We’ve been talking a lot about personal care products, and homemade and green cleaning, over the past few months, I’ve mentioned castile soap on more than one occasion. If you’re newer to green living, you may be wondering – What in the world is castile soap, and what can I use it for?
A reader also recently asked about the different uses of castile soap. So, I’m re-posting some of this from a post I wrote last year, and also adding some new and updated information as well.
Castile soap is made from pure oils. I love the short and simple ingredient list on my Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild castile soap: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut & Organic Olive Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Vitamin E. It also comes in many different scents, and is scented with essential oils, like citrus, eucalyptus and lavender.
I have found castile soap at Meijer, Target as well as my local health food store. But the best prices and selection can usually be found online at Amazon or Vitacost.com. (I just ordered the citrus scent online because I couldn’t find it anywhere else, and it is my favorite scent. If you sign up at Vitacost you’ll get $10 off your first order over $30, and I’ll get $10 too, it’s a win-win!)
The reason castile soap is so great is that it is so multi-functional. Because you can use it for so many different things, it’s one more way to help you simplify your personal care products, and green cleaning routine.
The Many Uses of Castile Soap:
- Body Wash – It just takes a little squirt on one of those bath poofs and you have tons of soapy lather in the shower. The citrus scent is so energizing – it’s great for helping me wake up in the morning. I’ve been using it full strength, but because it’s so concentrated I think I’ll try diluting it to help it stretch even farther!
- Shaving “cream” – I really like shaving with castile soap. It has a lot of lather and because it’s made out of oils, I feel like my razors slides better than when I was just using regular body wash. I also feel like it’s pretty moisturizing and haven’t needed to use lotion much this winter.
- Baby Wash – This also works great as a head to toe baby wash. You do have to be a little careful with it around their eyes because it’s not tear free, but especially if you dilute it, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. You can also squirt it in the bathtub to create a bubble bath for your kiddos. The bubbles won’t last as long as traditional bubble bath, but it’s still fun for them.
- Hand Soap – Use a foaming soap dispenser and fill it up with water and then add a few squirts of castile soap and glycerin. (Another great way to avoid triclosan!) It’s also great for kids because it makes a lot of fun bubbles to wash with, but without the nasty chemicals in popular kids’ soaps like Kandoo.
- Baby Wipes – I use castile soap and Tea Tree Oil mixed with water as a homeamde solution for my baby wipes. These wipes are great for changing diapers, but also great just to use for wiping hands and faces after eating, for cleaning spots of spit-up or other stains off of clothing, just about anything you would use a disposable baby wipe for.
- Homemade Multipurpose Cleaner – One of my favorite multipurpose cleaners is castile soap and TTO mixed with water in a spray bottle. It’s super easy to make, and you can use it to clean all around the house.
- Homemade Soft Scrub – This is a great non-toxic cleanser for the bathroom that Stacy shared with us last month.
The label on Dr. Bronner’s brand of castile soap is definitely interesting, and maybe even a little weird, when you read over it. But, it does list lots of different uses for castile soap, some of which I have tried myself, and some of which I have not.
More uses for castile soap:
- Use to wash your hair instead of shampoo. I did try this when I was searching for an alternative to the no ‘poo method, and didn’t really like it. It left my hair looking a little greasy and hard to manage. But, I have really thick long hair, so it might work better for other with a different hair type or style.
- Brush your teeth with it. I have not had the courage to try this, maybe the peppermint would be good?
- Use for laundry. I’ve only done this once, recently when our power was out I did an experiment with washing our clothes in the bathtub – I’ll have to tell you about that someday! I used castile soap, and our clothes did come out clean! Not sure how you would use it in a washing machine, but it would probably be a good option for hand washable items.
- Washing wool. I do use castile soap to wash and lanolize my wool diaper covers and it works great! I don’t have experience with other types of wool though.
- Dishwashing liquid. I have read that some people squirt castile soap right into the sink full of water to wash dishes with. I have tried a recipe of 1 cup castile soap, 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp. of lemon juice (or vinegar) to cut grease. You can put this in an old dishwashing liquid bottle and shake it up before you squirt it into your dishwashing water. Or, I put mine in a spray bottle and spray my dishes with it and then wash them. It works really well that way, and the spray bottle helps it to last longer.
- The bottle also lists uses such as - dentures, deodorant, aftershave, pets, silk, and car. If you wanted to, you really could use it for just about anything and everything!
I really can’t recommend castile soap enough! It may be more expensive than regular soap or body wash up front, but because it’s so concentrated, a bottle really lasts a long time.
And because it has so many different uses, you will probably end up saving money by using it, because you eliminate the need to buy multiple different products for different uses.
Update 10/12: Be sure not to mix castile soap with vinegar, as I found out when I uncovered this common green cleaning mistake!
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What’s your favorite way to use castile soap? Do you have another use for it that I didn’t list here?
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