Castile Soap Benefits and Uses for Body and Home - Dr. Axe

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13 Uses for Castile Soap — Natural Cleaning for Body & Home


Castile soap - Dr. Axe

Longing for a soap that you can trust is made with pure, all-natural, chemical-free ingredients? Castile soap should be at the top of the list. This variety of soap represents one of the best natural and biodegradable soaps that can be manufactured by hand.

There are so, so many potential Castile soap uses. It’s not only a great soap for washing your body and hair as part of a natural skin care routine, but you can even do the laundry with it — plus, it can safely be used by children. Castile soaps are very popular among vegans and vegetarians since they are plant-based. Also, it doesn’t lose potency with time and is available in the liquid or bar form.

Speaking of potency, a scientific study shows that Castile positively affected contaminated orthopedic wounds when used to irrigate and ultimately cleanse the wounds. A comparison was made using normal saline, Castile soap, benzalkonium chloride, bacitracin or sequential irrigation with all of the above combined. While sequential irrigation treatment significantly lowered the rate of wound complications when applied, so did Castile soap all by itself!

What Is Castile Soap?

Castile soaps have been around for a very long time and were created just following the popular Aleppo. An all-natural soap, Aleppo was made from mixing oil from laurel (bay) trees with olive oil, sodium hydroxide and water. This is where Castile got its inspiration.

What is soap made of? Generally speaking, soap is often made with animal products like tallow or lard. What is Castile soap exactly? It’s an oil-based soap, which comes in bar or liquid form, that is created without the use of animal fats or synthetic ingredients. Pure Castile soap is considered to be all-natural and non-toxic.


Castile soaps originate from the Spanish region of Castile. While the original recipe for Aleppo soap required laurel oil, this type of oil was in short supply, but the city of Castile had easy access to olive oil. That enabled the creation of a pure white soap that was very mild and effective. The whiteness was seen as purity, which made it very popular with Spanish royalty. As centuries went by, Castile soaps began to make their way all over Europe.

Fast forward to present day and Castile is still one of the most popular European soaps. It has also gained a ton of popularity in the U.S. as well. You can easily find it in health food stores and basic supermarkets today. In addition to olive oil, a bar of Castile may also be made using coconut, hemp, avocado, almond or castor oils. All of these natural oils add beneficial moisturizing properties to the soap.


1. Hypoallergenic

Castile soap is hypoallergenic, thus not likely to cause allergic reactions among most people. Therefore, it’s a perfect mixing ingredient.

2. Versatile

Castile soap can be used for so many things. Washing your face, body, hair, rinsing fruit, doing laundry and cleaning windows are just a few of the many potential Castile soap uses.

3. Animal-free and pet-safe

Pure Castile soap is vegan and doesn’t include any animal-based ingredients. Meanwhile, it’s also pet-safe, as it’s non-toxic.

4. Climate friendly

Without any additives, preservatives, artificial coloring, or other chemicals that often appear in other soaps, Castile soap is one of the most climate friendly soaps.

5. Inexpensive

It’s easy to buy different types of products for cleaning different parts of the house and, of course, for the body. But Castile soap is so versatile that it can be used for many purposes, and it’s inexpensive.

Uses for the Body

1. Homemade Face Wash

Using a foaming dispenser, add ¼ cup of Castile liquid soap and fill it to the top with distilled water. Add 5 drops each of tea tree and frankincense essential oils. Both oils are known for helping to fight bacteria and can reduce acne.

2. Homemade Shampoo

Making your own Castile soap shampoo is so easy. Plus, you can avoid those pricey, surprisingly toxic shampoos (most of which are filled with chemicals that can cause lots of problems for your hair long-term).

Simply mix together 7 tablespoons of Castile liquid soap with 6 teaspoons of coconut milk and ½ teaspoon of coconut oil. This will make about seven applications. It will store best in the fridge for about a week.

3. Homemade Hand Soap

Fill a foaming soap dispenser with ¾ boiled or distilled water and ¼ Castile liquid soap. You can add 5 drops of tea tree essential oil for its antibacterial properties and lavender oil for its fragrant and relaxing scent.

4. Castile for Shaving

For your face, use about 10 drops, for the underarms, 3 drops should do the trick and for the legs, use about a ½ teaspoon. Simply work into a lather in wet hands and then apply to area.

You can also add olive oil to the mix for some added moisture while shaving.

5. Castile for Your Teeth

Would you believe that potential Castile soap benefits include natural teeth cleaning?

Put 1 drop of Castile liquid soap, 1 drop peppermint essential oil and a small dollop of coconut oil on your toothbrush and brush as normal. Just like with toothpaste, do not swallow.


This is a great way to reap Castile soap’s amazing cleansing and disinfectant properties. (Side note: Castile soaps are typically considered disinfectants rather than antibacterial agents, but peppermint oil has inherent antibacterial abilities just like tea tree oil has natural antibacterial power, so when these oils are included, the cleansing and bacteria-fighting ability of the soap is increased!)

6. Foot Bath

Use about 1 teaspoon of Castile liquid soap in a small tub of hot water and allow the feet to soak for 10–20 minutes. Add a few drops of tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil for added benefits. Or you can use a version of Castile liquid soap that already includes these essential oils.

7. Clearing Congestion

A Castile liquid soap that contains essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint can be used to help with nasal congestion due to the common cold or allergies.

Simply add a few drops of the liquid soap with essential oil to a bowl of steamy hot water. Breathe in the mist with a towel draped over the head. Of course, be careful as steam can burn your skin.

Uses for The Home

1. Homemade Dish Soap

Castile soap makes great homemade dish soap. It’s all-natural and won’t try out your hands. Just replace your regular store-bought dish soap with Castile liquid soap and a few drops will take care of those dirty dishes in no time.

2. Homemade Laundry Detergent

What’s great about using Castile soap to clean your clothes is your clothes will likely last longer since they will not be exposed to harsh chemicals.

You can also avoid irritation of the skin from avoiding heavy dyes and perfumes among other ingredients that are often found in the store-bought versions.

Keep reading for an awesome homemade Castile laundry detergent recipe below!

3. Homemade Dishwasher Soap

You can use it to wash the dishes by hand, but you can also make your own soap for the dishwasher too. Try a citrus version as it not only smells amazing, but lemon essential oil has been shown to have anti-fungal effects on food-borne molds.

To create your own dishwasher soap, mix 8 ounces of Castile liquid soap with 1 cup of water, 3 teaspoons of lemon juice and 10 drops of lemon essential oil and shake gently.

4. DIY All-Purpose Household Cleaner

Using a spray bottle, use two cups of distilled water, two tablespoons of Castile soap, and then 15 to 20 drops of tea tree essential oil and/or orange or lemon essential oil. This mixture makes for a safe and natural yet effective household cleaner.

5. Homemade Glass Cleaner

Use one tablespoon of Castile liquid soap with a quarter of distilled warm water. Put into a spray bottle. You can add a few drops of tea tree and lemon essential oil to the mixture to make it a bit more effective.

Follow up with pure club soda, or half vinegar/ half water. Use newspaper to clean it, leaving it streak-free.

6. Homemade Tub Scrub

Fill a spray bottle with ⅓ Castile liquid soap and ⅔ water. Spread baking soda liberally around the bath and spray the Castile mixture on top of it. Scrub with a scouring pad or scrub brush for a squeaky clean tub.

Castile soap - Dr. Axe

Where to Buy

While the most popular brand of castile soap is Dr. Bronner’s, there are other options available as well. Make sure to take the time to read the ingredients to ensure that it is made from pure, recognizable ingredients.

It’s not hard to find a Castile soap recipe online that you can start using in your life today! For example, this is how to make Castile Soap Laundry Detergent:

  • Combine one bar grated, 2 cups washing soda, 1 cup baking soda and 30 drops of essential oil (optional) in an airtight container.
  • Use ¼ cup per large load (adjust accordingly, especially for high-efficiency washers, for which you may want to wait until the water runs through the soap dispenser).


Castile soap is not recommended for use on color-treated hair because it may strip the hair follicles of color.

For hair that is not color-treated, it can be used as a shampoo, but to avoid clean yet tangled or matted hair, it’s recommended to follow up with an acidic conditioning rinse that contains natural acidic ingredients like lemon juice. Another alternative is to use diluted apple cider vinegar after shampooing with Castile liquid soap.

Castile soaps are considered a base, and it’s not recommended to combine them with acids like vinegar or lemon juice (because the resulting mixture will be a curdled solution that will leave behind a film rather than clean surfaces well).

Castile liquid soap combined with hard water can also result in a white film being left behind when the mixture is used on surfaces.

Final Thoughts

  • What is Castile soap? It’s a versatile vegetable oil-based soap that is free of animal products and synthetic ingredients.
  • You can purchase it as an unscented soap in bar or liquid form. It’s also available with scents, typically from the inclusion of various essential oils such as lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus.
  • If you’re wondering where to buy Castile soap, you can find it at your local health store or possibly even at your closest grocery store.
  • You can also easily purchase a Castile soap bar or Castile liquid soap through various online retailers.
  • You can use Castile soap for hair, body and skin as a shampoo, body wash and facial cleanser.
  • Other uses include washing laundry, brushing your teeth, cleaning produce, as a general household cleaner … the list goes on and on.
  • If you’re looking for a soap that is natural, non-toxic, not expensive and extremely versatile, then you may want to consider trying Castile!

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  1. Ashley on

    I want to make laundry detergent and I want to know what kind of Castile soap to get. What kind would you recommend that has the best nongmo organic ingredients? I also would like to make my own fabric softener but I don’t know what kind of good conditioner to use that’s organic as well.

  2. Daniel C Wintermeyer on

    We mix Castilles liquid peppermint soap and water and spray it in corners and outside door ways to keep spiders away, it works and is , as you know non toxic

  3. R. on

    Please be aware that because something reacts with something, it’s not always bad – although it our society, I’ll admit, it usually is.

    Soap was made by pioneers by mixing fat from their animals with ashes from the fire. The soap was pretty strong stuff, but that’s how it was done way back when in this country.

    I worked with soap, so I’m comfortable with the natural soap, and not comfortable with the stuff that’s mass produced, for a number of reasons.

  4. Katerina on

    You can inbox him that one and clear it up. When you tell someone that they have lost all credibility as a professional you also need to question your own personal credibility with reference to integrity

  5. Sherri on

    Is the laundry soap recipe for a top loading maching or for HE front loader? Should I halve the 1/4 cup recommendation per load for HE washer? Thanks!

  6. Cindy Holguin on

    Which castile soap should I use for homemade face wash there are different color labels that Dr. Bonner has please specify which one. Thank you.

  7. Laura D on

    So I made the laundry soap. It’s like water. Even before I added the water after mixing the ingredients together, it was watery. Does it thicken up overnight? Because so far I am not impressed. I followed the directions to the letter.

  8. Bob Cochrane on

    I made some Castile soap just the other day, and was I stunned and amazed at how well it cleaned. My sister brought home some cleaning rags from her granddaughters home and although she had cleaned them out with a commercial cleanser while at the granddaughter’s, they still had a lot of grime and grease left in them. When she got home We let them soak for a few minutes in the Castile soap I had just made, and washed them out with warm water. All the dirt, grime and grease was completely gone. The only thing left in them was a faint stain from some Turmeric, and that was barely noticeable I may never buy commercial cleaning products again.

  9. Deb Grantham on

    Everything is a chemical or a mixture of chemicals. Rocks are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that are solid at “room temperatures”. Olive oil is a chemical or mixture of chemicals, just not TOXIC!!! Saying something is chemical-free tells me that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  10. Uzair on

    Hi dr axe I want to try your body wash but I can’t decide whether to take scented or unscented liquid Castile soap if scented on which scent is Dr.wood Castile soap is okay for best result it is too watery any suggestion to make it thicker and foamy

  11. Rebecca Winrow on

    Excellent article very informative I’m amazed how versatile Castile soap is for around the home and non toxic,

  12. Carrie on

    I want to use Dr Bronner’s baby pure unscented soap for a shampoo. Do I need to add water and how much per 32oz and add Amla, Brahmi, Coconut oil unrefined, Vitamin E, Rosemary Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, and Basil Essential Oil. <——-that is already a powder mix. I also want to add Bhringaraj Powder, Kapoor Kachli, Moringa Leaf Powder, Neem, honey, sea kelp powder, Black Seed Oil, green tea powder, and hibiscus

  13. Sandra Buck on

    For those of us on a super-tight budget, you can make your own liquid castile soap by grating a bar of it and letting it dissolve in hot water overnight :-)

  14. Frank on

    How much liquid is needed for 5oz bar of Castile bar of soap .I know how to make it I just need what is the ratio for liquid to bar of soap for to use in pump exspenser. Thank you frank

  15. Narinder on

    As both have same receipe except the difference in the use of essential oils.. I really want to know how much quantity of castile soap to be used in making hand wash and face wash

  16. M.E. on

    In France there is castile soap everywhere but there is no point in getting it… there is always EDTA added in. Quite frustrating

    • R. on

      EDTA is added in a number of personal care products because most people have hard water. EDTA binds to the calcium and magnesium, allowing the soap to bubble more. People generally associate soap cleaning with bubbles. I used to work with shampoo and hand soap formulations, so I’m familiar with EDTA. It’s also used to detox lead, if you’ve had lead poisoning, which my husband had.

  17. Laura on

    I make castile soap easily using sodium hydroxide, olive oil and water. Use the lye calculator to determine how much oil, water, and sodium hydroxide per batch. I have a gas stove, so after I make the soap, I place it into the mold(s) and store in the oven for at least 24 hours, up to 4 days. Then remove from the oven, set on the counter to harden (it is extremely soft at this stage). Once it has reached a firm stage then I can cut the soap into bars. Then I allow them to seriously harden, like rocks. Then I set it aside for 6 months’ dehydration. A person can let it sit for 12 months. The longer it sits, the milder it becomes. So, basically, between 2 to 12 months the soap can be used for any of the above-mentioned uses.

    • Laura on

      I do recommend watching some youtube videos on the process for making soap, for the safety factor and simply to have the best results.

  18. Thembelani on

    Well… I’ve some fascinating news about this Castile soap and i am decided to try one, but where can i buy it ?
    Many thanks 🙋

  19. Maria on

    I use ByValenti Organics True Castile Bar Soap for showering and as shampoo. My entire family uses it and we love it!
    For hand washing I use Mama Suds Liquid Castile Soap and we love it! I just dilute it with distilled water in a glass foaming soap dispenser.

    However, as I was reading your post I noticed that you recommend mixing vinegar with castile soap. I had previously read elsewhere that castile soap and vinegar should not be mixed because it loved the pH when combined and you need an acidic product to clean. What are your thoughts?

  20. Naaveen Park on

    Hmmm very interesting study i may have to second guess my antibacterial soap that i currently use, and start going the all natural route.

    • Dj on

      I would not. Animals are far more sensitive and need natural ph balanced products made for them. Do your research. Asking strangers? Just my experience. Perhaps dogs naturally magazine.

  21. JJ on

    Please help me regarding Laundry detergent I recently made with the recipe given in your post above.The castile soap floated on top along with the baking soda, salt

  22. monica stoneburg on

    I hand wash my laundry. When using castille soap can i use the leftover soapy water on my plants seeing as the soap is plant based already?

    • Morgan on

      No it will kill your plants. It is plant based but once it goes through soponification it chemically changes the oils and they plants do not like it.

  23. Laura Mae on

    I make all natural soaps and sell them at a local Farmer’s Market. Saturday two little girls and their mother stood before my table checking out my soap when suddenly vocal sparks flew between the two daughters. The mother rather calmly says, “Relax. You’ll live longer.”

  24. Laura on

    My home and body are totally Bronner-ized :) I do not do well with scents even some essential oils so I use the fragrance free Baby Bronner Castille liquid….. I have found that a much higher combination of water to liquid soap make for a much sudsier shampoo – my mix is only two capfuls per cup of water. An apple cider vinegar rinse make my hair soft and shiny (1/3 vin to 2/3 water). I also use it on my dogs when they get need a good washing :) Great for health and wallet!

  25. LaDeane on

    I have made my own hand soap for many years. Every recipe for soap includes the oils or fats, then for saponification you need a base. Sodium chloride is a “soda”. When they are combined they become a salt, Dr. Axe, do you have a recipe for making soap using bicarobinate of soda? I wouldn’t want to waste the olive oil just to try it.

  26. Kelly on

    Castile soap is not a good choice for your skin. It is very alkaline about 9-10 Ph. Your skin is more acid 4-6 Ph. Many people use Apple Cider Vinegar to try to bring the skin back to a Ph that is closer to normal after using Castile soap. But…Why would you agitate your skin in the first place and take it up to a very unacceptable alkaline Ph to begin with. Then dump an acid on it to try to normalize it back to a natural acid Ph. Up and down. Ummm…NO. Using a correct Ph soap on your skin is critical to healthy skin. And FYI..the same goes for using Castile soap on your scalp/hair for shampoo. Unfortunately, shampoo is one of the hardest homemade products to make without some sort of undesired outcome. I use Morrocco Method. Its perfect! You only use a small amount and don’t need conditioner. I know what your thinking…What?? No conditioner?? I thought the same thing till I tried it. I bought the 5 elements (5 different kinds). I did not know how important it is to rotate your shampoo’s. You can use it for body wash, however I don’t prefer it.

      • kelly on

        Anita, the longer I make my own products, the more I do not like Castile soap. In fact I have 4 hugh bottles that I know I won’t use. I don’t like the film it leaves. The only time I use it is when making my own cleaning wipes for kitchen and bath. Im so cheap, that I won’t get rid of it. The key to using Castile soap is to use only an itty bitty amount (table spoon or so), mixed with Tea Tree Oil (10-15 drops to eliminate mold and bacteria) in 3 cups of Distilled water (ONLY use distilled water, its clean and has NO bacteria, fungus or chlorine) I cut Brawney or Bounty, full size paper towel roll, in half with a bread knife. Whisk your 3 cup solution and quickly dump appox 1 cup into your empty dispenser, put your 1/2 cut paper towel in, whisk remainder of solution again and quickly pour the remainder on your paper towels in making sure to wet the cardboard in the middle of the paper towel (or you can wet your cardboard tube prior). Pull the cardboard in the middle of your paper towels out, thread the your container lid and voila, you have clean, carcinogen free wipes. I make my own baby/personal wipes using Almond Oil and a few drops of Tea Tree Oil. The best wipe dispenser I have found is at It is one hand operation with a lid, Keeps your wipes moist/wet. Omni-wipe container #9833. Its on sale, at least for today. Have fun with your home made products. Add Essential Oils that you love. You will save a ton of money and know exactly what the ingredients are.

    • Lauren on

      My skin has been terribly dry since using Dr Bronner’s as my daily soap in the shower. What would be a better alternative? I use Young Living body wash from time to time and get great results but it is so much more expensive than Dr Bronner’sz

      • Svetlana on

        I use Dr. Bronner’s as face wash. Then apply small amount of coconut oil to skin. It acts as a moisturizer, plus has antibacterial properties. My skin looks so much clearer, by the way.

      • Svetlana on

        I also dilute Dr. Bronner’s castile liquid soap, for both as face and body wash. Usually 1 drop of soap to 3 drops of water. If you feel a burning sensation to skin, then dilute it to 5 drops of water.

      • kelly on

        Yes it is going to extremely dry all of you body/hair/scalp because Castile soap is VERY alkaline (9-10 Ph). Your skin, hair and scalp are acid (4-6 Ph). Castile should never be used on the body. Now, some people mix ingredients in to make it closer to the correct skin Ph. You will need to research to find other ingredients to lower the Ph of Castile. I have been making my own products for many years. Wont EVER put Castile soap on my body.
        If you want to buy pre made body wash it will be difficult to find one with perfect ingredients. Alaffia makes a pretty good soap with one ingredient that is iffy to me. Im super picky that is why I make my own products. It is Cocamidopropyl Betine. It is not a complete deal breaker, but…I prefer to have zero carcinogen/chemicals. I buy it at Cheapest anywhere for most of their products. They have a flat ship fee of $5.95. On my last order I saved $82. Make a list and then order. Free shipping is NOT free, the products are usually more.
        As for Ph body/hair wash…you are going to need to do some research to find what you like. I like to use dried herbs, flowers etc. They need to sit for a period of time to mix in Distilled water. You can add other ingredients once you have done your research to see what you are attracted to. I use Morrocco Method shampoo, it is Ph perfect. You could use that as a body wash. I would dilute it with your herb water and Distilled water. Shake before use. Your good to go.
        My all time favorite is homemade bar soap. Make a whole lot of it at one time. I do occasionally buy Nubian Heritage Raw Shea Butter Bar soap. Pick your scent. Cheapest is at All of these bars are large, 5oz and they are ALL the same price (unlike other sites). No undesired ingredients.

      • Morgan on

        The reason your sink is so dry is because Dr Bronners uses mostly coconut oil in their recipe. When coconut oil goes through the soponification (turns into soap) it no longer is hydrating- it becomes a cleaning agent. If you choose a castile soap that is made from exclusively or at least 90 percent olive oil it will be much more hydrating.

      • Michelle on

        I use a Cleanser I found from IT Works which is much more affordable then Young Living. I can’t do Dr. B on my skin but I do use it for other things.

      • Dr. Bronner's on

        Hi there Lauren! If you find that the Pure-Castile Soaps are too drying for your skin, we highly recommend using our Organic Sugar Soaps or Organic Shaving Soaps, as these are our most moisturizing lines: ~Andre’

  27. Adriana on

    A true Castile soap is 100% olive oil. Therefore 90% of soap claiming to be Castile is just really a liquid soap. This includes dr b’s!!

  28. Stella on

    I just made the liquid Castile Laundry Soap. My first wash is in the dryer. I have made a powder laundry soap for three years. I will try his dry recipe.
    Thank you for your recipes I use a lot of them and they help.

  29. Reb on

    I don’t like Dr Bonners because help oil is used to make it and I want my home to be CBD and THC free so I found Dr Jacobs olive oil Castile soap. I’m sure there are others as well.

    • Gudrun on

      vinegar? might do the trick – i use it when i do use the dish washer as the rinse agent; I have not tried castile for dish soap as such, but will try down the road, so thanks for the warning!

    • Lynda on

      We have the same result. We have hard water, and after reading this problem on many websites, the hard water seems to be the culprit.

      Also, never mix castile soap with vinegar (at least for those of us with hard water). It becomes a terrible mess.

      Hope this helps.

    • Bobbie Branson on

      Yes, white vinegar will help for the residues and if you put some in your last rinse of laundry, it rinses out chemicals. My mother used it all the time for her laundry and they came out soft, with no vinegar smell.

  30. Greta SGT on

    So, I love your recipes, just, one little thing. Re: Laundry Soap. Pretty sure you’d get 32 loads if you’re using 1/4 cup out of a 1 gallon batch.

    • Diana on

      Greta SGT…He was correct in saying you would get 64 loads out of a 1 gallon batch, by using 1/4 cup per load. 2 ways to calculate: 1) 1 gallon = 16 cups. There are four, 1/4 cups per cup, so 16 x 4 = 64 uses…OR…2) 1 cup = 8 ounces, so 1/4 cup = 2 ounces. A gallon = 128 ounces. 128/2 = 64 uses.

      • kelly on

        ***Warning- if you use for laundry, just know the Castile soap leaves a very small film on your clothes. Eventually you will need to strip it off with a astringent type of laundry soap (homemade of store bought). Truthfully…most of us who make all of our own personal and home products do not recommend Castile soap for laundry.

  31. Gillian on

    Sorry, when you mention that something is an “all natural chemical-free soap,” you’ve just lost all credibility as a medical doctor. BTW, I am a professional soap-maker.

    • riham on

      Of course it can be chemical free. I don’t know what you mean by chemicals here but if you mean the lye or sodium hydroxide then it really is not counted toward the ingredients as it is used up in the process “saponification of the oil”and it has been traditionally used for hundreds of years “from aches of wood”. It is just better now because we can make sodium hydroxide in a pure form which makes soap production more predictable!

    • sylvie on

      actually it is chemical free- you can google the ingredients and process to understand. so don’t throw fits and make dramatic statements as you actually don’t know. cheers

    • Katerina on

      You can inbox him that one and clear it up. When you tell someone that they have lost all credibility as a professional you also need to question your own personal credibility with reference to integrity


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