The Wonder of Castile Soap

by Polly N on May 2, 2012

I’ve just discovered the wonder of castile soap. If you haven’t heard about it, then listen up. Castile soap is a vegetable based natural soap with no man-made chemicals and it has numerous uses from washing pets, carpets, clothes, teeth and yourself. I’m particulary fond of Dr Bronners who made a huge impact with his magic formula in the 60’s and 70’s.

Here’s a little background on the man himself.

Emmanuel Bronner was a third-generation master soap-maker and heir to the family’s soap factory and business. He rebelled against his father and came to the United States in the late 1920’s. He initially worked as a consultant to various soap US companies but became disheartened that most companies were converting to the complicated synthetic surfactant formulations that comprise modern body care products, so he struck out on his own in the late 40’s. His ecological castile soaps and message of peace resonated powerfully with the counter-culture of the 60’s and 70’s, and he became an icon of the time.

Dr. Bronner’s essential vision and philosophy were born out of the fate of his family and the Holocaust, and are emphatic that we are all children of the same divine source: people must realize that we are “All-One!”  Dr. Bronner was also grounded in a powerful ecological consciousness, and the soaps were an extension of this simple, natural and 100% environment-friendly.

Following his death in 1997 the Bronner family continue to make with care and integrity the fine ecological soaps customers have loved and lathered with for 50 years, all with certified organic oils. They share their time, profits and energy with their workers and worthwhile causes worldwide

The Skinny on Soap and How It Is Made

(Here comes the complicated bit…) Soap is made by turning a fat or oil into soap by a reaction with an alkali. A fat or oil is a “triglyceride,” which means that three fatty acids of various carbon lengths are attached to a glycerine backbone. The alkali is either sodium (for bars) or potassium (for liquids) hydroxide, made by running electricity through salt water. The saponification process is a simple one-step reaction with no waste generated: the glycerine is split off from the fatty acids, and the fatty acids combine with the sodium or potassium to form soap, while the hydroxide forms water. The result is soap, glycerin and water (no alkali remains in Dr Bronner’s soaps). Got it?

Dr Bronner’s unsurpassed soaps are made with certified organic olive, hemp and palm oils instead of tallow, and contain three times more organic coconut oil than commercial soaps.

The label claims that Dr Bronner’s has “18 in 1 uses” because it is such good quality it can be used on anything and anyone. Here are the uses in Dr Bronner’s words;

  1. Always dilute for Shave-Shampoo-Massage-Dental Soap-Bath!
  2. Peppermint is nature’s own unsurpassed fragrant Deodorant!
  3. A drop is best Mint Toothpaste; brushes Dentures Clean!
  4. A dash in water is the ideal Breath Freshener & Mouth Wash!
  5. Peppermint Oil Soap for Dispensers, Uniforms, Baby, Beach!
  6. Dilute for ideal After Shave, Body Rub, Foot Bath, Douche.
  7. Hot Towel-Massage the entire body, always towards your heart.
  8. Pets, silk, wool & body tingles head to toe – keeps cool!
  9. 3 dashes in water rinse most Sprays Off fruit & vegetables!
  10. 1/4 oz in qt H2O is Pest Spray! Dash, no rash Diaper-Soap!
I’ve already used it to clean up a little doodoo my Malitpoo did, to clean my enema kit and used it in the shower on myself. I love it and I love how versatile and safe it is to have around the house.

Have you used Dr Bronner’s before or heard of castile soap? What other brands do you like?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kshama May 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thanks for sharing this Polly! I can tend to take reactions to normal soap so am always on the lookout for something gentle yet effective – this sounds PERFECT! Thanks doing all the “dirty work”…excuse the pun 😉 xxx


polly May 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

Youre welcome! ;o) xx


Caroline May 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

I love this soap!
It’s possible to use it as shampoo but it made my long hair feel a bit waxy, but if you have shorter hair it would be fine for that…!
The almond one smells like marzipan…


Eliza August 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hi Polly,

Great blog! Have you ever tried castile soap in bar form? We make one and are only just discovering all the other wonderful uses it can be put to (in additon of course to washing with :) )

For example, for stain removal:

Bye for now,


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