It’s okay if you've never been excited about soap. But castile soap is different. And it's safe to say our feelings about the stuff are borderline romantic.
But before we get into castile soap uses, let's discuss what it even is—and why it's got us in such a tizzy in the first place. Unlike most soaps, castile soap is made from vegetable oil, rather than "tallow" (a politely-disguised animal fat). If you don’t care about that from a personal perspective, consider it from a global one: The soap's nontraditional base makes it cruelty-free and completely biodegradable.
When it first originated in Spain's Castile region, olive oil was the traditional base fat for this gentle, sweet-smelling, environmentally-responsible soap. But nowadays, it's made from all sorts of different veggie-derived oils: coconut, avocado, walnut, almond, hemp, and more.
Here, we're sharing 12 of our favorite ways to use castile soap in your everyday daily cleaning, washing, or self-care routines. (And peep a few of our favorite castile soaps below.)
1. Take a relaxing bath with it.
Add two tablespoons of castile liquid soap to a full bath for an all-natural cleansing experience. Unfortunately, you can't have a bubble bath with castile soap, since it doesn't bubble—just add a bit of vegetable glycerin in order to make that happen. (Plus essential oils, if you're hoping for a stronger scent.)
2. Use it as a natural body wash.
You can use this foamy soap on its own as a body wash. Just like most other shower products, a single squirt on a wet washcloth will do the trick, and the water in your shower will dilute it to the proper potency. But if you'd prefer to add other active ingredients or scents, you can do that too. Honey, sweet almond oil, Vitamin E oil, and essential oils are all fun options.
3. Make your own laundry detergent.
There's no reason why you should shell out top dollar for something you'll run out of over and over again—and that's not even taking into account the fact that many commercial laundry detergents are full of unnecessarily strong chemicals. Instead, try adding 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of castile soap to any large load (if you have a small washer, halve these quantities), then add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
4. Use it as baby soap.
Sensitive baby skin needs gentle soap, and we know just the thing. As with all things baby-related, we encourage you to consult your child's pediatrician before changing anything regarding their routine. But once you've got the green light, you can simply dilute one ounce of castile soap with two ounces of distilled water, then use it to wash your baby. Keep the mixture far from his or her eye area.
5. Use it in your garden.
Get this: You can actually make your own natural, effective insecticide and fungicide at home with castile soap. Will wonders never cease? Get the full how-to at Going Green With a Bronner Mom.
6. Wash your dogs with it.
Dog shampoo can be overpriced and with a needlessly long ingredient list. But if you make it at home, you can control exactly what goes in it, and save money. Wet your dog's coat first, then add a few small pumps of castile soap and give him or her a good scrub. Rinse, dry, and you've got yourself a shiny new dog at a fraction of the cost.
7. DIY your own dish soap.
Not only will castile soap make washing dishes less expensive, it'll also give you zero reason to worry about the skin on your hands and arms every night. Ten parts warm water to one part castile soap is all you need to make the washing solution of your dreams.
8. Clean your whole house with it.
Love castile soap a whole lot? Feel like getting totally carried away? Go right ahead! You can use the soap to make an all-purpose, clean-nearly-everything spray simply by adding 1/4 cup to 1 quart of warm water and pouring the mixture into a spray bottle. Now your whole house can get in on the magic.
9. Get ants out of your home.
It's hard to believe that anybody doesn't love castile soap, but it's true: A few critters find it wholly displeasing. Luckily, we don't find them very pleasing. Say goodbye to ants by combining 1/4 cup of tea-tree castile soap with a quart of water. (Just don't spray it directly on plants; this less-diluted mixture is seriously potent and will harm them.)
10. Mop your floors with it.
Half a cup of castile soap can be added to 3 gallons of hot water to make a delightfully simple DIY mopping solution. (On the topic of having fun with mops, we'd like to remind you of this. You're welcome.)
11. Remove your makeup naturally.
Equal parts of castile soap, witch hazel, and coconut oil make for a really, really good makeup remover. You'll never go back to the store-bought stuff—we guarantee it.
12. Clean your makeup brushes.
Warm water and a little bit of castile soap make an excellent makeup brush cleaning solution. Simply dab the tips of your brushes into the solution, then run them under colder tap water until they're clean. Air dry, and repeat whenever you feel like your brushes could use a little R&R.
13. Clear your sinuses with it.
If you've selected a soap containing essential oils (such as Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap or Dr. Bronner's Citrus Castile Soap), you'll find it has far more benefits than just cleaning and washing. Simply fill a large bowl with hot water, add a few pumps or squeezes of soap, and inhale the steam that emerges to open your nasal passages. Pro tip: Wear a towel or sheet over your head in order to keep the steam from escaping.
14. Mix up a DIY foot scrub.
Who needs a nail salon? Make your own DIY foot scrub with 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of castile soap, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and a few drops of peppermint oil. Apply it to your tired toesies before you polish, and you’ve got yourself a pedi that rivals the pros.
15. Try it as shaving cream.
The Dr. Bronner site suggests the following measurements for a shaving cream made from castile soap. Face: 10 drops; underarms: 3 drops; legs: 1/2 tablespoon. Work it into a lather and get to it!