Castile soap, the environmentally sound household cleaning choice the world over for savvy green people. But what exactly is it and what makes this soap so truly versatile?
What is Castile Soap?
Castile soap, named after the Castile region of Spain where it originates from, was soap made by mixing lye and olive oil to make a hard-set cleansing bar. Castile soap is today known as an all-natural vegetable-oil-based soap made using either olive, coconut or hemp oils or other oils like almond, avocado and walnut.
What to look for in a Castile soap?
As with all things good for you in skincare or food, the less ingredients the better. Ideally, a liquid or bar Castile soap should only contain 3 ingredients – lye (either potassium or sodium hydroxide), water and oil. Potassium hydroxide is used to make liquid Castile soap and sodium hydroxide for solid Castile soap (after saponification process, none of the sodium and potassium hydroxide remains in the soap).
The traditional oil used in making Castile soap is olive oil, but palm oil can be used too. When this is the case, make sure that the oil comes from sustainable sources. If it is not written on the product label, then enquire with the manufacturer. Castile soap is a versatile, vegan, biodegradable, non-toxic and phosphate free cleaner with no impact on the environment so should be made with ingredients that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
What can Castile soap be used for?
Apart from the normal uses of soap as a cleanser for face, hands and body, Castile soap can be used with water to clean just about anything else around the house – laundry, counters, sinks, bathtubs, floors and toilets.
Due to its natural ingredients and chemical-free formulation, natural castile soaps without the addition of essential oils are exceptionally mild and safe for babies, although they should be kept away from the eye area as they are not ‘tear-free’. (Most tear-free formulations use a synthetic numbing agent – yet another chemical additive). You could even use fragrance -free Castile soap on pets.
It can be used to control insects on plants in the house and around the garden. If it is properly diluted, it can safely be used to wash vegetables too.
Take a look at our selection of our pure fragrance free Castile soap in liquid form and soap bars here.
PRO TIP: Don’t combine alkaline Castile soap with an acid like vinegar that you might also use around the house. The reaction cancels out the potency of both ingredients and can leave objects and surfaces with a white film that is difficult to remove.