Iconic Aussie soap bar Solvol discontinued after 105 years

BAR NONE: The Solvol bar has been quietly removed from shelves after 105 years.
BAR NONE: The Solvol bar has been quietly removed from shelves after 105 years.

Used by tradies, farmers and households for more than a century, the iconic Australian soap bar Solvol has been discontinued.

The gritty citrus-scented pumice bar known for its grease-fighting power began to disappear from shelves with little fanfare in June 2020.

Started in Australia in 1915, Solvol was bought by US-based WD-40 Company in 2000.

WD-40 Company general manager Nick Roberts said the bar was deleted from their product lineup due to manufacturing challenges.

"Due to production circumstances outside of our control, the much-loved Solvol soap bar will no longer be manufactured and sold in Australia," Mr Roberts said.

"After 105 wonderful years, we're hugely disappointed and saddened by this news and we know many of our customers are too."

Mr Roberts said production of the bar had long been carried out by specialist soap manufacturers in Sydney, but due to its "highly unique" formula, the manufacturers had found the production of Solvol to be very harsh on their equipment.

This eventually made them decide to stop manufacturing the Solvol bar altogether.

"While we did seek out alternatives, we simply couldn't find an acceptable replacement supplier to continue to make the current Solvol bar," he said.

Mr Roberts said Solvol liquid hand scrub, which is made in Australia, had been in the market for many years and encouraged consumers to try the "equally unique" product.

Solvol bars were made by True Blue Chemicals and packaged by disability services provider Civic Industries in Sydney from 2010 to 2020.

On June 10, 2020, Civic wrapped-up and distributed the last run of bars on-site in Caringbah.

At the time, Civic Industries general manager Peter Moore said the partnership provided work for many staff and they hoped to find similar work.

"This partnership has allowed us to create meaningful work, whilst upskilling up to 50 supported employees, and providing significant opportunities for people living with disability," Mr Moore said.

"We hope to secure more work like this in the near future."

As product dries up, soap stockpilers are trying to cash in, listing the bars on online auction sites for more than $300.

Those pining for the good old days can buy a 20 pack of 100g bars on eBay for $340, which works out to $17 per bar.

However, several sellers are listing 100g twin packs for around $90.

One seller is looking for $75 per bar.

One seller is looking for $75 per bar.

Consumers dirty about the shift to liquid soap have formed pages on social media and started online petitions, saying they aren't having a bar of it.

The 'Bring back the Solvol soap bar' Facebook page said workers were feeling the pain of substandard hand cleaners.

"I'm talking to those that look forward to the end of a hard day at work or in the shed walking out to the tap and turning it on with the old bar of Solvol in hand and destroying all the layers of epidermis your body has to offer just to remove the grime from your hands," a page administrator said.

"True lovers of Solvol know how to use this bar to leave your skin soft and clean like it was before you started work or the day you were born.

"Join me telling the stories of reaching for this Australian icon and the pain you now feel not having something that cuts so deep into the grease and many layers of skin."