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Does anyone know the laws surrouding making and selling things like home made detergents, soaps and wipe solution?

Or know where I could find this stuff?

I'm going to be opening an online shop in the Fall that sells homemade baby & mommy items and would like to include things like wipe solutions and CD safe homemade "detergents"... But I want to make sure I'm doing so legally...

I'm good with the shipping end, but I am not sure what the laws are about the stuff itself being sold... I know foods and stuff have to be packaged a certain way, but what about this stuff.

And are the laws different if the stuff is solid vs liquid?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:19 PM on Jun. 19, 2011 in Money & Work

Answers (7)
  • Have you tried searching it on the internet for your state? I have no idea how things like that work. Maybe you should as people at like a farmers market. If you do find out would you please let me know how you found out the information because when dh and I get the funding we are opening our online business. Plus I would totally by from your site. I've thought of making my own laundry detergent but I dont seem to have the time and the kind I use they don;t sell at Costco or Sams. The green works brand.

    Answer by dsadang at 12:17 AM on Jun. 20, 2011

  • Well legally you would need to get a DBA if that is required in your state as well as a Tax ID number with the state or license with the state, depending on state laws (IN NY it's a TAX ID certificate) or an EIN number. I wouldn't sell the liquid version of the laundry detergent....instead you can sell the kit to make it. I've sold the kits for over a year now on ebay (though I recently removed the listing), but the kit would have the bar of shredded soap and the mixture of borax and washing soda and instructions for making it in a 5 gallon bucket.

    Check the post office,for guidelines, I know liquid chemicals HAVE to be in a box labeled ORM-D (which includes perfumes) and ONLY the company with the ORM-D license can ship those items & have boxes labeled as such, that's why Avon boxes have them printed on them. Avon can ship those but Reps cannot because they don't hold the license to do so.

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 9:58 AM on Jun. 20, 2011

  • Mom2Jack04, we are in PA. This will be my 4th business, my mother also has 3 of her own. And neither of us have yet to get a TaxID, it's not required here, neither is a business license if your business is out of your home - which this and all of mine are.

    Also, it's not illegal to ship ORM-D as long as the boxes are properly marked and you use UPS, USPS doesn't allow it. I know this from when I was with Avon and had to ship things back to the company or to customers... I went through all legal stuff then. So shipping isn't something I'm worried about.

    What I'm wondering about more than anything is seals and that kind of thing...

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:06 AM on Jun. 20, 2011

  • Anon there are no regulations regarding seals on the products you sell.....but you want to make sure there is no issue with leaking and needing to ship another out for free or to refund money! If you'll have bottled items you may want to invest in the heat wrap and a heat wrap machine to seal and shrink the caps to the top of the bottle to help prevent leaks. When I sold soaps and had them wrapped I have the heat machine and the shrink bags, put them in, seal the bag and then use a heat gun or even just a hair dryer.

    You will need the license though if you plan on legally using a company have to register the name (DBA)! And home based businesses require the Tax ID or EIN if you sell more than, I believe it's still $600 a year. But the EIN is free and can be printed and used instantly right on the IRS's website. But a good thing with the EIN even if it's not required....CONT

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 11:13 AM on Jun. 20, 2011

  • ....CONT......the EIN would allow you to buy supplies from a true wholesaler. Any wholesaler that sells to anyone isn't a legit wholesaler, just a retailer selling at a discount....a true wholesaler will require the TaxId or EIN. Most of the time your TaxID or EIn will just be your SS#.

    Another reason you may "need" it is for local fairs and shows (smaller craft shows at schools or churches usually don't require them). They require the certificate to be on display in order for you to legally be a vendor and sometimes they have tax men come, if it's not in plain site they will force you to pack and leave. I've seen it done, in both NY and PA as I've traveled to a few cities back in my fair days when I did general crafts, soaps and such, the juried shows are a lot more strict, but they make a LOT more money. Some shows I'd earn $2,000 in profit and without them my biz would have been very slow.

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 11:17 AM on Jun. 20, 2011

  • Contact your state's department of revenue. At the minimum, you need a resale certificate.

    Answer by rkoloms at 9:36 PM on Jun. 20, 2011

  • First you'll want to check with local authorities.  Do you need any special permits when making those items in your home?  Will the health department need to get involved, ect? 

    In addition, you'll need to make certian you are legally a business with both the IRS and your state before you sell anything.

    If you'd like to meet other business owner moms, network and ask questions, I invite you to join my Cafemom business group.


    Answer by MoversShakers at 4:33 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

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