the Butter Bar for hair and your favorite Castile liquid soap or Liquid Sunshine for laundry.
I would bring along a foamer when traveling. The tops swivel and lock down for travel. Because the bottles sometimes leak around the pump tote it in a zip type plastic bag. Tighten the cap occasionally as these caps mysteriously loosen over time. Alternatively bring along a pocket full of travel/amenity size bars to use and give away as small gifts.
All the Best!
Can Vermont soap bars be used to wash hair?
The answer is yes – with some qualifications.
- essential oils do not do well over the long term in hair care products
- the finer the hair the better the results
Soap products do not do as well with kinky/curly hair for some reason, but excel with finer hair types. I recommend trying the Butter Bar. You are most likely to have satisfactory results with it.
All the Best,
Does the Classic Lavender Soap that is currently on special have lavender blossoms in it, or just lavender essential oils. I prefer a soap without the actual lavender blossoms in it.
Classic Lavender – no blossoms
Lavender Blossom – with
Thanks for asking!
Does your Oatmeal Lavender soap contain gluten? I know that many times oats and wheat live in close proximity in the fields, and I have an allergy such that I want to make sure the oats and facility used to make the soap are gluten-free.
Thanks Mellissa, we appreciate your concern. Our Operations Manager (the gal that runs the place) is celiac so we are very gluten conscious here. Our Oatmeal soap is in fact gluten free.
I’ve heard that glycerin is genetically modified, but ‘vegetable glycerin’ is not. Which one do you guys use?
Glycerin is a component of natural oils. Your body is made from it.
Our products are USDA certified organic. In order to be certified organic, no GMO products may be used. So if it is certified organic you know that it is safe.
There are three types of glycerin:
- Animal based
- Mineral based
- Vegetable oil based
We do not use animal fat glycerin out of respect to our many Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Kosher, Vegetarian and Vegan friends and fans of Vermont Soap.
Petroleum of mineral oil based glycerin is just bad. It does not smell right, feel right or formulate right. We never us it and it is not organic.
Most vegetable glycerin comes from palm oil trees which are not GMO at this time. Palm oil plantations being monoculture have their own issues which is why we buy our palm oil from Agro Palma, winner of the Green Peace award for low carbon footprint palm oil. Click here to learn more about our sourcing practices.
i’m wondering if your ‘unscented bath and shower gel’ can be used for dishes, laundry, etc., (like the other formula with the essential oils).
No, I would not recommend using our unscented shower gel for your cleaning needs. We make it moisturizing which means it was not formulated for quick easy rinse off. You CAN use it that way, but I recommend using Unscented Liquid castile soap instead. This is what the product was designed for and I think you will prefer it for your cleaning needs.
All the Best! Soapman
Is your baby shampoo and wash tear free?
Nope. Soap stings eyes a bit. So do chemical detergents. In fact anything that foams will irritate eyes.
In order for eyes not to sting multi national companies employ two strategies.
One is to anesthetize the eyes. By putting a topical anesthetic into the shampoo, mass market products avoid the sting. Alternatively, a filming agent which coats the eyes is sometimes used. Here, the eyes are not in contact with the shampoo due to the film that forms over them
We recommend using organic personal care products and buying a shower visor to deflect suds from young eyes.
All the Best!
Is your camping spray (bug repellent) safe for pregnant women?
Citronella Camping Spray is an herbal perfume to keep your campsite comfortable. According to the EPA calling it a bug repellent would make it an illegal pesticide. Anything that keeps bugs away is called a pesticide even if it does not actually kill insects. We learned that when the EPA ordered us to recall Insect Armor (the predecessor of Camping Spray) from the shelves of our stores.
We manufacture products for human beings. We would not put anything out there we would not use on our own wives and children.
There is a lot of scuttlebutt about essential oils on the internet. We routinely see the rosemary rumor repeated (claiming that bathing in rosemary soap will bring on a miscarriage for example). This is just irresponsible rumor mongering. But if you want to use safe organic products without essential oils, just spray the camping spray lightly onto clothes rather than skin. We also make unscented baby wash, bath bar soap and castile liquid soap (for cleaning) if you desire.
So yes, Camping Spray and everything we make is safe and nontoxic for humans, pregnant and otherwise – especially when placed side by side and compared to mainstream products.
Wishing you All the Best,
I’m interested in buying your products but I have one concern. Why don’t your bottles show a USDA Organic seal on them?
Great question Luisa!
According to the USDA organic program (NOP) any product that contains soap molecules is a “Made With” product. This is a weak organic claim that only lets us say “Made with organic oils” on the front panel and limits our verbage elsewhere. Made with products cannot bear the USDA seal. However they must carry the name of the certifying agency so you know it is the real deal. Our certifier is VOF or Vermont Organic Farmers, a division of NOFA –VT. Only our oil based products like Green Gold bare the coveted USDA seal even though MOST everything we make is certified organic.
I am so happy to have found your soap! By the way, solveeczema.org is where I found you! I’ve heard you can make baby wipes with your soap. How do I do this?
Try 5% unscented aloe castile liquid soap in 95% water. Add the soap top the water not the water to the soap. Soak your paper towels and use! You can also put this into a spray bottle and use on baby or any surface needing cleaning with soap and water.
I am using your fruit and veggie spray and thinking about carrying it on our store. I realize that it states that it makes food taste better but how does it do against pesticides, food wax, etc? Any idea? Thanks
Our Fruit and Veggie wash makes food taste better because it is washing away pesticides, grit, and mineral wax much better than water alone. We actually have attest on it’s effectiveness against e coli bacteria and how using natural soap and water reduces e coli on our food. My veggies taste better just knowing that!
All the Best,
What is the shelf life on your shower gels?
We put a 3 year shelf life on all of our products.
That said I have seen shower gels over five years old and still quite fresh.
Ultraviolet light, heat and air are the enemies of natural stuff. Store your cubes in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and all should be well. Under 58°F is a good storage temperature if you can.
Thanks for working with us!
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 [email@example.com]
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!