What Is Castile Soap?

When you go to supermarkets, you will find many different kinds of soaps. There are soaps made for bathing, for skincare, for dishwashing, and for laundry. But have you ever encountered one soap that can do all of these in one? If not, then we’d like to introduce to you the Castile soap. It is a vegetable-oil-based hard soap that is created in the Castile region of Spain.

The production of Castile soap has evolved to include other plant-based oils, such as hemp, palm kernel, jojoba, and coconut, giving soap makers greater control over properties like lather. But the soap still remains free from animal fats, which makes it great for vegans. If it’s your first time to learn about this soap and you want more information, you’re in the right place. Read on as we’re giving you more details on what Castile soap is.

What is Castile Soap?

Unlike most soaps in the supermarket, Castile soap is made from vegetable oil and not animal fat or tallow. Meaning, the soap is cruelty-free and biodegradable. It originated in the Castile region in Spain. It comes in many different scents, both in bar and liquid form. Most of the time, the liquid is preferred by a lot of people as it is easier to use. However, a bar is a cheaper option. 

You can also convert the bar Castile soap into liquid by grating it and soaking it in water for 24 hours before blending at a low speed for 30 seconds. Castile soap can be found in well-stocked grocery stores and bulk food stores. The most popular brand is Dr. Bronner, but there are also other brands and companies that make their own versions of the soap. 

History of Castile Soap

The origins of Castile soap can be traced back to the Levant, where Aleppo soap-makers created hard soaps using laurel oil and olive oil for millennia. It is believed that the Crusaders brought Aleppo soap back to Europe in the 11th century. This was based on the claim that the earliest soap that was made in Europe was just after the Crusades. However, the Greeks knew about soap back in the first century AD. In fact, Zosimus of Panopolis described soap and soapmaking in c. 300 AD. After the Crusades, the production of the soap extended to the whole Mediterranean area. 

The soap caused controversy in England back in the 17th century, as it replaced the unspecified local soap after the Spanish Catholic manufacturers bought the cartel on the soap from the cash-strapped Carolinian government. Its connection to Catholicism caused a public-relations campaign to be created, which featured women showing how much more effective local soaps were compared to Castile soap. The sale of a monopoly in Protestant England to a Catholic company led to great chaos, ending with the Castile soap company being stripped of the monopoly. 

The first soap makers in England did not have easy access to laurel oil. With this, they dropped it from their formulations and created an olive-oil soap which is now known as Castile soap. There were also some manufacturers that have redefined Castile soap to use little to no olive oil. These challenges vendors who sell real olive oil soap. 

The Different Uses of Castile Soap

three bar soaps

If you are looking for a versatile soap that you can use all around the house, Castile soap is one of the top options. It’s because you can use it for personal care and as well as for cleaning your house. Here are some of the different uses of Castile soap.

Dish Soap

You can use Castile soap to remove grease from plates and other kitchen utensils. You can create a washing solution with 10 parts water and one part Castile soap. You can also add a generous amount of concentrated liquid Castile soap while you fill your sink with hot water. Note that Castile soap will not create suds, but it will surely make your dishes sparkling clean. Just make sure that you rinse them well. 

All-Purpose Cleaner

You can also use Castile soap to make an all-purpose cleaner. Just add a quarter cup of it to warm one-quart water. Mix it well and pour it into a spray bottle. You can use it to clean floor stains, kitchen counters, appliances, furniture, and more. Spray it on surfaces and wipe it using a clean cloth. If you need to scrub stubborn stains on surfaces, you can sprinkle the surface with some baking soda first before spraying the Castile soap all-purpose cleaner. 

Laundry Soap

Castile soap is not usually used as a laundry detergent, but you can definitely use it to clean beddings and clothes. Use one-third cup for each normal-sized load, then add one-half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. You can also add some concentrated liquid Castile soap to a sink of warm water if you need to soak some delicate pieces of clothing. 

Face and Body Wash

You can also use Castile soap as a face and body wash. Add two to three drops of liquid concentrated Castile soap to your hands and rub to lather before applying it to your face, then rinse it well. For your body, you can add a squirt of it to a wet washcloth or sponge and rub it all over your body in the bath or shower. You can also create your own body wash solution with Castile soap, olive oil, honey, and some essential oils. 

Makeup Remover

If you are out of makeup remover and you have Castile soap, that will work in removing your makeup. Mix equal parts of Castile soap, almond oil or coconut oil, and witch hazel to create an effective homemade makeup remover. This is also very moisturizing to the skin. Soak cloth pads or cotton rounds in the solution and wipe it gently over your eyes and face. Rinse your face with water after application.

Pet Shampoo

You can also use Castile soap to wash your pets. First, wet the hair of your dog, then add a squirt of Castile liquid soap. Work the soap with your hands for a liberal lather, then rinse it thoroughly. 

Produce Rinse

If you want to ensure that there is no dirt and bacteria on fresh fruits and vegetables, Castile soap can also help you. Mix one tablespoon of Castile oil with a gallon of water. Swish the fruits and veggies around the mixture for a minute, then transfer them to a towel to dry. 

The Benefits of Using Castile Soap

person holding a soap

In addition to its many different uses, Castile soap also comes with many benefits. Here are some of them:

Affordable

Castile soap can be bought as a highly concentrated liquid, and you can also get it in huge sizes, which decreases the cost and packaging waste. You can buy a gallon of it and refill it from stores that offer Castile soap on tap. If you are concerned about buying a large amount, no worries, as it can last for three years. It is not as expensive as other soaps, and you can use it in many different ways at home. 

Eco-Friendly

Castile soap can clean as effectively as other soaps that are made with chemicals. It is biodegradable and does not contain any synthetic preservatives, foaming agents, and detergents. If you are aiming to reduce your personal chemical burden or lessen the exposure of your kids and pets to harsh cleaning substances, using Castile soap is a great decision.  

Ethical Production

Most Castile soaps, especially Dr. Bronner, are made with Fairtrade- and organic-certified ingredients that come from India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Ecuador, Palestine, and more. The soap is free from chemical herbicides, pesticides, and GMOs. This means that when you use this soap, your conscience is as clean as your home and body. 

Conclusion

Castile soap is indeed among the most versatile kinds of soaps out there. If you are tired of buying lots of different soaps for various purposes or tasks at home, why not try Castile soap? It is an all-in-one soap that is effective and safe to use. We hope this helped you learn more about what Castile soap is.