Castile soap, which originated in the Castile region of Spain, is an all-natural vegetable oil-based soap.
Pure castile soaps are genuine soaps – as opposed to the complex blend of detergents that we generally regard to be liquid soaps which often, in fact, don’t contain any soap whatsoever!
Here’s why you should always opt for the ‘real deal’ castile variety:
7 Reasons To Start Using Castile Soap
1. Natural and Free of Toxins
Most of the soaps we purchase today contain a myriad of toxic chemicals which wreak havoc on our health.
According to Dr. Mercola, putting chemicals on the skin may actually be worse than eating them! That’s because chemicals on the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream without any of the filtering that would happen if the toxins went through the digestive system. With unprecedented levels of exposure to such toxins, we don’t yet know the cumulative effects of long-term use.
Castile soap contains only vegetable-based ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, hemp oil and jojoba oil, along with water and essential oils.
Be aware that the term ‘castile’ is often used loosely so purchase from a reputable brand or check labels closely for chemical additives.
2. Often Organic, Vegan and Fair Trade
Castile soaps are generally far superior to their conventional counterparts in terms of the quality of their ingredients and their ethical and environmental impact.
As they are based on vegetable oils – as opposed to animal (tallow) fat-based soaps – pure castile soaps are suitable for vegans, although you should always check the label before purchasing.
The most popular brand on the market, Dr. Bronner’s, offers a certified vegan and cruelty-free liquid and solid castile soap. In addition, most of the ingredients are certified organic and GMO free, and have been sourced using Fair Trade principles.
3. Doesn’t Encourage Super Bacteria
Shockingly, liquid soaps which are marked as ‘anti-bacterial’ may actually encourage hard-to-kill super bugs. Many of them contain a synthetic antibacterial ingredient called triclosan – a chemical registered as a pesticide with the EPA.
In addition to animal studies showing that triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria, it may also alter hormone regulation, interfere with fetal development in pregnant women, and cause allergies, weight gain, inflammatory responses and thyroid dysfunction.
Even the FDA has stated that ‘there is currently no evidence that antibacterial soaps are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water’!
It looks like it’s best to stick with castile soap to keep your hands and home clean and germ free.
4. Lathers Easily
Many natural soaps don’t lather well – making for a decidedly bubble-free bubble bath. This is because these products usually shun the use of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a chemical whose primary function is to foam up.
There are nearly 16,000 studies in the PubMed science library relating to the toxicity of SLS. Animals exposed to this common soap ingredient – found in 90% of personal care products – experience eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and even death.
However, castile soap can produce a high-foaming lather without the health risks, thanks to its rich oil content. The potassium hydroxide converts the vegetable oils into soap and glycerin, meaning you’ll require less water for a lather than with traditional liquid soap. Castile soap will also foam up in either hard or soft water.
5. Safe for Babies and Pets
Due to their natural ingredients and chemical-free formulation, natural castile soaps without the addition of essential oils are exceptionally mild and safe for babies, although they should be kept away from the eye area as they are not ‘tear-free’. (Most tear-free formulations use a synthetic numbing agent – yet another chemical additive).
Both dogs and cats can also be washed in many of these unscented varieties which won’t irritate their skin or build up on their coats.
(Note that most essential oils can be toxic to cats so always read the label before using castile soap on your pets).
6. Environmentally Friendly
Castile soap is gentle on the environment as it is free of artificial foaming agents, colors, fragrances, chemical detergents, petrochemicals and toxic anti-bacterial agents.
The natural products used in the soap’s manufacture also mean that it is biodegradable.
7. An Incredibly Versatile Product
Aside from its super natural formulation, one of the biggest reasons to use castile soap is due to its versatility! Here are some of the most popular ways to use castile soap:
18 Magical Ways To Use Castile Soap
Foaming Hand Wash – while you can use liquid castile soap straight out of the bottle to wash your hands, face and entire body, there are plenty of recipes out there which add a little something extra to the mix while making your bottle of soap go further. This recipe by Wellness Mama only requires two tablespoons of castile soap, along with water, essential oils and sweet almond oil.
Sensitive Skin Face Wash – those with sensitive skin can blend castile soap with chamomile tea and lavender essential oil which will cleanse the face without stripping the skin of its much-needed natural oils.
Nourishing Body Wash – feel squeaky clean all over with a wash made from castile soap, honey and natural oils.
Coconut Milk Shampoo – by mixing coconut milk with castile soap you’ll be left with a creamy, lathering shampoo which will nourish and cleanse your hair and scalp. Finish with an apple cider vinegar hair rinse to smooth and condition.
Bubble Bath – a silky soft and non-irritating bubble bath blend with castile soap, vegetable glycerin and essential oils of your choice. You’ll never go back to store-bought bath foams!
Unisex Shaving Cream – both men and women can enjoy a close, smooth shave thanks to this cream containing raw honey (great for acne prone skin), olive or avocado oil and castile soap.
Soap Toothpaste – there are a ton of reasons to choose a homemade toothpaste over the store-bought variety. Although this recipe is technically a tooth soap rather than a paste, it’s both refreshing and effective. Made with unscented or peppermint liquid castile soap, melted coconut oil, Xylitol or Stevia and essential oils of your choice.
Hair and Make Up Brush Cleaner – did you know that 72% of women never wash their cosmetics brushes or sponges, making them one of the most germ infested things in the home? This buildup of dirt and bacteria leads to facial outbreaks, which could easily be avoided by washing brushes weekly in a solution of water and castile soap. While you’re at it, make sure to clean your hair brush too!
Removing Pesticides from Fruit and Vegetables – if you can’t buy all organic fruit and veggies, then make sure to give them a good scrub to remove pesticide residues from the outer layers (here’s why you should). Mix a little castile soap in water and gently rub this over your fresh produce before rinsing thoroughly.
DIY Dish Soap – a homemade dish soap that works just like a store-bought product. It bubbles up easily, cleans perfectly and rinses away with no nasty residue! Made with both liquid and solid castile soap, washing soda and optional essential oils.
Dishwasher Detergent – for a fuss free yet all-natural way to clean your tableware, try out this homemade detergent made with castile soap, water and essential oils. Follow with a white vinegar rinse aid to help remove residues after the wash and you’ll be left with sparkling dishes time after time.
Laundry Detergent – with four simple ingredients – castile soap, borax, washing soda and essential oil – and ten minutes of your time, you can enjoy spotless laundry at a fraction of the price. It fights stains, odors and even removes melted in chocolate chips – an all-round winner!
Floor Cleaner – for hardwood or tiled floors, simply add half a teaspoon of castile soap to a bucket of warm water and mop as normal. The soap will lift the dirt right off without leaving a residue.
All-Purpose Household Cleaner – making a castile soap spray with water, castile soap and tea tree oilcleaning couldn’t be easier – just follow the step-by-step instructions in the video. Use it to wipe down all manner of surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.
Exterior Window Wash – while white vinegar and water work wonders on interior windows and mirrors, exterior windows and doors usually require something a little stronger. With more dirt, dust and even greasy hand prints, castile soap in water is a must! It acts as an emulsifier, binding the dirt and water together. Follow with white vinegar to really make the glass sparkle.
Non-Toxic Toilet Cleaner – this non-toxic and natural toilet bowl cleaner really works! The castile soap gets things shiny and clean, the baking soda scrubs without scratching, and the antimicrobial essential oils disinfect and leave a pleasant scent.
Natural Dog Shampoo – harnessing the powers of castile soap, coconut oil and ground oatmeal, this homemade shampoo won’t strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin, but it will remove odors and leave him with a glossy and healthy coat. It
White Oil Natural Pesticide – ditch dangerous garden pesticides and go organic with this simple but effective pesticide spray made with just two ingredients – castile soap and oil. It is especially effective on soft body insects like aphids and mites.
A Note on Using Castile Soap and Vinegar
Castile soap in an incredibly effective natural product to keep in the home. However, it’s only effective if you know how to use it correctly – and that means avoiding mixing it with vinegar (or other acids like lemon juice).
Because vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base they will essentially cancel each other out. The vinegar ‘unsaponifies’ the soap – reducing it back to its original oils. You’ll be left with an oily, filmy substance on top of whatever you were trying to clean!
However, vinegar does have a place alongside castile soap. Use the soap to clean first and, once thoroughly washed off, employ the vinegar as a rinse agent to remove all traces of dirt and build-up and add shine.
Where To Buy Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner’s is widely regarded as the best brand of castile soap. You can buy a bottle of classic Dr. Bronner’s Organic & Unscented Castile Liquid Soap from this page on Amazon – and then explore some more options below…