More Green Cleaning – Castile Soap

© 2014 Christy King
© 2014 Christy King

Green Cleaning with Castile Soap

An earlier post covered cleaning with multitasking cleaners you can find in your kitchen cupboard, such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Today’s post includes more green cleaning ideas, this time based on castile soap.

Not only are these types of cleaners multitaskers, allowing you to have fewer items in your home while accomplishing all the same things, but they’re better for the environment and save you money.

But first, I have to share this little gem from the February 23, 2014, issue of Parade.

Back to Basics.

Just as our grandmothers relied on baking soda and vinegar to make their homes sparkle, we’re once again turning to the pantry for cleaning aids. Lemon Oxi Complex dishwasher pacs from Sunlight, for example, use a lemon scent to evoke the tried-and-true grease-fighting power of citrus.

I swear I did not make this up. We should buy these dishwasher pacs because their smell “evokes” grease-fighting power? And how is this turning to the pantry?

What Is Castile Soap?

True castile soap is a vegan product, made of plant oils. It’s better for the environment because it doesn’t include the artificial foaming agents, harsh detergents, petrochemicals and anti-bacterial agents found in many commercial “soap” products.

There are many brands, the most popular of which is probably Dr. Bronner’s. Castile soap generally comes in a liquid concentrate.

Uses for Castile Soap

You’ll need to read the specific dilution instructions for the brand you buy, but here are some cleaning ideas with dilution guidelines.

1. Soft scrub: mix liquid castile soap with baking soda to form a paste.

2. Dishwashing soap (for handwashing): diluted 1:10, or, for people like me who don’t want to measure, a few squirts in the sink or dish tub.

3. Floor cleaning: 1/2 cup castile soap to 3 gallons water, or a few squirts in a smaller mopping bucket.

4. Multipurpose spray cleaner: put 1/4 cup castile soap in a 1 quart spray bottle; fill rest of bottle with water.

5. Laundry detergent: 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load. If the clothes are really dirty, add some borax and/or baking soda.

6. Litter box cleaning spray: one part bleach, one part castile soap and 19 parts water.

Do not mix castile soap with vinegar or lemon juice, though, because you’ll end up with a mess. The vinegar un-saponifies the soap.

Some people use castile soap as a multipurpose personal hygiene product as well, such as for body wash and shampoo, but I haven’t tried this.

I make all of our bar soap, and my hair is super picky, so I haven’t been brave enough to try it there (besides, I’m happy with my shampoo bars which are also all-natural and vegan).

If you’ve used castile soap before, I’d love to hear your experience.


11 thoughts on “More Green Cleaning – Castile Soap

  1. I vouch for this. I used everything on my white outdoor plastic table until I used this. It’s the only thing that cleaned it without destroying the texture.

  2. I have yet to buy castile soap. When I first switched over to safer products it was unavailable in the local area so I made do with what I could find. I was floors with white vinegar and water. and found baking soda works just fine to wash clothes without soap. I first gave that a try when reading it is less about the soap and more about the agitation that cleans our clothes. Not sure I would consider using soap to clean my teeth, but then again if you had asked me a few years ago if I would brush with baking soda I would have laughed at the idea.

    • I first heard of castile soap 20 years ago in a natural cat-care book, of all places, which included the litter box cleaner recipe. All these years later, that’s still my favorite litter box cleaner, though it’s probably just because the peppermint scent covers the bleach smell pretty well. Otherwise I do mostly prefer vinegar and baking soda. However, there are times the soap is helpful.

      • Christy, I too have learned much from natural pet books but the biggest thing I learned about having a healthy pet came from the vet. I had a puppy who had pneumonia and rather than fill him with meds the vet informed me he would get better faster if I made him home made chicken and rice soup. He went on to explain that the pet food we buy isn’t good for them. My dog loved the soup so much we began to feed him a natural diet and never went back to bagged food again.

  3. I haven’t tried castille soap yet but I’m trying to switch over to natural products at home as I work with chemicals all day at work. I will definitely have to check it out.

  4. While I had used Dr. Bonner’s castile soap for years camping, and for cleaning in the house, I recently found that it also works great on the body, – even the face. I always carried a small bottle of it in my toilet kit to wash clothes with, but one time had run out of face wash so I decided to try the castile soap. I found it works great on my middle aged normal/dry skin just fine. I guess you can use it to brush your teeth too. This helped me to reduce the size of my toilet kit… and simplify my life.

    • Thanks for letting us know. I’m not sure about brushing my teeth with soap (anyone tried it?), but if I tired of making our soap, I’ll definitely try the castile.

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.