I am going to get right to the point here…you need castile soap. Why?
Number 1. As an RVer, you need to be very specific and critical of how you use every inch of the space on the RV. Castile soap has so many uses, that you will be able to whittle down your cleaning and washing supplies to save a lot of space.
Number 2. As a reasonable human being, you have had that nagging voice in the back of your mind that says you must clean up your act and go green; but you are looking for a budget-friendly way to do it.
Number 3. As one of our valued readers, I know that you are interested in Living Abundantly & Lightly, just like our tagline. Castile soap takes the complication out of diy products like body wash, liquid hand soap and so much more. You are going to learn how in this article. Viva the simplicity!
Number 4. As my friend, you trust me, or are at least willing to read the rest of the article and decide for yourself.
What is castile soap?
Castile soap, or at least its name, originates in Spain. One of my favorite countries, have I ever mentioned that I lived there for five months in college? I was in Sevilla, the land of orange and olive trees. Castile is a region of central Spain, and you may have heard the Spanish language referred to as castellano or Castilian. If you go to the central region (or most parts of the country), the castellano sounds much different than what is spoken in central and south america, or what is taught in most American high schools.
Castile soap is thought to have had its start in Spain as a white soap that was created from olive oil. It has been used for centuries.
Today, castile soap is typically made with several different oils. I use Dr. Bronner’s, and the ingredients on the label for the unscented version include the following: water, organic coconut oil, potassium hydroxide, organic palm kernel oil, organic olive oil, organic hemp oil, organic jojoba oil, citric acid and tocopherol (Vitamin E). The only ingredient that may make you curious is the potassium hydroxide. In order to make soap, the fats of oil are mixed with a strong alkali which creates a chemical reaction that produces soap. In this case, the potassium hydroxide (potash) is the strong alkali. Strong alkali is bad for the skin and can burn it, which is why the soapmaking process takes delicacy. I have made soap with a Mennonite friend, and we are always very careful with the lye reaction. It takes serious caution and adherence to the proper steps to avoid problems. As part of the chemical reaction, the alkali no longer exists in the final product. On Dr. Bronner’s bottle, they note that the potassium hydroxide does not remain in the product after it is saponified (the process of turning the oils in to soap).
Since we have explained the potassium hydroxide, if we now read back through the other ingredients, it is easy to see that castile soap is a natural soap. That is what sets it apart from the majority of soaps that you can find at your local store. It does not contain the chemicals, harsh detergents or other things we want to avoid that are found in many common soaps. No need to worry about endocrine disruptors, nuerotoxins or carcinogens with castile soap!
Castile soap is gentle enough to be used on babies. Its mild cleansing action does not remove the natural oils on our skin, so we can get clean while keeping our skin moisturized. Castile soap is also biodegradable – a bonus since it can be used outdoors if necessary for us RVers.
Where to buy Castile Soap
As I mentioned, I use Dr. Bronner’s, which seems to be the most popular castile soap. It is not the only one on the market, but I have tried another brand and quickly returned to Dr. Bronner’s. I used to only be able to buy it on Amazon, then I noticed that it popped up at Targets several years ago, but it was only in the tiny sample bottles. Due to more people understanding and desiring natural products, it is now available in more stores. I typically buy in bulk on Amazon to save money and have access to the unscented version, which I can’t always find in stores. There are plenty of scented versions, and they smell amazing. But, I prefer to have it plain, and then if I want to add essential oils to it, I can.
Uses for Castile Soap
Here comes the fun part, let’s dive in to some of the great uses for castile soap, so that you can see what a difference this product will make.
A key to remember when using liquid castile soap is that it is 2-3x more concentrated than most leading liquid soaps. A little bit goes a long way, and it lathers like a white, billowy dream.
Liquid Hand Soap
Due to the strength of castile soap, I use a foaming soap dispenser. I fill it 1/3 of the way with castile soap and the rest of the way with distilled water. You can use water from your Berkey if you do not have distilled; but I would avoid tap water. Boom! Done! How is that for a simple, all natural hand soap you can be proud of?! See below for adding essential oils.
I have one of these at my kitchen sink and my bathroom sink. It has completely ruined me for life. Now, when I use the hand soap in public or at someone else’s home; I can not stand how drying and stinky it is! Those synthetic fragrances do not go away! My hands will smell for over an hour. And once you change from synthetic fragrances to real essential oils; the synthetic fragrances smell like what they are made of. Synthetic chemicals. They wreak. Sparkly Plum Sugar now smells like a fruit cocktail gone bad. So, make the hand soap knowing that you will not be able to turn back. You have been forewarned.
I keep a bottle of the castile soap in our shower to use as body wash. Chris uses it on his hair too, but that is not saying much, since he doesn’t have much! I have used it as shampoo, but after repeated use, my hair starts to get too greasy. It is worth a try though. For body wash, we use it straight from the bottle, but just a tiny amount. It lathers great, and only a little bit is needed.
You can also see our loofah cloths in the photo. They are great for being able to reach your entire back, and they make an incredible lather.
Due to the great lather, Chris and I both use castile soap for shaving. Simple and effective.
Chris and I both use it directly from the diluted hand soap bottle to wash our faces. We also occasionally do oil cleansing on our faces, and I like to exfoliate every once in a while too.
Click here for my diy laundry soap recipe made with castile soap.
All Purpose Cleaner
Click here for my diy cleaner recipe made with castile soap. Also, if I notice my bathroom sink is particularly yucky, and I want to quickly clean it – I just grab a squirt from the hand soap dispenser (conveniently located for last minute sink cleaning), and wipe out my sink.
Castile soap can be used to wash dishes. It will not cut grease like your typical dish soap, because it is not a surfactant, and it is not a detergent. It is a soap. But, it is much safer to use on your dishes since it is so natural.
A Note on Adding Essential Oils
Yes, you can add essential oils to the castile soap if you prefer. Try tea tree or lavender for a great face wash or hand soap. Lemon or sweet orange would be great at the kitchen sink. Peppermint is a great option too. Start by adding just a few drops to your hand soap mixture and add as needed from there. If you are using plastic containers, it is better to use PET plastic with essential oils. Learn about PET plastic here.
Well, that covers a lot of separate products that can be replaced with castile soap! So, what do you think? This is one of the simplest ways to take a green step in your household for your health and for your family’s health. I hope you give it a try!
Thanks for joining me, and check out my other Self Care Sunday articles!