My Love/Hate Relationship with Castile Soap


My Love/Hate Relationship with Castile Soap {}

If you mention “castile soap” in green circles, you’ll probably hear overwhelmingly positive feedback. You can use it to clean everything. It’s natural. It’s safe. Heck, the Dr. Bronner’s brand even markets it as “magic soap.” I do like using castile soap. But I don’t always love it … mainly because of a few major disasters I’ve had while using it.

Love it!

Castile soap is a great product made of organic, vegetarian oils. Dr. Bronner’s includes water, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic hemp oil, organic jojoba oil, citric acid, and tocopherol, or vitamin E (a fat soluble chemical). It’s highly concentrated, so a tiny bit goes a long way.

Castile soap can be used as hand soap, face soap, body soap and shampoo. You can wash your clothes with it, as well as your dishes and even your food. By adding some baking soda, you can create an effective soft scrubbing cleaning paste.

I like to squirt a little in my toilets and sprinkle some baking soda, then scrub. Since I use the peppermint scented castile soap, it leaves my bathrooms smelling so refreshing after I clean my sink, toilet and floor with it. (I clean my sink and floor with a squirt of castile soap diluted with a lot of water.) My Love/Hate Relationship with Castile Soap {}

Since I’ve started cleaning my bathrooms with castile soap, I’ve been able to let my toddler-aged son help me out. He sprinkles baking soda in the toilet while I squirt the soap in, then we take turns with the scrub brush.

I LOVE the fact that my children can help me clean and it’s not dangerous. And I love not having to worry about them accidentally exposing themselves to toxic cleaners – I doubt they would swallow castile soap, but even if they ever did, I wouldn’t have to panic.

Castile soap also naturally eliminates pests: simply squirt a mixture of castile soap and water on plants to get rid of insects.

Hate it!

As much as I’m a fan, I know from personal experience that castile soap must be used with restraint.

I first purchased a bottle to use as safe shampoo. Excited to try it, I used it for two to three days until it looked like I had dunked my head in an oil spill. If I remember correctly, my husband lovingly nicknamed my hair the “Exxon Valdez” until I used a different shampoo.  I know some people swear by using it as shampoo, but you’ll never hear me make that recommendation.

Another disaster happened a few weeks ago. I ran out of dishwasher detergent and dirty dishes were piled in my kitchen sink. I tried a quick, natural dishwasher detergent recipe: castile soap, water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. My Love/Hate Relationship with Castile Soap {}

Since the peppermint castile soap left an amazing scent during the washing process, I was pretty excited – I could have clean dishes, a cheap detergent and a natural air freshener, too! But as soon as I opened the dishwasher door, I stared at my dishes in horror. Every single thing was covered in a white film.

I tried an additional hot water rinse, in hopes that it would wash away. It didn’t. I tried adding regular dishwasher detergent and re-running the load, but the white film was still there. By this time, I was completely aware of how much water and electricity I was wasting, so I tried to rinse everything by hand, while scrubbing the soap film off.

Several weeks later, I still know what dishes experienced the castile soap dishwasher trial, because a slight, white film remains on everything. (I probably need to rinse everything in vinegar. Again.) I never thought I’d be so frustrated with one product.

(January 2013 update: I finally discovered why my dishwasher detergent recipe turned into a disaster! Castile soap should never be mixed with an acid like vinegar or lemon juice – the acid reduces the soap to original oils. Hence my mess.)

I haven’t tried the castile soap in my laundry, but I’ve heard mixed reviews. While some people love it, others say the soap leaves huge grease stains on their clothing. I have a feeling that with my track record, I’d ruin my laundry with one attempt.

Have any of you had huge successes or failures with castile soap? Do you love or hate castile soap?

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Hilary Kimes Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and journalist. She writes about making healthy decisions that honor God and happen to help the environment at Accidentally Green. Short and sweet - like her writing - Hilary is the author of several healthy living eBooks.

Lovely comments

  1. Stacey O says

    I make my own products, so I don’t really have any use for it. But I have always had concerns about using it since it is all oils.

  2. Jenny Z says

    I’ve only used it for my hair (and had the same experience as you, eeew!), I haven’t tried it for anything else. I might give it a chance as a bathroom cleaner later today though.

  3. says

    Love this post! I’ve never tried Castile soap but now I want to! I appreciate your personal pros and cons, and I especially enjoy the fact that your son can (safely) help with cleaning! :)

  4. City Lover-Country Dreamer says

    Yes, I have also had problems using it in my laundry. Grease spots :( But I love it for a bubble bath, and I also use it for foaming hand soap. Thanks for your insight!

    • Josie says

      Hello! we’ve tried using it in the bath but it doesn’t bubble? do you make your own recipe using Dr. Bronners? Also have you noticed that it leaves a film in your tub/shower! I use it to make body wash/shampoo and I feel like I am constantly scrubbing my tub because the ring always re-appears with every bath! my kids love bubble bath but at the rate they use it – it is just not cost effective for me. We ran out the other day and I used Dawn dish soap (yikes I know-but i thought since it was heavily diluted in the whole tub that it wasn’t too bad and I didn’t want to use up all of my all natural dish soap since I had that left over lol) and you know what my tub was squeaky clean when all the water ran out!

      • says

        That’s as I’d expect. In most waters, the amount of “hardness” in a bathtubful would require an enormous amount of soap (actual soap soap) to make it sudsy. Any less than that — or if you add more water to rinse at the end — and what you get is just scum/curds, which is responsible for the bathtub ring. Dawn is similar in formula to many soapless shampoos & bubble baths, although not as similar as it once was, and being soapless it not only produces no ring, but as a lime soap dispersant it prevents soap used later in the bath from leaving a ring from “hard” water. If you’re using enough of either one to make lasting suds on top of the bath water, the Dawn will probably be gentler on your skin than the Bronner’s, because with Bronner’s you’d be making the water soapy enough to cut grease, while with the Dawn it’d be only enough to make bubbles. The only up side to Bronner’s is that you wouldn’t need additional soap to wash the kids with, while with Dawn you would (unless you used a ridiculous amount of Dawn).

  5. says

    We use the bar version of Dr. Bronner’s in our homemade laundry detergent. I get no oilygreasy spots. {We do the “liquid” home laundry detergent method- grate soat, cook in water, add to borax and arm &hammer washing soda in a bucket- add more water, let set} Good Luck! PS. The greasy hair look is part of the “no poo” process, where you scalp regulates it’s need for oil production. I now use a wen wannabe and found that it takes a couple weeks to get through that! :)

  6. Jacquelyn Stager says

    Just yesterday as I stood under the shower, I grabbed a clean sponge and my Dr. Bonners peppermint and washed the entire stall. My favorite place to use it is in the kitchen and bathroom. I’m hooked. I love the gentleness and the scent. But I can’t imagine using it on my hair. I often squirt a drop into the toilet and swish the brush around just to keep things looking sparkly and smelling good. That only takes a couple seconds in between deep cleaning.

  7. says

    Some tips from a chemist and soap enthusiast,

    The only oil in Dr Bronners are the essential oils used to scent the soaps. All the vegetable oils are converted to soap and glycerin in the saponification process. You may run into an oil problem in cheap soaps or homemade soaps when not all of the oil is reacted, but Dr. Bronner’s is a very high quality soap and I doubt that there’s any oil in it. Some of the essential oils can stain your clothes if you use them as a laundry soap, so using the unscented version for this purpose would be a safe bet.

    Dr. Bronners, and any true soap, will leave a salt film behind because the soap reacts with minerals in the water. It is more noticeable on soft or shiny surfaces (like dishes, hair, and clothes). This film can appear and feels greasy. To remedy this, there are a couple things you can do:

    1) Use as little soap as possible for the job. The more soap you use, the more film you get.

    2) Add a small amount of baking soda to your soap. This will slow the mineral-forming reactions but not stop them completely. It has the added benefit of boosting the cleaning power and creating more suds. Baking soda can be really harsh on your hair, though, so I wouldn’t use it in shampoo more than once a week.

    3) Rinse with vinegar or lemon juice after rinsing with water. Vinegar is good for dishes and clothes because it is cheap, but lemon juice is nice for the shower because it is much more pleasant to put on your head! The acid breaks up the mineral film and rinses it away. Do not mix acid and soap directly, because it just reacts with the soap and makes it useless.

    I hope that maybe you will give the shampoo another try! After rinsing out the soap, coat your hair with vinegar/lemon juice. Comb through hair until it feels nice (about 30 seconds), then rinse again. You can add baking soda to your soap once a week if you find your hair is extra greasy, long, or otherwise hard to clean.

    • sammy stiles says

      Washed my hair with this ‘soap’ rinsed with vinegar very well…still looked like I had stuck my head in a vat of grease-it was disgusting!
      Washed my dishes with it-white film on EVERYTHING and greasy things were still greasy.
      Tried it in the dishwasher too-left a white film on everything also.
      There is no way I’m putting that in my laundry!
      If the only thing its good for is washing the toilet, that’s too much money down the can for me!

      • says

        I like to use it as a body soap, too … and it’s great to use in the foaming hand soap dispensers. But I’m glad (I think!) to hear I’m not the only one who ended up with greasy hair and white, filmy dishes! ;)

        • says

          The white film on your dishes is from combining an acid (vinegar) with the castille soap. If you visit Dr Bronner’s site they give an excellent explanation of this reaction. This causes a nasty reaction which breaks down any true soap into useless oils. Next time, rinse with the vinegar instead of including it in your recipe. As for the hair, the other poster is correct. It can take up to a month to get over the transition period. If you have soft water, you might never experience a “film” on your hair but if you have hard water you most certainly will unless you use an acid rinse (vinegar or lemon juice) to break up the mineral deposit and rinse them away. The pay off to using true soap as shampoo is that your scalp learns to regulate its own oil production resulting in shiny bouncy hair that needs to be washed less. The downside is you must be very patient (learn to put your hair up and/or wear a hat through the transition. Regular shampoos are made using chemical detergents instead of true soap. They give you a clean rinse but you and the earth pay big for that convenience. Transitioning from one to the other is not for the faint of heart. Castille soap is by far the hardest natural shampoo to use. You might have more success with a shampoo bar made with natural detangling ingredients. I have that castille soap makes an excellent surface and window cleaner as long as you follow with a vinegar or lemon rinse. This way you get the benefits of both ingredients without the downsides

  8. says

    I made a laundry soap with 1 cup washing soda,1 cup borax and 1 cup Dr. Bonner’s castile, mixed all together and added a little EO for scent. I did not have any problem with oils on my clothes. I just use tepid water to wash.

    • Deb says

      My recipe is 1 bar of grated original “Kirk’s” castile soap, 1 c borax, 1 c. laundry soda and 1/4 c. “Biokleen” oxygen bleach plus (from health food store). Mix together well in a container. I use white vinegar for rinse cycle.

  9. says

    if you also have been using a shampoo with SLS or SLES, your hair will seem greasier for a time after switching to a regular gentle soap as SLS and SLES strips all the oils from your head and you are producing more oils to compensate, after about a week or two it will calm down and not be as greasy. Also don’t wash your hair everyday unless you are getting it really dirty, like working in a barn or some such, just combing it out and brushing it should keep it nice and clean. And aA weekly vinegar rinse (or lemon juice) does wonders (white vinegar/lemon juice will lighten hair, cider vinegar will darken (and bring out any red highlights you may have)

  10. says

    I attest to what kh says about using castile soap as shampoo. It works great as long as you use something acidic to rinse with. I did not think the lemon juice worked very well though. I use a vinegar rinse–about 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water. (Sometimes I use herb vinegars: Put herbs in vinegar, cover, and let sit for 2-6 weeks. I am a blonde, so I use chamomile and calendula–plus lavender and gingko, which are great for any hair color. Brunettes might try rosemary, stinging nettle, or horsetail; and henna is a good addition for redheads. Anyway, strain out the herbs, and a quart of this stuff will last for a long time, since you’re only using a Tbsp at a time!) I had, like you, tried using castile soap as shampoo without rinsing, and I had the same problem. You might still have that problem for 1-2 weeks, even with the acidic rinse as your hair goes through withdrawal from the chemicals in your shampoo, but it will get much better, I promise! I have not bought shampoo or conditioner for about 3 years, and I have healthy, shiny hair. Best of luck to you!

  11. Anonymous says

    I noticed once on the website that the peppermint version can be used as a toothpaste…out of curiosity, I gave it a try… Don’t.

  12. Anonymous says

    The dr. Bronners website says not to mix the Castile soap (base) with vinegar (an acid.) if you do, you will destroy the soap by changing it back to its original fats. A vinegar rinse once the soap is gone seems ok but you can’t do it together.

  13. Anonymous says

    I use the Dr. Bonners to wash my hair but I use the bar. It works great. I do have to use the Dr Bonners conditioner about every two weeks to keep the shine but The bar does not leave any oily feeling.

    • Kristine says

      I’ve also been using the bar, both Dr. Bronners and Kirks, for shampoo. I feel like it’s coated after using it, and it’s more tangly, but it doesn’t appear greasy. I think it also seems thicker, which is good for me, as my hair is fine and somewhat thin. I think I will begin trying the vinegar rinse, however.

  14. Anonymous says

    A contributing factor to the problem with Dr. Bronner’s may be your water.
    We have hard water (calcium) as well as iron. Even though we have a water softener, we still have to add extra water conditioners (baking soda) to use soap (as opposed to detergent) in the laundry or scrub pail or else it turns into oily globs.

  15. Anonymous says

    I add a little Dr B with my reg detergent and I use vinegar as a rinse. It has REALLY helped the stinky front loader smell. (you know the smell you get if you do not open the door after each load or you forget you had a load in there) I use the lavender … I think it combats the musty mildew smell the best. I only use a few drops each load. Makes such a big difference!

    • says

      Actually, For front load machines that have that stinky mold smell you can do something to get rid of it. The left over moisture from washing produces mold spores. If you throw in a few kitchen towels on the HOTTEST setting with the SMALLEST possible load, toss in a cup of very hot (microwaved) vinegar and do that after you wash the vinegar will kill the mold spores after a few washes. Hot and vinegar are the key!

  16. Ged says

    Backing up what kh said about castille liquid soap. Actually, Dr Bronner’s shouldn’t really be called castille soap as traditionally Castille is made only from olive oil (I live in Spain, where it originated!)

    I make liquid soap from Olive and a little castor oil but, even though it is a lovely mild soap I really don’t find it works well for my hair. The pH of liquid soap is always around 9, whereas shampoos, which are made from synthetic or naturally-derived ingredients tend to be about 6 – 7. Using a vinegar rinse can help reduce the pH a bit. My hair is medium length, dry, coloured and quite coarse, but I’ve found that men’s hair, which is usually short and unprocessed can often do well with using liquid soap.

  17. says

    I can understand the frustration you must have gone through. We have been using liquid castile soaps for a long time in our house. While some chores truly benefit from this “magical” product, others (as you stated) turn to utter disasters. While most liquid (mostly natural) castile soaps do a fine job, we have learned a lot through the years.
    First, it is almost impossible to make an all natural liquid soap of any kind. So, they either end up being made with synthetic ingredients to keep them from separating or they retain a great deal of the original oils or they are made lye heavy to keep the oils in check.
    Second, even though this type of soap goes a long way, most people tend to over do it with the volume of soap for the job.
    As time went on, we started researching soap. Liquid soap, bar soap, detergents (yes, there is a difference), and other all natural cleaners. What I found just about knocked me over. One of the best cleaning agents on the market today is plain old, run of the mill bar soap. I don’t mean that awful chemically smelling detergent bar that most people associate with soap. I mean, true soap. It was at this point we decided to try making our own.
    Over time, I’ve tried making soap with animal fats (great cleaning and skin properties, but people are a bit squeamish). Then, I tried recipes that require 8 different base oils. While these all worked well, it just seemed too complicated. Then, I came across a few articles about castile soap. I mean the real deal… jabón de Castilla. A true castile, is made with only olive oil, water and lye (either sodium hydroxide or potasium hydroxide). Could it be this simple? It sure can. We use our soap for everything from washing our bodies (babies included), hair, shaving, dishes, laundry (with a couple small additions), the car, the dogs, etc…
    Now, castile soap is not a cure all, and every chore requires the soap be used in a slightly different way. But, it is (in my opinion) one of the best natural cleaners available along side vinegar.
    If you get a chance, go to your local farm market and see if you can find a bar of true castile soap and give it a try.
    If anyone has any soap related questions, please feel free to shoot me an email and I will gladly answer them the best I can. Oh yeah.. please help support your local economy. .. buy local, handmade quality soaps! You won’t be sorry.

  18. says

    Sorry.. I hope the original author doesn’t mind, my email is I am not trying to make any sales here. I am just very passionate about soap.. my friends think I’m a bit strange :) Drop me a line and we can discuss some recipes for around the house and bath time too!

  19. says

    I love castille soap for shampoo……..but I almost gave up while my hair “detoxed”. The first week was disgusting but I didn’t give up. After one week the grease was gone!

    I love that you use it for a toilet cleaner (why didn’t I think of that??) :)

  20. Judy Cupas says

    While investigating castille soap and other “natural” products, the products that I, so far, like the best are:

    Dr. Bronnner’s castille bar soap for washing my body … SO luxurious. I feel like I’m in a spa while bathing.

    NaturOli Extreme Soap Nut Shampoo … It is completely natural (sulfate free), and my hair has NEVER felt and looked so good following a shampoo. It is safe for color-treated hair; I have color-treated hair. It leaves hair silky and fluffy … and beautiful; even my husband noticed!. And you don’t need to use a conditioner.

  21. says

    I love castile soap for most things!

    For shampoo–I cannot find any other shampoo that my body will tolerate. (I have extremely severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) But here’s the interesting thing: castile works “fairly well” for shampoo with well water (around here anyway). But with our current city water, it’s a disaster!!! Sticky, matted mess. A vinegar rinse on my hair makes it livable, though.

    After reading your post, I am thinking there MUST be something in the city water reacting with the castile. I wonder if the water is more acidic for some reason? Very interesting!

  22. says

    I hate to say this, but you should never mix vinegar with castile soap. There are tons of recipes online suggesting you add vinegar. Ignore them all. That is what will leave that weird white film all over your dishes.

    • jennifer says

      I use the peppermint castile soap as a face wash. what I do is take about 1/4 or a bit more depending on how clean i need my face. then mix it a few tablespoons of coconut oil. I love this on my face and not all people will agree with me because it is too thick and they break out. i do too if i don’t balance it well with the soap. then i put in a lot of sugar. i like my sugar to soak up as much of the oil as possible so i don’t have to stir it every time i use it. I wear make up every single day and it cleans it off just fine. I don’t use any additional face moisturizers at all.

      To use I just keep it in my shower in a tight container. I get my face wet and rub the mixture in my hands and scrub my face with it. the sugar will dissolve the longer you scrub. make sure you scrub everywhere to really clean. then rinse. your face feels oily for a bit but once you dry your face and wait a few min you feel wonderful. you can replace the oil with olive oil or any other oil if coconut is not your cup of tea. just add more castile if you want less oil feel and adjust as you need too. this mixture lasts me a long time. a month or so but sometimes i wash my face at night too because I am feeling gross. I live in North Carolina so when the summer hits it is hot and i need an extra shower. I have been using this for months now as is my friend and we will not go back to another wash to save our lives. give your skin a week to adjust

      • jennifer says

        sorry. i was not accurate:
        1/4 tsp castile
        3-4 Tbl coconut oil
        as much sugar you want to the consistancy you like.

    • Kristine says

      I have been using it for facial wash, body wash. It leaves my face feeling very smooth. I like it. Also, I have had two itchy skin patches that resemble psoriasis, but think it’s just from nerves. I have been using castile soap, Dr. Bronner’s and Kirks both, and it is clearing up my skin problem. It’s healing. I’ve since heard that hospitals use castile soap on wounds, etc.; and a nurse friend said in the hospital, they often didn’t even rinse it off. I wet my fingertip, rub it on the bar and then spot apply to the rash area. I leave the soap on and do not rinse. I then apply a natural, organic cream. The rash areas had made my skin very thick, and they are beginning to return to normal.

  23. Beth says

    Great article and lots of insightful comments.
    Just received my first bottle of Dr. Bonner’s 18 in 1 Hemp Citrus Orange.
    Looking forward to experimenting!

  24. Amy says

    Has anyone tried Soja’s ( ) authentic castile soaps (olive oil water and lye with pure essential oils and NOT fragrance oils which are synthetic) and other bath and body products? I noticed a previous comment about the pure castile and wondered if anyone knows anything about this company (it’s fairly new). Apparently there is a lengthy ‘curing’ process it goes through which makes it especially difficult to do at home?

    • Rozz says

      Amy, I haven’t tried this product; but, the main reason I switched to Dr Bronner’s was to avoid chemicals like LYE. Im no expert, but I thought the goal was to find natural harmless products to use.

  25. Isabella says

    There are a few things when you washed the dishes that may have left that film. First off hard watet calcifies some of the ingredients in castile soap. Try hand washing with just castile soap (peppermint and tea tree have anti bacterial properties) and distilled water. Also vinegar and lemon juice are acids, while soap of any kind is a base. The ph balance on one acid and one base almost neutralize each other, and using 2 acids to one base means you could’ve skipped the soap pretty much since you were pretty much just using acid. Or at least these have ben my experiences. I buy the small 2 ounce sizes off amazon when I want to try a different scent but I agree peppermint is a nice bathroom one. Trying the citrus one tomorrow

  26. Judith says

    I LOVE using the lavendar bar soap for my face! I just exfoliate with a little bit of baking soda + water first, then do a quick wash with the catile soap, and my skin glows. I used to have moderate acne, but I’ve had nothing but clear skin since I started using the castile soap + baking soda face wash.

    • says

      Yes! After years of using products formulated for acne-prone skin, including a slew of prescription products from the dermatologist, I have clear skin with the lavender bar soap. I’ve never tried using baking soda to exfoliate, but I will remember that trick!

  27. says

    I’ve had success using a grated (then sent through my food processor) bar of unscented castile soap. I’ve used it as shampoo as well as in my laundry and dish detergents. I haven’t had much trouble. I didn’t love it as shampoo, so I switched to the Dr. Bronner’s baby mild for my hair and use an ACV conditioner rinse. It’s been great.

  28. says

    Just to clarify, Dr Bombers soap uses lye. Potassium hydroxide is the type of lye needed for liquid soapmaking. If done properly lye and oils combine and undergo a transformation called saponification to become soap. When this happens, no lye remains in the finished product. All real soap is made with lye. Anything else is a detergent and probably contains a sulfate as a foaming agent. Loose labeling laws allow for terms like “saponified oils” or “sodium palmate” to describe the usage of oils and lye. When done correctly, the usage of lye to make soap is nothing to be concerned about.

  29. Tiddlywinkz says

    The first time I tried using Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile on my hair, it was an oily nightmare. I spent some time playing with it though, and trying baking soda “no-poo”, and coconut milk, and aloe, and so on. I finally circled back to plain unscented castile, watered it down, and worked it into my roots back to where a pony tail would be gathered. Then the length of my hair gets rinsed out with watered down vinegar. It works really well for me, so I would suggest maybe trying it out. But honestly, it (and other alternative methods) simply won’t play well with some people’s hair. Any time you use it on your body though, water it down and it will work much better. Good luck!

  30. Chris J says

    THANK YOU for this clear explanation. I am a greasy Italian. That’s what happens when your ancestors used olive oil in place of breast milk. Oh well. So I need a real soap to clear away the oil, I NEVER have dry skin from soap, and it sounds like Castille soap is the complete opposite of what I’m looking for.

    If you do have any recommendations, please let me know!

  31. says

    While it’s true you shouldn’t mix soap with acids, even if you hadn’t, I doubt you’d’ve gotten good results in the dishwasher. The small amount of water and large air space and jets used in dishwashers are very conducive to foaming. In fact, dishwasher detergents commonly contain anti-foams to suppress suds that might be made by the small amount of soap created when the alkali in them hit fats on the dishes. So if you hadn’t used the lemon juice & vinegar, you might’ve wound up with a dishwasher full of suds; instead you got a fatty acid coat on everything.

    Do you get good results washing your hair with bar soap? If so, I’m puzzled that your results would’ve been so much worse with liquid soap.

  32. Kristen says

    I used to love castile. However, my extensive use of it over the past 5 months (during pregnancy) led to a severe blockage in our sewer pipe – and a very costly repair. The plumber pulled out a large clump of solidified soap scum!

  33. Mcgeemumxthree says

    I’ve found that, after using Castile as shampoo and body wash, our towels and clothes have a terrible odour. Has anyone else noticed something similar?

    • says

      I asked your question on Accidentally Green’s Facebook page ( and here were the replies:

      – “I was using a Castile soap based laundry detergent when my clothes, towels, etc. developed an odor. While the detergent worked wonderfully well in hard water, I moved into a soft water area, and it was leaving residue on all the laundry. I had to switch to a store bought crunchy brand and use at least a warm wash on everything (and added oxygen bleach to my routine) to keep residue away and get rid of the smell. I still occasionally add BS to the laundry and always use vinegar as softener.”

      – “No. Have used Castile for years as body wash.”

      – “No, but then I do a vinegar baking soda wash once a month and line dry.”

  34. Cat says

    My eyes got big when I read this “others say the soap leaves huge grease stains on their clothing” and ran to the pile of (nice) sweaters I treated with castile soap before washing. Shoved quickly into machine and turned on. Crossing fingers.

  35. Ginnette Dahl says

    I have lots of grey hair and have been having a crazy time getting it to behave. Not wanting to color it anymore, I have tried many, many shampoos. Recently, I had been having trouble with itching and since I have had to treat the dogs for fleas, I thought I would use the Castile on my hair. I used unfragranced Kirk’s Castile. I remember my mom using for the babies’ bath and hair so I knew it would be pure. It did and has been doing for a while now, a wonderul job. My head doesn’t itch anymore, my hair is truly clean without residue and it styles beautifully. I cannot even describe the way my skin has beautified!
    I don’t buy Bronner’s anymore because if you read all the stuff he has on the label, it all sounds pretty “one world, one religion” to me. The one religion part is fine if it is the Catholic Religion, because that is the one and only religion that Christ founded. But I like my own nation to be it’s own nation, thank you very much. Also, the Castile removes biofilm, if any of you have a problem with that. It is becoming more and more a problem all the time.

  36. says

    I use this soap when I make my cinnamon sugar face and body scrub that I sell. I only use a little bit for a whole batch, so it’s not really that much per jar. I keep it all natural, just sugar then I add in the cinnamon, a bit of vitamin e, a bit tea tree oil, and then some “magic” soap, just enough to help it start to blend. My skin has cleared up so much since my days as a wild child climbing trees, crashing into bushes on my bike, rolling down hills, and let’s not forget chicken pox and acne scars from years ago. This is the best my skin has ever looked, and I always get great reviews from others. My mother-in-law used it and she man handles her coworkers into buying my largest jar, lol.

    I use it to hand wash delicate clothes too, or to pre-wash as well. I never thought if the toilet, I have been using concentrated lysol, or the regular kind, and bleach, but I think this would be good because our dog is big enough to drink out of the toilet. I’ve caught her once, almost twice, I heard her lapping up the water, but she heard me coming and stopped, haha!

  37. sarah says

    I grid up bar dr bronners for my laundry mixed with washing soda and borax. It works really good and doesnt leave any marks. I have sesitive skin so it works great. I use the liquid dr bronners in the bath as shampoo by mixing half half with water in a bottle and adding a few spoonfulls baking soda. It works great my hair is super soft. No dandruf. As for washing dishes I didnt care for that. It didnt cut grease. Cleans my dog really good though especially the lavender which repels fleas.

    • Brittany says

      I would be careful about the baking soda. The mantle of your scalp is pH 4.5-5, which is slightly acidic. Even low concentrations of baking soda in solution is around pH 9, which is very basic. Your hair is light because you’re tearing the strands open and stripping them. This leads to brittle, fragile, albeit light and fluffy hair. I recommend taking a few minutes to research the effect of baking soda on hair. It’s pretty scary!

  38. Jackie says

    I just got the lavender soap yesterday..I love it! I watched a video about making your own…the bar has sodium hydroxide in it…lye! Old lye soap lol! But I love it. I’ve cleaned the tub, sinks, a spot of mold, myself, the mirror…all yesterday and today! And it’s a miracle worker with baking soda on the fixtures. I’m hooked. Gonna try it in my hair..we shall see.

  39. d says

    HI, I think I would like Castile soap IF I did not have HARD water. Even on Bonner’s site it explains that it may not mix well with hard water. Bummer for those of us who have hard water. Meanwhile I still hunt for something I can us as a safer, really natural shampoo. I had gotten the oil slick hair as well, I had to use OTC shampoo to get it out. Best to all, D

  40. Erica says

    I have been using Dr. Bronner’s baby mild soap for years. I refill the foaming hand pump bottles 1/3 soap, 2/3 aloe vera juice. Lovely. for body wash I use it straight, in a small pump bottle into a loofa sponge. For my hair I use a 1:1 ratio of soap to aloe vera juice in a spray bottle, as a clarifying shampoo. My hair runs on the dry side as I am African American with very kinky coily hair. I love castile soap and tell every one about it.

  41. Rebecca C says

    Two years ago my hubby and I spent six weeks budget/minimalist traveling in Germany. The only luggage we had was one backpack each (‘normal’ sized ones, not hiking ones), so we had to pack super light. Ended up doing laundry every night to every other night in our hotel/B&B/guesthouse/hostel’s showers with a teeny bottle of Peppermint Dr. Bronner. Even now, the smell of the stuff reminds me of Germany. :)

    Anyway, that was our first encounter with castile soap, and we were super impressed. Since then, we use the citrus Dr. Bronner’s in various dilutions for all-purpose cleaning (though I still prefer vinegar for most jobs), body wash/”shaving cream”, hand soap, and baby wash/shampoo. I don’t use it for shampoo though, I have certain products that I cycle through depending on whether my hair is oily, dry, etc.

  42. says

    The natural shampoos have not worked at all for me. I DO use and love Castille soap in my home made laundry detergent (baking soda, washing soda, borax, vinegar and castille soap). Leaves it smelling so nice and does great for detergent. I also use it as hand soap, diluted with water

    • Brittany says

      Have you substituted shampoo with soap-based alternatives directly, using them every day? If so, I would suggest allowing your hair to rehabilitate from its shampoo dependency. Let it reduce to normal oil production instead of the overproduction brought on by the daily removal of the mantle oils. Then you can wash your hair with soap once every week or two. It saves lots of time, money, and resources. I heavily recommend it. =)

  43. says

    I’m bothered by how much money the liquid soaps go for in health food stores, i.e. the “Doctor” brands like Bronner & Woods, when it shouldn’t cost that much more to make & package over solid soap IMO. The markup must be enormous. So I looked up a few bulk mfrs. brands.

    One is Mackadet 40-K, which is all coconut 40% potassium soap solution. Another is Mackadet B-96, which is also 40% but a mixture of coconut & olive soap. There are also the Eurasols — KPZ (coconut), KCO (coconut-olive), and PKZ (palm).

    Granted, these come in 450 lb. drums, but it seems there’d be room for someone enterprising to get up a co-op buy of liquid soap like that & divide it into 5 gal. pails for a lot less than the health food store bottles, and you could scent it as desired. SFIC has a 55 gal. drum of otherwise unspecified liquid soap. Vermont Soap has liquids too, as does Bradford.

  44. smileybat says

    I have read lots of comments suggesting that somehow Castile Soap is free of TOXIC chemicals. Even home made recipes may have unreacted lye or some alkali left in it. Can I just point out that as a chemist, I get rather irritated when people say that something whether a product or an object is “chemical free”. Sorry but nothing is chemical free. If someone labels an ingredient as sodium chloride thats bad and if another product is labelled as containing salt that is good! First of all soap whether it is made using potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide is essentially the same (Provided that the Alkali has been used up during the saponification process). Homemade soaps can be as good as the product in question here as long as the soap quality is good and the pH is checked to ensure that no unreacted alkali is left behind.
    I would also like to leave a message for people who consider adding sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS that this ingrdient is known to be an environmental issue (particularly for acquatic flora and fauna). My point is that when using ingredients or calling one product a ” miracle green product” please consider them as Chemicals. Please consult unbiased information sources and professionals rather than taking the manufacturer’s information as gospel. I worked as a research chemist for several international companies and I hoped to make a change. What I discovered was that sometimes actually in most scenarios, we ended up using more ingredients (doubtful about the green part) to replace ingredients with higher flammability or toxicity. After several years, I then moved to academia researching sustainabile materials. Again, its all about marketing and money sadly. I have left it all behind for now. My point is if you are interested in sustainable and environmentally friendly products in general consult a wider source of literature and maybe sites such as green peace etc. Sorry if I came across a bit strong, only trying to help!!

    • Brittany says

      Totally agree. (Chemical engineer here) Labels are nonsense; you have to do the research yourself. “Chemical-free” is especially bogus since everything is chemicals! Following trends and advertising is not the way to go. Be skeptical and find the truth for yourself.

  45. Lisa Finamore says

    So….was using the lavender as a body wash on a pouf and after a few days noticed a white sticky residue on the shower floor. I’m assuming it is from the soap. I scrubbed with Comet and a stiff brush and got most of it. We probably have medium (not hard) water so I’m sure that it the problem. I’ve noticed the same thing at the sink where I have it diluted with water. Can adding baking soda to the hand soap help with that? And how can I keep the gunk from messing up the shower?

    • says

      I’m not sure if adding baking soda to the hand soap would help, Lisa, but it’s worth a try! I’m also not sure how to keep the gunk off your shower … maybe wiping the shower floor clean after each shower? It would probably take an extra minute and eventually cut down on deep cleaning time.

  46. says

    Dr. Bronner’s isn’t really formulated for cleaning, it’s made to be used on skin without drying it out. I’ve successfully washed dishes with castile soap made for bodies, you just have to use it directly on the sponge/scrubby/dish cloth, you can’t fill a sink full of hot soapy water with it. It’s not alkaline enough to be able to break down grease like laundry stains while being diluted with hot water and soap will barely work if you have hard water. I’ve been experimenting with some recipes while on hiatus. I’m hoping to find something that works.

  47. Sandy says

    I LOVE using it as a body wash. Put some in a container, add water and use a loofah. I like to use the citrus orange scent for this and cleaning. Smells so good!

  48. Anna says

    I want to use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint for laundry. For those of you who do, does it have to be white vinegar in the rinse? would apple cider vinegar work? Or would that discolor the clothes? May sound like a silly question but the color of apple cider vinegar isn’t THAT dark….so just curious if anyone has any experience around this.


  49. Brittany says

    Hi, I see you had trouble using it as shampoo. Castile soap-based shampoo is a great shampoo alternative, but you have to give your scalp time to recover from using shampoo. Daily use of commercial shampoo leads to dependency as the oils produced by your scalp are continuously removed. Your scalp overproduces and then you think you need to use shampoo even more! I stopped using shampoo a year and a half ago, cold turkey. Man, my hair was gross for those next couple of weeks! But afterwards, all I had to do was wash my hair with soap once every one to two weeks. I love the savings in time, money, and resources! Plus, getting rid of those nasty sulfates and whatnot is wonderful. I definitely recommend it to anyone willing to suffer shampoo withdrawal for a couple weeks. It would make a good blog article too! Let me know if you have any questions =)


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