You’ve probably seen Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap in the personal hygiene section of your local supermarket or health food store by now. While Castile soap has been around for centuries, Dr. Bronner’s has brought it to the forefront in recent years, allowing a new generation to find the benefits of the natural oil-based cleaning. Castile soap is generally thought to be kinder and more environmentally friendly than synthetic soaps, and it has a wide range of applications ranging from personal hygiene to regular household cleaning, laundry, and more. Here are some of the finest ways to put this flexible and gentle cleaning tool to work.
By Donna Boyle Schwartz
If you hand-wash your dishes, you are aware that harsh detergents can harm your skin, leaving it dry and broken. When you replace your standard dishwashing liquid with Castile soap, you will no longer have chapped hands. It’s soft on your hands while being harsh on filth and grime. Fill a sink or wash basin with 10 parts warm water to one part Castile soap and wash dishes as normal. Pour a few drops of undiluted soap directly on the surface of antique pans to restore their luster. Scrub away.
General Cleaning Spray
Skip the pricey commercial cleansers and make your own all-purpose cleaning spray by adding one-quarter cup of Castile soap to a quart of warm water, stirring well to combine. For a fresh and fruity fragrance, add a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle, and spritz surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, and all over your home for a natural clean. To get extra grease- and stain-busting power, add one-half cup of white vinegar to the mix.
Add one-quarter cup of tea-tree-oil-scented Castile soap to one quart of water, then stir to mix. If you can’t find that variety of Castile soap in stores, make your own by adding six to eight drops of tea tree oil to regular Castile soap. Once mixed, spray indoors or out to prevent ants from encroaching on your territory. Take care to avoid spraying this mixture on garden plants, as this concentration will burn leaves, stems, and roots.
Making your own all-natural, antibacterial “tub scrub” from pantry ingredients and Castile soap is a cheap and simple way to remove soap scum. Fill a spray bottle one-third with Castile soap, two-thirds with water, and a quarter cup with white vinegar. After making your cleaning concoction, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the tub and tile, then activate the powder’s foaming action by spraying the soap mixture on top. Allow the mixture to bubble for a few minutes before scrubbing the area with a soft scouring pad to achieve a squeaky-clean gloss.
Floors composed of most materials—including tile, wood, and vinyl—can be cleaned with a DIY floor solution consisting of one-half cup of Castile soap dissolved in three gallons of hot water. Using a barely wet mop on hardwood floors and a little more moisture on more water-resistant materials, wipe away dust and debris. Then let dry and enjoy a streak-free floor!
Castile soap’s mild cleaning power makes it a great all-natural laundry soap for people who are sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. Mix up one cup of liquid Castile soap and three-quarters cup of baking soda, then add one-quarter cup of sea salt dissolved in two and one-quarter cups of warm water. Pour the solution into a gallon jug, top it off with warm water, and pour out about one-quarter cup per laundry load.
Homeowners who prefer to use a dishwasher can also take advantage of Castile soap’s natural cleaning properties. To make your own grease-fighting dish detergent, mix eight ounces of liquid Castile soap with one cup water and three teaspoons of lemon or lime juice. Add one tablespoon of the soap mixture to your dishwasher’s unsealed detergent compartment, add one cup of white vinegar to the sealed compartment, then run the washer on a normal cycle. If you have hard water, try adding a little more vinegar to prevent water stains from forming on glassware.
Fruit and Vegetable Wash
Why spend money on store-bought fruit and vegetable washes when you can make your own? One-quarter teaspoon of Castile soap in a bowl of cool water provides exactly the right amount of nontoxic cleaning power to rid fruits and vegetables of pesticide residue and dirt. Simply swirl the produce in the bowl, rinse well, and enjoy.
Prevent bug infestations and fungal infections by treating plants with an all-natural insecticide and fungicide. It’s easy to make: Mix one tablespoon of Castile soap in a quart of water and add one-half teaspoon of cayenne pepper or cinnamon. Mix well and spray on plants to repel bugs.