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Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap

October 8th, 2010

Many many years ago Mr Chiots and I went on our first backpacking trip in Pennsylvania. My dad gave us an old bottle of Dr Bronners Peppermint soap because it’s biodegradable and you can use it in streams for dish washing, etc. We started using it and loved it and have been using it ever since, and not just for backpacking.

When we go camping we still use it for dishwashing and bathing, but we also use it at home for all sorts of things. I use it to make homemade cleaners and laundry detergent, I like the lavender or lemon for this. I love using it for bodywash, my favorite for this is eucalyptus. The tea tree oil makes a great dog shampoo as well.

I also use this for washing up any of my gardening tools and pots when they need it. I know I can safely rinse things and use the gray water in the flowerbed. I don’t have to worry about phosphates or any other petroleum contamination from this soap. I’d highly recommend giving this wonderful soap a try if you never have. It may seem expensive, but you only need to use a tiny bit.

Do you use biodegradable soap for washing garden pots and tools?

30 Comments to “Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Dr Bronner’s Magic #Soap #miscellaneus #natural […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. risa b on October 8, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Dr. B’s has been my soap of choice since 1977.

    Reply to risa b's comment

  3. Amy on October 8, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Susy~I have been using Doctor Bonner’s for years for bathing but just in the last couple of days it came to me that I could probably wash dishes with it……This is an important discovery for me because I have eczema……I have tried other organic detergents and they still cause flare ups on my hands……As do the rubber gloves……Bonners does not but the dishes seem greasy and cloudy……Is this normal….Are they not clean…Do you add something else….Thank you once again for the information you give…..A

    Reply to Amy's comment

    • Amy on October 8, 2010 at 8:47 am

      One more thing how do you make laundry detergent with it?

      Reply to Amy's comment

      • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

        I grate the soap and use it in my laundry detergent recipe (to come soon on the blog).

        I know what you mean about it leaving a greasy film, although I don’t seem to get too much of that (only use it for handwashing). I mix mine up in one of those foaming hand soap dispensers which may help. They’re a little greasy because it using natural oils instead of synthetic for the soap. Another great option is a lye soap if you can find a local that makes it.

        to Susy's comment

  4. Mandy on October 8, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Dr. Bronner’s soaps are awesome. We have five children and our middle daughter cannot use commercial soaps and cleaners because they leave painful chemical burns on her skin. Our oldest son suffers from horrible asthma and all those random off the shelf cleaners caused him to be hooked up to a breathing machine. I use the Dr. B’s soaps to make all of our own household cleaners including liquid laundry soap. This switch has made our home and family healthier, and the bonus is that we have saved a ton of cash doing it.

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  5. Sense of Home on October 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

    We have been using Dr. Bronner’s for years. We use it to wash most everything. My favorite is to fill an old foam pump dispenser with 1/3 Dr. Bronner’s and 2/3 water. We have used this to wash our hands for a long time, can’t remember when we started.


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    • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

      This is what we do as well!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Kelly on October 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I do (use biodegradable soap) since i make my own cold process soap. It’s remarkably easy! We don’t use it for everything – dishes still get detergent (I refuse to call anything bought from a store “soap” because it’s not, it’s detergent, even so-called “bar soap” *steps down from soapbox* hee), and hubby wants to switch back to laundry detergent for the winter because he has issue with my current formulation), and I use a 2-in-1 shampoo on my hair and baby shampoo on my kids.

    When we travel or camp we take along my soap, though, and wash everything with it. My hands don’t get as dry in the winter with my soap, and I know they’re getting *clean* without residues (the stuff in hand sanitizers and “anti-bacterial soap” horrifies me).

    I also make my own lotion sticks (think lip balm that you can use on your whole body – great for cuts/scratches and chapped baby cheeks). Hubby uses shampoo soap I make for him. I love using stuff I’ve made myself and knowing exactly what’s in it, what those things are and what they do in the process. (Fyi, Dr. Bronner’s soap isn’t, and shouldn’t be labeled as, “Castile Soap” – castile soap is made with 95-100% olive oil.) I also love saving money in doing it myself.

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  7. Donna B. on October 8, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Oh how I’ve eyed that soap in our local store for months now…! (always scared to try it.) As Amy said above, my boyfriend also has eczema and I’ve considered buying this for his own use… Even Dove’s “Sensitive Skin” soap is too harsh for him…

    I’ll have to try this! Using Grey Water is my next step in preserving water…
    (that, and installing the one rain barrel I’ve owned now for almost six months uninstalled… heh…)

    You are so thrifty… this and toothpaste?! I want to make toothpaste!
    You need to write a book. I’d definitally buy it.

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

    • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      They have a baby soap as well that might be a great option for your boyfriend. You can also use this soap as toothpaste which is what we do when camping.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Chris on October 8, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Love love love Dr. Bronner’s! My favorites are both the rose and eucalyptus. I also admire Dr. Bronner’s activism for the industrial production of hemp.


    Reply to Chris's comment

    • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      I love that he uses fair trade ingredients and it’s a great company to work for!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. warren on October 8, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I wash with the peppermint all the time too…it makes you tingly!

    Reply to warren's comment

  10. Tommy on October 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Dr. Bronner’s rocks. I’m an avid hiker, and originally found the products through that hobby.

    I especially liked the older bottles that had all of the end of the world and prophetic statements on them. I heard that the good Dr. died a few years ago, and his estate/business interests wanted to take the products a little more mainstream, so they toned down some of the messages on the products.

    My friends and I would be sitting around a campfire in the backcountry, enjoying the absoluteness of his messages. He didn’t mince words, that Dr. Bronner!

    And the soaps are amazing. There’s nothing like that fresh peppermint smell and feel when you’re hiking!

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      I know the bottles are very entertaining. We have a really old bottle (probably 20/25 years old and love it).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Miranda Rommel on October 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Love the Bronner’s. I used Dr. Bs for years and years – but now that i make my own soaps i’m using them instead of his soaps. I liked that there are shops around here who sell the liquid soap bulk: i purchased one bottle then refilled it dozens of times. Less waste is great! I still keep some on hand to spray on the nasty stink bugs.

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  12. Lelo on October 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I love the peppermint soap, but I can’t use Dr. Bronner’s anymore without reliving the documentary I saw about him and his life. He was quite out there, as demonstrated with the packaging. No, seriously. He was WAY out there. If you haven’t seen it, you should….

    Reply to Lelo's comment

    • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm

      He was way out there. Mr Chiots were just talking about this as we were discussing Scott Nearing. We said it’s so great to have people that are this extreme in their views and lives because it helps keep the middle from becoming too much the norm. We need the extremes in society to make people think and not become complacent, it often makes us think when we come across people this extreme in their views.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Lelo on October 9, 2010 at 11:08 am

        I couldn’t agree more!

        to Lelo's comment

  13. Rhenda on October 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    I read on Mother Earth News’ site that if you simply take shavings from the hemp or the eucalyptus bar soap (about half a bar) and boil it in about 32 oz. of water (avoid stirring or it will boil over) that the resulting liquid when sprayed on squash bugs results in instant and certain death. I am in the desert and we really don’t have squash bugs here that I’ve seen, but a lot off my friends living in other parts of the country say they are a terrible problem for them, so I thought I might share.

    Reply to Rhenda's comment

  14. misti on October 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    We used Dr. Bronners on our entire AT trip and loved it. It lasted forever and we usually gave away bottles we’d sent ourselves because we had some left! I will definitely use it when we finally settle somewhere.

    Reply to misti's comment

    • Susy on October 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm

      It’s the best for camping for sure, one tiny drop cleans a lot of stuff!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. Bethany on October 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I’ve never used Dr. Bronners before, but I have used non-phosphorous soap for laundry. In New Mexico where the water is short, I would reuse my laundry water for the yard. It was easy and saved a bunch of water.

    Reply to Bethany's comment

  16. MAYBELLINE on October 9, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I use rubbing alcohol and Costco disinfecting wipes for the small tool. The big tools only get hosed off.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  17. Lindsay on October 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Cannot wait for your recipe with Dr. Bronners – I’m allergic to Borax and cannot wait to see an alternative!
    Love you blog, Lindsay

    Reply to Lindsay's comment

    • Susy on October 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      Actually I’ve heard that you can buy his sal-suds and use it straight as laundry detergent. Here’s the link for this product:

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Lindsay on October 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Uh, that was “love your blog”…that is what I get for trying to slide this in!

    Reply to Lindsay's comment

  19. carter @ the kitchenette on October 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I use Dr. Bronners in my homemade body wash (which I shower with using a loofah).

    I usually use a baking soda/water solution to wash my hair, but when I go on vacation, I bring along a small bottle of Dr.B’s peppermint soap to use as “shampoo” since it’s easier to transport.

    (FYI – I also travel with a small plastic cup and a small bottle of apple cider vinegar. I put a few drops of apple cider vinegar in the bottom of the cup, fill the rest of the way with water, and then rinse my hair with it. It leaves your hair silky, as if you were using conditioner, but without the crazy ingredients. If you stop after using the Dr.B’s as shampoo, it will leave your hair “squeaky clean” which can mean frizzy, etc., once it dries.)

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  20. Janice on October 22, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    We’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in the shower (in the morning). When traveling, we’ve packed a little plastic bottle of it, but recently discovered the bar soap. How we didn’t know about this is a mystery to me. Bar soap is great for traveling and the liquid comes along for shampoo. Great stuff.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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