Growing up there was nothing better than a head full of suds paired with a bubble bath beard and a good ‘ol rubber ducky. But those “suds” were actually completely unnecessary and drying out your skin. It’s due to a chemical called Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), a detergent found in many personal care products like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc. SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent that, unfortunately, causes skin and eye irritation for many humans and animals. I was one of those humans and could not believe how many products list SLEA as its second or third ingredient. (I dare you, look through your grocery store’s soap aisle or even your own bathroom and count how many times you see it.) My skin and scalp were begging for a healthier more moisturizing cleanser so I went searching for one.
The solution? Castile soap! Castile soap is unique and different from other soaps in many ways. This is a completely earth friendly, biodegradable soap which contains no harmful chemicals like other average soaps. Castile does not require any animal products like tallow which is widely used by regular branded soaps. Rather, Castile soaps are made from 100% pure plant oils. This is a revolutionary soap in the industry and can be considered as a true soap which contains no chemical detergent.
In earlier centuries, an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. By the turn of this century, “Castile” had come to mean any vegetable oil-based soap, which is distinct from animal (tallow) fat-based soaps which can be extremely drying.
Although Castile soap does produce a foaming lather, this comes from it’s high coconut oil content, which makes a more luxurious and richer lather than any detergent could ever create. “Pure-Castile” is your guarantee that what you are using is an ecological and simple genuine soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream created during manufacture and detergents’ slower biodegradability. Unfortunately, many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as “Liquid Soap” even though they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever.
This soap is available in bars, flakes and liquid form. Liquid is my favorite, as it is much easier to mix and measure. Castile soap is famous for its affordability, simplicity, and it’s variety of uses. I used to buy mine on Amazon but now you can find it at Target and I’m sure other stores as well.
It’s also an all purpose household cleaner. The cool thing about it is that you can experiment using different essential oil herbal infusions to the soaps to diversity and customize your Castile experience. You might feel like a scientist testing out with various products and with different results each time. It’s fun! (Well, at least my idea of fun, I have to do something to make cleaning more fun…) Maybe you prefer lemon blossom to your floor, and orange on your dishes. Some prefer lavender in their laundry and lemon in their bathrooms, the choices and possibilities are endless and you can try something different every time to add more “fun” (again, playing fast and loose with that word here) to your life.
Here are ten ideas on how you can use the Castile soap…
1. Shampoo- Mix it with some almond or avocado oil. Add a little peppermint essential oil for a tingly clean!
2. Laundry Detergent- You can make yourself a chemical free, safe laundry detergent with simple, common ingredients. Mix your soap with hard water to the ratio 1:3 and there you go. This way you can save loads of money and helping the environment in the process. Use lavender or citrus scented soap to give your clothes a pleasant (but not overwhelming or chemically…I know I know, it’s not a word) smell.
3. Dish Soap- Take half a cup of castile soap and mix it with half cup of water and vinegar. Put the whole mixture in a plastic squeeze bottle, shake up well and you have a high quality dish detergent. You can even use it as a hand wash.
4. Dog Shampoo- What’s good for you is also good for your pets, use the same ratio that you use to prepare your body wash to create an awesome dog shampoo. I put lavender in mine because it has a calming effect and anything to help calm Raven down from the torture that is bathtime, I’ll take it!
5. Car Cleaner- Take one fourth of a cup of Castile soap and mix it with hot water, it will work wonders to remove stains from cars and keep it clean.
6. Use it as a Floor Cleaner- Use castile soap to mop your floors, all you have to do is add one eighth of a cup of castile soap and safe ratio of vinegar and mix it with one gallon of warm water. A few drops of lemon essential oil and your whole house smells divine.
7. Household Cleaning Spray- It is a great way of cleaning your regular household items; mix with water to dilute.
8. Carpet Cleaner- Castile soap could act as a great carpet cleaner, mix one fourth of a cup of castile into one cup of water. Blend the solution and stir until it forms a stiff foam. And you get a nice solution of eco friendly carpet cleaner that really works!
9. Body Wash- Use castile soap as a body wash with your choice of essential oil. You can directly buy the Castile bar soap which is available at all retail outlets or you can mix the liquid soap with water in the ratio 2:1. I prefer the liquid. It’s great for shaving too!
10. Scrubbing Solution- Make toilet soft scrub with the help of baking soda and castile soap. Fill a spray bottle with soap and water in the ratio 1:3. Spray the area you want to clean with the solution, and then add baking soda to it. Rub it with a sponge and watch the stains disappear, it also works on ovens, stovetops etc.
* it should be noted that I’ve also read castile can be used as an insecticide for indoor and outdoor plants buuuuuut….since I don’t have a green thumb and haven’t tried this myself I decided not to list it as number eleven.
Who knew you’d learn so much about soap today and I never thought I’d say the word “castile” so many times in one post!