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Castile soap is a staple in natural and environmentally conscious homes all over the globe and for good reason. This soap comes in bar or liquid form, is all natural, 100% biodegradable, and has loads of uses all over your home from body care to pet care and home cleaning.
Dr. Bronner’s is one of the most popular brands of Castile soap – and my personal favorite. They originally marketed Castile soap as having 18 uses:
You can use Dr. Bronner’s soaps for washing your face, body, hands and hair, for bathing, shaving, brushing your teeth, rinsing fruit, aromatherapy, washing dishes by hand, doing laundry, mopping floors, all-purpose cleaning, washing windows, scrubbing toilets, washing dogs, controlling dust mites, and killing ants and aphids.
That already sounds like a lot, but now, we know there are actually many more than 18! The uses for Castile soap are so numerous, they’re practically only limited by your imagination! Here I list my favorite uses for Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap, the ultimate body and home cleaner.
For more natural ways to clean your home, check out the following:
What is Castile Soap?
As mentioned above, Castile soap is all natural and 100% biodegradable. Castile soap got its name from olive oil-based soaps made in Castile, Spain. While not always strictly olive oil-based today, Castile is still only made with vegetable oils, meaning it’s completely plant based and suitable for vegetarians and even vegan households.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is made of a blend of coconut, olive, palm, jojoba, and hemp oils that are designed to be nourishing to the skin, making it an excellent choice for personal care. It’s also a good choice for cleaning, though it isn’t as strong as Sal Suds.
The only time Castile soap is not a good choice is when you have hard water or for recipes that contain acids. Since Castile is a “true soap,” it will react with hard water to form soap scum and may not be as potent in cleaning.
I have hard water, and I still use Castile soap for body care, though I don’t prefer it for laundry or dishes. If you don’t have hard water, this wouldn’t be an issue for you, though you still may prefer Sal Suds for tough messy like greasy dishes.
Never mix Castile soap with an acid like lemon or vinegar. An alkaline solution, Castile soap will react to acids, canceling out the cleaning effectively of both substances and leaving at least a white film on surfaces or at worst a gloppy mess.
CASTILE SOAP SCENTS
Dr. Bronner’s offers Unscented Castile Soap that’s great for babies, young children, and sensitive skin. They also have Castile soaps scented with essential oils, including Peppermint (my favorite!), Citrus (great for cleaning), Lavender, Eucalyptus, Rose, Almond, and Tea Tree. They also offer seasonal scents – in the summertime, these include Cherry Blossom (smells amazing!) and Green Tea available every year for a limited time.
Dr. Bronner’s also has other products you might like to check out, including lip balm, bar soap, sugar soap (in a pump), body lotion, toothpaste, shaving soap, hair rinse, hand sanitizer, Magic balm, coconut oil, gift packs, and, of course, my favorite cleaner, Sal Suds!
They also sell an awesome Rainbow Chicobag on their website. I had to get it because I love the bright colors, and it’s become my favorite shopping bag!
WHICH SCENTS WORK BEST?
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Dr. Bronner’s – just pick your favorite scents. They all work just as well for body care and cleaning. I like the Peppermint and Cherry Blossom for body care. The Cherry Blossom has the best scent, and I love how the Peppermint makes my skin tingle – so invigorating!
I also use the Citrus and Peppermint for cleaning my home, though I probably like the Citrus just a little more because I love that fresh citrus smell in a fresh cleaned house!
A Word of Caution – Pets and Essential Oils
Birds shouldn’t be around essential oils at all, and cats are extremely sensitive because they can’t metabolize certain compounds in essential oils. Dogs aren’t thought to be as sensitive to essential oils as cats, but they can still have negative reactions to certain oils.
Even diffusing certain oils around pets can be harmful. If the oil gets on their bodies, they will ingest it when they clean themselves.
Essential oils that are known to be toxic to dogs and cats include the following:
Tea Tree (melaleuca)
Cats are also sensitive to clove and eucalyptus oils. Other essential oils may also be unsafe.
Symptoms of essential oil poisoning include drooling, vomiting, difficulty walking, tremors, and respiratory issues. In case of accidental ingestion, consult your vet immediately. If you have a cat, you may want to avoid using essential oils – and Castile soaps containing essential oils – in your home.
Be sure to consult your vet before using essential oils around your pets.
I haven’t had any issues using Castile soap around my cats and dogs, but every individual is different – what doesn’t bother my pets may cause severe reactions in your fur kids.
Where to Buy
Dr. Bronner’s is the most recognized name in Castile soap. You can it at most health food stores (if not all), some drug stores (mine recently started carrying it), and online at:
ThriveMarket.com – (a discount membership site) get 20% off your first 3 orders through this link!
And other online retailers.
There are also other brands of Castile soap. I’ve never tried them, but I’m sure they’re fine. Just be sure they are made with pure, recognizable ingredients.
Castile Soap vs. Sal Suds
Dr. Bronner’s makes a similar soap called Sal Suds. So what’s the difference? Castile soap is primarily made for the body, but it also works well for cleaning. Sal Suds is made just for cleaning. It’s a little too harsh and drying to be used as a body wash or shampoo. (However, I use it every day to wash my dishes, and my hands are just as moisturized as they normally are).
Really, you could go with either products except in two conditions – when you have hard water and when mixing with an acid. As discussed above, Castile soap reacts with minerals in hard water to form soap scum. This reaction also decreased its cleaning efficacy, though I use it as a hand and body wash with my hard water and think it still works great. I don’t use it to hand wash dishes or in the laundry at my house because of my hard water.
You also don’t want to mix Castile soap with any acid including lemon and vinegar because both ingredients will cancel each other out and leave you with a mixture that doesn’t clean.
That’s where Sal Suds comes in. Sal Suds is a stronger cleaner, so it works on even the toughest grease even in hard water. Plus, you can mix it with acids, since it’s not a “true soap” like Castile.
I use both products in my home. I prefer Sal Suds to wash dishes, laundry, my floors when they’re extra dirty, and other extra tough dirt and stains. Castile soap is my cleaner of choice for all-purpose sprays, floor cleaner, pet care, and body care.
In your home, the choice is really up to you.
Uses of Liquid Castile Soap – Natural Cleaning for Body + Home
These recipes and dilutions have been tried and tested in my home, and they work really well as stated. However, depending on the water quality and other conditions in your home, you may want to adjust measurements accordingly.
Test them out and see how they work for you. If they don’t seem strong enough, add a couple more drops of Castile soap. If the recipes are too soapy for you, cut back on how much soap you use. Just remember that Castile soap is ultra concentrated, so a little goes a very long way.
For the Body:
Use 1/2 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap to wash your hair, and work it into wet hair. Rinse thoroughly, and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner.
Put a small squirt on a washcloth or loofah, and apply to wet body.
Add about 2 tablespoons to an average-sized bath. It doesn’t bubble much, but it still cleans.
Place 2-3 drops on hands, rub your hands together to form a lather, then apply to wet face.
Castile soap often works great to clear acne prone skin! Cleanse with Castile soap 1-2 times per day, tone with witch hazel, then moisturize with your favorite comedogenic facial moisturizer.
Yes, moisturize! Oily skin is often dry beneath that layer of oil, so making sure your skin is moisturized (lotion, drinking plenty of water) may actually improve your acne.
Pour 2 tablespoons and 12 ounces of water in a foaming soap dispenser, and shake gently to combine. For a conditioning hand soap, add 1 teaspoon of liquid oil like olive, grapeseed, or almond oil.
You can also add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent – my favorite is patchouli! If you want to add your own essential oils, you may want to use Unscented Castile Soap, since the others already have essential oils in them.
Use 10 drops for face, 3 drops for underarms, and 1/2 teaspoon for legs. Work into a lather, apply to skin, and shave.
Apply 1 drop on your toothbrush, and use it to clean your teeth. It tastes like soap, but it works!
Mix 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons Castile soap, and 5-10 drops of peppermint or lemon essential oil in a quart size mason jar. Cut up old t-shirts and towels to make 8-10 cleaning-sized cloths. Add the rags to the cleaning solution, screw the lid on the jar, and shake gently to saturate the cloths.
Use these cleaning wipes as a grab-and-go solution to any mess. You can also use these to clean hands!
DOG + CAT SHAMPOO
The amount of Castile soap varies widely with the size of your pet. Cats may need as little as a tablespoon, while medium and large dogs will need much more.
To bathe, wet your pet well, then work in Castile soap until you get a good lather. Really work the soap into their coat and skin, then rinse completely.
Castile soap is also great for killing fleas during the bath! Since dogs and cats can be sensitive to some essential oils, I recommend using the Unscented Baby Soap for pet care.
Definitely don’t use Tea Tree Castile Soap on dogs or cats. They are especially sensitive to tea tree essential oil and may experience bad side effects. See above for more information on pets and essential oils.
Castile soap alone may not be enough to repel fleas completely. I use and recommend Wondercide. natural flea and tick treatments to control fleas in your home and yard without dangerous chemicals.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons to small tub of hot water.
FOOT + BODY SCRUB
Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon Castile soap, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and 4 drops of your favorite essential oil, and use it to scrub away dry skin from head to toe.
Put 1 tablespoon in a bowl of steamy hot water, then breathe in the mist with a towel draped over your head. Peppermint is the best scent for this, but they all work.
For the Home:
Add 1 tablespoon Castile soap and 1 quart of water to a spray bottle, and shake gently to combine. Dr. Bronner’s website says to use 1/4 cup of soap per quart of water, but this always turns into a soapy mess for me.
Use your all-purpose spray to kill ants in your home. Spray the backs of your countertops, and let it dry to keep them from coming back.
This stuff works! I had a terrible ant infestation in my kitchen and even set out conventional ant traps (this was before I had completely transitioned to my natural lifestyle) – but the traps weren’t working! I had recently started using Dr. Bronner’s as an all-purpose spray and saw this tip online. I found their nest, sprayed it liberally, and my ant infestation was finally over!
Add 1 tablespoon Castile soap to 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Follow up with plain club soda or a solution of half vinegar and half water.
When hand washing dishes, add a squirt to running water as you fill your sink. It won’t suds up like a detergent would, but the soap is still in there working to cut grease and grime. For tough stuck-on foods, soak dishes before scrubbing, or try Sal Suds.
Mix 1 cup Castile soap with 1 cup of water and 3 teaspoons of lemon juice, and shake gently to combine. To use, put 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the “open” compartment of your dishwasher and 1 cup of vinegar in the “closed” compartment. If you have hard water, add a little more vinegar.
FRUIT + VEGGIE WASH
Pour about 1 teaspoon Castile soap in a large bowl of cold water. Dunk the produce, and swish. Rinse in fresh water.
Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of soap for a large load in a regular washer. Use have those amounts for HE machines. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Add 1 capful of liquid Castile soap to cold water, and use your hand to mix. Gently wish the garment into the mixture, and soak it for 10 minutes. Swish it again to remove dirt, then rinse in clean water.
To condition natural fibers like silk and wool, add 1 cup white vinegar to cold water. Swish the garment and rinse again.
Remove excess water by rolling garment in a towel. Don’t wring, or you may stretch out the fibers. Lay heavy or stretchy fabrics flat to dry, and hang lighter fabrics.
Mix 2-3 tablespoons of Castile soap with 1/4 cup baking soda for a non-toxic scrub perfect for the kitchen sink and bathroom surfaces.
Mix Castile soap and water in a 1:4 ratio in a spray bottle. Add 1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil. Turn off the water to the toilet, and empty the bowl. Spray the bowl liberally with the cleaning solution, and sprinkle baking soda on top. Scrub with a toilet brush. Let sit 10 minutes, turn the water on, and flush.
Pour 1/2 cup of soap in 3 gallons of hot water.
PLANT BUG SPRAY
Mix 1 tablespoon Castile soap and water in a spray bottle. Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or cinnamon, if desired. Spray plants every few days until infestation is gone, then treat weekly.
Natural and DIY cleaning couldn’t be easier with liquid Castile soap and these Top 25 Uses for Liquid Castile Soap!
Do you like to use liquid Castile soap in your home? What are some of your favorite uses for Castile soap? Will you try any of these recipes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!