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Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more
We’ve rounded up the many castile soap uses to help you become a castile soap pro.
Castile soap is a vegetable-based natural soap that’s nontoxic and biodegradable (you’re welcome, Earth 🌎). It also doesn’t contain any animal fats or synthetic ingredients, so it’s vegan-friendly too.
Castile soap originated in the Mediterranean region and is named after the Castile area of Spain. It was traditionally made of olive oil.
Available in liquid or bar form, today’s castile soap is made from a variety of oils including coconut, castor, hemp, avocado, walnut, and almond oils. It also comes in a variety of scents, thanks to the addition of essential oils.
Pure castile soap is highly concentrated. Depending on how you want to use it, you’ll need to dilute it to varying degrees to make it safe.
What’s so eco-friendly about its ingredients?
According to the Environmental Working Group, which ranks products based on ingredients and sustainability, castile soap comes with a fairly low risk of developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, and allergies and immunotoxicity.
It rarely contains the potentially harmful substances found in other soaps, such as surfactants, antimicrobial agents, nitrates, or phosphates.
As more people opt for less-harsh cleansers, they’ll likely stumble on castile soap as a great alternative.
Got your castile soap in hand and want to know what to do with it?
Many people use one bottle or bar in many applications, so it can replace multiple potentially harmful products in your home — and maybe save you a few bucks.
Here are our top ways you can use unscented or scented liquid castile soap.
1. All-purpose cleaner
Get just about every surface in your house clean with castile soap. Combine 1 to 2 cups of soap and a quart of water in a spray bottle. Voila! Cleaning spray!
2. Toilet bowl cleaner
You may think the efficacy of castile soap for cleaning ends in the bathroom, but it works to clean the nastiest spot of all: your toilet.
Ditch the potentially harmful fumes from bleach and opt for a mixture of 1 cup of castile soap and 4 cups of water. Spray the mixture all over the toilet and scrub.
3. Scouring scrub
Give castile soap a little oomph when you mix 1 cup of it with 3 cups of water in a spray bottle. Then, sprinkle baking soda where you want to scrub, spray on the mixture, and scrub away!
4. Window cleaner
Sure, Windex is great and all, but castile soap can get the job done on glass too. Just add 1 tablespoon of castile soap to a quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe, and then spray some soda water on top and wipe again.
5. Floor cleaner
Get your floor spotless with a nice finish by using castile soap. Combine 1/2 cup of soap with 3 gallons of hot water and mop away.
6. Produce wash
Fruits and veggies, meet a natural cleaner that will be gentle while getting rid of residues, including pesticides. Put 1/4 teaspoon of castile soap into a bowl of water. Soak and gently rub the produce. Then rinse it with water for clean produce!
7. Dish soap
Outta dish soap? Your castile soap can come to the rescue. Just combine 1 part castile soap and 10 parts water and get scrubbing!
8. Foaming hand soap
Make your own natural soap by combining 2 tablespoons of castile soap and 12 ounces of water in a foaming soap bottle. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of a carrier oil for extra moisturizing power or essential oil to scent the soap.
9. Laundry detergent
Even if you’re not the DIY type, one of the major benefits of castile soap is that it’s gentle on skin. So if you have a hard time finding a detergent for sensitive skin, you may want to try it.
Use castile soap for laundry detergent by adding 1/2 cup of the soap to a load of laundry (but add less if you have a high efficiency washing machine).
10. DIY wipes
Cleaning wipes more your thing? Grab a container to hold some scrap cloth or about half a roll of paper towels (if you prefer disposable).
Then make the cleaning solution by putting 1 tablespoon of castile soap into 1 1/2 cups of water. Toss in about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil for a pleasant scent.
Pour the mixture over the wipes in a container and let them soak up the liquid. Each batch of wipes is good for about 2 weeks of use.
11. Face wash and body wash
Castile soap can be oh-so-lovely as a face or body wash. On your face, the mild soap may help wash away bacteria that causes acne. Just put a few drops on your face and rinse. In the shower? Squeeze some into your hands and use it as a body wash.
Can you use castile soap on your hair? You bet! Mix 1 tablespoon of castile soap into 1 cup of water to make your own shampoo. Or use a small squirt of castile soap in wet hair to wash your locks.
Warning: Don’t put it on color-treated hair. It could remove the dye.
13. Teeth cleaner
We’ll be honest: This will probably taste nasty AF, but you can use a drop of castile soap instead of toothpaste. To make it a little more palatable and refreshing, try castile soap that contains peppermint or tea tree oil.
14. Shaving cream substitute
You can use castile soap in place of shaving cream. Lather up a bit of pure soap in your hands and then apply it to the area you want to shave. You can add a small amount of a carrier oil, like jojoba or coconut oil, to help moisturize your skin too.
15. Makeup remover
Remove makeup naturally by combining castile soap with witch hazel and a carrier oil. Find a sealable container (or reuse an old bottle) and mix equal parts castile soap, witch hazel, and your carrier oil of choice. Then use it with a cotton ball or pad to remove makeup.
16. Makeup brush cleaner
Freshen up your makeup brushes by cleaning them with castile soap. Fill a cup with warm water and add a few drops of castile soap. Rinse your brushes, and then put them in the cup for about 10 minutes. Rinse them again and let them air-dry.
A neti pot or saline rinse may be the go-to for natural nasal irrigation, but castile soap is also a contender.
Just add 1 tablespoon of soap to a bowl of boiling water. Then hover your face over the bowl (drape a towel around your head so the vapors stay put) and inhale the moisturizing mist. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil for a boost in congestion busting.
18. Plant pest spray
Ants on your plants? Combine 1/4 cup of soap and a quart of water in a spray bottle. Test it on a small part of the plant first. If all goes well, mist the plant with the castile soap mixture so it can stay ant-free!
19. Pet shampoo
When your furry friend needs a wash, why introduce potentially harmful chemicals — especially if your pet tends to lick their fur when it’s wet? Put a small amount of unscented castile soap into water, lather up your pet, and then rinse with clean water.
Note: If you plan to use castile soap on your pet, check that your soap isn’t made with avocado oil. Some parts of avocados are toxic, but the oil is considered safe. Still, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Also, don’t “freshen up” the soap with essential oils — some essential oils may be toxic to pets.
Castile soap is an ingredient in many natural and organic cleaning products and is an effective everyday soap.
But while some traditional cleaning products outright destroy germs, castile soap instead lifts dirt and germs off surfaces. The short answer: It’s not a bleach-level germ killer or a disinfectant, but it cleans up some nasties.
There’s limited research on whether it actually kills germs. Back in 1999, a study on rats found that castile soap was effective when used alone and in combination with benzalkonium chloride. Other research found that a saline wash worked better than castile soap on human orthopedic wounds.
Castile soap is kinda rad, but it comes with a few no-nos:
- Castile soap is alkaline, so you shouldn’t mix it with other acids like lemon juice and vinegar. The mixture could leave residue on household surfaces, your skin, or your hair.
- If you have hard water, a mixture of castile soap and water can leave behind residue.
- Using a castile soap cleanser on a shiny or hard surface? It may leave a salty deposit behind even though it cleans the surface. Lemon or vinegar can cut the leftover salt deposit, so you may want to spray on a vinegar/water mixture afterward.
If you don’t mind mixing up your own concoctions, castile soap offers a variety of uses — plus the benefits of a natural ingredient. It’s relatively safe and inexpensive, and one bottle can go quite a long way!