Castile soap is made from vegetable oil, rather than from animal fat or synthetic detergents and comes from the Castile region of Spain (hence the name), where it was made from pure, local olive oil. Although olive oil is the traditional base oil, the soap can also be made with coconut, hemp, avocado, almond, walnut and many other vegetable oils. The most famous castile soap is Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap. Dr. Bronner himself was quite an interesting guy — in fact, you can read more about him here.
Though his soap has been around since 1948, it has become more popular over the years, as more people look to earth-friendly alternatives for all the chemicals in their lives. Dr. Bronner's soap is a completely biodegradable one that can be used in a number of ways, many of which are detailed on the label in teeny tiny print.
Or you could read these normal-sized words to find out how castile soap can replace nearly every toiletry and cleaning product in your house.
1. All purpose cleaning spray. A little castile soap, mixed with warm water, and some drops of your favorite essential oil mixed in a spray bottle makes for a fabulous all-purpose cleaner. Make sure to put the water in the bottle first to avoid a soapy mess. You can use it on your counters in your bathroom and kitchen, your sinks, stovetops, even your toilets.
2. Shower scrub. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of castile soap with 1/4 cup baking soda for a non-toxic shower scrub. It really works! Try it!
3. Handwashing dishes. I actually keep a bottle of castile soap next to my sink for just this purpose. A little dab will work magic on a whole sink of dirty dinner dishes.
4. Toothpaste. Did you know castile soap is safe enough to eat? Not that you should use it as your salad dressing, but still. Just put a couple drops on your already wet toothbrush, and brush your teeth as usual. The taste may take getting used to, but it works just as well as traditional toothpaste, without all the chemical ingredients.
5. Body wash and shampoo. If you're a low-maintenance guy or gal, you'll be happy to know that you can use castile soap as an all-in-one in the shower, both for your hair and your body.
6. Veggie wash. Many people use pricey vegetable washes to help rinse fruit and vegetables from their dirt and pesticide residue, but you can use castile soap instead. Just add 1 tablespoon castile soap to 2 cups of water, and store the mixture in a squirt bottle right beside your kitchen sink.
7. Dog shampoo. Make a mixture with one part castile soap and three parts water to shampoo your pup.
8. Hand soap refill. I love the smell of my Method soaps, but in a pinch, I’ve put in 1/4 cup castile soap with 3/4 cup water into my hand soap bottle as a replacement.
9. Laundry detergent. You can use this recipe to make your laundry detergent from castile soap. It will be gentler on your clothes and your budget.
10. Floor cleaner. Mix 1/4 cup castile soap in a bucket with warm water and mop away!
11. Ant repellent. A few sprays of your castile soap household cleaner will kill ants quickly in your kitchen and spraying on the backs of your countertops and letting them dry will deter them from coming back.