5 Generations. Over 150 Years of Soapmaking Excellence.
Dr Bronners : Family-Owned and Run, Natural Product Pioneers
Dr Bronner’s is synonymous with Old World quality and time-honored simplicity, which can be traced back to the family’s German-Jewish soapmaking tradition. Born in 1908 to a Jewish family that had been making soap since 1858, Emanuel Bronner was the third generation certified as a master soapmaker under the guild system of the time. In 1929, he brought his formulas for high-quality liquid and bar soaps to America, starting Dr Bronner’s in its current form in 1948.
Dr Bronners soaps, renowned for their quality, versatility and eco-friendliness, enjoyed a small but loyal following in the early years. In the late 1960s, however, soap sales started to explode, due to the unsurpassed ecological quality combined with Emanuel Bronner’s urgent message to realise our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides. Word-of-mouth soon made Dr Bronner’s the iconic soap of that era, and in the decades that followed the soaps spread into every health food store in the U.S. and then into the mainstream as well – winning over fans from all walks of life on the way to becoming the number-one-selling brand of natural soaps in North America.
The 4th and 5th generations of the Bronner family who run the company today continue to make Dr Bronners unsurpassed soaps with care and integrity. 2008 marked both the 60th anniversary of Dr Bronner’s in America and the 150th anniversary of Dr Bronners family’s first soapmaking activity in southern Germany.
Today, Dr Bronner’s continues its mission and commitment to building an engine for promoting and advancing positive social change. From pioneering USDA certified organic personal care products, to creating Fair Trade projects across the world that ensure fair and just treatment of farmers and workers, to creating a socially responsible workplace in the U.S., Dr Bronner's strive to honour their heritage with progressive business practices, while devoting profits to worthwhile causes and charities worldwide.
An Overview of Dr Bronner's Soapmaking
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 glycerin backbone. The alkali is either sodium hydroxide (for bars) or potassium hydroxide (for liquids), made by running electricity through salt water.
The saponification process is a simple one-step reaction with no waste generated: the glycerin 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 Dr Bronners soaps).
Quality soapmaking consists in great part of choosing the right proportions of the right oils. Coconut oil is very high lathering, but can be drying. Olive oil gives a really soft and luxuriant lather, but in small amounts. By using both coconut and olive oils in the right ratio, Dr Bronner’s unsurpassed soaps offer the best of both worlds: high lather with superb softness on the skin. To top it off, Dr Bronner's soaps also contain hemp and jojoba oils, which mirror the natural oils in the skin’s sebum, thus imparting a wonderful after feel once the soaps are washed away.
Dr Bronner's All-One Mission
Dr Bronner’s is a family business committed to honoring the vision of their founder Dr. E.H. Bronner by making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating Dr Bronner's profits to help make a better world. ALL-ONE!
Other Ways Dr Bronner’s Makes Higher-Quality Soaps
* Unlike most commercial soapmakers, who distill the glycerin out of their soaps to sell separately, Dr Bronners retain it in their soaps for its superb moisturising qualities.
* Dr Bronner's super-fat bar soaps for a milder, smoother lather.
* Dr Bronner's use natural vitamin E from sunflower seeds and citric acid from fermented tapioca to protect freshness.
* Dr Bronner's do not add any chelating agents, dyes, whiteners or synthetic fragrances.
* Dr Bronner's use pure and powerful high-quality certified organic essential oils.
* Dr Bronner's liquid soaps are three times more concentrated than most so-called “liquid soaps” on the market, and they are only a few percent away from being a solid, which saves on packaging materials.
* Dr Bronner's soaps are a superb value, costing less than less-concentrated, inferior detergent body-wash “liquid soaps.”
* Dr Bronner's soaps are most popular for at-home washing, but they are also the soap of choice for many campers and hikers, as they are biodegradable and nature-friendly.
* Dr Bronner's also use better packaging; their plastic cylinder bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.