Ask the Soap Man!
Have a question about soaps, organic products
or chemical ingredients? He's got the answers!
Send your questions to The Soapman
I was wondering if the rosemary extract in your pet shampoo is organic? I.e. Was it grown with pesticides? And what method was used to extract it... From seed? Ethanol? Any info would be helpful as I am looking for a new shampoo for my golden retriever who is really sensitive. Thanks!
We just switched from a strictly natural to a certified organic rosemary extract. These are oleoresins. Comes to us as a thick green paste. This is the anti-oxidant preservative - about 1/10 of 1% is used.
I have a daughter with celiac disease who just had a baby. Do you offer any mild fragrant free soaps that do not contain any wheat, rye, barley or oats. Please advise. The baby's skin is dry and needs a soap with some natural oil in it but none of the other items listed above. Thank you for any help you can offer.
Thanks for asking. Our Butter Bar fits the bill here. No scent or grains and super mild for dry skin. The Baby Bar has a little bit of lavender oil, if barely scented soap is OK, this will fit the bill. Laundry residues sometimes cause dry skin too. Try using Liquid Sunshine Nontoxic Cleaner concentrate for laundry. If you like it the 5 gallon pail is the bargain.
My husband has dry, red, itchy skin (inner thigh area). He was told it was yeast infection due to heat and sweat and was given Nystatin. It has not worked. In fact, he still has dry itchy skin and it's 20 degrees. Which soaps can we start out with. I know that the soap may not help at all but would like to try something. Anything other than sit around listening to the doctors say "There's nothing we can do about it. All you can do is keep using the medication."
Ouch! That sounds painful. Let's assume the diagnosis was correct and this is yeast, or something yeastlike aka malesthesia furfur, which is fairly common - kind of like dandruff. Blue Bar (double strength tea tree oil with peppermint) might be just the ticket. Wash affected area 3-4x daily, leaving the soap on for a couple of minutes before rinsing off. If the Blue Bar is going to work you should see improvement in 4 days or less. If nothing happens after 4 days, try lightly spraying vinegar on the affected area throughout the day and night. Some people do not like vinegar on their skin so watch for reactions. Rinse off with soap and water if a vinegar reaction occurs.
Let us know how the Blue Bar works for him, or if not, if the vinegar spray helped.
I have been reading a lot of labels lately and I am confused by the words that I see. Since you are the SoapMan I thought you could clear up some of my questions. What are these things?
As my buddy Big Jim likes to say; "If it has more than six syllables you probably shouldn't put it on your skin".
The thing to remember about chemical nomenclature is that the name describes what it is.
Magnesium carbonate: The name tells me it is benign. This is an antacid ingredient. I suspect it's use in your product is to make a powder flow more freely without clumping.
Magnesium carbonate hydroxide: This is an additive to clay masks; also a whitening agent. Both magnesium compounds are sometimes used in "dandruff" shampoos. Also basically benign topically.
Sodium benzoate: A common preservative used in many soft drinks. Read the words; benzoate - benzene. This is on the Soapman's limit exposure as best you can list.
Glycol distearate: A common emulsifier (holds water and oils together). Should be fine. Can be made from animal or vegetable sources.
Dimethicone: Silicon oil. Used in food and cosmetics. You would think it would be safe, and most cosmetic chemists think it is fine. However the Soapman is not so sure. Used in lotions, hair conditioners, Chicken Pieces Parts and much more. I am going to stick to using it in the lubricating spray for the controls on my rototiller. I am putting this one on the Soapman's limit exposure as best you can list. Do we really need it in the first place when there are so many natural ingredients that do the same thing?
Sodium xylenesulfonate: This is just creepy. Also called dimethylbenzenesulfonic acid sodium salt. A solvent foaming chemical. Big Jim says it will wreak havoc on your liver way before it gives you cancer. Might be used to deliver a "medicated" ingredient under the skin. Should never have been invented. Minimum safety data available. This goes on the Soapman's Terrorist Chemical Watch List. Avoid this one Mookie!
Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride: This is a derivative of natural guar gum. Should be fine, but why bother? We use organic guar gum as a thickener in our shower gels.
Keep it clean and natural!
Quick question. I was thinking about this last night while using one of the organic liquid castile soaps from your company. If your products are USDA Certified organic, why don't you have that circle green and white logo on the products?
Many thanks for your question. The answer is that in this country there are 3 levels of organic. 100% Organic (self explanatory), 95% Organic (These can be labeled as Organic, as in Organic Soap. The remaining 5% has to be natural, but not certified organic); and Made with Organic.
In the US, soap is always a "Made with Organic" product. When we sell soap in Europe our products are almost all 95% to 100% Certified Organic.
What's the difference? In Europe, alkali, the processing aid that is used to convert organic oils to organic soap, is NOT counted as an ingredient. In the US it IS. Since soap products use up to 16% alkali by weight, they always fall into the Made With category stateside.
Only products in the 95% or 100% organic content category are allowed to sport the nifty USDA logo on them.
This does make it harder to separate ourselves from the muck and the mire of ordinary wannabe fake organic products. It is what we have to work with at present!
Keep it clean and natural!
Does the vegetable glycerine in the foaming soaps come from wheat, barley, rye, oats, or soy?
Glycerin is a component of natural oils (triglycerides). Your own cell walls contain it. We source our vegetable glycerin from palm oil, which is a typical source for high quality vegetable glycerin these days. Glycerin is purified and standardized (USP pharmaceutical grade is what we use) and does not contain gluten. Because it is made from vegetable oil, grain crops are rarely - if ever, used in it's production (currently).
On your "What Is Natural" page [in the first paragraph] you say that "chemical/synthetic free" means, among other things, no alcohols. But alcohol is a very effective sanitizing agent that *can* be produced "in an ordinary American kitchen using "generally available utensils". So why do you exclude alcohol?
Hi Jeff, Thanks for your question. We avoid the use of alcohol in our products because so many people are topical alcohol sensitive, and most do not know it. Alcohol is used as an emulsifier in lotions (holds the water and oils based portions of the formula together. It works well for this, but alcohol can have the unfortunate side effect of drying one's skin as one is attempting to moisturize! The end result is that the individual feels GREAT when they apply the lotion, but they need to re-up every 15 minutes or their skin dries out. Good news for the marketers of the product, but bad news for the consumer.
Alcohol and sugar are also used to make high end transparent soaps. The advantage is there is no free alkali in the soap (which makes your skin dry and irritated). However alcohol sensitive people will experience dry, irritated skin from the alcohol instead!
We do support the use of ethanol and essential oils for sanitizing wipes and sprays, and methanol (rubbing alcohol) for surface disinfecting (such as toilet seats). Look for a USDA certified organic ethanol based hand sanitizer from Vermont Soap sometime next year. We have one in the works!
Best Wishes, The Soapman
Hello Vermont Soap's:
I'm wondering about dilution % of Liquid Sunshine for washing dishes by hand. Our water is a little on the hard side...... Thanks
Best way to do dishes with Liquid Sunshine is to put it right onto a damp sponge and use directly on your dishes.