Dr. Bronner’s Factory Tour: Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Factory

Come along with me on this Dr. Bronner’s factory tour of the Pure-Castile Bar Soap production! Making quality bar soap on this large of a scale is tricky business. Liquid soap is a cinch in comparison. With liquid, you functionally throw all the ingredients in a pot and out comes the soap. Bar soap is more complicated. The ingredients all go in as a liquid, but they need to come out as a solid! That takes a lot more doing.

That’s one of the reasons I brought you my tour of our Liquid Soap Production first, years ago, but put off attempting to explain to you bar soap production until now. Honestly, it’s a bit nerdy, but I have full confidence that you will appreciate it just as much as I do. After all, chemistry is gorgeous.

The Chemistry of Bar Soap

Because bar soap production happens inside a closed system, I can’t show you the chemistry in action, so I’ll have to describe it for you. Inside the tubular reactor in the video (does “tubular” make anyone else think of the Ninja Turtles?), I want you to envision a collision between oils and alkali which blasts apart all the molecules so that they reorganize as soap, glycerin, and water, with nothing leftover. It’s so efficiently beautiful! A few more ingredients get mixed in to the liquid before it begins the process of drying out. First, most of the water content is extracted in a vacuum chamber as a vapor. The water vapor runs through the cyclone separator so that any soap content that got caught in it can be pulled out and the water can be treated for reuse. The remaining soap then gets cut into “noodles,” which you see in the video, and it continues to dry as it cures in the supersacks. Personally, I think the soap noodles look like cheese curds.

The essential oils don’t get added until the finishing line. When you buy essential oils for home use, they usually come in a 1-ounce bottle, or possibly smaller. We buy them in 55-gallon drums, which is equal to 7040 ounce bottles, and can cost over $20,000!

So sit back and enjoy! Be hypnotized by the honeycomb screens. Get mesmerized by the stamper. I hope you’ll agree with me that soapmaking is really nifty!

Further reading

Download Now!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!


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Christine Donald says:

Do you have live tours to the public of the factory?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Christine- No, unfortunately we are not able to offer tours.

Donna Allgaier-Lamberti says:

I began using Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in the 1970’s. I have also been into recycling and being as green as possible. I really liked that I could buy them in a gallon jug so I could use fewer plastics and actually I reused those plastic jugs to hold water and fish emulsion for wartering my plants. I love that they have essential oils in them. I have used them for hair washing, body washing, cleaning my home and I JUST learned that I can use Dr. Bronners for my laundry washing-go figure! I ony wish I was closer so I could bring my granddaughter to the factory for a tour. Best wishes!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Donna – It’s so great to hear your history with my family’s products! I’m glad they’ve been such a help to you. Even if you lived closer, we do not have public tours of our factory because we don’t have the space for it. But I hope you enjoyed my video tour!

Shanica says:

This video was fun. I love the bus 🚎 and the fact that the soap 🧼 is multi purpose!

Sheri Owen says:

Wow! That tour was really interesting! Thank you guys so much for making that and sharing it.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Arti – Those machines are seriously entrancing!

Roxy says:

I really liked seeing the operation of how the products we buy are made. Makes me want to even support you more. Keep up the great job doing running this business!!!God Bless and Be Proud!!!

Susan says:

This was fantastic!!!!! Thank you SO much, Lisa, for taking the time to make this video!! ANYTHING Dr. Bronner is “da bomb”!!!

Janis says:

It’s nice to be able to see the process for making the products that keeps me so fresh and so clean! I use Dr. Bronner products because of the purity and ease of use. I honor my body and honor this company for keeping the ingredients clean and toxic free. I’m definitely a FAN!

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

Learn More

Print Now!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!