7 Household Cleaners You Can Make from Castile Soap

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Feb 11, 2011 | Linda Merrill

Photo: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

A favorite of tree-huggers and budget-conscious buyers for decades, Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap is experiencing a resurgence of popularity in today’s households. It has many virtues. Made from vegetable and hemp oils, Bronner’s is organic and all natural, with no animal fats. Due to its super concentrated properties, one bottle of soap goes a long way, which cuts down on the use of plastic bottles.  

Dr. Emmanuel Bronner, who created this amazing product, was born into the Heilbronner family of long time soap makers. He emigrated to the US from Germany in 1929. His parents were killed in the Holocaust, after declining to emigrate with him. Despite (or perhaps because of) this tragedy, Bronner infused his work with moral aphorisms taken from varied Jewish, Christian and other sources. They're all printed in tiny font on his iconic bottle labels.  

Here's how to clean almost anything with castile soap:

1. Scrubbing Cleanser: Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with a few squirts Bronner’s liquid soap for an effective, yet non-abrasive cleanser. Use a thinner version (more soap added) for a toilet bowl cleaner.

2. Floor Cleaner: Mix several tablespoons of liquid soap in a bucket of water (roughly 1 part soap to 40 parts water) and stir gently.

3. Laundry Detergent: Use 1/4 - 1/3 cup straight liquid soap for a full load of clothing. Those in hard water areas may require the full third of a cup. For an added laundry boost, throw in a few spoonfuls of baking soda.

4. Plant Pest Control: Add 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint scented liquid soap to a ½  gallon water. Spray on plants to kill aphids and other pests.

5. Dishwasher Liquid: Mix ½ cup liquid soap, ½ cup water, 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice and ½ cup white vinegar. Blend well and store in a plastic bottle. Two tablespoons will do for one load of dishes.

6. General Purpose Spray Cleaner 1: Use 3 tablespoons liquid soap, 2 tablespoons borax, 6 cups filtered water and 2 cups distilled white vinegar. Bring water to a boil and pour over soap and borax to dissolve. Whisk in vinegar and let cool. Store in a spray bottle.

7. General Purpose Spray Cleaner 2: Same as above, but replace vinegar with 3 tablespoons baking soda.

Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile soap comes in several all-natural scents, including: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree Oil, Almond, Citrus, Lavender and Rose. For sensitive skin, it also comes in an unscented Baby Mild formula. Any scented soap may be used in most of the recipes above with the exception of the laundry soaps, as some of the oils in the scents may stain fabrics.

*Editor's note: This article was not endorsed or paid for by Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. I just believe that homeowners should know about this biodegradable, versatile cleaning product because I've used it for years and I think it's great. - Chaya Goodman

Updated February 13, 2018.

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