When I first started using Castile soap I almost quit. I kept reading articles about how it was a wonder product that would cure everything. Clean your house, cure your acne, give you thick luscious hair and kill weeds naturally.
I felt like it wasn’t living up to the hype with some of these claims and I figured it was a silly product. But, I am glad I kept with it. Really glad! .
In the beginning, I found it confusing. There are a million recipes for different uses and I found it overwhelming. I tried a giant process of trial and error of all the different uses of Castile Soap and I would love to share them with you.
Some uses I now swear by, and others I have different methods I prefer. Read on to see my findings.
What is Castile Soap?
Lets start with a description of what Castile soap is. There is a giant history lesson that comes with Castile soap. I will spare you the schooling, although its really interesting if you ever want to google it.
The absolute minimal gist of it, is that Castile soap originates in the Castile Region of Spain. Traditionally it is made with Olive and laurel oils. The soap migrated to other areas of Europe and became very popular. It was especially popular in England. Other areas did not have easy access to Laurel oil, thus it began to made with just olive oil.
What are the Ingredients of Castile Soap?
Nowadays it is defined as a vegetable based soap.
Many manufacturers use a variety of oils including coconut, walnut, castor, avocado, almond and hemp oils as well.
Depending on the scent, some use natural fragrances to add a nice smell.
How is it different to other Cleaners and Soaps?
The biggest difference between Castile Soap and regular soap is Castile is vegetable based and most soaps are animal fat based.
The biggest difference between Castile Soap and most other cleaners is that is it chemical free and non toxic.
What makes Castile Soap Better?
I’ve mentioned a few things like the lack of chemicals that really make Castile Soap an amazing choice. Above and beyond that, there are a number of reasons why its a better choice for a lot of uses in your home
Not tested on animals
Why I love Castile Soap
As I mentioned before, I was not an instant fan. I am really happy I kept trying it for different uses, because the things I love it for, I REALLY LOVE it for:
- One of my favorite things is that I can start to teach my young sons how to clean a bathroom but not have to worry about them handling dangerous chemicals.
- I appreciate that I can wash our fruits and vegetables with something natural that’s not going to leave a yucky soapy taste.
- I really enjoy that I can make my own body and hand foaming wash with amazing essential oil smells.
- Using Castile Soap in the areas that I have found really work, make me feel like I”m doing a small step to making my family healthier and reducing the chemicals in our home.
- It really is very economical, especially stacked up against other Green products. For a 1 liter bottle it is approx $22 CAD. There are 4 cups in one liter. Lets look at a couple of the cost savings that are easy to quantify.
|Use of Product||Castile Soap||Competitor|
|Foaming Handsoap||Use 1/2 cup or $2.75/hand soap refill||$3-$5/avg per bottle|
|Foaming Bodywash||Use 1/2 cup or $2.75/body wash refill||$5-$8/avg per bottle|
Is there any downside to using Castile Soap?
There are a few things you need to avoid when using Castile Soap:
- I have hard water and a water softener is on my “wants” list, but not in the budget at this time. The Castile Soap reacts with the water and leaves behind a white film residue. This is why there are some uses that I don’t use it for like mopping darker floors. For some people it might work better.
- Both Vinegar or lemon juice mixed with Castile soap will have the same white film effect. Since many of us use these two ingredients for other natural cleaning purposes, just keep it in mind that mixing them will give an undesired effect.
- Castile soap on color-treated hair may strip away some of the color, so if you decide to try it as a shampoo make sure you are not coloring your hair.
Above and beyond the few little things mentioned above, I just found that are some things that it is amazing for, and others that I would rather use something else.
The Many Uses of Castile Soap
I broke the following list into the my reviews through trial and error of when I found it worked, and when it didn’t
When It Works
1. Foaming Hand Soap – You have to get the mixture just right to get the right amount of foam. I purchased a few foaming hand soap pumps from Walmart. I mix 1/2 cup of peppermint castile soap, 10 drops of thieves essential oils and fill the rest with water. It smells great! The essential oil isn’t necessary, I just put it in for an extra kick of cleaning properties.
2. Foaming Body wash – I use the same foaming soap pump I purchased for the hand soap. It doesn’t look like it belongs in the shower but it works great. I am addicted to citrus so I use a mixture of 1/4 cup of citrus castile soap and 1/4 almond castile soap and fill the remainder of the pump with water. It smells so good and leave my skin so soft.
3. Body scrub – There are a lot of different variations and recipes of body scrubs. I keep it simple otherwise I will never bother to make something or buy extra ingredients that I don’t have around the house. I use 1/4 of castile soap, 2 tbs of coconut oil (if you have it, if not just skip it), 1/4 of water and a cup of brown sugar. Its enough to scrub from head to toe!
4. Some Laundry – For laundry I use it for sheets and towels only. I am too nervous to use it on my regular clothes because it is an oil. I know a lot of people use it for everything but I have read some people reviewing that it left oily stains. For Sheets and Towels it makes them super soft. Just pour about 3 good squeezes into the liquid laundry spot. Also fill the fabric softener tray with vinegar. Ironically when you use vinegar AFTER castile soap it gets rid of white residue. Its only when they are mixed that it creates it.
5. Tub cleaning – I just fill the bottom of the tub with about an inch of hot water and splash in a few squirts of Castile Soap. I can give the tub a really good clean and not feel at all guilty about plopping one of my kids in immediately after. No chemicals lingering around afterwards and getting into their bath water.
6. Bathroom floor and countertops – Most bathrooms have lighter colored flooring so It works great. With the counter tops I ahve that same feeling as the tub. I can clean the kids sink and counter and don’t worry about them putting their toothbrushes down on the counter afterwards and then back in their mouth. I will say that the only area of the bathroom floor that I sometimes call in a little chemical reinforcement is my boys bathroom. Every couple of weeks I have to use something a little stronger like bleach or an antibacterial cleaner on and around their toilet. Boys are sometimes just gross
7. Shaving – I keep a bottle of Soap in my shower and just dump a little in my hand, add a tiny bit of water, lather it up and use it for an amazing shave. My skin is so soft and I never get razor burn.
8. fruit wash – When I get home from grocery shopping I fill the sink with warm water and a couple squeezes of unscented Castile Soap. I toss in all of our fruits and veggies to soak and then rinse them off.
8. Hand washing dishes – Fill the sink with hot water and put about two squeezes in. It doesn’t work for really dirty pots and pans, but is perfect for light hand washing.
9. Dog wash – Its gentle and moisturizing on their skin and makes their hair very soft. Just lather up some in your hands and use like regular dog shampoo.
10. Light colored flooring – On darker flooring it can leave streaking, but on lighter color floors you cannot see it. I love to use it because especially with babies crawling around I don’t worry about floor cleaner chemicals.
11. Bath soak – It doesn’t foam or give bubbles but it makes a really nice soak for your skin. you feel so soft afterwards and you really do get addicted to the smell of Castile Soap.
12. Make up Remover – Dilute with water and use as an easy on your skin makeup remover.
When It Does Not Work
1. Laundry all the time – It is an oil. So I don’t want to put it on my delicate fabrics. I have read reviews of people claiming it left oily stains on their more delicate fabrics so I haven’t experimented with it. My favorite green product for laundry is Nature Clean laundry powder.
2. Toilet scrubbing – For light in between deep cleans it works fine. But on Bathroom deep clean day you need something stronger. Its super gross to think about, but Coke does the trick. I pour 3 cups of coke in the toilet bowl and let it sit for 15 min. I try not to think about how it dissolves and deep cleans any discoloring, because what the heck does it do to my insides?
3. Especially smelly areas around the toilet from boys – I mentioned this earlier in the areas that it does work. I love it for the bathroom floor. But every once in awhile I use a diluted deodarizing bleach to clean the toilet and around the bottom. Those middle of the night pees don’t always make it fully in the bowl from the kiddos .
4. Dishwasher – I tried it and just felt like it was a disaster. It didn’t seem to spread around evenly around the dishwasher to get everything clean and there was a white film on the glasses. I think its not the right consistency to be a good dishwasher product. I love Nature Cleans dishwasher pods. They work great!
5. Kitchen and stove cleaner – I have black counter tops, so I feel like it leaves too much of a white film. In the photo below you can see the white film down the center where I Cleaned with water and Castile Soap. I prefer to just use a vinegar based homemade spray. I use 1/2 cup of vinegar in a medium sized spray bottle and fill the rest with water. To try and mask the smell, I use peppermint essential oils. My husband hates the smell of vinegar. I love it the smell!
6. Shampoo – Nope just nope. I am used to low lather shampoo because I use that type for my curly hair. But this just looked like I had dumped an oil slick on my head.
7. Toothpaste – I think partially I’m just very conditioned to think toothpaste has to taste minty, but I did not like Castile soap for toothpaste. My mouth just did not feel right afterwards.
8. Darker hardwood or vinyl flooring – Just leaves too many streaks. You can go back over it with water or vinegar to get rid of the streaks but then it doubles your cleaning time. I prefer to use my water and vinegar mixture mentioned above.
9. Glass Cleaner – I don’t even know why someone thought this was a good plan. I tried a few different recipes of different dilutions and every time my mirrors just looked completely cloudy. Back to my vinegar!
10. Gardening – Many people use it as an insect repellent in their gardens and on their plants. I tried in on a few different plants with different scents and dilutions. There is a strong possibility that the bugs might have actually liked it better. I have not found a great chemical free product to help with bugs that doesn’t harm the plants. If you have a tested one please write it in the comments!
11. Deodorant – Similar to my shampoo reaction. Just nope. I recently ordered the Native brand deodorant and I love the smell and texture. Its awesome.
12. Sinus Decongestant – I’ve read a number of people using it in a pot of boiling water for a decongestant. I don’t see any harm in doing it and I liked the smell. I’m just not sure it had any additional benefits over the regular steam.
I really sincerely hope this list was helpful. My trial and error can help you save a few mistakes along the way. Castile soap is a wonderful product that I have found works beautifully in some areas around my home. And most importantly I love that its a safe and responsible cleaning choice. For more chemical free tips read 14 ways to use less chemicals in your home
For other cleaning and beauty products that you can feel good about, check their ratings at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and https://www.ewg.org/guides/. Any of the alternative cleaning methods or products I’ve mentioned above get A ratings through EWG.
Thank you for reading and Happy cleaning!