Vermont Soap Works Hardwood Ridged Soap Dish
Vermont Soap Works Hardwood Ridged Soap Dish are one piece and made in Vermont. Ridges allow drainage to keep your bar soaps ready for action! These can be hard to find, and make excellent gifts.
Vermont Soap Works gets a lot of questions from people regarding skin type. First, not everyone will have one specific skin type year in and year out. Oiliness and dryness can change with weather, hormonal cycles, diet, emotions, environmental sensitivities, disease and genetics. Many people get dry skin in the winter and feel oily in the summer. At other times, you may want a medicinal bar. Here's a simple test you can do to test your skin type:
- Take a cotton ball and moisten it with Witch Hazel or rubbing alcohol.
- Rub the moist cotton along the side of your nose.
- Wait ten minutes.
- Examine the second cotton ball. If the cotton is dirty, you tend to have oily skin. If the cotton is clean, you tend to have dry skin.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is there petroleum in my soap?
Any type of vegetable oil or animal fat will make some kind of soap product. But other than Fels-Naptha Soap or a similar knock-off, the people at Vermont Soapworks is not aware of any other company currently using petroleum in a true soap product.
Dominating the marketplace these days are detergent bars. They look and act like soap but are, in fact, detergent concoctions. Soap is like a snake with an alkali head. Alkali loves water and oils hate water. Put them together and you get something new ... soap! It loves water and it hates water. When you add water to soap it goes: love water, hate water, love water, hate water, love water, hate water; then it foams. Soap molecules are found throughout nature, in yucca, soap nuts, soapwort, etc, and are made by our own bodies to help digest fats.
The most widely used detergent is sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate. It is in everything from detergent bars to shampoo to car wash. SLS is made by taking a chain of carbons from petroleum (or vegetable oil source if it is a premium ingredient) and adding water loving sulfur to one end and water hating sodium to another. Love water/hate water all over again. Detergents are useful because they make long lasting foam even in cold or hard water (compared with true soap products). They are cheap and abundant, and most are petroleum sourced.
Now detergents are pretty cool, and are often confused with soap products but chemically they are very, very different. Soap may be found in nature but detergents are not naturally occurring. Is it wise to make a long term chemical experiment of yourself and your children? The Precautionary Principal says, "Prove something is safe before we release onto and into our bodies, our soils, our food and our water." Rather than today's, "We think it is safe but you have to prove it is not before we will stop making it."
What is the dilution percentage of Liquid Sunshine for washing dishes by hand, especially with hard water?
The best way to do dishes with Liquid Sunshine is to put it right onto a damp sponge and use directly on your dishes.
Is the rosemary extract in the pet shampoo organic? Was it grown with pesticides? What method was used to extract it?
Vermont Soap Works just switched from a strictly natural to a certified organic rosemary extract. These are oleoresins, and come to Vermont SoapWorks as a thick green paste. This is the antioxidant 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 fragrance-free soaps that do but 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.
Vermont Soap Works' Butter Bar fits the bill here. No scents 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 Cleaner concentrate for laundry.
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 Nyastatin. 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 sitting around listening to the doctor 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 (like 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 3-4 times daily, leaving the soap on for a couple of minutes before rinsing it off. If the Blue Bar is going to work, you should see improvement in 4 days or less. If nothing really 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.
If your products are USDA Certified organic, why don't you have that circle green and white logo that accompanies that distinction on the products?
In the US, there are 3 levels of organic. 100% Organic (self-explanatory), 95% Organic (These can be labeled Organic - 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 Vermont Soapworks sells soap in Europe, their 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 the 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 Vermont Soapworks from the muck and the mire of ordinary wannabe fake organic products.
Does the vegetable glycerin 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. Vermont Soap Works sources their 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 they use) and does not contain gluten. Because it is made from vegetable oil, grain cops are rarely, if ever, used in its production currently.
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?
Vermont SoapWorks avoids the use of alcohol in their 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 oil 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 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 not 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!
Vermont Soap Works does support the use of ethanol or essential oils for sanitizing wipes and sprays, and methanol (rubbing alcohol) for surface disinfecting (such as toilet seats).
Vermont Soap Organics produces USDA Approved, Certified Organic alternatives to the often irritating chemical and detergent based personal care products now in general use. They manufacture handmade cold process bar soaps for sensitive skin, liquid soaps for skin and cleaning, the first truly organic shower gels, numerous organic nontoxic cleaners and much more.
At Vermont Soap Organics, they take oils, which make you greasy, and turn them into soap, which make you clean. This process is called saponification (making soap). Soap is fascinating stuff - it is actually a salt that foams. This crystalline nature of soap allows it to be made clear as glass when boiled in alcohol with sugars. Now a salt is what you get when you mix an acid and a base together. Think of it like a child's seesaw. Oil and alkali must be in balance to make the perfect bar of soap.
Any unsaponified oils are called "free fatty acids," and they add to the moisturizing effect of high quality soaps. Use too much and the soap will not lather, and it will have a shortened shelf life. Excess alkali, or "free alkali" is harsh and drying to sensitive skin. About 25% of people are estimated to get a dry skin reaction to free alkali in soap. At Vermont Soap Organics, they formulate for a little bit of oil and no measurable free alkali. This is part of the reason why the handmade soap is so mild. Here's a light version of how the chemistry of soap plays out:
When you mix oils, alkali and water, they chemically react and turn into soap and glycerin. At Vermont Soap Works, they stir the glycerin back in to add to the moisturizing qualities of the final product.
Where does alkali come from?
In the old days, rainwater was filtered through hardwood ashes (coconut husk and plantain ashes in Africa and South Pacific, oak and maple in New England) to make a Potassium Hydroxide solution. Bar soaps are made from Sodium Hydroxide. This is what you get when you run electricity through salt water. Modern day Potassium Hydroxide is made from a similar process.
What makes it lather?
Soap is very unusual, acting like a snake with two heads. The oily head hates water and the alkali head loves water. When you mix soap and water, this love/hate relationship causes soap to lather.
Is glycerin good for my skin?
Yes! Glycerin is in fact more valuable by weight than soap. Milled soaps remove their glycerin by adding salt to their batch. Most glycerin in turn is used as a stabilizer in Food and Cosmetics production, as well as an inhibitor in cigarette paper, which allows it to burn more evenly. With glycerin removed, the end result is a soap that dries your skin. That's because glycerin, mixed with a little oil and water left in the soap, creates a hand-lotion-in-soap effect. This allows them to create a bar that cleans and removes oils, while also soothing sensitive skin.
What about the glycerin clear bars?
True transparent soap is made by boiling the soap base in alcohol and sugars. Heat and pressure may also be used. Pluses are a high glycerin content and mild pH. Negatives are a bar that dissolves quickly, and often contains artificial colors, fragrances, and alcohol which can dry your skin. Propylene glycol (antifreeze) and Triethanolalmine (TEA) are used to make the "melt and pour" soap base of many so called vegetable glycerin. Not quite natural!
What does "French Milled" mean?
One of the early uses for stainless steel was to run soap base between 2 rollers. They began experimenting with running hot and cold water through the rollers. French Milled soap was born! Advantage is a milder, longer lasting bar. These higher quality bar soaps are not milder than handmade soaps.
What is the alternative?
Vermont Soap Organics! You should be using natural handmade or "poured" soaps. These traditional, poured and cured processed soaps last nearly twice as long as most mass market bars. The soap is mixed in small batches and poured into wooden molds. The end result is an opaque premium bath and body bar that is mild enough for the most sensitive skin. Many sufferers of dermatitis can find relief from these types of soaps.
What does "Natural" mean at Vermont Soap Organics?
It means no artificial colors and fragrances and no testing on animals. It means using Rosemary extract as a preservative, not a chemically-derived formula. Natural is about better choices and the responsibility inherent in those choices: organic before pesticides; botanicals before artificial colors and fragrances; vegetable-based before animal-based; and reusable before disposable. Natural is about big-picture thinking. It's about socially responsible business, looking at how they source, formulate and package and reuse or safely dispose of what's left. It's about the relationship between producer and consumer and the planet that we share. Natural cannot be codified like the ten commandments. It is about staying as close to the original form as possible. Natural is about developing an integrated long-term view of everything that they do.
- Vermont SoapWorks recognizes that human beings are now at a critical juncture in relation to the planet, and that viable alternatives must be created to lead into a sustainable future.
- Vermont Soap Organics was created to manufacture and market high quality, unique and natural personal care products of usefulness and value; and to be an example of how corporations can be a tool for positive social change.
- They emphasize the wholeness and integration of the company departments through communication, participation in the growth process, and acceptance of responsibility among co-workers.
- They pledge to conduct business in an environmentally aware manner emphasizing reuse and recycling, the use of natural base ingredients, and the application of appropriate technology.