How To Replace 18 Household Products With Castile Soap

In addition to being environmentally conscious, living simply, and saving some money, another one of our biggest motivations to “go green,” is to reduce the amount of chemicals that our children (and us) are exposed to.  Both of our sons have very sensitive skin.  My older son had eczema as a baby, and was prescribed steroid cream by his doctor at a very young age.  He seems to have mostly outgrown it, but our little one still struggles with this very much.  He gets frequent outbreaks on his cheeks, and the last time it was bad enough that he was bleeding.    His pediatrician prescribed him hydrocortisone, (also a steroid, albeit a lighter one than the prescription my older son was prescribed), and also an antibiotic cream.  I’m not a very big fan of constantly slathering my 2 year old with steroids and antibiotics.  I’d rather just prevent the problem proactively, instead of treating reactively.

Dr. Bronners Castile Soap

Castile soap is an organic, environmentally friendly, vegetable oil-based soap.  It gets its name because it was originally created in the Castile region of Spain.  It contains no chemicals, and thus should be very gentle on sensitive skin.  We could potentially eliminate up to 18 products with just one, environmentally-friendly, natural product.

Several of these recipes call for the use of Tea Tree Oil.  Tea Tree Oil is an essential oil that has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic qualities.  Make sure to always dilute Tea Tree Oil somehow, do not put it directly on the skin.  We used the one pictured at left, but I don’t have any particular allegiance to it – I asked Chad to find the cheapest one, and this is what he found, so I used it.

We spent several weeks trying and testing the following uses for Castile soap.  We used Dr. Bronner’s peppermint, but there are other brands.  The peppermint has a very strong smell, so if you don’t really like the smell of peppermint, you’ll probably want to try a different scent.  It also comes in lavender, almond, citrus, and unscented.  We like peppermint just fine, but I think we’ll try the citrus next time!  Here’s our findings, reviews and flubs with using Castile soap.

1. Shampoo – Grade: B


There are at least 3 ways to try this.

1. Use 1 drop, straight.

2. Use equal parts water to soap, shake in a bottle.

3. Add one part Castile soap to three parts water.  If you’d like to add herbs or fragrances, steep them in hot water as if you were making tea, then drain and add.  To add oils to moisturize and increase shine, you can use ten to 12 drops of essential oils or 1/2 tsp. of an oil like olive or jojoba works well.

– An additional suggestion is to add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup warm water and use that to rinse.


1.  I didn’t like it straight.  It left my hair feeling very strange and filmy.  Also, one drop was definitely not enough, you need at least a dime-sized amount to get a decent lather.

2. This was definitely better.  It felt less filmy, but still filmy enough to be bothersome.  Even on the kids’ hair, it was tangly and hard to comb, and they’re boys with short hair.

3. I didn’t add the herbs and fragrances, but I did try adding oil.  I used this recipe: 1 oz water, 4 oz soap, and 1/2 tsp of olive oil.  I LOVE this for my kids’ hair.  The comb went through it like a hot knife through butter, and it feels so, so soft when it dries.  I will definitely be keeping this recipe for their hair.  For my hair though, I only like it, I still don’t love it.  It might be because I color my hair, or maybe it’s just a texture issue, but it still feels a little filmy, and if you don’t rinse it well enough, it feels pretty greasy.

While I did have reservations of using what basically equated to salad dressing on my hair, I did try the vinegar rinse.  I mean, it’s for science right?  That did help, but I’m not still sold.  I’m going to keep using it for now, but I’m on the lookout for other options.

2. Hand Soap – Grade: A+

Soapy Hand soap


Method: Fill a foaming hand soap dispenser with water, add a squirt of Castile soap.  That’s it.  If it’s not sudsy enough, you can add more, but one squirt was plenty foamy!

Review:  This worked well!  Our hands felt and smelled clean, and it left them feeling very soft.  Plus, it takes so little soap – just one squirt – to make an entire dispenser of hand soap.

3. Dish Soap – Grade: A+

Method: Use in place of standard dish soap, just a few drops in the sink.

Review: This was great!  The peppermint smell was good, and it didn’t leave any film, we ended up with shiny dishes!

4. Body, Baby and Face Wash – Grade: A

Method:  For body wash and the kids’ baby wash, we used 1 part Castile soap to 4 parts water.  Squirt that on a loofah, and it makes a nice lather.  For face wash, I used 3-4 drops, straight.

Review:  I loved it for the kids’ bath wash.  My little one, who in the past has frequently cried when soap touches his skin, paid almost no attention to the fact that I was washing him.  I’m not even sure he noticed!  I was so thrilled about this – yay for happy babies!!  For the face wash, I was afraid that this was going to feel very filmy, or leave me with that tight-skin feeling like other soaps I’ve tried – but it did none of that.  It cleaned well and left no residue.

5. Use in Kids’ Bathwater – Grade: D

Method: Use a good squirt in the bathwater, no other soap needed.

Review: This is one that I found that I didn’t really “get,” but I tried it anyway.  It was just OK, it didn’t create any bubbles, like a bubble bath, so it didn’t work in that manner.  And, the kids still needed to be washed with additional soap, so I felt like it was kind of a waste.

6. Laundry Detergent – Grade: A

Method: Use 1/8 cup Castile soap in place of your regular detergent.  You may also add a dash of baking soda.  Or, you can stretch your detergent by diluting it into a solution of two parts water, one part Castile soap and one part laundry detergent.

Review: We tried it with baking soda and without, and liked both.  Clothes look clean and smell good, and they are much softer.  Side note: this one did involve some math to see if it was really cheaper.  It is more expensive per ounce, but it is much, much cheaper per load (1/3-1/2 of the cost), compared to the price we pay for the laundry detergent we use (All Free and Clear). Click to see the cost comparison.

Love this Castile Cleaner7. Household Cleaner – Grade: A++

Method: Fill a spray bottle about a 1/4 full with white vinegar.  Fill the rest of the bottle up with water, then put in a squirt of Castile soap and add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil.

Review:  This was The Awesome.  I seriously love this.  See I even added a heart to the picture?!  It made our counters sparkle, and it cut through grease on my stove, and the food grime on the little one’s high chair like nobody’s business.

8. Toilet Cleaner – Grade: A

Method: Squirt in a bit of Castile soap, I just did a quick little ring around the whole toilet.  Add a little baking soda, and scrub!

Review: This worked really well, and people, I have a 4 YO boy and another who’s about to potty train, so toilets can be quite the job.

9. Glass Cleaner – Grade: A

Method: Mix a teaspoon or two of Castile soap (use more or less depending on how dirty your glass is), in a gallon of water, as hot as you can stand.  Use this to wash the windows, then dry with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.

Review: I didn’t try this method, because heating and using an entire gallon of water seemed wasteful and time consuming to me.  However, I did use the above cleaner with a microfiber cloth, and it worked beautifully!  No streaks!

10. Baby Wipes – Grade: A

Method: Fill a pitcher with warm water, add a splash of Castile soap, a splash of olive oil, and a drop of tea tree oil.

Review:  I’m thrilled about this one.  Hopefully we’ll see a big improvement in my little one’s sensitive skin.

Bonus Round!!  Here are other things that we found that we didn’t try, either because we were too chicken (brush my teeth with soap?  I couldn’t do it), it wouldn’t work for us, or because it isn’t a need we have.

11. Roach Repellant

Method: Mix 1 tbsp. of liquid Castile soap with 1 tbsp. of Tabasco sauce and combine with 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Apply as needed to infested areas. The slightly viscous consistency of the Castile soap will help the Tabasco adhere to the surface. This preparation should maintain its effectiveness for approximately two months.

I’d be interested to try this one, but the weather is starting to get chilly, so we don’t have much of a problem with this.  I wondered also what would happen if my dogs get into this, would the Tabasco bother them?

12. Shaving Lather

I use razors with the shaving cream built in around the blades, so this isn’t necessary for me.

13. Toothpaste!

I just couldn’t make myself try this one.  ‘Nuff said.

14. Pet Shampoo

We didn’t try this one because our dog already uses an allergy shampoo (even our dogs have sensitive skin around here), and I was too nervous to try it with her skin.

15. Automatic Dishwasher Soap:

Method: Another one with at least three ways to try:

1. Straight

2. Castile soap and baking soda

3. This recipe:


1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 drops tea tree oil
1/2 cup white vinegar

Stir all ingredients together until blended. Store in a squirt top bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes, shake well before use.

Review: We didn’t try this one because our dishwasher is set up in a way that it only takes solid dishwashing soap.  I got as far as mixing up the recipe, then discovered it wouldn’t work.  Boohoo!!  If anyone else tries it, I’d be really interested to hear how it works!

So, in addition to being environmentally friendly and helping our kids with sensitive skin issues, by using Castile soap, we’ve gotten rid of 13 products: Shampoo, baby shampoo, shower gel, baby wash, baby wipes, household cleaners, toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, dish soap, glass cleaner, laundry detergent, face wash, and hand soap.  All from one product!  Wow!  What could be more simple or green than that?!