Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Green Cleaning Toolkit: Castile Soap

This week's Green Cleaning Toolkit edition is C for Castile Soap. (You can see other Toolkit posts here.)

I have previously written about my love for castile soap, and I admit to you now that I have a fondness for the slightly confusing and over-the-top spiritual rantings on Dr Bronner's soap bottles. Aside from that though, I really do use castile soap every single day and thought I should probably revisit the ways I use it now that I'm doing the Toolkit series.

Castile soap is traditionally a pure soap made using olive oil. It is entirely vegetable based (no animal products, such as tallow) and much gentler on the skin than many modern soaps. This is mainly due to the fact that castile soap retains its natural levels of glycerin, whereas commercial soapmakers remove the glycerin in order to sell it separately.

Basically, it is super mild, very effective in cleansing and highly moisturising. It. Is. Awesome.

What Can I Use it For?

Well, according to the delightful ramblings on the label of the Dr Bronners Lavender Castile Soap that I use, it has 18 or more uses, including:

- Shampoo
- Body Soap
- Toothpaste (euch.)
- Laundry
- Floor cleaning
- General household cleaning
- Dishwashing
- Nappy wash

I can tell you that I have used it as shampoo (no good for me at all - it was Stringy Town all over), hand soap, body wash, laundry, nappy wash and general cleaning. And apart from the shampoo debacle, it's been awesome. So read on if you'd like to see how you can use it.

Laundry Uses:

Washing Detergent - I use a front-loader, and add around 1/3 cup of the soap to the detergent dispenser for all my washing. I then add a handful of bi-carb soda to the same dispenser and about the same amount of white vinegar to the rinse dispenser. Works a treat every time. Plus, our clothes smell incredible. I actively sniff my clothes. Often. In public sometimes.

Cleaning Uses:

Dishwashing Detergent - Just squirt some soap into your hot water as normal. It may not suds up as much though, but don't be tempted to use extra, as it will just make everything slippery. No good when washing priceless family heirlooms.

General Cleaning Ingredient - Add maybe a teaspoonful to your green cleaning recipes, particularly if you have a scented soap. It boosts the efficiency of your cleaning and smells d-to-the-vine.

Benchtop Cleaner (Scented) - A little (very little) squirt onto a damp cloth, combined with a sprinkle of bi-carb soda is a great benchtop cleaner.
Bathroom Uses: 
Hand Soap - Dr Bronner's Lavender Soap can't be beaten. The lavendery goodness is super relaxing before bed and a beautiful scent during the day. For hand soap I use just a normal hand soap squirty dispensery thingy and dilute the soap with water at roughly 1:1. This basically stops it from clogging up the squirty thingy.

Body Wash - I use a cute travel-sized squirt bottle (for shampoos and the like) and dilute the soap with some water at roughly one part water to two parts soap. The soap is really concentrated so this just stops me from using too much and becoming a lather monster.

Shampoo - As a shampoo, for me, Dr Bronners sucked. But I did have long, blonde highlighted hair at the time, so probably not ideal. I even tried Dr Bronners Shikakai Conditioning Rinse to help with the tangly, not-quite-clean feeling, but that was just weird. And it didn't work. And it was full of brown lumps that looked a lot like poo. So back to Burt's Bees for me.

And as for toothpaste... No.
So there you have a little rundown of why castile soap is indeed awesome, and why I rave about it. Aside from the fact that it's organic and harmless to my family and our health, it's also really quite economical as it's super concentrated and you can use it everywhere. Which I do. Except on my teeth.

1 comment:

Merci! Ta! Xie xie!