What is Castile Soap?
Castile soap is soap made from vegetable oil, rather than from animal fat or synthetic detergents. It originates from the Castile region of Spain (hence the name,) where it was made from local olive oil. Although olive oil is the traditional base oil, the soap can be made with coconut, hemp, avocado, almond, walnut, and many other vegetable oils.
Castile soap can be made as either a hard bar soap or a liquid soap and is incredibly versatile. And did I mention it’s completely biodegradable, natural, non-toxic and cleans gently and effectively?
There are infinite uses for this soap, from head-to-toe body care to everyday household cleaning. And the great news, a little goes a long way, making it great on the pocket.
In Nourish we stock Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap, and today I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite ways to use this wonderfully versatile and natural soap, so let’s get to it!
Simply add 2-3 drops of castile soap onto wet hands, a wet flannel or muslin cloth, lather it up and apply to a wet face.
I love to use the baby mild/unscented or rose scented castile soap by Dr Bronner’s for washing my face, but if you want to help clear or prevent acne, try using tea tree or lavender scented castile (but make sure to keep it out of your eyes!)
And don’t worry, using castile soap on your face will not strip it of its own natural oils; it will do what soap does best – remove the dirt and grime.
It may take a bit for your skin to adjust, as with all skin care products, but persist and you shall be grateful you did 🙂
In combination with face washing, castile soap can also make a great natural makeup remover. All you need to do is mix equal parts of unscented castile soap, witch hazel, and a carrier oil of your choice. My personal preference is jojoba oil, but you can also try sweet almond oil, coconut or avocado for example. Apply to a soft cloth or cotton pad to gently remove makeup.
One small squirt onto a wet washcloth, shower pouf or into your hands will lather up nicely and leave your body squeaky clean
For a relaxing start, try lavender, rose or almond scented castile.
For problematic skin conditions like acne dermatitis and psoriasis try tea tree castile.
To open your pores and clear your sinuses try eucalyptus.
For a refreshing and invigorating start to the day try peppermint castile.
For a natural, effective skin loving soak, add roughly 2 Tbsp of your chosen castile soap to the tub and relax.
Do take note that castile soap doesn’t bubble like bubble bath, but rest assured, it does clean 🙂
Castile blends well with essential oils so feel free to add several drops of your chosen essential oil to the bath for a more aromatic experience. Peppermint and lavender go well together, as does lavender and eucalyptus, peppermint and eucalyptus, lavender and chamomile or ylang ylang.
For natural hair washing, squirt roughly ½ Tbsp of castile soap into your hand and work it into wet hair. Alternatively, try diluting ½ Tbsp in ½ a cup of water and work that into wet hair.
This isn’t for everyone and it can take time for your hair to get used to, but see how it goes as it may just be up your alley!
Use it on your face, underarms, legs, or wherever!
Simply rub the castile soap between wet hands to get it lathered and voila – there’s your shaving cream!
This is a great go-to for shaving instead of buying a shaving cream. It helps the razor glide smoothly over the skin and doesn’t leave your skin irritated or dry.
These are approximate measurement, but for general guidance, try using 10 drops for your face; roughly 3 drops for your underarms and try about ½ tsp for legs.
Give your feet some TLC by adding in a small squirt of castile soap into a small tub of hot water.
And if you want to take that TLC a little further, make yourself a nice foot scrub by combining 1 tablespoon of unscented castile soap with 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 4 drops of essential oil. I like to use peppermint, lavender, rose and/or tea tree essential oils.
Alternatively, you can use a scented castile soap like peppermint, lavender, tea tree, orange etc. and eliminate the essential oil.
Gently scrub your feet in a circular motion and say goodbye to dry skin and hello to silky-soft tootsies!
If you’re suffering from a cold or have congestion, this is a great way to use castile. Simply add 1 Tbsp of castile soap to a bowl of steamy hot water, place your head over the bowl and drape a towel over your head. Breathe deeply, and feel your airways and nasal passages opening up. Horrah – you can breathe again!
I highly recommend using the eucalyptus or peppermint scented castile for this. This also works well in the shower.
Castile soap is very gentle, which makes it a great choice for washing your kids and babies. Add a few drops of unscented Dr Bronners into the bath (again, remember it won’t foam up like bubble bath). You can also use the liquid unscented soap directly on a washcloth or shower pouf for additional cleaning, or use the Bronner’s unscented soap bar.
The liquid unscented also works well for washing kiddie’s hair as you only need a tiny bit. If you use a scented one, remember to keep it away from their eyes.
Household Cleaning Uses
Make an All-purpose Cleaner
A homemade all-purpose castle soap spray is a multitasking green cleaner that you can use all around the home to clean multiple surfaces and have no worries about harmful chemicals entering your home.
Castile soap acts as a surfactant, allowing dirt and oils from your surfaces to be lifted and rinsed away.
You can use castile soap alone mixed simply with water in a spray bottle to make a good spray, but the addition of essential oils can truly boost the antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal qualities of your cleaner.
1 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon unscented castile soap (alternatively use the tea tree scented castile soap and omit the essential oils)
10-15 drops of chosen essential oil (lavender, tea tree, lemon, orange and bergamot all work well.)
Pour your water and soap into a spray bottle (you may need a funnel) and add your chosen essential oils directly into the bottle. Shake it vigorously to combine, label it and grab your marigolds as it’s time to get cleaning!
Simply spray the area needing to be cleaned and wipe with a damp cloth.
Option 2 multi-purpose spray taken from Dr Bronners site: mix ¼ cup castile soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil if desired or use tea tree castile soap.
For additional cleaning support, sprinkle some baking soda onto your toilet/sink/bath/shower/oven and then spray with the all-purpose cleaner to create a paste. Use an eco-friendly sponge and scrub away until clean.
Castile soap is perfect for cleaning your toilet.
Grab a squirt bottle and pre-dilute 1:4 parts castile with water and add ¼ tsp. tea tree oil.* Squirt bowl thoroughly, sprinkle some baking soda on your toilet brush and give the bowl a good scrub. Let this sit for about 10 minutes and then flush.
For in-between your bathroom cleaning sessions, for a quick clean, grab your castile bottle and add a few drops into the toilet, give it a quick scrub and you’re done.
*Other great disinfecting, grease-cutting and/or antibacterial essential oils to try include:
Lavender with Tea Tree
Lavender and Orange
Lavender and Peppermint
OR any combination of the above that sounds pleasant to you
For floors, simply add anywhere from half a teaspoon to a tablespoon of castile soap to a bucket of hot water. Again, use a scented castile such as tea tree for more antibacterial action, or add in essential oils of your choice to your bucket. The soap will not leave a residue and will clean the dirt off your floors.
If your windows are in need of a good clean, use castile soap to help conquer the grime. Add 1 tablespoon of castile soap to 1 quart (946ml) of water, then pour the mixture into a spray bottle. (adjust amounts to the size spray bottle you have).
Spray it liberally onto your windows and use a sponge and/or scrubber to clean. Follow up with a good rinse of a 1 part water and 1 part vinegar mixture for glistening windows.
In the Kitchen Uses
This won’t bubble up like a regular dish soap would, but the soap is still in there doing its job and getting things clean.
For making dish soap with castile, pre-dilute 1:10 with water. Squirt on a scrub brush and scrub ye them dishes.
Alternatively, you can try Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds.
Fruit & Veggie Wash
Castile soap makes a great washing solution to clean your fruits and veggies. Simply add a few drops (or about 1/4 tsp if you want to measure) of liquid castile into your sink or a large bowl with water, add your fruits/veggies and swish them around a bit to knock off any dirt or debris, then let them sit for a few minutes before scrubbing/rinsing them off in clean water.
Here’s a weird and wonderful one for you. Dog cleaning!
Naturally, the amount needed varies widely depending on the size, hair type and length of your dog, not to mention its overall dirtiness.
According to Lisa Bronner, in order to get your dog squeaky clean, wet your dog thoroughly, then start to work in the castile soap up and down their body until well lathered. Really massage it in down to the skin and then rinse off.
Natural Plant Spray for Bugs
Mix 1 Tbsp of castile in a quart of water. Add ½ tsp. cayenne pepper or cinnamon, if desired.
If you are suffering from an ant infestation, make a castile soap spray to help deter ants.
Try mixing ¼ cup of tea tree soap in a quart of water. Pour into a spray bottle and spray wherever you’ve spotted any loitering ants.
One important note to remember is that this spray should be kept away from plants as this concentration will burn them.
Makeup Brush Cleaner
I learnt this trick from a former Nourish employee named Rachel and it’s great.
Either add a drop or two onto your dampened makeup brush and gently rub it into the brush before rinsing in warm water; or if you have a few to clean, squirt a small amount of castile soap into a small bowl, then fill it with warm water. Swish your makeup brushes around in the soapy water, making sure to get the soapy solution well into the bristles. Rinse the brushes with water until the water runs clear. Allow the brushes to air dry and bam – cleanest brushes you’ve ever had!
Dr Bronner’s for Travelling
To Wash your Laundry
When you’re camping or away for a short stay and need to hand wash any clothes, castile can help you out. You only need a few drops added to a sink of water and add in some elbow grease.
To Wash the Dishes
Again, great for camping or if you’re staying somewhere and you don’t want to use the chemical dish soap on offer. Follow directions as noted above.
Yes – it tastes like soap, I’m not gonna lie to you. But for those who are camping, travelling or needing to stay light, one bottle of Dr Bronner’s VS toothpaste, body wash, laundry liquid, dish soap etc. is hard to argue with.
Simply add 1 drop on a toothbrush and you’re done. I recommend peppermint flavour for obvious reasons 🙂
Alternatively, Dr Bronner’s also make a very nice toothpaste. See here if you’re interested.
Additional Tip: Turn Bar Soap Into Liquid Soap
Simply chop up your bar of soap into tiny pieces, then place the soap pieces in a clean jar (a Mason/Kilner jar will do the trick). Fill the mason jar with boiling water, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Stir well to incorporate the dissolved soap into the water.Ta-da – you have liquid castile soap.
Happy cleaning folks!!
Useful info taken from Dr Bronner’s website: Don’t be fooled by its thin consistency—castile soap is highly concentrated. You don’t need much at all for the job at hand. Not properly diluting castile soap won’t damage your surface or hurt your skin, but it is a waste of soap (and water). You only need 2-3 drops to wash your face or hands, less than a tablespoon to wash your hair, and a teaspoon or two can easily clean a whole tub. When in doubt, start with less. You can always add more.
Keep in mind that if you pre-dilute, you are also diluting the preservative (tocopherols – vitamin E), so the shelf life drops. Use within a couple weeks.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact us via our Facebook page!– Emily
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication