Many Uses of Castile Soap

From the 1500’s until around WWII, most soap was “All Purpose”- the same bar of soap that was used for bathing was used for all other cleaning purposes. In order to help differentiate their products, soapmakers started making soaps with differen raw materials, scents, etc.  With the exception of detergents, all these products were essentially the same, and worked equally well.

Since the invention of detergents in 1943, cleaning products have become more and chemically intensive, but for most cleaning situations, Castile soap will perform equally well, and is very cost effective, and eliminates the need for countless individual cleaners.  One gallon of Castile soap will easily last 6 months to a year, and its uses are only limited by your ability to get things dirty! Oregon Soap Company makes Castile Soap using raw materials from sustainably managed, certified organic farms, which not only makes your home greener, but supports sustainability efforts globally.

1.  Easy Shampoo- Take one part liquid Castile soap and three parts water and put in an old shampoo bottle. You can “customize” your shampoo (this is a great project to do with kids!) by collecting fragrant herbs and plants from your yard, steeping them in the water, straining the water, and then adding to liquid Castile soap.  You can make an extra moisturizing formula that will add shine to your hair by adding a small amount of olive oil or jojoba oil to this mixture (shake before using!).You can also add essential oils if you like for additional aroma. Start off with 6 drops per 12 oz., and increase until you are happy. Great for dogs as well!

2.     All-purpose household cleaning- OSC Castile soap works great for general household cleaning including counter tops, tables, sinks, floors and dishes. For counters, and dishes a small amount on a wet sponge will go a long way. For floors, add a few tablespoons to your bucket of mop water. Try adding 1-5 parts water and 1 part liquid Castile soap to a spray bottle for easy spot cleaning. Experiment until you find the perfect balance!

3.     Laundry Soap- Using Castile soap for laundry not only saves $, but is more environmentally friendly than detergents. Try adding 1/8-cup liquid Castile soap in your laundry instead of regular detergent. Try adding borax if you need “extra” cleaning power.  If you’re really budgeting, try using less, especially if your clothes don’t contain lots of dirt or grease.

4.     Hand Soap- you can refill your foaming hand soap dispenser with 1 part liquid Castile soap and 3-5 parts water. This will stretch your Castile soap a long ways.

5.     Automatic dishwasher soap: automatic dishwasher detergents are hard to come by, but a Green Living Tips reader, Kathy Stevens, contributed this recipe (Thanks Kathy!):


1/2 cup liquid Castile soap

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 drops tea tree oil

1/2 cup white vinegar


Stir all ingredients together until blended. Store in a squirt top bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes, shake well before use.

6.     Cleaning your eyeglasses!  Take 1 part Castile soap, 4 parts water, mix and store in bottle. To clean your glasses, first rinse all dirt and dust off with tap water, put a small amount of soap on your glasses, suds, rinse with water, and dry with eyeglass cloth.

Simplify your life, green your home, and feel better about cleaning- give Oregon Soap Company Castile soap a try!

"Thanks to llian Downey , a contributing editor from, from which we paraphrased parts of her article on uses for Castile Soap".

Untold History of Castile Soap

A word from Soapman- There is very little known about who actually invented Castile Soap, and when it happened. As a result, I have gathered as much historical information as I could find, taken some creative liberties,  and wrote a  fictional history of how Castile soap could have been first made.

Garcia and Leon Sanchez where brothers, and they lived during the reign Henry IV, the last King of Castile. This was in the time before the Spanish empire was born, and was rather the two great kingdoms of Aragon and Castile.

For more years than anybody in their immediate family could count, the Sanchez family had a humble, yet proud , grove  of olive trees. For them, this orchard was living proof of God, for during these times, Olives were held high with great reverence, and were a symbol of fertility, pureness, and peace.

Like most men of the time, the Sanchez brothers had various occupations that changed with the seasons, but  when fall came, they would collect fat from the fall slaughter and make soap with it.  This soap was typically just for use around their home, but they would occasionally have extra which they would trade for dried fish or firewood.

In the fall of 1469, they had a particularly good olive harvest, and had particularly difficult time finding enough fat to render for soap making.  Although it seemed like such a waste to use olive oil to make soap, soap was an essential item because  it kept sickness and disease away, and they added some olive oil to their soap that year to make sure they had enough to last.

They did not notice it at first, but as the winter began to rest and spring came alive, everyone started to comment on how the Sanchez brothers seemed to look much younger than they remembered. By the time summer arrived, Leon began to glow like the stained glass windows of the Savior.

Garcia, although still quite ugly, seemed to have the warmth and charm of the most well bred nobleman, and all the ladies, single and married, seemed to float and be gay in his presence.

The Sanchez Brothers themselves were the last to discover their good luck, but as soon as they did, they made more soap with their “secret ingredient”, and gave it away in small samples to each person they met.

Soon the whole city of Andulusia was glowing, and almost overnight, they had lines of people waiting in line to buy  the Sanchez Brothers “Castile Soap”.  Within the next few years,  Andulusia, and the whole of Castile, became a beehive of soap making activity, exporting their “Castile Soap” throughout the empires of present day Europe.

It is with great joy that Oregon Soap Company continues the time honored tradition begun by  the “Sanchez Brothers of Castile” by manufacturing a vegetarian, liquid Castile Soap.

We hope you enjoy using it as much as we do making it!

Next blog—green your home and simplify your cleaning with “All-Purpose” Castile Soap!

Organics and Sustainability, pt.1

In the last several years, the terms “organic” have made into the vocabulary (and advertising programs), of global culture. When you ask the average person what “organic” mean, many people’s response to organic is often limited to “organic means a product was grown without pesticides”.

What does “organic” really mean, and what benefits do we get beyond better tasting food?


Sustainability- The USDA has created a strict set of guidelines of how organic farms must be managed. When these guidelines are followed, the farm could theoretically farm on into eternity with no degradation of the soil (in fact, soils tend to improve over time in organic farming operations).

Let’s not forget, our soil is the source of life for all, for without healthy soil, there is no healthy food!

Modern industrial farming practices destroy the soil, water and air. Since 1960, the United States has lost over half of its topsoil, and we are loosing it over 10 times faster than nature can make it.  This is akin to living off of your credit card for the rest of your life, leaving your children and grandchildren to pay it off for you.

Organic farming practices are the opposite of this: they build the soil with organic matter instead of destroying it. 

Many people are under the impression that industrial farming creates food in an efficient, economical matter because it is so inexpensive relative to organic food.  Nothing could be farther than the truth! Eating food of poor quality leads to higher health expenses , and creates downstream pollution problems that future generations will be left to deal with.  There is currently a dead zone in the gulf of Mexico that covers 6,000-7,000 square miles. It is caused by phosphorus and nitrogen (from fertilizers) runoff in the Mississippi River.  Algea feeds off of them, depleting the water of oxygen, killing wildlife. (For more information about this, visit

Organic products are now cropping up all over  in products outside of food, especially in bodycare products: organic soap, organic lotions, organic shampoo, organic conditioners, organic clothing (made from crops that are organically grown).  The list grows daily!  Health benefits aside, purchasing organic products means paying the “full cost” of items so our children don’t have to.