Castile soap is a common soap used in Europe and the US with a very old history.
It originates out of Castile, Spain but has roots to an even older soap called Aleppo soap originating out of Syria.
History Of Castile Soap
Its history goes back as far as the Crusades when crusaders discovered Aleppo soap and witnessed its making.
The crusaders brought the soap back to Europe along with many other products.
Europeans set about trying to copy the products they brought back, including the Aleppo soap. At first the soaps appeared near the Mediterranean where the ingredients were available.
As Muslim soap makers emigrated into Spain and Italy near the 12th century the new soaps began to appear in olive tree rich Castile among other Spanish cities.
Castile soap shone among many of the other soaps available, due to its higher quality and efficiency in cleaning.
Castile Soap Ingredients and Process
Originally Aleppo soap required laurel soap to make turning the soap greenish in color, but obtaining laurel oil was challenging.
This is the determining moment when the original Aleppo soap transformed into Castile soap.
The abundance of olives in Castile became the perfect solution and gave rise to the production of a pure white soap which is both mild and very effective.
Its pure white color set it apart, since most soaps at the time had animal fat impurities turning the soap brown or had a greenish color like Aleppo soaps.
Castile soap became popular with royals and soon spread throughout Europe and then overseas.
Today, Castile soap, primarily made from olive oil, also contains coconut, hemp, avocado, almond, and walnut oils.
Available as both a solid and a liquid, the primary difference between the two is the process used to saponify the oils into soap.
In liquid soaps, potassium hydroxide is the chemical used to convert oil to soap.
In solid soaps sodium hydroxide (lye) is the ingredient necessary for saponification.
Not much has changed in hundreds of years, the soap is still considered to be one of the purest and most natural soaps available.
Today essentials oils are frequently added to the soap either for the purpose of scent or antibacterial qualities.
Other ingredients are often included in personal care products in ordered to boost the therapeutic qualities of the soap.
Tea tree oil, orange essential oil, and olive oil are a few of the additions you see added to castile soap.
How Does Castile Soap Work?
Castile soap works much the same as most soaps.
The molecules of the soap have two sides, one attracts water molecules and the other repels them.
The combination of water and soap creates charged atoms that pick up dirt and other molecules which are not water soluble such as oils. This is why soaps do such a good job of cutting grease.
Because it is pure and natural Castile soap can replace many of the products you already have in your home.
It biodegrades quickly leaving no chemicals or harmful effects behind.
Benefits of Using Castile Soap
Castile soap is very simple and contains few ingredients. The majority of ingredients are pure, natural ingredients so there is really not much to the soap itself.
Many manufacturers do add things to castile soaps, making it important to check labels before you buy. Despite this, the right castile soap is very effective, safe, and is still a popular product for several reasons.
Versatility – Castile soap has dozens of uses and with both a solid (bar) formulation and a liquid formulation it is handy for both cleaning around the house and for hand and body washing. The liquid form can also be mixed with other ingredients to create new products and uses.
Free of Toxins – You will find today’s modern soaps loaded with toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals can absorb into the skin and enter the bloodstream bypassing any of the filtering mechanisms our body uses to protect us from toxins. True castile soaps are chemical free and made from pure ingredients.
Free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – SLS is a chemical used to make products foam and bubble. Used in a large number of today’s soaps, bubble baths, and shampoos, SLS is the subject of many studies which state that it is toxic. Many natural products do not lather easy because they do not include SLS. Castile soap, not only does not have SLS, but it foams nicely making it a nice way to have the luxurious foam and bubbles without the dangers attached to SLS.
Good for Those with Allergies – The number of contact allergies from beauty products is rising and this is in part to due to the myriad of allergenic substances added to them. For those with allergies it can be difficult to find products that work for them, because it is not always obvious what they are allergic to. With a long list of chemicals, tracking down the one or two things that cause your skin problems can be a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Castile soap typically has only a few natural ingredients, making it easier to target the exact nature of allergies and avoid them.
Safe for Babies and Animals – Concerned about the soaps you use for the more sensitive members of your household? Castile soap offers a different alternative. Most soaps for babies and pets claim to be mild but still have chemicals in them. Castile soap is pure and offers a chemical free solution for babies and pets. Your dogs and cats have beneficial oils in their coats that, if stripped, can cause itching and discomfort for you pet. Castile soap not only does not strip natural oils from your pet’s coat, it is great for pets who have problems with itching.
Can be Found Organic, GMO Free, and Vegan – If environmental and ethical concerns are important to you, you can easily find castile soaps organic, vegan, fair trade, GMO free, and free of additives. Keep in mind however, not all castile soaps are made this way, so it is important always read labels.
Ways to Use Castile Soap
The list of ways you can use Castile soap is very long. In addition to using it for personal care products of many different types, there are many uses around the house for Castile soap.
Shampoo – Store shampoos can strip the oils from your hair and leave chemical residues which leave your hair looking dull and lifeless. Castile soap will not strip the hair of its natural oils, and leaves your hair clean. It can even remove the residues left in your hair by your former shampoo.
Body and Hand Soap – How many different types of soaps and shampoos do you have in your bathroom? If you are like many families you have at least 3 or 4 and possibly more if you have babies, dogs, or people with special needs for their soaps. Castile soap can often replace all of these and be the only soap you need. Castile works just as well as dangerous antibacterial soaps and is mild enough for using on any skin condition.
Face Cleanser – Commercial face cleansers come with a lot of risks. Often harsh on the skin they can dry out skin, cause acne break outs, or cause an allergic reaction. Add a bit of tea tree and frankincense oil to the liquid soap and it makes a great cleanser to clean pores and fight bacteria.
Shaving Cream – Looking for a clean, smooth shave? Add a bit of extra olive oil to a few drops of Castile soap, and your skin will look and feel better.
Toothpaste – Washing your mouth out with soap may seem like a bad Idea. Castile soap with a bit of coconut oil actually makes a great cleaner/antibacterial for your mouth. As a bonus, you can avoid all of the nasty chemicals found in most toothpastes.
For The Home
Laundry Detergent – Castile soap is frequently used to make homemade laundry detergents. These detergents are not only more environmentally friendly, they are great for those who have sensitivities to laundry detergents. Laundry detergents from the store are laden with harsh chemicals and perfumes that can cause eczema and other skin problems.
Dish Soap – Castile is a great dish soap. Not only does it get dishes squeaky clean, but also leaves no residue. If you want some aromatherapy or treatment for your hands as you wash add a tiny bit of your favorite essential oil. You can also use castile for the dishwasher. Add a bit of lemon juice to keep your dishwasher looking and smelling fresh and clean.
Household Cleaners – Castile soap makes a great cleaner for many areas of your home. Use it to mop floors by adding a few tablespoons to a bucket of water. Baking soda and castile soap make a great spray on solution for tubs and stovetops. For an all purpose cleaner add one part vinegar to 3 parts water and add a few drops of castile soap. For antibacterial properties add tea tree oil and orange essential oils to this mixture. You can use this for countertops, wall surfaces, and more.
Pesticides – Toxic pesticides can harm people, beneficial insects, and streams. Castile is an poison free way to rid your garden of pests. A spray bottle filled with water and a tablespoon of castile is all it takes. You do have to spray it one when the insects are present, the mixture must be wet or it won’t work. This is especially helpful if you are using it on plants you plan to eat (18).
Vegetable Wash – Use Castile to wash toxic pesticides and other substances off your vegetables. Simply mix up a tablespoon of castile soap with 2 cups of water and use it to spray on your vegetables or as a soak.
As amazing as it might sound there are still many different uses for castile soap to discover.
Castile soap is very safe and versatile so use it for virtually anything.
You can clean carpets, wash walls before you paint, clean the toilet, clean your windows, use it for your baby’s laundry, clean your car, and so much more.
Even better, you can toss out all the chemicals in your house and replace it with just a few natural ingredients to do virtually any job in the house.