Toxin-Free Cleaning with Castile Soap

Castile soap originated in Spain centuries ago. “Castile” simply means the soap is formulated from only natural, plant-based, oils rather than animal fat (tallow). Castile contains no chemical detergents, is biodegradable, Earth-friendly and versatile as a natural cleaner.

Many people who are learning about the toxins in our household cleaners, hand soaps and body care products are choosing natural solutions instead. There are nearly 13,000 chemicals used in formulating cosmetic products alone, with FDA restrictions on only 11 of them! Just in body care products like shampoo, we find numerous endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are those chemicals which may cause severe neurological and immune system defects, and are shown to interfere with reproduction and development. Here is a small sampling of the harmful ingredients in most of our every day products:

Sodium Laurel Sulfate: Used in engine degreaser, industrial cleaning products, and 90% of personal care products, SLS (or SLES) can cause breathing problems, eye damage, and death. It is found in body washes, hair coloring kits, shampoo, laundry detergents, liquid hand soap, make-up products, toothpaste, and bath oils.

Phthalates: Used in shampoo and numerous other products even though it is rarely listed on the label, or is simply called “fragrance”, Phthalates interfere with the reproductive system, cause early breast development in young boys and girls, birth defects, and damage to liver and kidneys.

Parabens: Parabens are chemicals found in cosmetics, deodorant, shampoo and other products but are not often labeled. Parabens can mimic the female hormone of estrogen, and have been linked to breast tumors and cancer, hormone imbalance, and early puberty.

Benzoyl Peroxide: Often found in facial cleansers for treating acne, this chemical may act as a mutagen. It could produce DNA cell damage in humans and other mammals, is toxic upon inhalation, and irritates the eyes, skin and respiratory system. These are the statements appearing on the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for Benzoyl Peroxide.

It’s a simple process to begin eliminating these, and other dangerous toxins, from our homes. Many people make their own natural and effective Cleaning Products, Soaps, Laundry Detergents, Carpet Freshening Powder, Deodorant, and even Homemade Hair Color!

watkins safe natural castile soap for body and home careWatkins makes it simple to transition to natural home and personal care. The J.R. Watkins Castile Liquid and Bar Soaps are made with nourishing coconut and olive oils, and are free from dyes and harsh chemicals. To create the liquid soaps, they simply use basic salts and heat them with the natural oils to create a fluid, liquid soap. Castile Soap can be safely used as body wash, shampoo, dish soap, hand soap, laundry soap, mopping solution, carpet cleaner, as a vegetable wash, toothpaste, and pet shampoo. Note: As a shampoo, Castile soap may not the best choice for chemically treated hair that has either been  colored, permed, highlighted, bleached, or straightened.

10 Ways to use Castile soaps, with DIY recipes:
  1. Gentle Household Scrub for Sinks, Toilets, Tubs: Fill a spray bottle with one part Castile to three parts water. Sprinkle the sink, stove-top or desired surface with baking soda, then spray the Castile mixture onto the baking soda. Scour with a sponge or brush and the stains will vanish.
  2. Floor Cleaning Solution: Mix 2 Tablespoons Castile soap into a bucket of hot water and mop the floor.
  3. Carpet Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup Castile soap into one cup of water. Place in the blender until foamy and stiffened. Apply to problem carpet areas and use as you would with a commercial carpet cleaner.
  4. Dish Washing or Hand Washing Liquid: Mix Castile soap with water in a 1:1 ratio. Castile soap should not be used in the dishwasher, however, due to its’ high foaming action.
  5. Refill for Soap Dispensers: Add one part Castile soap to four parts water in your favorite soap dispenser.
  6. Shower and Body Wash: Castile bar soap is a gentle an effective in the bath or shower. A little Castile goes a long way.
  7. As a Shaving Cream: Whip up a little foamy Castile soap and replace toxic shaving foams.
  8. Vegetable Wash: Add 1 Tablespoon Castile soap to 2 cups water i n a squirt bottle. Shake to mix and keep near the kitchen sink.
  9. Pet Wash: Just a few drops is all you will need to safely and effectively wash your pets. Keep in mind that just like human hair that has been chemically treated, Castile may not be a good choice for animals with certain types of fur (wiry for example) . No worries if you’re bathing the dog outside. Castile soap is natural and completely biodegradable. It will not harm the environment.
  10. Laundry Detergent: Use only 1-2 Tablespoons of Powdered version (from the recipe below), or 1/3 cup Liquid version per full load of laundry.

Powdered Laundry Soap Recipe:

Grate one bar Castile soap using a cheese grater. If you have an older food processor you can place chunks into the grinder for a quick job. Put into a container with a lid and stir in 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax (you may substitute the borax with 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup of Epsom or Sea Salt if you prefer). Cover. Use only 1-2 Tablespoons per full load of laundry when washing.

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe: 

Chop one bar of Watkins Castile soap into chunks. Place into two quarts water in heavy pan on medium-high heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with very warm water. To the bucket, add 1 cup Washing Soda and 1 cup Borax. Once the bar of soap has melted, pour that mixture into the bucket containing the Borax and Washing Soda. Finish filling the bucket with warm water and stir. Cover the bucket with a lid and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir thoroughly and ladle into an empty laundry soap or other container. Leave enough head space to be able to shake the jug each time before adding to laundry. Add only 1/3 cup per full load of laundry. When refilling the jug, be sure to thoroughly stir the soap mixture first that is in the bucket. You may add a few drops of essential oils such as Lavender to give the laundry soap a stronger scent.

Visit to learn more about which cosmetics and skin care products are considered safe, and the chemicals which should be avoided.

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