Meet the budget-friendly, non-toxic cleaning product that everyone needs in their natural cleaning caddy: castile soap. This ancient soap has over 24 brilliant uses for the home and body. In this ultimate guide, learn everything you need to know about cleaning with castile soap: the very best homemade cleaning recipes for your entire home, what is castile soap, how it’s used, and two big warnings/mistakes to avoid.

Cleaning products you can make with castile soap: dusting spray, scrub cleaner, all purpose spray.
Just a few of the ways to use castile soap for cleaning: dusting spray, all purpose spray, and scrub cleaner.

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First, what is castile soap?

Castile soap comes from the Castile region of Spain where it was originally made with local olive oil.

Today, it’s a soap made mostly of oils, such as: coconut oils, olive oils, and hemp oils. This alkaline soap may also contain avocado oils, almond oils, or walnut oils. The one thing you won’t find is animal fats (which are used in many other traditional soaps), so castile soap is safe for vegans and vegetarians.

Learn about castile soap and its ancient history: What is Castile Soap? And 7 Amazing Castile Soap Benefits

The soap comes in liquid form and bar form. Liquid soap is the most versatile for cleaning.

Pure castile soap can be found in the grocery store, a health food store, and online (Amazon, Vitacost, Thrive Market, etc.). Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is the most popular brand, but not the only option. (Here are the best castile soap brands.)

32-ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap.
Castile soap is used to make over 24 different products for the home and body. Liquid castile soap, pictured, is the most versatile form.

What is castile soap used for?

A 32-ounce bottle of liquid soap costs about $17 and that bottle will make multiple home and body products, from all-purpose cleaner spray to laundry soap and body wash and makeup remover. Some people even use this soap for shampoo (see the best non-toxic shampoo options).

Castile soap is highly concentrated and meant to be diluted with water or other ingredients to make cleaning or body products. This is why one bottle of soap makes many different products.

If you want to ditch toxins, use natural cleaning supplies, and save money in the process (like 7 money-saving ways to use castile soap), castile soap will be your best friend!

15 Best Cleaning Recipes For Your House

Stock your cleaning caddy with a 32-ounce bottle of liquid castile soap to make these 15 DIY household cleaning products. Unscented soap is the best option, as you can make a variety of products and use essential oils to add your own scent (optional).

Nearly all the recipes listed here use liquid soap with the exception of the laundry soap powder which uses soap in bar form.

All purpose cleaner spray made with castile soap in a clear glass spray bottle.
All Purpose Cleaning Spray

1. DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

This all-purpose spray makes cleaning up a breeze! I just don’t use this as a window cleaner as it can sometimes streak, but it’s great on counters, appliances, tables, and more.

If you have hard water you might see white deposits left over on the surface. There are two ways to avoid this: use distilled water instead of tap water to make this cleaner or wipe up the spray with a damp cloth after cleaning.

DIY All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
Add 2 tablespoons of castile soap to 2 cups of distilled water in a spray bottle and go! You can also add essential oils to your cleaner. I like peppermint or orange essential oil, or use about 15 drops of your favorite essential oil.
glass spray bottle for making homemade cleaners

2. Reusable Cleaning Wipes

I love the reusable cleaning wipes recipe from Lisa Bronner’s blog. Mix together 1 1/2 cups distilled water and 1 tablespoon of castile soap and 20 drops tea tree oil. Add a cut up shirt (for DIY rags) or small cleaning towels to a jar, add the castile soap solution, and add a lid. Pull a wipe at a time from the jar and wipe counters, floors, and other surfaces.

3. Toilet Bowl Cleaner 

No one really likes scrubbing toilets, but it has to be done. To really get at tough stains, make your own toilet bowl cleaner with baking soda and castile soap. Baking soda deodorizes and removes tough stains while the castile soap removes dirt and bacteria from the surface of the toilet bowl.

DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner Recipe
Equal parts baking soda and castile soap are diluted in a cup of water and a bit of essential oils. Use this toilet bowl cleaner to lift stains, deodorize, and remove bacteria and dirt.
Toilet bowl cleaner ready to use, on the counter.

4. Hand Soap

I love making my own liquid hand soap. It’s super easy to make: equal parts water (distilled is best) and castile soap. Add to a soap dispenser bottle and it’s ready to use: add soap to wet hands and create suds as you rub your hands together. Use a foaming soap bottle for the best lather.

Castile soap is highly concentrated and intended to be diluted, making it the best natural hand soap that’s budget-friendly, too.

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe
Make your own foaming hand soap with just two ingredients: equal parts concentrated castile soap and water.
Tub and sink scrub cleaner made with castile soap in a glass container over the sink.
Tub and Sink Cleaner

5. Tub and Sink Cleaner (Scouring Scrub)

This is my favorite way to use castile soap for cleaning!

This scrubbing cleaner is great in the bathroom and also in the kitchen sink. Think of this as a homemade soft scrub natural alternative. You can even use this cleaner on dirty kitchen or bathroom grout: dip an old toothbrush in the mixture, then scrub and watch the brightening and cleaning magic!

Homemade Scouring Scrub Recipe
1 cup of baking soda is mixed with ¼ cup of castile soap to make a thick paste that brightens, deodorizes, and lifts dirt, grease, and bacteria from surfaces. Simply take out a little scoop and scrub it into your sink, tub, or tile grout, then rinse with water.
Homemade Tub and Sink Cleaner

6. Floor Cleaner

If you aren’t a fan of vinegar for cleaning hard floors, castile soap to the rescue! This floor cleaner takes seconds to make: just hot water and castile soap. The soap helps lift dirt and bacteria from hard floor surfaces. Dip your mop in the solution and watch your floors sparkle without toxins.

Floor Cleaner Recipe
You only need 2 tablespoons of castile soap in a 2 gallon bucket of warm water. I like to add pine essential oil for nostalgia purposes, or use a few drops of essential oil of choice.
Homemade Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner

7. Dusting Spray

One of the best ways to avoid toxic chemicals and synthetic ingredients is to make your own dusting spray. I like to spray this on a dusting cloth and not directly on surfaces to ensure I’m not using too much. A little goes a long way.

Dusting Spray Recipe
Just a touch of castile soap (2 teaspoons), 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 cup of water is all you need to make this DIY recipe. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil, if desired.
Homemade 2-Ingredient Dusting Spray

8. Stain Remover

My kids aren’t the only ones who get food and grass stains on their clothes…oops! I’ve tried so called “natural stain removers” from the store and none of them have truly wowed me. So I created a stain remover spray that truly removes stains and costs just pennies to make.

Homemade Stain Remover Recipe
Castile soap does the hard work of loosening stains and then hydrogen peroxide comes in and brightens fabric back up. A great way to pre-treat stains before washing. Simply spray on a stain, scrub, let rest, then wash.
Stain remover on a white shirt with a ketchup stain.

9. Bathroom Cleaner

You can certainly use the all-purpose spray mentioned above, but I like to add a little bit more to my bathroom spray for an extra boost of cleaning power. To do this, combine baking soda, water, and castile soap for a deodorizing, germ-fighting blend.

All-In-One Bathroom Cleaner Recipe
Add 2 tablespoons of castile soap to 2 cups of distilled water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. I also increase the essential oils here as tea tree oil can have antibacterial properties that are perfect in this room.
DIY homemade Bathroom cleaner

10. Clean Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are the workhorses of the kitchen. I use a quick squirt of castile soap to help scrub away any visible stains and lift bacteria on my cutting boards. And castile soap is really safe to use on eating and food preparation surfaces.

11. Dishes

There are a lot of blogs and articles out there that mention using castile soap as a dish soap. It’s perfectly fine if you want to use it, and it will work to get dishes clean. To do this, fill the sink with water and add a few squirts of castile soap.

However, in my own experience, I just don’t find that it cuts grease well. I prefer to reach for Sal’s Suds (castile soap’s big brother) when I make my own dish soap. It’s safe and non-toxic, but the chemical makeup means it is a detergent rather than a soap, which is why it works to cut grease on dishes.

12. Liquid Laundry Soap Detergent

Combine borax, washing soda, and liquid castile soap with water to make a money-saving laundry detergent replacement. Add to a load of dirty laundry and watch the soap lift dirt, stains, and stinky odors.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap Detergent Recipe
Brightens, lifts dirt and fresh stains, and deodorizes. Combine castile soap, washing soda, borax, and water to make this liquid laundry soap. Use between 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup of soap per load of laundry.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

13. Laundry Soap Powder

If you prefer a powder laundry soap, shred two bars of castile soap (using a cheese grater or food processor) and combine with washing soda to make an effective laundry detergent that’s best used in warm water. If you don’t want to use borax, make a borax-free laundry soap powder with castile soap and salt.

Homemade Powder Laundry Soap Recipe
Made in just five minutes! Shred two bars of castile soap in a food processor or with a cheese grater, then add borax and washing soda.
Laundry soap powder in a clear glass container with a scoop.
Fruits and vegetables in a sink being filled with water for a homemade produce wash.
Make a homemade produce wash by adding 1 tablespoon castile soap to a gallon of water.

14. Produce Wash

Use castile soap to clean vegetables!  Add 1 tablespoon castile soap to 1 gallon of cold water. Add the veggies and fruit, then swish them around in the mixture. Allow to rest for a few minutes in the soapy mixture, then rinse with fresh water and dry.

15. Makeup Brush Cleaner

Breaking out lately? It could be due to dirty makeup brushes that spread dirt and oils on the face. Give your makeup brushes a natural clean with a homemade makeup brush cleaner.

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner Tutorial
Add a couple drops of soap to a bowl, along with water and witch hazel. Place makeup brushes in the solution and soak for a few minutes. Rinse with water and dry.
How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

When cleaning with castile soap it’s important to avoid mistakes that are commonly promoted online and on Pinterest.

1. Never Mix Castile Soap and Acidic Ingredients: Things like vinegar and lemon juice (acidic ingredients) don’t mix with castile soap (a base ingredient). I shared the science behind this in 4 Cleaning Ingredients to Avoid Combining. This is such a popular combination online that leaves behind an oily mess!

2. Castile Soap and Hard Water Warning: If you use a mixture of castile soap and hard water, it will leave behind a white residue on surfaces. This residue can easily be rinsed off with water or a vinegar spray. The easiest way to avoid this is to use distilled water (found in the water section of the store) in castile soap cleaning recipes.

Need more ideas? Learn how to use this soap beyond cleaning with 24 Brilliant Castile Soap Uses for Home and Body. A few of my favorite uses: makeup remover wipes, plant spray, shaving cream, and honey face wash.

Learn how to make natural cleaners for your home

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