What’s Up With The Weird Label on Dr. Bronner’s Soap?

Articles and Advice | Cleaners

As I’ve mentioned before, shifting to homemade recipes can sometimes send you in search of ingredients that are new to you.  Even if it’s an ingredient that’s not totally new, like glycerin for instance, you might still find yourself wandering around your local grocery store in frustration trying to figure out what shelf might finally (finally!!) have some glycerin on it.

An item that was still new to me a couple years ago was castile soap, and in particular the very popular brand of “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps”.  This soap is often listed in DIY cleaning recipes and is a favorite for being very natural and made with organic oils instead of containing detergents. I started out buying my Dr. Bronner’s castile soap at a local health food store, but have since seen it in Target stores and at my local Meijer grocery store too.

When this product was first new to me,  I looked around on the bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap hoping to learn a little more about the natural aspect of the soap. Part of the label was quite normal and helpful in that regard.

Label on Dr. Bronner's castile soap

BUT, if you’ve ever bought a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap for your Make Your Own mixtures, AND if you’ve ever looked at more than just that portion of the label, you of course HAD TO notice all the other weird tiny tiny words and quotes circling around the label.  Did you start reading them . . . and were you a little freaked out? Confused?  Entertained?  Baffled?

What the heck is up with those labels ???

A Brief History of Dr. Bronner

Before we continue on with that mysterious soap label, let’s take a quick look at the man behind the soap.

dr_bronner

Emanuel H. Bronner was born to a family of soap makers in Germany in  1908.  His last name was originally Heilbronner but he dropped the “Heil” when he immigrated to America in part so his name would have no association to that same term that was used by the Nazi party. Dr. Bronner  pleaded with his family to also leave Germany and come to America but  he could not convince them and they stayed.  He later received a postcard from his father simply saying “You were right – your loving father” and never heard from them again. They perished in the Holocaust.

As time moved along Dr. Bronner became more zealous and vocal about his religious philosophy that he called the All-One-God-Faith.  In 1947 while speaking without a permit at the University of Chicago he was arrested and placed in a mental institution where he reportedly received shock treatments. However  he escaped from that institution, eventually settled in California, and continued his soap making career as well as his great dedication to his All-One-God-Faith.  He died in 1997.

The Dr. Bronner’s Soap website includes this historical timeline that I found quite interesting.  Here’s a little excerpt from the 1950’s portion of that timeline

“He sees the need for the world to unite before it destroys itself, and he exhorts all people to unite as one and to respect each other and the environment and he encourages all religions  to recognize their universal similarities inspired by the same divine source.  Dr. Bronner sees planetariums as being the “All-One!” temples of the future where humanity can realize how vanishingly trivial their differences are on Spaceship Earth within the celestial majesty of creation.

On the side, he sells his peppermint soap.  He soon realizes that many people are taking it and leaving without listening to him speak.  In response, Dr. Bronner begins to print his philosophy in dense, tiny script on the labels of each soap bottle.”

And that, apparently, is the beginning of the freaky label.

Dr Bronners Castile Soap label

The Strange Ramblings of Dr. Bronner

Yes, Dr. Bronner felt strongly about this religious beliefs, but it’s pretty hard not to refer to many of his statements as strange ramblings. There’s a real stream-of-consciousness feel to them that makes them hard to understand. And they are ALL OVER the labels of his castile soap.  Here’s a little sample from a bottle of Eucalyptus castile soap I had around.  Some of the sayings are numbered (not sure why?) but probably are references to what he called his Moral ABC’s.

“12th: God bless the persecuted! They alone are his chosen people! Those that did not suffer from persecution remained short-sighted, small! Only those who united worked hard to survive ice-aged persecution evolved into Humane Beings, like Jesus – Mintz – Sills – Straus – Stasz-Zamenhof, brave, to help teach all, every slave, the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith, for we’re all-One or none! Listen Children Eternal Father Eternally One! Exceptions? None!”

“14th:  Let him who is without fault throw the first stone, for only God is always perfect! So, when our fellow man you measure, take him at his best, with that lever lift him higher, overlook the rest! For we’re All-One or none! Remember, more good is caused by evil than by good.  So, do what’s right! Maximize the good, minimize the wrong! Then the Kingdom of God’s Law inspires – evolves  – unites.  All-One! All-One! All-One!”

Exclamation points!  Lots of them!!  All over the label!!!!

Should I Still Buy Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap?

After my initial puzzlement and wonder the first time I actually read an ENTIRE label of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (and it took me a while to read the whole thing!) my next thought was – what did my money just go to?  Am I supporting some weird cult?  Should I maybe never buy Dr. Bronner’s castile soap again?? Are his beliefs in direct opposition to MY beliefs?

After some research and thinking I processed my way through it as follows:

1.  Dr. Bronner felt VERY strongly about his beliefs.

2.  His beliefs are an outgrowth of  his Jewish roots and faith and contain many Judeo-Christian references.

3.  He was touched by the horrors of the Holocaust and the loss of his family which had a profound impact on him.

4.  These life events even more solidified his belief in the need for unity which grew into his “All-One-God-Faith”

5.  Most of his ramblings, even though they are pretty hard to decipher, seem to be positive in nature, hoping for the moral behavior of mankind, and peace between earth’s people.

6.  Because his writings are so incoherent, whatever message he was trying to get across loses almost all its power

7.  If people can’t make any sense of what they’re reading, it is highly unlikely that it can have any influence.

And for those reasons, I came to my final decision that I would still buy Dr. Bronner’s castile soap in spite of the strange sermon that accompanies every bottle.

words on the label of Dr. Bronner's castile soap

I think Dr. Bronner had become rather obsessed, and maybe even in an unhealthy way, in his quest for human unity in reaction to the horrors of Nazi Germany.  In the long run, I don’t think he was evil or bad, and instead simply held a very unique view and philosophy which was his own hybrid of Jewish and Christian beliefs that he felt was extremely important to share with others.

I’ve been somewhat surprised too that as much as I’m always seeing this product listed in DIY recipes and in references all over Pinterest, it seems that almost nobody talks about that crazy label and what it might represent.  Everyone seems thrilled that it’s a natural and organic product, but nobody wants to touch on the religious aspect that the label represents too.   I think it’s better to investigate and try to make the best informed decision that we can, rather than just pretend it’s not there at all.

A Few More Links To Check Out

So there you have my opinions on the rather bizarre labels that you’ll find anytime you purchase a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.

I’ll wrap it up with a few links to check out for additional info, ideas, and recipes.

Does Dr. Bronner’s actually have 18 uses?

Dilution Cheat Sheet for Castile Soap

Coconut Milk and Castile Soap Shampoo

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox Documentary DVD

 A couple recipes from my site . . . 

Natural Foaming Hand Soap

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Make a Natural and Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Lots of Castile soap flavors to choose from on Amazon . . . 

And finally, a couple YouTube videos for your viewing enjoyment of Dr. Bronner himself. . . 

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94 Comments

  1. Aloha hou,

    Sorry for the 2nd post. I’m just reading through all the comments below and they’re sparking more feelings and thoughts. I’m feeling compelled to write more.

    Born and raised Catholic, here. Very rooted in my faith. And blessed abundantly for it, even — and especially! — in the face of intense suffering. What mystery, what grace.

    There are some real truths in what was revealed to Dr. Bronner and what he chose to put on his label. Imagine his gift in being able to put those words onto a label that has bajillion people — yep, that’s real data 😉 — throughout history reading, consuming, debating, proclaiming, fervently opposing, casually picking up, but no matter what ENGAGING in it. Talk about social media.

    I’m really touched by the dismissal of such truths and the LABEL we put on him: “The Crazy Person” … and yet if we really read HIS label, the label he put on a marketable product consumed by said bajillion people, we’ll notice its good intentions, its powerful foundation, its values that speak louder than his printed words. Oh, and he cites his sources. He’s a good researcher and gifted in his connectedness.

    We could learn a thing or two from Dr. Bronner.

    Particularly the facts I see revealed in our debate:
    —If human relationships are more important than human truth, we must agree that: There are blurred lines, things are gray, and we don’t know everything—

    My sources? Lived experience, the experiences of others close to me, my faith, my work, and the things I read.

    My hope is that we can all see common truths together, if we make space for it. Our lives and our world depends on us to do so, in small and big ways! How many of us have seen this during the pandemic…?

    Thank you, Dr. Bronner, for helping me with my morning routine. And well, lots of other routines that I’m now learning about — love the many uses of Bronner’s! Body (of course), but mind, heart, house, people, food, etc. All! All! All!

    Whulp, you know what they say? Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

  2. Aloha Bev,

    Wow, I just read through your post after searching online for information about Dr. Bronner’s labels and I am so happy yours is the first I read.

    (What I’m about to say sounds really pompous at first, but please read on.) I am trained in research, with a PhD behind my name. What you put together here is better than most writings I typically encounter in my professional and personal lives!

    You never know what you find on the internet these days, so I’m pretty cautious about what I read. Your post feels trustworthy, honest, relatable, well-researched, balanced, and very clear. You are a gifted writer and you convey your thoughts with clarity I wish I could emulate!

    And the content is rich, too. So fascinating to read about Dr. Bronner’s life and history. And so sad too. My feeling is he was misunderstood by many people and suffered greatly as a result. His messages of truth, wisdom, and synchronicity resonate deeply with me. It appears people have thrown the baby out with the bathwater (perhaps a fitting analogy given the soap).

    But I’m also reassured that his legacy continues via these labels. Now, I’m interested in reading more about his family and the company — it’s certified B Corp, which indicates some kind of corporate integrity (in my opinion…but I’ll have to research more).

    Bev, keep writing and doing the good work! You definitely sparked a curiosity in me. I look forward to digging into your other posts, too.

  3. Please buy Dr. Bronner’s Soap from a local store or direct from the company – Am320n has enough money ;~)

  4. Science has become a religion owned by the most powerful people on earth. Now that is a threat to all of us.

  5. I’ve found it interesting for some time that a permit (permission) from the government is required to address grievances with government. Not in our constitution btw. Sort of ironic in a not so good way. Shock treatments cause emotional, psychological and physical damage. Everyone has a right to their own religious beliefs, but no right to impose them on any one else. Religion is meant to be applied to self. Discussion is a whole other matter. Discussion without the power to impose is simply freedom.

  6. With Jesus being included, he himself is quoted by men who knew him and lived as close friends with him as having said he was the only way to God.
    That is why these conversations matter. We must consider them. Not all religions can co exist because they contradict each other. Each has claims to imply the others are wrong and it is the way.
    The Jesus Bronner mentions is the one that according to historical documents and the faith of his followers and many other sources is that he is the only way to God. Meaning all other ways are insufficient and faulty. So, either Jesus was mentally crazy (which first and second hand records show no sign of), he was straight up lying (which is not a characteristic of his nature according to every first hand account us humans have by actual witnesses of his life here on earth), or he was and is who he claimed to be (which was God in the flesh, which would be factually conclusive considering all of his acts, his words, and his life, death and resurrection from the dead).

  7. From a documentary, I learned Dr. Bronner was also blind. His grief and loss as the sole survivor from his family was profound. He did what he knew how to do which was to make soap. He grew his company from nothing. It is ownen by his offspring today. Money from your purchase does not support any particular religious organization. They are very well known for their kind and fair business practices–even limiting the gap between corporate and employee earnings. Who else does that?

  8. And goodness gracious! He says it on the bottle, all one God faith! Not a Christian not a Jew not a Muslim, just one God that we’re too busy fighting over to realize what that God would truly want. It’s not Christianity, he refers to Jesus as a prophet and makes direct references to Rabbi Hillel which is Jewish and then again quotes Thomas Paine. You can call it cherry picking or whatever but all he’s doing is taking the best messages that the brightest minds and humanity have had to offer and putting them in one place so that hopefully you can connect the dots and realize it’s not a effing cult and that he truly cares about humanity which is much more than I can say about the people critiquing this label like some kind of apocryphal doomsday argument or cult like tactics grow up and read the label and stop looking for internet reports to explain to you what’s going on. Go read Thomas Paine, go read the talmud and the Torah and check out the New testament even if you’re not religious. Any decent human being can read through any of those and choose what’s good and what’s not and if you have to go to an internet article then you should really question yourself because his message is simple and clear. All people should unite and love one another and do everything we can to help each other. I hate to double post but after reading some of the ignorant comments from some of the people that have read this article I felt compelled to write another message. I find the disagreement disgusting and hope that one day you people begin to think for yourself and stop worrying about people trying to spread a good message. Not everything is a snake.

    1. Debate and disagreement is OK (not disgusting) and I appreciate hearing all sides of the matter in the comments here. I hope folks can find plenty of info to think about as they read through the many thoughts folks have posted and shared and come to a conclusion they feel is best.

    2. Dear James Haynes,
      I urge you to reconsider. And I mean to direct this thought to your comments and passionate concern.
      With Jesus being mentioned, he himself is quoted by men who knew him and lived as close friends with him as having said he was the only way to God.
      That is why these conversations matter. We must consider them. Not all religions can co exist because they contradict each other. Each has claims to imply the others are wrong and it is the way. The Judeo-Christian writings of the Old and New Testaments contradict that of Muslim writings and claims to who God is, as well as contradict the teachings of many Jewish led teachings based off of the Talmud and Pentateuch, or Torah, as well as contradict the claims of Buddhism and Daoism and so forth.
      The Jesus Bronner mentions is the one that according to historical documents and the faith of his followers and many other sources is that he is the only way to God. Meaning all other ways are insufficient and faulty. So, either Jesus was mentally crazy (which first and second hand records show no sign of), he was straight up lying (which is not a characteristic of his nature according to every first hand account us humans have by actual witnesses of his life here on earth), or he was and is who he claimed to be (which was God in the flesh, which would be factually conclusive considering all of his acts, his words, and his life, death and resurrection from the dead).

      1. Those same men that knew Jesus denied knowing him before he was crucified. No human should be trusted because we all fall short of God’s standard. Love is what we are to freely give, reverence is for God alone. Religions can coexist when no one has the right to impose their beliefs on another as is supposed to be in The United States of America. Jesus told us to share the good news and take up our cross and follow him. He was called a drunkard and womanizer by the hypocritical false prophets of his day for even speaking to those who needed him. Only God can discern the motives of the heart and that portion is best left to him. Actions on the other hand, fruits, are how we tell where people are coming from. I would much prefer a company that is fair to its employees than others who oppress and impose.

  9. Dr bronner’s message is not weird. The way he presents it is not traditional but it’s no different than a Christian church handing out tracks or the nation of Islam holding rallies. He was adamant about his belief because what he says on that bottle is ultimately true if you are a religious person and believe in any of the Judeo-Christian beliefs. Even if you don’t they still hold relevance. They teach about treating one another as you would treat yourself and looking at the bigger picture instead of fighting over what color shirt God is wearing. Even people like myself who are agnostics can still see the value and uniting all religions instead of fighting over who is a right or who is wrong. He talks about an ultimate goal of justice and righteousness for all mankind and there’s nothing weird about that. I could only imagine how it would feel to know that your entire family died in the Holocaust and to understand the religious under and overtones of that experience. What he’s doing may not be normal by your standards but it’s not freaky and weird. If you pick up that bottle, which I have done since I was a child because we have always used natural products, you’ll quickly find that the only ultimate message contained on that bottle is how to treat one another and live a better life through stopping hate and trying to love despite differences.
    I guess you just call it weird because you don’t understand the importance of uniting mankind instead of the normal dividing that you see around the world every day on every news report. Everything in modern media and country relations is always an user of them argument, we’re right you’re wrong we have to live and to do that we need to kill you etc etc ad nauseam. I was looking for information about where the message came from and I do appreciate your links but I think the title of this article is demeaning and rude to a man that only loved the world. his bottles are made from 100% recycled material, all the ingredients involved with manufacturing process are certified organic free trade and sustainable. every message on that bottle teaches you how to treat another person like you would treat yourself if you’re someone that loves yourself. Maybe that’s beyond your understanding and why you label it weird but I find it reassuring that his family has continued to print what they do on the label and as far as I can tell they’re honoring somebody in a decent and respectful way. Nothing weird about that.

    1. Amy, it’s not unimaginative, it’s ignorance and simple-mindedness. there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Dr bronner’s message and his product is superior. This article really got me upset because I was simply looking for castile soap information and now I’ve got my panties in a wad because people are saying it’s got caught like tendencies.
      And I know it’s been a long time since this article has come out but hopefully it might change somebody’s mind and maybe even lead to them doing a good deed or loving someone A little bit more than they did the day before which is more that I can say for this article.

  10. Not sure you can just say it is OK to keep buying this, as your research doesn’t actually seem to tell you what, if anything, you are supporting in the purchase of this product!?

    1. Dr bronner’s proceeds support more charities than you do so I don’t care what you say. The product is awesome and Dr bronner’s message is not a cult document, it’s someone trying to teach you a better way to live your life and love one another more than the greed and war that we do now.

  11. I completely agree Amy! That is exactly what is wrong with the world – I always say this, if it’s not harming anyone or yourself, what is there to judge and criticize? Who cares what his spiritual beliefs were? The product is high quality, organic, and their company is entirely devoted to the preservation of the Earth and sustainability. What more can you ask for from a brand? If it weren’t for the current CEO, hemp would still not be allowed in products. Do some research on that…and the positive impacts the company has shown, when it comes to how it treats the planet; especially in comparison to the brands most of us blindly support in our households. I am neither Jewish or Christian, just also believe in unity, peace, love and togetherness (as do most religions, and as the first excerpt you quoted stated). There is nothing ‘freaky’ about someone else’s spiritual beliefs, especially when they promote positivity, unity and kindness to Earth. Sure it is not well written, but he was also an immigrant whose first language was not English. My point is, why not support a high quality organic product with multiple uses that is devoted to Mother Earth, equal employment opportunities? Dr. Bronner’s is honestly a great a company and more should follow suit, the “crazy ramblings” on the labels don’t change the facts about their contribution to society.

    1. Well said! The people questioning this product because of the message on the bottle really perplexes me because if you truly read and understand what’s written on that bottle there is not one negative intention or ideal included. I’ve used Dr bronner’s all my life and something I said a long time ago to people was ” If you want to know how to treat someone better while you’re sitting on the toilet just pick up a bottle of Dr bronner’s and start from there… ”
      His message is very similar to what the zoroastrians preached, that mankind spends its time fighting over what color God shirt is wearing and not loving God for what he’s done for them. And I’m an agnostic, I know there’s something out there that’s greater than all mankind but I don’t understand what it is or what to call it. Dr bronner preaches something very similar to how I feel and how some of the most spiritually influenced and kind people in the world feel. We’re wasting our time with religion and need to get back to spirituality and love God and one another and whatever form he/she reveals themselves to you in.

  12. Please do not pass this philosophy off as bizzare, quirky etc. The wording on the products are very intentional as I recently found out. The big picture is laid out very clearly in a book written around 1983 called Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow by Constance Cumbey,that you can read for free on the Internet Archive. You only have to read a few pages in to get the picture. Hope this helps. Sorry I’m about 6yrs late .

  13. Okay, just this part hidden in #14 is enough to make me not buy these soaps again: “Remember, more good is caused by evil than by good. So, do what’s right!”
    That’s exactly the attitude of this world’s ruling parasites, and it’s why this is such a crap world.

  14. Thanks so much for doing the research and sharing this. I love the soap but (being an atheist) the label really put me in a quandary. Now I can continue using it happily knowing what I am inadvertently supporting.

  15. i JUST now read his philosophy on Hemp Eucalyptus (amazing soap!). At first I thought I’m not buying this again. Like you, I didn’t want my $ going to a cult.
    After reading your article, however, I think you’re right and feel sorry for him now. RIP
    Who knows what damage shock treatments might have had on him, too.
    I buy products all the time from ppl w different beliefs, but this was a bit startling, to see this bizarre stuff.
    “One perfect God”, yet we are all Him? We’re all Jesus. Too much conflicting words in his own writings. Normal ppl will see this stuff.
    Thanks you, great article. Know it’s old but it was the first that came up in my search.

  16. Kate, although he may say some things that are similar to Christianity, he does not give Christ preeminence as evident by his comments listing Jesus and others as having evolved into humans to teach us. Christ did not evolve. He is fully God and became fully man while also God when He came to earth. Also, there is ONE TRUE God, but today, many are trying to lump false gods in with this one, true God. The man was a heretic that made great soap.

    I bought several bottles to give in gift packages for Christmas, but after noticing the label, I most certainly will not risk promoting his false religion to others. The Gospel is clear and I don’t want to muddle it by gifting the sad, confused ramblings of a heretic.

  17. Thank you, Bev. I was so glad to find what you have written about Dr. Bronner’s labels–so glad that at least one other thought them to be strange and confusing, cult-like and non Christian. I have heard many good things about the quality of his soap, but those labels give me an uncomfortable feeling and frankly make no sense. Whatever it is that Dr. Bronner was trying to say (if the labels were truly written by him) makes no sense as far as resembling precepts of Jewish or Christian beliefs. Thank you for your musings over this strange label issue. What you’ve shared is much appreciated. It’s good understand what we are supporting or may wish to stop supporting once enlightened.

  18. I never found his label strange at all. I’m a Christian and to me it is very refreshing to see a label like this on such a fine and natural product.
    I think it’s a lot better then all the lies, promising you the world with their overpriced products which sometimes are unhealthy or do nothing beneficial. Just a waste of your money.
    I think it promotes love for your fellow man & tolerance which I believe their is no harm in whether you are spiritually inclined or not.
    Peace be with you.

    1. It completely conflicts w Christianity, but I love what she wrote and if you’re interested, check out my comment as well. Peace

  19. Thank you for putting in the legwork for us! I appreciate it 🙂

    Honestly, the first time I started to read the label, I was startled, and put the bottle back on the shelf, not wanting to support a cult. I read it more carefully the next time I saw it (a few years later), and was generally amused and confused. I bought it, and found it to be a great product. It entertains me in the shower. What is with all the George Washington misquotes?! Why?! Haha. I finally decided to look into it today. Thanks again for your help!

  20. It’s obvious the point of Beverly’s article flew right over your head, Amy.

    This has to be the single most thoughtful and balanced article I’ve read about Bronner’s labeling. There’s very little here that is judgmental at all; far from it – Beverly provides a background about the man’s life which helps explain the ad copy. Without this explanation, many would continue to dismiss his ramblings as some form of lunacy.

    This is education that broadens understanding and helps *reduce* judgmental attitudes. In fact, Beverly has probably done more good with this article than Bronner did with his soap operas.

    Perhaps you ought to look in the mirror when you call someone judgmental, because you are doing a darn good job of passing off a whole lot of judgement calls on Beverly. Promotion of ignorance is not intelligence.

  21. I was feeling exactly the same as you explained. You worded it so well. I started to research after reading the label. Thank you for this article , it was a good read and helpful in my understanding. Thanks again
    RJ

  22. I bought mine and then returned it after I read the label 😂 when the attendant asked why I said I didn’t know it was a religiously affiliated and I don’t give my money to religion groups (I mean they are all already tax exempt what more do they want) anyway it was kind of an awkward but funny experience.

  23. Thank you, I am also very discerning about what I buy especially when it touts magic as this is not a gift as the media and society around us promotes; but rather is an abomination in the eyes of God. So I look at labels, where products originate whats in them , the practices of their producers etc, because consumers can bring great evil upon ourselves by purchasing such items and bringing them into our homes. However, such items are so widely pervasive in our society that you might miss something so just pray over everything and cover it all you your family your homes etc. everthing in the blood of Jesus Christ.

  24. What this article decides to deny is that one of the very first
    Moral abc listed on the bottle strips Jesus away from his diety elevating the ” Rabi ” he suposedly ” learned all he knows ” everything from ..sorry if you are a christiam those words Do matter ..My first brand new bottle went straight in the trash .( I didnt have a fire and its plastic ) …there is a reason that print is so little that you dont notice it n with Bonner no longer living , why in the world would a company still use this heretical Commentary? id say because theres a version of the cult alive and well . Just because people use the name of Jesus doesn’t mean they are givinf reverence or even speaking truly of the same Jesus ..its usually to elevate another god or agenda . Most false religions to my belief system do that …those are the last dollars Dr Bonner wil ever get from me , I chalk it up to a lesson…read the fine print .

    1. Well said, Mark! All false religions seek to demote Christ to a mere teacher, good man, etc. Satan always couches his heresy in just enough “good” or “truth” to deceive the young, weak, immature, etc. We must all be on guard against such lies. They go all the way back to the garden.

  25. Very intersting article! I bought this soap for the first time two years ago and was very taken aback by the writing, but couldn’t find much online. I just bought some more recently, and took to the internet once more. I think his character and philosophy is very interesting, and I appreciate the time you took in writing this article! At the very least I am assured that I wasn’t going crazy and that the label was in fact a bit odd.

  26. Thanks for writing this. I had always wondered about those strange labels & have often shied away from their products ecause of them, but it seems like they have the best quality natural soap, so I’ve been very tempted. I think I’ll try it, & ignore the label.

  27. What a shame there are so many judgmental people in the world. I find the article and many comments just sad. So what? If you don’t want to spend your money on a product, don’t. But to repeatedly call someone’s opinions and beliefs (especially those that do not promote any kind of harm to another) weird and crazy is just unkind and a large part of what’s wrong with the world, and religion. Every one thinks they are right. It’s highly unlikely that anyone actually is. Enjoy his product or don’t but why put so much thought into labeling someone you’ve never even met and who has no power or impact over your life or well being?

    1. I guess my short answer to this would be that words and beliefs do have impact and and do have power in our lives. That’s why we need to think about what words and beliefs we are willing to promote through our sponsorship of buying that brand and product.

  28. Thank you for your article. I found this shampoo/soap at my local grocery store next to burt’s Bees and As I was reading the ingredients i really got freaked out. That’s pretty messed up. I took a couple pictures and sent it to my friends, we had a good laugh.. we couldn’t believe it was sold in a major retail store.

    As much as the ingredients and cruelty free concept looks great, I would not buy a product marketed this way.

  29. Thank you for this article. I was troubled by the label. Yes it is a great product based on what everyone says…but I don’t have peace about this. I plan to use up this bottle without the label and contact the company to inform them that they really should consider removing this doctrine from it. It’s not harmless. I understand it is a tough issue whether or not to use products that promote lies. I have an Indian cookbook with stylized pictures of hindu deities. Those are false gods but I am okay with the cookbook because it is not overtly promoting hindu theology. The main point of that book is the food and Indian culture. The Dr. Bonner’s bottle however is plasters with the founders false views about God. It’s too much. It’s something they could put on their website as historical context but covering the label in confusion and lies is not good. I’ll go with a generic castile soap over this.

  30. I was a bit puzzled when I first read the label and tried to understand it, concluding the author may have some mental illness. Many artists are gifted because of their illnesses. l believe this would be a better word if more people strived for unity, think of the popular ‘COEXIST’ bumper stickers.
    Learning about his experience in pre-WW2 Germany adds important context.

  31. Thank you for this. I too was concerned and actually chose to go the opposite route of not utilizing the soap as I wasn’t at peace with it. Do you have any recommendations for other Castile soaps that may have the same effects as this one? I am having a hard time in my search.

    1. I have seen some store brands of castile soap now too (my local Meijer store for instance) and Walmart has the Equate brand of castile soap. I think Whole Foods has a brand of castile soap too. There are also some other options on Amazon too. I hope that helps!

  32. I just today sat down to go in search of uses for Dr. Bronner’s soap. And, like you, I came to the same conclusion. May he rest in peace.

  33. Thanks for the article! I just bought my first bottle and was reading over the label… then I started wondering if I had entered some kind of strange demention because in all the years of reading about this product NO ONE EVER BOTHERED TO MENTION THE WRITING ON THE LABEL. It’s weird and slightly disturbing.

    1. Very true Lisie – you always read about Bronners as an ingredient, but so few people ever talk about what’s all over the label!

    1. they remain neutral, getting free-trade and organic supplies from both Israeli and Palestinian farms

  34. It’s interesting that I’ve never seen anything written about the labels, prior to purchasing Dr Bronner.
    Your article is great, it addressed concerns I had too but I will continue to buy the products, noe that I have better understanding of Dr Bronner.
    And essentially what he is saying is a positive message, even if it’s delivered in a way that does not resonate with me.
    I feel for him though.

  35. I came across this soap and purchased it. in my confusion of the label I found your website. I thank you for doing the research for me. I just trust that you did at good job. I am going to continue to use the product, from what I have found it is generally a good product. Thanks Jim

  36. Thanks for your research. I was curious, too, and that’s how I ended up here. I agree with your conclusions and now feel better about what I’m buying.

  37. Thank you! Very much in board with your puzzlement in the lack of attention to the weird religious ramblings by everyone who espouses the uses of Dr. Bronner’s soap. I knew of it by reputation long before I actually saw a bottle and was – rather amusingly – gobsmacked when I read it the first time. Glad to know I’m not the only one. And thank you for going through a bit of the background.

  38. My comments are NOT about Dr. Bronner, his history, or his / the company’s intentions, which may be good (or not).

    My comments are about the current possible effects on those who have their product labels in their household. I have an extremely technical, logical and research-based background & career. And yet, my first question to everyone is…

    How do you actually feel when you see that label?

    Personally, I feel a bit of nervousness, confusion, and slight paranoia, EVERY time I see or read any part of it. I follow my instincts, because they’re almost always right. I love the product, but I am removing the label. This is why:

    I’ll use their liquid “castile” soap in the bathroom as an example, because that’s when we all might have an extra minute to read as we brush our teeth, shower, etc. Showers especially are often a relaxing respite from the world. They’re usually taken right before going to bed or right after waking up, either of which is very close to the sleep cycle and subconscious and the relaxed / groggy mind is more open to thoughts and ideas.

    For those of us who think about what we read, how it affects us and others, the label has a limited effect.

    However, think of how many households this product is in, and all the guests that visit those households and may see the label. Younger kids who are just starting to form their own ideas of the world. Older kids who may be at crossroads. Those who are lost in their life.

    The label is definitely intriguing. It only takes a minute to read one of those quotes. How much and how many times of each, will each person have read before that bottle is used up? Longer if the bottle is recycled for another household use after the product is gone.

    Even without reading a full quote, people will pick up key words here and there.

    Personally, I tend to read everything, but at a glance, there are positive words like love, happiness, bliss.

    There are also provocative / inciting words: truth (many times), “unrightable” wrong, etc.

    And then there are the many negative words: struggles, half-asleep, half-living, losing, blaming, spaceship (multiple times), army of principles, birth controls reduce 6 to 3 billion, overpopulation, impostors, on and on.

    Many words are repeated or emphasized: truth, above, spaceship, God, all, one, none, east & west, Essence birth controls, etc.

    Which words or ideas are most quickly picked up by the human eyes? Which of those get translated automatically into our subconsciousness?

    Consciously, we know that the labels can plant seeds of thought.

    Subconsciously, for our kids, our kids’ friends, those who are struggling, how do we know which words and feelings their brains are subconsciously picking up and affecting them? I prefer to be on the safe side. I remove the label. I think about each idea they have on there, and if it has merit, I present it in a different way in my home.

    So, again I ask, How do you actually feel when you see that label? Trust your instincts.

    1. While I was curious about the history of the label, I find it to be rather inconsequential. I do find your reaction, akin to book banning and censorship, more concerning. Especially considering the families unfortunate history with the Nazis and their tendency to burn and censor books they didn’t agree with.

      1. Right on, Marcy. If it’s a problem, it would be better to discuss the label openly, rather than to banish it outright. Perhaps if people knew the history of Dr. “Heilbronner” and his flight from Nazi Germany, they might understand his impulse to spread his ideas through his soap. I do not agree with censorship. If it’s a problem, don’t buy his soap.

  39. I just bought the soap and really like it. I noticed the label and started reading and first thought it was good as a Christian believer, but then it seemed like a parody making fun of religion because it definitely wasn’t Christian or Jewish ideology. It was like a pseudo new age religious belief system that has been trending on the internet for the last decade or so, where all religions supposedly worship the same God, which they definitely do not. Christianity believes Jesus/Father/Holy Spirit is one God, Islam believes no trinity, Mormons believe you can become a god like the God we have, Buddhism believes something similar but adding God as an indifferent source of energy (like Star Wars “force”), so obviously by logic, these God’s are not the same thing.

    Anyways, as long as the bottle doesn’t say that by using this, you are doing a ritual to appease whatever god he believes in, I’m fine with the illogical ranting he has on the bottle. It doesn’t seem like buying it is funding jihadist extremism or anything like that, though anything is possible these days.

    1. I think this guy is a Free Mason. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I was interested in the product, after reading the label there is no way I will support this company.

  40. His philosophy is not incoherent. It is simple, like Thelema. Every individual has importance to itself and it is the responsibility of the individual to carry out its own will. As humans we are all part of a connected conscious movement that comes from one source. It means understanding that although we have the same source we are different, I’m me and you’re you and we’re both right and wrong in our own ways.

  41. Thanks for your research.
    I’m a Jesus Freak and was a little worried about using a product that is pointing to a universal religion. Yet, I too am able to look beyond peoples opinions and religion, as long as what they are selling is not harmful.
    It is like the story of a parent who drinks a glass of water with dirt in the bottom of it, and leaves the dirt. Why? Because it was from their child. That is called Grace.( I’m not advocating the drinking of dirty water, obviously. Just saying that we try our best to take what is pure and good and true, based on God’s Word, and use it– throwing out what is dangerous. We have to do this all the time when relating to others. Now if you gave me some Kool-Aid with poison in it, then I would dump it out, pray for you and possibly call the police for attempted murder.
    no I’m going to look at your link to see if there are really 18 uses…

  42. Hi Beverly,

    Thanks for this article on Dr. Bronner. I just bought a bottle of his soap yesterday and absolutely love it. However, the religious views on the bottle are a bit disconcerting so I started researching the company. I definitely don’t want to support some extremist religious group – there’s more than enough of that in the world these days.

    I was thinking about giving a bottle of this as a baby shower gift to someone I don’t know that well and am hesitant to do so because I don’t want them to think that I’m trying to push some extreme religious agenda on them.

    I like your website. Thanks again (and no, you don’t think too much)… being analytical is an asset… more people should try it, maybe the world wouldn’t be in such a mess today if they did.
    Jo Ann S.

  43. Thanks for the info! I just bought my first bottle and started reading it exactly the same way you had – and wow! Was it bizarre and entertaining! HAD to google it as the person who suggested it to me didn’t even MENTION all of the ‘crazy’.
    Do you know if he was ESL still when he wrote that? It’s somewhat incoherent and grammatically incredible awkward!! I just assumed it was a bad translation.
    Thanks for the links as well! He’s strangely fascinating – I’ll have to dig a little deeper. 🙂

    1. I agree, he is strangely fascinating! And yes, I believe English was his second language, his first being German.

  44. Thank you so much! I, too, saw this and wondered if I should no longer buy this product. Thank you for this information, it helped me to better understand the craziness!

  45. Hi Beverly,

    I love Dr. Bronners products. One thing you didn’t mention is all the good this small soap company does. They not only donate money to charities and ministries, but all to policy and advocacy groups. From orphanages, to homeless shelters, to fighting for a minimum wage hike and to many social justice issues Dr. Bronners is out their making a huge difference in the world. They also treat their own employees very well. Free healthcare for all employees, up to 25% their salary in a bonus for all employees, and profit sharing. They even cap their CEO’s salary at 5 times the lowest paid employees salary. Finally, as mentioned on their labels they are organic, fair trade, environmental friendly, non-GMO, and they care about their suppliers. They were doing this way before it became trendy. 99.9% of all companies aren’t on this level. Can you imagine Proctor and Gamble or Unilver doing what they do? You can read all about it in the All One Report: https://www.drbronner.com/all-one-report/

    His parents died in the Holocaust and he became eccentric, but out of that tragedy their son formed a very socially responsible company that is out their making the world better place. That’s why they have a cult like following……..

    1. Thank you for your beautiful post. It is difficult for me to believe that anyone would worry that they are supporting extremism by purchasing any of Dr. Bronner’s products. Sounds like he had good reason to be the way he was and his family is doing a lot of good for others. I worry much more about people who drive around with “memorials” to dead loved ones on their rear windshields.

  46. Thanks for this. I fell in love with his peppermint soap and was also, like you, baffled when I started to read the text in the shower one day. I also wondered if I was funding a cult and stopped buying it. I will return to it though as his products are exceptional.

  47. You could always try CP-310 pharmaceutical grade detergent. Nothing but the highest quality potassium hydroxide. Your skin will feel brand new…after a trip to the emergency room and extensive grafts.

  48. Thank you for post! I want to buy the product but was worried too about what I was supporting. I think I will go forward with it.

  49. Thanks for addressing this! I just found this in target and was wondering if I was inadvertently supporting a cult with my purchase. My family has a cult history and I would like to avoid that. I think my preference is to find another brand if possible, but your post illuminated that it’s unlikely his philosophy is having much impact. I wonder why they still print his message, even after his passing.

    1. I think his family still wants to honor his beliefs even though he is gone. Makes me wonder how many years might go by before the upcoming generations of family will feel differently and make the label look more “normal”.

  50. I googled, “what the hell is dr. bronner talking about” and was brought to this page. very enlightening and, as others have said, now can make much more sense out of the label. I had the same initial thought as you did (“am I supporting some crazy cult??”), especially in his references to “Spaceship Earth” and the “shepherd-astronomer Israel”. I can appreciate his passion, though, and also everyone’s open mindedness who uses his products.

    1. Yes, the more you read that label Cassidy, the more you realize all the strange things that are on it . . . like Spaceship Earth!

    2. I remember when the term “Spaceship Earth” started become a popular expression with the “hippies” in the 60’s. Just some far out terminology.

  51. Your title on this post has been my exact question for the last year that I’ve been using this soap! I just received a new bottle from Amazon today and decided I needed to drop everything and google it right now to find out. Thanks for the info!

  52. That’s CRAZY! I just used a bottle for the first time and i just had to figure it out, thanks for writing this!!

    1. So true – the first time I really looked at the label I wanted to figure out what the point of all that writing was too!

  53. I just bought my first bottle yesterday and noticed the label while in the bathroom and looking for reading material…lol..it had me thinking so I goggled it and found your web page…I had heard it was good soap and really mild..my husband has cancer and going through chemo..having to give him bed bath in between home health visits when he gets a real shower..really glad someone took the time to find out what was all about or I would be scratching my head wondering what in the world every time I used it..will have to check out your web page now..so just saying thanks for having the answer for me

  54. I started on your Dawn/H2O2 page & I have been clicking through your links all morning. I have been enjoying your perspective, writing style, and helpful homemade product recipes. I too have read and been slightly concerned about the Bronner soap label. I came to the conclusion that it was not really harmful, but your research into Dr. Bronner’s history is very informative and helpful. I feel even better about continuing to use his product; he may be somewhat off-base but his heart seems true. Thank you, many blessings.

  55. I’ve read the label as well. I had no idea about his background….so tragic about his family. It definitely helps explain the label.
    I agree with many of his thoughts 🙂

  56. That info on Dr. Bonner was enlightening! Beverly, you are the only person I have ever heard address the “weird label” since as you say no one seems to take notice or they just don’t want to go there! I must admit that I’m one of the people who have bought his liquid soap for years and never really paid more than a passing curiosity for the writing on the label, but never enough to actually try to READ it all!!. Thanks for “unpacking” his life a bit, and for taking a compassionate and non-judgmental view. From what you say, he obviously cared deeply about humanity, and tried as best he knew how to make the world a better place.
    Love your site; you do a great job of research, commentary, and great ideas and recipes!

    1. Thanks Marjorie! I admit I do like to find the stories behind things . . . and sometimes I probably think too much 🙂