Whether you’re short on space or just keen to replace a cupboard full of products with a single multi-tasker, Castile soap is a versatile cleaner which can be used throughout your entire home.
Much like the multi-tasking white vinegar, this natural product is the master of many trades. Not only can it be used to clean a wide range of surfaces, but it is also safe for pets and people. Castile soap is also environmentally friendly, both due to being biodegradable and because a little of the product goes a long way, meaning less packaging and transport impacts.
Hailing back several centuries, Castile soap originated in the Mediterranean area – specifically its namesake region of Castile, Spain. Traditionally made from olive oil, the soap is also made with coconut, castor, or hemp oils or even avocado, walnut, and almond oils.
*A quick word of warning
Before you dive into using Castile soap on all and sundry, it’s worth noting that while gentle on the skin and the planet, it’s important to dilute the soap properly according to its use. For example, while it is capable of killing weeds and plants, the right mix can also keep pests off those same plants without damaging them.
Additionally, care should be taken to not to directly mix it with white vinegar or acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice. – Unless you notice a filmy residue after use, then said ingredients can be used so long as the soap has been thoroughly wiped off first.
Finally, as with any new product, spot testing is recommended. If you find the dilution is too harsh, simply dilute further.
15 ways to use Castile soap around your home
1. Wash yourself
Much as you’d imagine, this naturally gentle cleanser is ideal for delicate skin, including for use on baby skin as well as acne breakouts. But while washing your body and hands is a no brainer (you can use it straight from the container or make a bottle of body/ hand wash to help it go further), you can also use it to wash your hair. Avoid colour-treated hair as it can cause fading.
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2. Clean minor wounds
A teaspoon of soap to a cup of water will create a cleansing solution to help keep wounds clean as they heal.
3. Clear congestion
Castile soap can be used to decongest your sinuses. Simply squirt the soap into a bowl of hot water on a stable surface then lean over the steam, keeping it in by placing a towel over your head.
4. Wash dishes
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this liquid soap can be used to deep clean your dishes. Bonner recommends a one part soap to ten part water dilution for this use.
5. Wash clothing and other laundry
A third to half a cup of soap per large load will get your clothes squeaky clean, and the same of white vinegar in the rinse cycle will keep them soft and smelling fresh (the vinegar smell disappears as it dries.)
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6. Get your floors squeaky clean
Pour half a cup of Castile soap into your bucket of hot water and give wooden and tile floors a clean, fresh look. Bonus tip, pick up a fragranced variety or add a few drops of your favourite essential oil and give your home a delicious scent.
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7. Dusting and cleaning
Create an all-purpose cleaner by pouring 30ml of Castile soap into a 500ml spray bottle and fill with water. Shake well before use. As mentioned, if you notice a white sheen as it dries, this can be removed with a spritz of white vinegar rubbed off with a clean cloth.
8. Clean glass and mirrors
Clean windows and glass shower screens with a one tablespoon to one litre of water mix. Finish by spraying with white vinegar and wiping away for spot-free glass.
9. Get a sparkling toilet
Use a one-part soap to four parts water mix in conjunction with tea tree or eucalyptus oil for clean, deodorised toilets. For particularly stained loos, you can start by switching off the water, flushing until empty and sprinkling bicarbonate soda into trouble spots. Leave as long as possible (overnight if possible) and give it a good scrub before switching the water back on and using your Castile mix to clean as normal.
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10. Wash your fruit and veggies
Pop a squirt of the soap into a bowl of fresh water and soak veggies or fruit for five minutes. Swirl them around the bowl, then rinse and pat dry.
11. Wash your dog
Use the soap much as you would any dog wash, working it into their hair to get the dirt out of their skin and coat. Once you have a good lather, rinse thoroughly under the water runs clear.
12. Remove bugs from your plants
If bugs are irresistibly drawn to your indoor and outdoor plants, mix one tablespoon of Castile soap in a litre of water, then shake and spray onto the affected plant. Take care not to exceed this ratio of soap, too high a concentration will burn your plants.
13. Control ants
If ants are invading your yard (or kitchen!) a quarter cup per one litre will have them marching on. Take care to avoid getting this mix on plants or lawn you’d like to keep alive as it will likely burn and kill them.
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14. Remove weeds and grass from your patio
On the flipside, the ant spray has a handy second use as a means of killing pesky weeds or grass which is growing where you don’t want it. Simply spray and leave to do its magic before hosing or pulling them out.
15. Remove marks from walls
Use your all-purpose mix to thoroughly clean painted walls, much the same way you would sugar soap – spray on, wipe down with warm water and a damp clean cloth to remove.
So where can you find Castile soap? Health food stores and larger pharmacies generally stock the product. It may also be worth checking your local supermarket, though it is not routinely stocked at major chains. On average, a bottle will set you back around $15 for almost 250mls or $40 for a litre.
Words by Melanie Hearse
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