A few days ago, I got some questions about castile soap. These are great questions, so I thought I’d answer them in a post, since I know others are wondering this, too.
First off, what is castile soap? Castile soap is vegetable-based, meaning no animal products, like tallow, are used to make the soap. Yep, it’s vegan. It’s also biodegradable, making it an excellent choice for camping and other outdoor uses where it might wash into streams.
When I first started using castile soap several years ago, I got the Trader Joe’s brand. It worked well and was much cheaper than Dr. Bronner’s. Unfortunately, they discontinued it. Sad day.
After that, I started using Dr. Bronner’s, mostly because it was easy to find. Now, I purchase it in bulk from our local buying club and many natural food stores have dispensers that you can refill your old bottles with.
Ok, onto the questions.
How much do you dilute the Castile Soap when making shampoo?
To make homemade shampoo, I use 1 tbsp baking soda per 1 cup of water. I don’t always add castile soap, but when I do (like if I’ve used some kind of product in my hair – castile soap is great at cutting grease), I add about 1/2 tsp to the mixture and rub it into my hair.
Follow that with a vinegar hair rinse – 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup water (increase these ratios if you have longer hair). It really helps soften the hair and prevent tangles.
Do you use the same concentration for body wash and hand soap?
I’ve been reusing a couple of foaming handwash pumps for a while now and castile soap works well in them. When I refill it, I use 1 oz. of soap and fill it the rest of the way with water.
For body wash, I fill an old 8 oz. container about 2/3 with soap and the rest of the way with water.
Castile soap actually works best when it’s diluted – the recommendation is 40 parts water to 1 part soap, which comes out to 2 1/2 cups of water to 1 tbsp soap.
Can you explain how you make vegetable wash with it?
You’ll want to use the ratio above to make vegetable wash. I suggest mixing it in a spray bottle so you can spray down fruits and veggies as needed. If you need to use more than that, just unscrew the lid and pour it in the sink or a bowl.
I do suggest getting the baby mild version and adding your own essential oils to it. That way you can have unscented soaps for things like veggie wash and face wash, and different scents for your body wash and hand wash.
Do you find that you save money by using Dr. Bronner’s instead of shampoo/body wash, or do you just use it because it is all-natural and organic?
When I started buying castile soap, it was to save money on our toiletries/supplies budget. Granted, I did start with the Trader Joe’s brand, which was much cheaper than Dr. Bronner’s, but when they discontinued it, I wasn’t about to go back because I’m able to use castile soap for so much more:
- Body wash
- Hand soap
- Face wash
- Veggie wash
- Dish soap (though it’s not sudsy like “normal” soap, so that takes some getting used to – still not sure if I like it)
- Laundry detergent (I grate a bar for this)
- House cleaner (it goes into many a cleaning recipe)
- Carpet cleaner (mix 1/4 cup soap and 1 cup water in a blender until it’s a nice foam and rub it into carpet stains)
You can replace a lot of products with one bottle of castile soap. Win! Buying in bulk will yield even more savings.
Also, in doing some research for this post, I found another brand of castile soap that is much cheaper than Dr. Bronner’s, called Dr. Wood’s. Not sure what it is about doctors making castile soap …
Anyway, a 32-oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s from my local buying club costs $12.73, but the same size of Dr. Wood’s brand costs $8.43. This size bottle lasts us about 2 months (more if we don’t use it for dish soap).
*Update: I purchased Dr. Wood’s soap and after a month, my husband asked me to get Dr. Bronner’s again. Dr. Bronner’s soap is more concentrated, meaning we have to use less. I also like the essential oils they use better – they don’t stink.
Really enjoyed that article, Nina. We’ve used castille soap for 10 years or so for shampoo, face wash, body wash, but I never thought about some of the other uses you’ve mentioned. Do you have a recipe for laundry detergent that you could share and is it actually cheaper to make you own purchasing castille soap? I always though if I could make it that doing laundry soap would be cheaper to make, but maybe it would still be worth it if not.
Thanks, Nina! Great article. Thanks for your thoroughness. I’m excited to get some castile soap and start using it!
Jenny – I laughed when I read this because I had just finished shooting a video answering some laundry detergent questions. I’ll be posting about this soon.
You’re very welcome Heather. Thanks for giving me the idea. 🙂
I recently bought a bottle of Dr. Woods and so far what I have used is just as good as Dr. Bronners.
Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be trying some when I run out of my Dr. Bronner’s.
I use castile soap for a lot of things and I absolutely love it! My favorite is a face wash using castile soap, glycerin, witch hazel (alcohol free!), and apple cider vinegar along with essential oils for your skin type. It has improved my skin so much and people keep telling me I look younger all the time.
Do you have a recipe you could share Jena?
Is laundry soap made from castille soap “HE washine machine friendly?”
So I’ve been using my Dr. Bronner’s soap wrong. Just using it straight! Oops…
Thanks for the great article. So do you mean that Dr Bronner’s shouldn’t be used neat as body or hand wash, but should be diluted with 40 parts water? So most people are using an extremely concentrated version without realizing it?
We use Doc Bronners to bathe our dog. It really seems to help with his skin allergies, plus it smells great!
I’ve been using the Dr. Bronner for so many things! I’m hooked! However, I had tried the Dr. Woods Black soap with shea butter for my face. I love it! My 30-yr old daughter won’t use anything else after trying it–helps avoid any adult breakouts. Love the price! Love the smell! That said, I’ll always have Dr. Bronner’s on hand–in the laundry room, kitchen, bathrooms. I used to have dry/cracking hands in the winter (yeah, to some extent, in the summer too) until I started to use skin friendly Bronner’s and Wood’s. Thanks for sharing your great info!
If you go to You Tube and search for Castile soap recipes, you will find several instructional videos on how to make your own Castile Soap.
That way you have complete control with your product.
Have you tried getting your castile soap from http://www.naturalwayorganics.net? They have the best that I have found so far. It’s affordable, mild, and I love it.
I haven’t, Samantha. Thanks for the tip!
I’ve been using dr.bronners peppermint as shampoo and their hair rinse as conditioner. Also as body wash . Although it lathers nicely, it’s quite drying. It’s pretty basic (PH 8-9…our skin is 4.5-5)
Am using dr.woods almond with Shea butter as shampoo and face wash now, I like it much better. It doesn’t lather as much but it’s PH balanced and doesn’t dry out my skin and scalp.
Nina, Thanks so much for breaking down the amounts of liquid soap to water ratio! I was searching through my old algebra book to figure out the proper equation I would need to use. It’s been too many years since I needed that horrid text!
LOL! Thankfully, I read it somewhere a while ago so I didn’t have to figure it out. 🙂
hi nina can I buy Dr. Bronner castile soap are Dr. woods castile soap at sam club does walmart carried it I would like to make some of the things you have got on here thank you
I love Castile soap. My sensitive skin adores it too. And adding essential oils is very therapeutic and soothing in the shower, but I’ll definitely try some of these new and great ideas. Never would’ve thought of ’em. Thanks!
Dr.Bronners is spending a lot of money trying to get GMO food liabled. This fact alone is worth supporting the compnay
Hi Nina- thanks for sharing this! I’m currently switching all the products I can to natural DIY products so this is perfect! I am a little confused on the hand wash & body soap ratios. The hand wash uses so little soap, but the body wash is 2/3rd’s of a container full? Is that too much soap/too harsh for this kind of soap? And then for the veggie wash you say to use the ratio above- do I use the one for the hand wash or body wash or the 2 1/2 cup water to 1 T soap? Thank you!!
Nina, I came over from Holistic Homemaking today to visit and read April’s article on simplifying room by room. Read your self-description (you had me at “Jesus follower” and “Whovian”) took a look around … and immediately subscribed. I want to read/learn more and don’t want to miss a thing. I am now at the stage where anti-aging face care concoctions are my friends. The face wash that I love and use everyday is made up of honey, vegetable glycerin and a small bit of liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bonner’s unscented, liquid, baby soap). I wasn’t sure about adding the soap at first, but the combination of the 3 ingredients works beautifully for my skin. Follow up with a little ACV toning spritz and my face feels moist, soft and balanced. Thank you!
Welcome, Stef! So glad to have you here! That sounds like a great face wash. Do you ever add essential oils? Could you share the recipe? Please? 🙂
I enjoyed the article…actually all of your posts! I have Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, can I use it as body wash without diluting it?
Thanks Nina for the great tips!! I was wondering where I can purchase Dr. Woods? Can you fill me in? I am from Canada and have never seen this product around. I currently am using Dr. Bronner’s and really enjoy it…but I wouldn’t mind giving Dr. Woods a try 🙂
I bought it online, but after using it for a while, found that I like Dr. Bronner’s better, especially since I can refill my bottle at our local Whole Foods.
I am new to your blog, have been following for a couple months, and want to thank you for the detailed creativity and common sense solutions! I use Dr Bronner’s unscented as a shampoo base (similar to your new shampoo recipe). But I think I’d rather start making my own liquid soap when I run low this time. Have you ever made liquid soap to use as an all-purpose cleanser?
what about using Kirk’s castile soap? It’s easier to find in my area than the others you mentioned.
That’s find, Michelle. 🙂 I prefer Dr. Bronner’s because I can get the unscented version in bulk locally.
a frugal alternative shampoo is one bar Kirks castile soap shredded, melted in 1 pint boiling water. When cool, add one beaten egg. Says it keeps indefinitiely. From an Amish cookbook copywrite 1977, from Pathway Publishers. I use it.
I just made a dishwasher detergent and LOVE it! Trying to get it to work effectively for shampoo but think it may be too harsh.
I buy Dr. Woods…..several scents and just love them! I use the black soap with Shea Butter mostly. I didn’the like Dr Bronners tea tree oil one, but loved Dr Woods tea tree oil scent. I buy them at http://www.vitacost.com where they are at an great discount. You can buy them both there, plus I buy all my other products and vitamins there as well because the cost is low.
Vitacost is a great place! I don’t know if I’ve tried Dr. Woods. Probably?
Hi! This is a GREAT post, thank you! – and YES! to Vitacost. I am in the midst of ordering their own brand GloNaturals castile soap… its super affordable and so far I have had great luck with the Vitacost brands of coconut oil and supplements..
Hello there,would just like to let you as well as other readers know that if you are familiar with king soopers or city market,they as well carry castile soap,it is called simple truth,which is there store brand and it is 9.99 for a 32oz.bottle, I have been using it for 2 months now and am pleased with the results,plus it saves on my pocket book as well. Just wanted to let you in on that tidbit. Thank you for the many uses.