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Learning to Love Castile Soap

April 5th, 2012

So what is castile soap anyways? Basically, it’s an olive oil based soap. It’s called Castile because it was named after the Castile region in Spain. Really, it’s as simple as that. I’ve read a lot of recipes on-line and it seems easy to make yourself. Perhaps I’ll try to make a batch here soon, I just need to read up on lye and what’s the best brand to use. You’ll be the first to hear if/when I tackle this. Seems the ingredients aren’t that expensive so I could probably save myself some cash by making my own. Then I would also know exactly what kind of oil was used in it (since I buy my olive oil from a small farm in California).

You might wonder why I buy my Castile from Mt Rose Herbs as opposed to other brands? I like it because they us all organic ingredients. I purchase almost all of my organic herbs and spices from them along with a lot of teas. My friend Miranda from Go Nude Soap loves them as well and purchases a lot of her supplies from them as well. She makes all natural soaps & lotions.

When you start using natural soaps you will notice that they don’t seem to cut grease. That’s the first thing I noticed when I started washing my dishes with it. At first, I felt like all the dishes were still greasy and the soap just wasn’t getting them clean. I continued using it because I didn’t want to be using products with SLS* (which cuts grease like you wouldn’t believe). Then it dawned on me that it wasn’t that castile doesn’t dissolve grease, it’s that it doesn’t strip away everything. Meaning, it doesn’t strip the natural oils off your skin or the finish off your dishes.

I liken it to the natural non-stick finish that builds up on a cast iron pan with good seasoning. Using a soap that cuts grease and strips oils ends up stripping off the protective coating that covers most everything we use in our daily lives. Once you get used to that feeling when you’re washing you won’t want to use a soap that cuts grease. After using castile soap for a while I noticed that my dishes and pans were much easier to clean.

So give it a shot, try using castile soap for a month or two and then see if you can go back to a grease cutting soap. Chances are you’ll realize that that squeakiness we were taught to attribute with clean is actually detrimental, to your hands, your body and the objects in your home that you’re cleaning! Sometimes when we try something new we have to retrain our minds to what is “normal”.

What has been the hardest thing for you to get used to when it comes to switching to non-toxic cleaners, soaps, etc?

Stocking Your Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Learning to Love Castile Soap
Make Your Own: Foaming Soap
Make Your Own: Infused Vinegar
Make Your Own: Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Make Your Own: Color Safe Oxygen Bleach
Friday Favorite: Charlie’s Soap
Friday Favorite: Twist Sponges
and more to come…

*Note that as Sage pointed out yesterday Sal Suds from Dr Bronners does contain SLS. I keep a bottle around and use it sparingly only if I actually do need to dissolve grease from my hands/clothing. It’s then followed up with castile soap to remove any residual SLS.

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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.