Today more consumers are demanding healthier versions of the cleaning products we use in our homes. Gone are the days when you would randomly select an item off the grocery store shelf and not know what ingredients it contained. Many people suffer allergies and skin sensitivities and demand to know exactly what types of cleansers they’re using on their skin or to clean their homes.
You may have seen Castile soap at your local store but not understood what it was. It’s long been used in Europe, and is naturally sourced from olive oil. It’s named “Castile” for the Castile region of Spain.
What is Castile Soap?
Soap making history has been traced back to ancient Syria and Egypt where it was made for Queen Cleopatra, Queen Zenobia, and other wealthy people of the region. This soap was made in a hard bar form that we’re still familiar with today. Soaps were both made from laurel oil sourced from the laurel plant and olive oil sourced from the olive plant.
Laurel oil-based soap was green, but olive-oil based soap was a white or light yellow soap. As it continues to harden as it ages, it also stays white, rather than turning colour like other types of soaps.
Most likely the Crusaders brought Castile soap back to Europe during the 11th century. This was the earliest recorded instance of people using Castile bar soap, right after the Crusades. But there are records around the 1st century that the Romans were aware of its existence.
Since Europe had no easy access to laurel plants, instead they made the bar soap with olive oil. After the Crusades, soap production started around the Mediterranean region, particularly in Spain.
In Europe, it’s believed that the first bar soap was made with tallow, which is a form of animal fat from beef or mutton. This type of soap served its purpose but wasn’t all that pleasant to use.
People who could afford to buy the Castile soap loved how it had a pleasant smell but could also have fragrance added. It also cleaned well and was much more pleasanter to use than the original tallow-based soaps.
There was a soap revolution around the 17th century, as the soap had ties to Catholicism. This led to other types of soap being created, ending the monopoly of Castile soap in Europe.
Local apothecaries in Spain and Europe knew this soap by its two Latin names—sapo hispaniensis meaning Spanish soap, and sapo castilliensis meaning Castilian soap.
This soap is extremely versatile and can be used for any purpose in personal body care and home care.
1. Castile Bar Soap Cleans Your Body Effectively
If you’ve tried a variety of different bar soaps over the years, you know they’re not all alike. Some soaps may not clean very well. Then there are other soaps that are so soapy that you have difficulties rinsing your hands and skin afterwards.
Castile soap provides a nice balance for your skin. It removes all dirt and debris from your body, as well as harmful organisms such as viruses or bacteria that we may pick up from touching door knobs, keyboards, or tables. It also has a nice consistency that isn’t too hard to rinse off your skin after using it.
If you’re ever curious as to the cleaning power of Castile soap, simply take a bath. After, you’ll notice how your crystal clear blue water has turned a darker shade of brown. Just imagine how all of that dirt was lying on your skin for the past 24 hours!
2. Castile Liquid Soap Makes an Effective Home Cleanser
Castile soap isn’t only sold in one form, it’s also sold as a liquid too. Often it’s available in a larger container so one bottle will last you for several months.
You can use the liquid soap for all types of cleaning in your home. You can use it as dish soap or to clean sink and counters. You can mix it with a bit of vinegar and scrub your floors. It’s safe to use on all types of flooring—tile, linoleum, hardwood, laminate, cork, and more. You can even use it for the spot cleaning of carpet stains. Simply neutralize the soapiness with a bit of vinegar after using.
It’s effective for scrubbing out your bathtub, sink, and toilet, and doesn’t have the abrasiveness that powder bathroom cleansers do. It will never wear away at the finish of your acrylic or porcelain bathroom fixtures.
Most likely you’ll find many more uses for it in your home.
3. Castile Soap is Safe for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll likely want to avoid your usual store-brand soaps. Often these are full of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, yet you still need to wash your skin. Fewer ingredients in a bar of soap means that the chances are decreased that you’ll suffer a reaction. Castile soap is a non-toxic alternative for people who suffer from sensitive skin.
This soap has been used for centuries and is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. You can use the bar version of the soap, or buy a large bottle of liquid soap and pour it into a dispenser for use at the sink or in the bath or shower.
Since this soap contains no scents or fragrances in its classic form, you also won’t have to worry about experiencing reactions from added ingredients. There also won’t be any added colours or dyes.
This is a soap that is safe for people of all ages to use, and is completely free of harmful chemicals.
4. Excellent Body Cleanser for Eczema Sufferers
When you suffer from eczema you still want to wash your hands, face, and body, yet your skin may be extra-itchy and sensitive from eczema. Castile soap is your best choice for helping to clean and calm your skin. This is because it’s made from olive oil, which also has a proven benefit for softening and calming problematic skin.
This soap can help to naturally soften and soothe skin. It also won’t clog your pores which can lead to additional issues.
5. Possesses Antibacterial Properties
Castile soap naturally possesses antibacterial properties. Just like it’s perfect to use on skin that suffers from eczema, it’s also good for people who suffer from psoriasis or acne.
The soap contains natural antibacterial properties that will help kill the bacteria that causes acne. This will help to give your skin a chance to clear up, and in a week or two your face will start to look better.
Castile soap is also good to use when you’re at work and exposed to people who have cold or flu bugs. You can wash your hands on a regular basis without worrying about the soap drying out your skin.
6. Suitable for People with Allergies
Castile soap is perfect for people who suffer from allergies. Since the soap doesn’t contain any scents or fragrances, nor any additives or fillers, your chances are decreased that you’ll suffer an allergic reaction.
And if you have allergies and prefer to make your own beauty care products, you can use Castile soap as a base and add in your own additional ingredients to make your own shampoo or body soap.
7. Best Shampoo Alternative
If you’ve ever been frustrated with the over-scented shampoos that you buy in the stores, you can switch to washing your hair with the liquid form of Castile soap. It’s perfect for people who just want to wash their hair and not have it reek of unnatural scents afterwards.
Castile soap doesn’t contain any detergents that will strip your hair or scalp of its beneficial oils. It also won’t dry out your scalp. Your hair will be clean and soft. You won’t experience any itching after using it.
Usual shampoos are often loaded with silicones that can also weigh down your hair, and aren’t necessarily that safe for your body. But you won’t have to worry about that with Castile soap.
For people who like to use a rinse or conditioner after using shampoo, you can simply use apple cider vinegar. This neutralizes any lingering soapiness, and the acidity of the vinegar helps to reseal the outer layer of the hair.
Castile soap is safe for people who like to wash their hair once a day.
8. Use as a Base for Personal Care Recipes
Castile soap can be used to make all sorts of personal and home care recipes. You can make your own shampoo, hand soap, shower gel, bubblebath, or laundry soap. Essential oils can be added for additional benefits, or to simply add a natural fragrance.
For the home, you can add in lemon and vinegar to make floor and bathroom cleansers.
9. Suitable for Vegetarians & Vegans
Whether you avoid animal-based products for ethics or religious reasons, Castile soap is 100% suitable for you to use. Since it’s made from only olive oil, it contains no animal-based products that are often in many store-bought cleansers.
Vegans and vegetarians usually want to avoid products containing lanolin, beeswax, tallow or rendered beef fat, and lard which is rendered pork fat.
Using Castile soap for home or personal care will make it simpler for you to conform to your personal practices and beliefs.
10. Safe to Use Around Babies & Pets
Many household cleansers are harsh and full of questionable chemicals. Often bottles tell you to rinse thoroughly after using. But it can be difficult to rinse a floor well enough to get these substances out. The solution is to use a 100% safe product for your family.
Using Castile soap to wash your floors or bathroom is safe for everyone. And if you choose to bath your child, or give your pets a bath, you can also use Castile soap on them.
If your child or pet happens to lick their skin, the soap is non-toxic and won’t harm them in any way. They’ll also be safe, even if they walk across that freshly-cleaned floor afterwards.
Castile soap is also affordable for everyone to buy, so it can easily be substituted for all the other products you normally use in your home.
Castile Soap Side Effects
While Castile soap is safer to use than many other body and home care products, you should still observe some cautions when using it.
- Don’t use Castile soap in your dishwasher or washing machine. This will cause an excess of bubbles and flooding. Only special cleansers should be used in these types of appliances.
- If your water is hard in your city, the soap may leave behind a white film on surfaces. In these cases, use filtered or bottled water. Or, rinse off with a vinegar and water solution.
- Just like with any type of hair care product, test the soap on a small section of colour-dyed hair first. The soap could strip away the colour.
- The soap will still make a baby cry if it gets in their eyes. Simply wash out with warm water, or use only a small amount to avoid this situation.
- Castile soap is highly concentrated, so only use a few drops for each purpose. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting the soap, and the tap water you’ll be using to wash away the excess.
Thoughts on Cleaning with Castile Soap
Once you start experiencing the benefits of using Castile soap, you’ll soon wonder how you ever did without it. One large bottle of Castile soap will help to clean your home and act as a good personal care cleanser too. And if you don’t like to wash with a liquid, you can also purchase Castile soap in a bar form. It’s an affordable way to keep your family clean in your home.
Whether you choose bar or liquid form, your Castile soap is going to act as a gentle cleanser that will last a long time. You can also feel happy and confident that you’re using a safe and environmentally-friendly cleaning product in your home.