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WHY ARE DR. BRONNER’S SOAPS OF SUCH HIGH QUALITY?

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.
  • 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.
  • Dr. Bronner's superfat their soaps with organic hemp and jojoba oils for a milder, smoother lather.
  • Dr. Bronner's use natural plant-derived vitamin E and citric acid to protect freshness.
  • They do not add any chelating agents, dyes, whiteners or synthetic fragrances.
  • Dr. Bronner's use pure and powerful high-quality certified organic essential oils.
  • Their 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.
  • Dr. Bronner's new plastic cylinder bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.
  • Dr. Bronner's soaps are a superb value, costing less than less-concentrated, inferior detergent body-wash "liquid soaps."
  • And Dr. Bronner's 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.


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HOW IS SOAP MADE?

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).


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Are Dr. Bronner’s Palm and Coconut Oils produced "sustainably"?

Some customers are concerned that the palm and coconuts oils used in Dr. Bronner’s soaps may come from plantations that were established on recently cleared tropical forestland or otherwise contribute to environmental destruction. They don’t.
As with any other crop, it’s not what you grow but how you grow it. For one, all growers Dr. Bronner’s purchase from are certified organic. This means that no agrochemicals are used (chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides) and soil fertility is replenished by natural means - compost, manure, mulching with crop residues. The production of Dr. Bronner’s oils also does not contribute to deforestation. The palm oil comes from about 1,000 acres of smallholdings in Ghana (where there are no orangutans) that were established decades ago. The coconut oil comes from some 400 small to mid size farms in Sri Lanka, most of which have been in the owners’ family for generations. Dr. Bronner's encourages the growers to intercrop with other beneficial species and supply organic fertilizer at a subsidy. This improves soil fertility, yields and profitability of small farms – and allows them to compete with plantations.
By having our entire supply chain certified organic and fair trade we also want to demonstrate that one can produce any crop - and the products made from them –sustainably.


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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?


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 biodegradability and the manufacturing waste stream. 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.


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What are the uses and dilutions for Dr. Bronner’s soap?

Although the label claims eighteen uses, there is not the space to write all these uses on the label and still accommodate for Dr. Bronner’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 explain  yet another utility of the soap. Following are some of the major uses and dilutions.
For everyday body-washing: Get wet and pour soap full-strength onto hands or washcloth or loofah. Lather up, scrub down, rinse off, and tingle fresh and clean.
For shampoo: people have been saying for years that they like using Dr. Bronner’s soaps to shampoo their hair. Now, paired with the new Citrus Conditioning Rinse and Organic Leave-In Conditioning Crème, it works better than ever.  See below  “Can I shampoo and condition my hair organically?”
For the laundry: use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load; adjust as needed depending on hardness of water. 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. A mixture of peppermint and eucalyptus works best.
For toothbrushing: apply a drop or two of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (peppermint is good) 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! Many people with sensitive or softer teeth like to use Dr. Bronner’s soap as toothpaste because it lacks abrasives.
For cleaning: 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.


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Can I shampoo and condition my hair organically?

YES!
1) Shampoo with your favourite Dr. Bronner’s soap. True soaps clean hair well but can leave a tangly look & feel; however…
2) Rinsing with our new Organic Shikakai Conditioning Rinse results in spectacular look and feel! Just stir 1-2 capfuls of this rinse into a cup of water, close eyes and slowly pour while massaging into hair. Keep hand combing hair until hair feels entirely sleek (~30 seconds). Rinse out well. Repeat if necessary in extra hard water conditions or with longer hair.
3) After drying lightly with a towel, massage in Dr. Bronner’s new  Organic Leave-In Conditioning Crème for added silkiness and softness.


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My liquid soap turned cloudy. What happened, and what should I do to clear it up again?

Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps are so concentrated that they are nearly solid. Thus, when the temperature drops to about 10° C, 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 20° C. But clear or cloudy, the soap works just the same.

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Do Dr. Bronner’s soaps contain any foaming agents/detergents like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

Absolutely not. Dr. Bronner’s soaps are 100% true pure-castile soaps. The high foaming lather of the 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 slower biodegradability and the manufacturing waste stream. Unfortunately, many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as "Liquid Soap" even when they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever.

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What makes a product organic?

The term "organic" refers to both sustainable farming practices and to products ecologically made from materials produced on certified organic farms.  For a product to have organic integrity it must be farmed or made from products farmed in a way that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic pesticides and/or fertilizers, and it must also be produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, irradiation, sewage sludge, or other excluded practices. 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 US National Organic Program.


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What is the difference between a product that is certified organic and one that is just organic?

A product that is certified organic has been audited by an accredited organisation, ensuring products meet requirements for organic certification.  If a product is ‘just organic’ and has no certification, there can be no guarantees that in fact this product is truly organic.
To be certified as:
100 percent organic: Product must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients.
Organic: Product must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt).  Remaining product ingredients must consist of approved non-agricultural substances or approved nonorganically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form.
Made with organic ingredients: Products must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients and product label can list up to three of the organic ingredients on the principal display panel. For example, body lotion made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) and only organic herbs may be labelled either “body lotion made with organic lavender, rosemary, and chamomile,” or “body lotion made with organic herbs.” These products may not display the certification logo.
 
Products containing less than 70 percent organic  ingredients cannot use the term “organic” anywhere on the principal display panel. However, they may identify the specific ingredients that are certified as being organically produced on the information panel.  These products may not display the certification logo.


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How are Dr Bronner’s products certified?

Dr. Bronner’s certified organic products carry USDA Organic Certification.  This certification is widely recognised as a benchmark for organic certification.

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How can consumers be sure that a product is certified organic?

The only way customers can be assured they are purchasing truly organic products is to purchase products which carry an official logo. Dr. Bronner‘s products are certified by Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) and carry either or both of the following logos:


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How can organic beauty products be certified in Australia?

A recognised organic certifying organisation audits a business’ methods to ensure that they comply with national or international standards for organic farming and processing.  The peak body is Australian Certified Organic.

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What is the difference between organic and biodynamic?

Organic agriculture places primary importance on soil health, eschewing synthetic chemicals, which pollute the environment and deplete nutrients and microorganisms in the soil. Organinc agriculture is characterized by the use of natural soil amendments, manual/ mechanical weed control, nontoxic pest management, and sustainable animal husbandry.
 
Biodynamic agriculture meets organic standards but predates the organic movement by about 20 years.
Based on Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner's notion of the farm and earth as self-sustaining organisms, it involves the application (to compost, crops, and soil) of several strictly formulated plant "preparations", and times all operations to coincide with cosmic rhythms, particularly lunar cycles.


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Where do Dr. Bronner’s source their organic  ingredients?

Dr. Bronner’s organic ingredients are sourced from all around the world.  Hemp oil comes from the Canadian supplier Farmer Direct and is certified “Fair Deal”, where farm workers are paid fair wages and famers are paid fair prices.  Fair Trade olive oil comes from Palestine and Israel. Palm oil for the bar soaps comes from a Fair Trade project in Ghana, and coconut oil is from the Fair Trade “Serendipol” project in Sri Lanka, directly managed in part by Dr. Bronner’s own representatives.

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Are certified organic products more expensive to produce than non-organic skincare products?

The intensive management and labour used in organic production means organic products are frequently, although not always, more expensive to produce than non-organic skin care products that are made from ingredients that are produced using synthetic pesticides and fertilisers.

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Why are organic ingredients good for the skin?

Organic ingredients are quite simply good for you and good for the planet!  They are not derived from petrochemicals or synthesised artificially and they are not produced using synthetic fertilisers or pesticides and contain no genetically modified organisms.  Using organic skin and body care products shows you are not just concerned about your own health and appearance but also committed to the health of the environment.

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Why is organic grain alcohol used in the lotions?

Organic grain alcohol (ethanol) is used as a natural preservative at a level that helps absorption without being drying.

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Why is ‘naked’ unscented lotion no longer made?

Under US law, the certified organic grain alcohol Dr. Bronner’s products use must be “denatured” or rendered undrinkable by adding one of various approved substances.  The only options to do this naturally and organically are a small amount (~0.18%) of peppermint, lavender or rosemary essential oils. The Lavender Coconut variety is “lightly scented” as it contains only the small amount of organic lavender oil needed to denature the organic alcohol. Since no other fragrance is added, the natural delicious coconut fragrance of our organic extra virgin coconut oil combines with the small amount of lavender for a subtle, sublime scent.

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Where can I find out more about the Dr. Bronner company?

The Dr. Bronner’s US website has a wealth of information on the history of Dr. Bronner’s company, its unique founder Emanuel Bronner and his philosophies, activism, Fair Trade, truth in organic labeling, media clippings and videos.   [www.drbronner.com]

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