Castile soap is a vegetable-based cleaner, available in both bar and liquid forms. It is popular as a body soap but is also useful for certain household chores.

Castile soap may have some advantages over other soaps, as it is suitable for sensitive skin and is more eco-friendly.

In this article, learn more about its uses and potential benefits for health.

a person pressing down on a dispenser that contains Castile soapShare on Pinterest
A person can use castile soap as a hand wash.

Castile soap is made from a base of vegetable oil. It may include vegetable oils such as:

  • coconut oil
  • palm kernel oil
  • jojoba oil
  • hemp oil
  • avocado oil

Some soaps also contain other ingredients, such as fragrances or added ingredients for specific uses, such as body wash.

Castile soap is available in both bar and liquid forms.

Castile soap is a highly versatile cleaner and has numerous uses. The following sections will outline some of these in more detail.

Hand and body wash

Applying concentrated soap directly to the skin, or onto a washcloth or sponge, is a way to clean the body effectively.

Castile soap also makes a good hand wash, using either a bar or a couple of drops of liquid castile soap on the hands while washing.


Applying a dime sized amount to the hands and lathering it into the scalp may be enough to rinse the hair of dirt and oil.

Castile soap is not right for all hair types. For example, some may find that it is too drying for their scalp, whereas others might find that it does not strip enough oil from the hair.

Shaving cream

Castile soap makes a simple yet effective shaving cream. The oils help lubricate the skin to prevent rough shaving.

Natural castile soap is also free from other ingredients that may clog the pores or irritate sensitive skin.

Makeup remover

Combine a small spoon of castile soap with a spoon of oil, such as almond or jojoba oil.

Soaking a cotton pad or cloth in this liquid and using it to wipe the makeup from the face may help gently remove the makeup and any dirt.

Castile soap also has a few different household uses, which tend to require dilution with water.

When using solid castile soap, a simple way to dilute the soap is to shave off some fine flakes to get a rough measurement. Then, add the desired amount of hot or boiling water to the soap, and stir it until the soap dissolves. Let the mixture cool before using or storing.

The following sections will look at some of castile soap’s potential household uses.

Dish soap

Diluting castile soap to 1 part soap for every 10 parts water should provide a strong lather for general use, including as a dish soap.

For especially greasy items, using concentrated castile soap should strip away the excess oils and leave the items clean.

Dishwasher detergent

Combine half a cup of castile soap with half a cup of water as the base. Add in a quarter cup of white vinegar and mix in baking soda until the liquid forms a paste.

Use this paste similarly to other dishwashing detergents.

Laundry soap

Castile soap may also make a good alternative to laundry soap for general use. Adding a large spoonful of castile soap to an average load of laundry may be enough for mildly soiled clothes.

Gym clothes and stained clothing may require a prewash. This would involve adding lathered castile soap directly to the stained or dirty item. Scrub in the soap and allow it to sit in a bowl of water for a few minutes before adding it to the laundry.

All-purpose cleaner

Castile soap may also make a great all-purpose cleaner for household use. Add a spoonful of castile soap to 2 cups of water and gently mix before adding to a spray bottle to use around the house.

Learn more about green cleaning products here.

Floor cleaner

Castile soap may also make for a good floor cleaner when a person dilutes it properly.

Add about half a cup of castile soap to 3 gallons of warm water in a mop bucket. Gently stir the water before use.

Bathroom cleaner

To make a simple bathroom cleaner, add 1 cup of castile soap to 3 cups of water. Add in additional cleansing oils such as tea tree or eucalyptus for more cleansing power and a better smell.

To use the cleanser, spray the area thoroughly with the mixture. Then, sprinkle a little baking soda or salt on a cleaner brush or sponge and scrub the area clean. Rinse away any excess with water.

Pet shampoo

Add the concentrated soap to the hands and work it into the pet’s coat. The rich lather can help take away oils without stripping the skin or being too harsh.

It may be best to use unscented, natural castile soap on animals. Even natural ingredients such as essential oils can be irritating for a pet’s skin. Additionally, pets tend to groom themselves, and ingesting other ingredients from the cleaner may be harmful.

Natural bug repellent

Soaps such as castile soap may also have use as a pest deterrent for ants and other bugs around some plants.

Add a spoonful of liquid castile soap to a quart sized sprayer bottle and spray the beds of the affected plants or areas where bugs get in.

Make sure not to use too much soap, and do not spray it directly on the plant. Even when diluted, soaps may strip the natural oils and waxes from plants.

Fruit and vegetable wash

Adding castile soap to a full sink to wash vegetables can help reduce dirt, bugs, and germs on the food. Additionally, soaps may help lift off waxes or stickers.

Be sure to rinse the soap off thoroughly before consuming the food.

The main benefits of castile soap are its natural ingredients and reduced impact on the ecosystem. The following sections list some of its other benefits.


It may be less likely for someone to have an allergic reaction to the simple ingredients in castile soap, compared with other soaps containing more complex or synthetic ingredients.

Reduced environmental impact

Castile soap may have a reduced impact on the environment compared with other soaps.

Many dish soaps and detergents include various ingredients, such as:

  • surfactants
  • phosphates
  • nitrates
  • preservatives
  • borate
  • pH adjusters
  • antimicrobial ingredients, such as triclosan

Castile soap rarely contains these added ingredients.


Compared with the number of products it can potentially replace, castile soap is a very economical alternative. Although it will not replace heavy-duty cleaners such as bleach or ammonia, it has many potential general uses, which could save money in the long run.

Suitable for vegans

Other soaps may contain animal products — such as milks, lard, or other animal fats — whereas castile soap uses vegetable alternatives.

Castile soap has a low risk of causing side effects.

That said, some people may find concentrated castile soap to be very drying, which could cause a reaction on the skin.

Stronger reactions may be possible in some cases, such as allergic reactions to the soap or an added ingredient in it.

Anyone who notices a skin reaction — such as hives, redness, or swelling — after using the soap should stop using it and contact a dermatologist.

There are some alternatives to castile soap. Most use very similar processes to castile soap, combining both oils and natural acids to create the cleaner.

A few all-purpose soap alternatives include:

  • Coconut soap: This is very similar to castile soap but with a base of coconut oil.
  • Goat’s milk soap: This is made from a base of goat’s milk.
  • Marseille soap: This is a mixture of oil, sea salt, and ash.
  • Aleppo soap: This contains a combination of olive oil and laurel oil.

Castile soap is a natural soap that is less likely to cause reactions in people with sensitive skin. For general use and cleansing, castile soap may be able to replace several different products.

It is best to do some trial and error with castile soap to identify its uses, determine its benefits, and explore some alternatives.