How to use castile soap

Washing hands with liquid castile soap

Castile soap is a versatile eco-friendly ingredient used in many Living Green–tested cosmetic and household cleaning recipes. (Photo: Burst via Pexels)

What is castile soap?

Castile soap is versatile and gentle on people and the environment.

It’s named for Castile, Spain, a region renowned for its olive oil. Authentic castile soap is made of plant oils — coconut, hemp, sunflower seed, jojoba and olive. (Avoid brands with palm oil. That’s devastating forests overseas where orangutans live.) Oils are mixed with an alkali — sodium hydroxide for solid soap and potassium hydroxide for liquid.

What makes castile soap eco-friendly?

  • It’s biodegradable.
  • It’s vegan!
  • It’s not tested on animals (check for Leaping Bunny certification).
  • It’s scent-free (no synthetic fragrances, even natural essential oils).
  • Your can refill containers at zero waste and organic grocers or health food stores.
  • You can support a local brand.
  • It’s free of artificial foaming agents, harsh cleansers, deconstructed fatty acids from vegetable oils or fats (a.k.a. oleochemicals), petrochemicals and/or chemical antibacterial agents (such as triclosan).
  • It’s concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
  • It can do the job of at least 11 personal care products and home cleaners.

Note: Read ingredients carefully and choose those with vegetable-based ingredients. “Liquid soap” doesn’t mean plant-based.

Twelve ways to use liquid castile soap

  1. Make hand or body wash. Pour one part soap and three parts water into a pump or foaming dispenser. It’s also safe to use full strength and for babies! With proper washing, soap works well on most viruses, even better than disinfectants, wipes and gels containing alcohol, because soap dissolves the virus’s fat membrane.
  2. Wash fruits and veggies. Add a squirt to a sinkful of water. Rinse.
  3. Make all-purpose spray.
  4. Make all-purpose scour.
  5. Make liquid laundry soap (not a detergent).
  6. Make diaper wipe solution. Add a few drops to a squirt bottle of water.
  7. Wash reusable menstural cups.
  8. Clean makeup brushes.
  9. Wash floors. Add a squirt to a bucketful of water.
  10. Use in a carpet washing machine.
  11. Wash the car. Add a squirt to a bucket of water.
  12. Wash the dog.