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Castile soap comes from the Castile region of Spain where it was originally made with local olive oil.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