7 Money-Saving Recipes Using Castile Soap

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How many different bottles of cleaning and beauty products sit under your kitchen sink right now?

If you peeked under my sink a few years ago, you would have counted at least 12 “different” products. I never sat down to calculate how much money I spent on all those products (most of which I didn’t use), but I’m sure the annual cost was quite significant.

Money-Saving Ways to Use Castile Soap

After making changes to the way we eat (going from a diet of highly processed food to one of healthy, real food), I started to question the cleaning products used in home. I was curious (just as I was about food): what ingredients were used to create my favorite cleaning products? Why did my favorite beauty products smell a certain way? What ingredients were used to make the products sprayed in my home and layered on my body and were they safe? I also started to question whether so many different cleaning products were essential.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

I was shocked to learn that cleaning and body products are not required go through rigorous testing or approval. In fact, cleaning companies are not required to disclose their ingredients (beauty product are required).

When you take a deep dive into researching these products and ingredients, it can be concerning to read about the impact they have on the body. For example, “fragrance” is considered a trade secret that is commonly found on the ingredient list (if disclosed) of products. This ingredient (which can be made with hundreds of different chemicals, including phthalates which disrupt hormones) is top secret and incredibly concerning in terms of toxic ingredients. This is just one example of the concerning ingredients that can be used to make a product.

Sure, maybe a small amount of these ingredients aren’t harmful (as companies say), but when you consider how many products we use in a day (or week or month), we aren’t using a trace amount of these chemicals in our homes and on our bodies. We’re burdening our systems with all these ingredients and the cumulative effect of using so many potentially-toxic chemicals.

You’ll find a lot of natural and green marketing words used to describe cleaning and body products today. These terms have no regulation, so full transparency of ingredients is all we have to help us navigate products and make informed choices.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

A company should be completely transparent about their sourcing and ingredients, particularly a company that claims (on a website or packaging) to be “natural” or “non-toxic.” There should be nothing to hide. Instead, such a company should be proud to disclose their ingredients. This includes companies making both body and cleaning products.

The label on a typical cleaning product

is a mix of marketing hype and instructions for use. What’s missing is a list of what’s inside. - Environmental Working Group

At the time (remember, this was 9 years ago), there weren’t many transparent brands on the market making ready-to-use, multi-purpose cleaning products, so I decided to research the idea of making my own products. My research led to the discovery of a natural product that cleans anything and everything: castile soap.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

What is Castile Soap?

Castile soap is a plant-based soap made from vegetable oils (olive, coconut, palm) and plant oils. Here’s the exact definition and ingredient list from Dr. Bronner’s  (a popular castile soap brand).

“Castile soap is a concentrated vegetable-based soap with easy to recognize ingredients:Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Lavandin Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol.” 

Basic Natural Face Wash Recipe

History of Castile Soap

Castile soap isn’t a new fad. It’s been around since the 11th century and was first made in the Aleppo of the Levant region (modern day Syria). The Crusaders learned about this soap which was, eventually, duplicated in Europe without success. That is, until a region in Spain (called Castile) was able to get the recipe right and successfully made what we know today as “castile soap.” The soap became popular with Spanish royalty and eventually by the 1500’s made its way to England.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

3 Reasons to Use This Soap

Besides being an ancient and traditional soap, there are several reasons why castile soap is awesome…

  • Super Versatile: Castile soap is super versatile. You can make cleaning and body products with the same soap.
  • Inexpensive: A 32-ounce bottle of castile soap will cost $17. Yes, this is more expensive than a bottle of all-purpose cleaner, but it will last you for months! Castile soap is highly concentrated so a little bit goes a long way.
  • Non-Toxic: Castile soap is made with easy to recognize, simple, non-toxic ingredients. This is why you can use it on your skin and the surfaces in your home.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

How to Use Castile Soap

When using castile soap to make household cleaners, there are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Dilute: Castile soap isn’t meant to be used as-is, unless you’re buying the bar soap for your body. It’s intended to be diluted before use. This chart is a great cheat sheet.
  • Don’t Mix Castile Soap with Vinegar: I see this all the time on Pinterest. Please do not mix your castile soap with vinegar. You will not make an amazing cleaner. You’ll end up with a mess. When combined, vinegar (an acid) and castile soap (a base) cancel each other and create unsaponified soap. This reaction reduces the soap back to its original oils. If you try mixing the two ingredients you’ll immediately notice the castile soap curdles and feels very oily.
  • Castile Soap is Safe for Most Surfaces: Unlike vinegar (which shouldn’t be used on marble or granite or unsealed wood), castile soap is safe to use on most surfaces in your home. The only one caution I would advise is to avoid using castile soap on waxed floors to avoid build-up.
  • Castile Soap is Skin Safe: It’s not only safe for most surfaces, but also safe to use on the skin. Just be sure to dilute.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

Where to Buy Castile Soap

You’ll find castile soap in most stores, from Target to Walmart to Whole Foods and the down-the-street grocery store. Many times, castile soap won’t be found in the cleaning section, so be sure to check the body care section. You can also buy castile soap on Amazon.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

I recommend Dr. Bronner’s brand. I’ve tried other brands in the past, but haven’t been pleased with most options. Dr. Bronner’s makes several options for scents. I prefer the baby mild since I can add my own essential oils (for scent or additional antibacterial properties) or just go free of any scent. If you want to try a scented castile soap (the scents are completely natural and not made with the hormone disrupting ingredients found in “fragrance”), here’s what I recommend…

For cleaning products: Lavender, Tea Tree or Citrus

For beauty products: Lavender, Tea Tree or Baby Mild

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7 Money-Saving Recipes Using Castile Soap

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

I don’t make all of these products today (9 years after I learned about castile soap and started making products at home). There are quite a few store-bought options now on the market, so most of my skincare is from brands I love and trust. I still make the most of my own cleaning products with laundry soap being the one exception. I find that making my own cleaning products to be the most affordable option for natural cleaning.

This list is to give you an idea of all the different products you can make with one bottle of castile soap. Using this one ingredient to make multiple products saves money and allows you to know exactly what’s going into your products.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

1. All-Purpose Cleaner Spray

My favorite cleaning product that will clean nearly every surface in your home. Use this cleaner in your bathroom and kitchen, your sinks, stovetops, even your toilets.

Pour the water into the spray bottle (use a funnel, if needed). Add the castile soap and essential oil. Gentle shake the cleaner. This cleaner may be stored at room temperature.

Money-Saving Recipes to Use Castile Soap

2. Hand Soap

With two active kiddos we go through a lot of hand soap in our house. A bottle of natural hand soap costs $3.99-$6 a bottle, depending on the brand. One 32-ounce bottle of castile soap makes approximately 8 homemade bottles of hand soap. If you don’t like the liquid feel of this hand soap, use a foaming hand soap dispenser instead of a regular soap dispenser.

To the soap dispenser, add the water first (to prevent bubbles) then the liquid castile soap, followed by the oils. Shake the ingredients together. Shake the soap dispenser before using, then squirt a small amount on your hands as needed, rinsing with water.


3. Laundry Soap

This homemade laundry soap is made with just a few basic ingredients: (bar) castile soap, borax, and washing soda. Yes, this is a powdered laundry soap. If you prefer a liquid soap, I recommend this recipe.

Cut the castile soap bars into small slices or chunks. Place the castile soap slices or chunks in a food processor bowl. Pulse the soap on high until the soap resembles large crumbs. Add the washing soda to the food processor. Place a towel over the top of the food processor lid, and pulse for 1 minute. After pulsing, the ingredients should be well combined. If you don’t have a food processor, use a cheese grate and then mix the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the washing soda and castile soap into a storage container and stir in the borax. Add the essential oils, if using.

DIY Scrub Cleaner. Like soft scrub, but all natural and only uses three ingredients! Cleans your bathroom and kitchen!

4. Soft Scrub-Like Cleaner

Need to scrub your bathtub or the kitchen sink? This scrub is the best! It will leave your tub and sinks sparkling like new.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the baking soda, castile soap, and hydrogen peroxide. Stir until the scrub cleaner looks like thick glue. Spoon the scrub cleaner in a large jar with a lid. Seal the jar. This cleaner will harden when exposed to air for a prolonged period of time. The scrub cleaner can be used immediately and kept at room temperature (in a sealed jar) for several months.

DIY homemade bathroom cleaner

5. Bathroom Cleaner

This inexpensive homemade bathroom cleaner combines the power of castile soap, baking soda, water, and disinfecting oils. One 32-ounce bottle of castile soap makes approximately 16 bottles of germ-fighting bathroom cleaner.

Pour the warm water into the bottle, followed by the baking soda. Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. Add the castile soap and essential oils, gently shaking the bottle to combine. Use this spray to clean the tub, tile, toilet, and sink. Spray the surface, allow the cleaner to sit for a minute, then wipe with a damp cloth. Rinse the cloth as needed.

DIY Foaming Body Wash: A super simple recipe

6. Body Wash

One 32-ounce bottle of castile soap will make multiple bottles of homemade body wash.

Combine all the ingredients in a foaming soap dispenser, adding the castile soap as the last ingredient. Gently shake the bottle, with the top on, to combine the ingredients.

Basic Natural Face Wash Recipe

7. Face Wash

If you want to make your own face wash, using castile soap as the base is a great way to do this. One 32-ounce bottle of castile soap makes approximately 10 bottles of homemade face wash. You can customize this recipe to your liking so I’ll provide you with the base recipe here and then recommend going to this post to see all the customizations options.


More Ways to Use Castile Soap

Here are a few more ideas for how to use a bottle of castile soap…

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  1. says: Annie

    So this may sound like a silly question but I’m going to ask it anyway… I’ve noticed you put essential oils into a lot of your DIY products for fragrance, well I LOVE the smell of vanilla and was wondering if it would be a bad idea or not to put vanilla extract into things like the body wash?

      1. says: Wendy

        I am having a real hard time finding Castile liquid soap and bar soap. I am in Quebec Canada and can not find it. Do you know a substitute I can buy for this product. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you so much

        1. says: Debbie

          Hi Wendy,

          I am also from Quebec – I buy my Castile Soap from Amazon but I was in Provigo the other day and in the Beauty section – low and behold – I found several kinds of Castile soap – check your neighbourhood Provigo!

    1. says: Sharon

      I recently tried vanilla in a foaming liquid soap and it works beautifully. For hubby’s soap I put in anise because of his love of licorice and he absolutely loves it. Have been using DIY recipes for a couple of years now and I’m so thrilled to have more that include castile soap so thank you. I do use castile full strength in the kitchen sink. Two or three drops and wipe with a damp cloth gets rid of grease with just a swipe of a damp cloth and a rinse with hot water leaves it gleaming.

  2. says: Caro

    I just had to tell you, I have been a big diy kind of girl for many moons. And when I couldn’t figure out how to clean my bathroom on my own, I stumbled across your website. Holy cow, I am so excited! It is all so yummy! I’ve used Tilex for years (my one concession to chemical soup) because I have tendonitis in both hands & just couldn’t scrub. So I tried your tub cleaner recipe & it is just spectacular. Same with the general purpose cleaner. Even the tea tree oil doesn’t smell strong as the other ingredients balance it out nicely. So amazing!

    I cannot tell you how excited I am & what your recipes have done to change my life. I know I may sound silly, to have such enthusiasm but I am so very thankful that you shared your recipes with the world.

    Thanks a million –

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Thank you so much, Caro!! I’m so glad you’re enjoy Live Simply and all the DIY recipes :). I have a new bathroom cleaner (for the inside of the toilet bowl ;)) coming out next week…I think you’ll love that one.

  3. says: Elsa

    Just need to thank you. Have been looking for natural ways to get rid of acne and your astringent is just what I need. Tossed out the store bought stuff and hit the natural food store for the ingredients and natural oils.
    Thank you so much.

  4. says: darlene


    I just found your site for castile soap recipes. I was looking for a good face soap recipe. I do many crafts and homesteading things. I was just wondering how you made the canning jar with the black pump sprayer at the top of the page, the picture where there are two hands holding the jar. I can food and I would like to use my jars in many different ways. So how did you get the sprayer in the middle of the flat? As many have stated, I would also like to thank you very much for sharing your recipes. God Bless and Take Care. darlene

  5. says: Janet Allen

    Hi Kristin! I am a really big fan of natural cleaning solutions and I work as a cleaner part time for a local company. I love to use homemade cleaners like vinegar and essential oil sprays, and baking soda cleaners. I’ve also heard what a great cleaner the castile soap is. Thank you for the lovely post! I will definitely try the castile soap as a cleaner!

  6. says: Jo

    Just found your website on Pinterest and LOVE it! I just found a bottle of castile soap that I had forgotten about. Excited to put it back to use, thanks for the tips.

  7. says: Felicia Perea

    Hi Kristin! I saw a post about liquid laundry soap with a new ingredient that you just LOVE!! It is not the one made with water, borax, and castile soap. I didn’t save it and now I am looking for it and cannot find it! *sad face Can you point me in the right direction, please?

  8. says: Crystal

    I love bronners and love making natural cleaning products and beauty supplies. Your laundry soap is great, but I make mine different. I make liquid detergent, which doesn’t require grating a bar of soap 😉
    I use 2 Tbls. Liquid bronners, 3 Tbls borax, and 3 Tbls. Washing soda. And about a gallon of water.
    I boil around 4 cups of the water, then mix in the soaps, let cool and pour into a recycled gallon jug (I use old juice jugs lol) then I fill almost to the top with water. Since the jug is plastic you want to make sure it’s cool enough not to melt the jug. This cleans nicely, I even washed my cloth diapers with this! And of course it’s super cheap too! You can always add a little more soap or your favorites stain booster to make it stronger for the really dirty loads.

  9. says: Theresa

    I noticed all your glass bottles are clear instead of brown or cobalt. I always thought that if essential oils were in the mix, it needed the coloring to protect them?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Theresa, I store my bottles in a dark cabinet, under our sink, so that’s why I’ve been able to use the clear bottles. As long as short-term products are stored out of direct sunlight, you should be okay.

  10. says: Mandy

    One of my 2019 goals is to weed through the clutter of commercial cleaning and personal care items encumbering our shelves and cupboards. Another goal is to set up a workable planning system so I just added the link to this site to the “Projects” section of my planning binder. Thanks!!

  11. says: Ziko

    Hi Kristin – Just landed on your site and went to the homepage, looks so clean and beautiful. Could give me the name of your web designer?

  12. says: Candice Noyce

    On the floor wash, have you ever rinsed with water and alcohol? I always have trouble getting my floors to dry in a timely manner.

    1. says: Chardea Singer

      Hi Candice,

      You could add a bit of alcohol to help it dry. Just be careful with the floor, always test spot first.

      LS Team.

  13. says: Jane Schlegel

    The “soft scrub” cleaner is AMAZING. If you have a particularly difficult patch, just leave the cleaner on it a bit and it’s much easier to scrub.

  14. says: Lorraine Neri

    how long does the handsoap or multisurface cleaner last? I am thinking that at some point it will go bad. Am I right?

  15. says: DavetteB

    a lot of your ingredients are crossed out – is that because the links are dead or because you don’t use that ingredient anymore?

    1. says: yokie

      I’m 55, took home Ec in HS, been baking since I was 10 years old, never seen TB…We were taught T for tablespoon, t for teaspoon.
      To each their own.

  16. says: Emily A. Worel

    Does your Body Wash separate? Do you have a recipe for a body wash that can incorporate Essential Oils?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Emily, It will separate, most natural products without an emulsifier will. Just shake to combine. You can add essential oils to that body wash. Just a few drops.

  17. says: Shantae Babcock

    Thank you so much for these beautiful recipes! Is it ok to use the liquid hand soap recipe…the 1/2 castile to 1/2 water plus essential oils for a body wash not just hand wash? Thank you!

  18. says: Becky

    Can you make this antibacterial by putting alchohol in it? I love this soap. Just want it to be antibacterial as well for some cleaning and such.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Becky, You could try. I don’t think it would hurt the soap, but may be drying on your hands. Just a good rub of the hands under hot/warm water with this soap should be good enough.

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