Questions About Dr. Bronner's
Q: What does “Castile” mean? Is the bar soap also a castile soap like the liquid? What is the difference between the bar and liquid soaps?
A: In earlier centuries, an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. By the turn of this century, “Castile” had come to mean any vegetable oil-based soap, versus animal (tallow) fat-based soap. “Pure-Castile” is now also your guarantee that what you are using is a real ecological and simple soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream during manufacture and slower biodegradability. Unfortunately, many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as “Liquid Soap” even when they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever. Both our bar and liquid soaps are pure-castile, as they are all vegetable oil-based. The bar soap wrappers prominently state that they, too, are pure-castile, like our liquid soaps. The difference between the liquid and bar soaps is that the liquid soaps use potassium hydroxide to saponify the vegetable oils, versus sodium hydroxide used to make the hard bar soaps.
A: The term “organic” refers to both sustainable farming practices and to products ecologically made from materials produced on certified organic farms. According to federal standards, such products have to be at least 70% organic by non-water, non-salt weight. Organic products not only support sustainable farming, but also farm worker health and ecological processing methods. Unfortunately, the hollow market-driven needs of some “natural” body care companies are making a mockery of organic principles. Underneath fluffy, feel-good “organic” floral waters and infusions, many “organic” body care products are really just composed of the same synthetic cleansers, conditioners and preservatives found in mainstream products, often in part or wholly derived from petroleum. Culprit companies are inflating organic content by counting ordinary distilled water in “floral water” as organic, a practice which is not allowed under the National Organic Program. Q: How should I use the liquid soap?
A: For everyday body-washing: Get wet and pour several drops of soap full-strength onto hands-washcloth-loofah. Lather up, scrub down, rinse off, and tingle fresh and clean.
For other uses: Dilute from one part soap into 40 parts water for light cleaning, to cutting it in half or using it full strength for heavy-duty grease-cutting jobs.
For laundry: Use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load; adjust as needed depending on the hardness of your water. Adding a dash of baking soda makes it even better. Q: My liquid soap turned cloudy. What happened, and what should I do to clear it up again?
A: Our liquid soaps are so concentrated that they are nearly solid. Thus, when the temperature drops to about 50° F, the fatty acids begin to solidify and cloud out. Just put the soap in a warm room, or warm water, and it will clear up at about 70° F. But clear or cloudy, the soap works just the same. Q: Do your soaps contain any foaming agents/detergents like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?
A: Absolutely not. Our soaps are 100% true pure-castile soaps. The high foaming lather of our soaps is from their high coconut oil content, which makes a more luxurious and rich lather than any detergent can ever create. “Pure-Castile” is your guarantee that what you are using is a real ecological and simple soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream during manufacture and slower biodegradability. Unfortunately, many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as “Liquid Soap” even when they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever. Q: What are the uses and dilutions for your soap?
A: Although the label claims eighteen uses, we do not have the space to write all these uses on the label and still accommodate for my grandfather’s philosophy, as well as the new labeling laws that are periodically implemented. In reality, there are far more than eighteen uses, as people constantly write in to tell us about yet another utility of the soap. We won’t detail them all, but below are some of the major uses and dilutions.
- For everyday body-washing: Get wet and pour soap full-strength onto hands-washcloth-loofah. Lather up, scrub down, rinse off, and tingle fresh and clean.
- For other uses, dilute from one part soap into 40 parts water for light cleaning, to cutting it in half or using it full strength for heavy-duty grease-cutting jobs.
- For shampoo, people have been telling us for years that they like using our soaps to shampoo their hair.
- For the laundry, use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load; adjust as needed depending on hardness of water. I’ve been told that adding a dash of baking soda makes it even better.
- For pets, lather up well and apply to their body. Be careful to keep the soap and the lather away from their eyes. I find a mixture of peppermint and eucalyptus works best.
- For toothbrushing, apply a drop or two of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (I prefer the peppermint) to a wet toothbrush. Brush as you normally would, rinsing accordingly. Be careful about using more than a couple drops of soap, as you might start foaming at the mouth (last time I checked “rabid chic” was not hip). Many people with sensitive or softer teeth like to use our soap as toothpaste because it lacks abrasives.
Source: Dr. Bronner's
Fair for Life!
For their 60th anniversary, Dr. Bronner’s were pleased to announce that they are now certified Fair Trade! They take care of their employees and give all profits not needed for business development to support progressive charities and causes.
Now they have extended this philosophy to the farmers and workers around the world who produce their major raw materials (representing over 95% of their annual agricultural volume). Along with their families and communities, they benefit from fair prices, living wages and funding for local development projects. Shifting their supply chains to certified Fair Trade ingredients makes a big difference in the lives of several thousand farmers and workers — and is money well spent.
Source: Dr. Bronner's
Overview of Soap-Making
Soaps have been made for millennia. Aside from making fire and cooking food, “saponifying” oil and fat into soap is one of the oldest and simplest chemical reactions known to humankind. In fact, the first soaps were accidentally made by fat dripping into the ashes of cooking fires.
Soap is made by saponifying a fat or oil with an alkali. A fat or oil is a “triglyceride,” which means that three fatty acids of various carbon lengths are attached to a glycerine backbone. The alkali is either sodium (for bars) or potassium (for liquids) hydroxide, made by running electricity through salt water.
The saponification process is a simple one-step reaction with no waste generated: the glycerine is split off from the fatty acids, and the fatty acids combine with the sodium or potassium to form soap, while the hydroxide forms water. The result is soap, glycerin and water (no alkali remains in our soaps).
Quality soap-making consists in great part of choosing the right proportions of the right oils with their different fatty acids. Most commercial soap manufacturers skimp on quality because of cost and use lots of tallow from beef fat with a little bit of coconut or palm kernel oil.
Dr. Bronner’s unsurpassed soaps are made with certified organic olive, hemp and palm oils instead of tallow, and contain three times more organic coconut oil than commercial soaps. Saponified coconut oil generates high-lather cleansing even in hard water because it has shorter-chain saturated fatty acids. Hemp, olive and palm oil-based soaps make a mild, smooth, creamy lather because these oils contain longer-chain unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids.
Other ways Dr. Bronner’s make higher quality soap.
- Unlike most commercial soap-makers who distill the glycerin out of their soaps to sell separately, Dr. Bronner’s retains it in their soaps for its superb moisturizing qualities.
- We superfat our soaps with organic hemp and jojoba oils for a milder, smoother lather.
- We use natural plant-derived vitamin E and citric acid to protect freshness.
- We do not add any chelating agents, dyes, whiteners or synthetic fragrances.
- We use pure and powerful high-quality certified organic essential oils.
- Our liquid soaps are 3 times more concentrated than most so-called “liquid soaps” on the market, and are only a few percent away from being a solid, which ecologically saves on packaging materials.
- Our new plastic cylinder bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.
- Our soaps are a superb value, costing less than less-concentrated, inferior detergent body-wash “liquid soaps.”
- Our soaps are most popular for at-home washing, but they also are the soap of choice for many campers and hikers, as they are so biodegradable and nature-friendly.
Source: Dr. Bronner's
Whole Kernel and White Kernel Coconut Oil
Our white kernel and whole kernel VCO is cold-pressed from fresh carefully dried coconuts, giving it a delicious aroma. Versatile and healthy, VCO can be used for stir-frying, sauces, baking and body care.
Extensive field research in the tropics shows that people who follow a traditional diet high in coconut oil enjoy excellent cardiovascular health. Clinical research confirms that VCO improves blood cholesterol by increasing the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol, due in part to saturated medium chain fatty acids (MCT's) such as lauric.
Whole kernel oil, which is made from the kernel with its "parings" is more nutritious and has a slightly nuttier flavor whereas white kernel oil offers a choice to consumers who are familiar with this grade. Both grades are versatile and healthy along with being organic and fair trade.
Source: Dr. Bronner's