If we have learned anything during all this COVID-19 madness, washing your hands is a must! So my third item in the less waste pantry, Castile soap, seems appropriate. Learn how to get the most out of this pantry staple.
What is Castile Soap?
It is made up of vegetable oils that works as a cleaner. It is non-toxic and free of chemicals so it makes for a good eco-staple. It is called “Castile” because it originally came from the Castile region in Spain. You can purchase Castile soap in either solid or liquid form. You can find uses for both and I can honestly say I’m not sure I use more of one over the other. You can read about the differences here if you are really curious. I personally prefer the baby soap, because it is free of fragrances but it all depends on what you are using it for. Just be sure to research what is best for your purposes. Let’s take a look at how you can use Castile soap in your everyday life.
NOTE: There are different brands of Castile soap, I have only used Dr. Bronners as it is the most widely accessible and known so note I will be referencing this brand only for this post but you are welcome to research other brands.
Face, Body and Hand Soap
Castile soap works well for a personal care. Using a few splashes of the liquid soap with water you can get a good lather for the shower. It is safe on your face and depending on any skin issues you might be facing something like tea tree or peppermint might serve you better. For a good hand soap recipe check out my post on clean hands.
Whether you are shaving your face or your legs, you can use Castile soap the same way you would for washing. A few drops with water to lather and you are set to go.
As gentle as Castile soap is on our skin, it is powerful for cleaning. Either with simple water or other added ingredients Castile soap acts as good cleanser for most areas of the home. For those of you familiar with black soap (Black Olive Oil Soap) which can be to difficult find in the U.S., Castile soap can be a good substitute for it’s cleaning properties for DIY recipes. Note, the “black soap” you see in the beauty section of a store is different than black olive oil soap.
This works great for counter tops. I was not aware that vinegar will erode marble and granite surfaces, so use a spray bottle with Castile soap and water to keep those surfaces clean rather than vinegar!
Dish and Dishwasher Soap
Castile soap is great for hand-washing dishes or cleaning up dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. If you wish to make your own dishwasher powder grate up Castile bar soap. Look for recipes online to see what mix works best for you.
Fruit and Vegetable Cleaner
Cleaning up hard skinned fruits and veggies can be accomplished with just a dash of Castile soap and some water. I do recommend you research how to store each fruit and veggie first. Some will start to go bad faster once washed.
Reusable Wet Wipes
If you haven’t read my post: CoronaVirus: Clean Ingredients for Clean Hands check it out. I list a recipe for reusable wet wipes that uses Castile soap replacing the disposable wipes in your home.
I have not personally tried this, as I use a steam mop but if you prefer the classic mopping style give this a go. Castile soap works well with hot water to get your hard surface floors clean.
You can use either liquid or solid soap for your laundry. I personally grate up the bar soap with a mix of washing soda and baking soda. I like how clean the powder mix gets my clothes and it lasts for a long time on the shelf. If you prefer liquid, Dr. Bronner suggests the liquid Castile soap and white vinegar mix for your laundry loads.
Much like personal care cleaning, you can use Castile soap on dogs for a good bath. I highly recommend using the baby soap for this, some scented soaps will not be appropriate for a dog’s skin. Might be easier with the liquid but feel free to try with the bar soap and tell me how that goes!
Plant Pest Repellant
Keep your plants safe from unwanted pests. Mixing Castile soap with water in a spray bottle to spray your plants will safely keep bad bugs away without harming your plants.
If you are looking to purchase Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, check out the soap or “natural” beauty section of your store. If looking for the fragrance free version check the baby aisles as they will be stocked there. I find most big box or grocery stores carry Castile soap and of course you can do a search online if you prefer. For much more on uses and background visit LisaBronner.com, she has many posts with recipes, research and recommendations for those looking to understand more on how to use Castile soap and the science behind it.