Welcome to the first post in our Green Living series!
Here we’ll provide you with a definitive guide of how to be more eco, where to start, what the areas of interest are and how each is progressing globally.
We thought it’d be pretty cool to create this series where we utilise the wealth of knowledge and experience of eco-bloggers to create a one-stop guide to eco, brought to the public by the practitioners of our age.
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Of all of the sustainable and non-toxic swaps I have made over the last year, the switch to castile soap has had the BIGGEST impact!
What is Castile Soap
Castile soap is a concentrated multi-purpose cleaner that is available in a bar or a liquid. This extremely effective cleaner was originally named after the olive-oil based soaps from its renowned namesake Castile, Spain. This vegetable-based oil cleaner is completely natural and free of animal fats and synthetic ingredients. I prefer the liquid form, but you can purchase the bar soap for cheaper and convert it to liquid form, although the consistency differs from traditional liquid castile soap.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap is made of all-natural and biodegradable ingredients including organic coconut, palm, hemp, olive, and jojoba oils. It is certified fair-trade and non-GMO with zero foaming agents. AND Dr. Bronner’s bottles are made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Dr. Bronner’s is scented with essential oils instead of toxic artificial fragrances as well, coming in a wide variety of scents. I like to use the lavender scent for laundry, body, and face washes, and the peppermint liquid castile soap for most of my homemade cleaners. I have tried several brands of liquid castile soap including Ology and Quinn’s, but Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap is my favorite!
Dr. Bronner’s label advertises 18 uses, but there are so many more than that! I have been able to replace more than 10 toxic personal care, hygiene and cleaning products in my home with liquid castile soap! I no longer buy laundry soap, dish soap or hand soap, shaving cream, bath oils, glass cleaner, face wash, degreaser, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, and multi-purpose cleaners. This magical cleaner is fairly concentrated so dilution is required, but a little goes a very long way, saving me money as well.
Swapping castile soap for traditional laundry detergent has been amazing! To create this homemade laundry detergent, I use a one-gallon glass drink dispensing container in which I mix 1 cup of Dr. Bronner’s lavender castile soap and fill the rest with water. Sometimes in the spring and summer, I will also add lemon and orange-scented essential oils to this recipe giving my laundry a nice citrusy smell. I use this dilution recipe because I have a high-efficiency washing machine. At a higher concentration, my clothes were feeling kind of stiff from leftover soapy residue so I adjusted the ratios of soap and water until I found a mixture that works well for my machine. For a typical load of laundry, I add ¼ cup of this castile soap laundry mixture to the washer along with ½ cup of 20 Mule Team Borax.
You can also use castile soap as a fruit and veggie rinse, as a plant and bug spray, as a stain remover, as pet shampoo, as a toothpaste, or mouth rinse. I have listed some of the suggested dilutions from Dr. Bronner’s label, but be sure to check out Dr. Bronner’s site for a cheat sheet with more uses and suggested dilutions. You can adjust dilutions to your preference. I typically use a little less than recommended.
Suggested Dilutions & Recipes from Dr. Bronner’s
Body soap and face wash
⅓-½ c per load
2 tbsp castile soap/12 oz water
a few drops
1:10 ratio of castile soap & water
½ c catile soap/3 gallons water
1 tbsp/1 qt water
1 tbsp/1 qt water
1 drop on toothbrush
1 drop castile soap/4 oz water
1:4 ratio castile soap & water
One of my goals through my more sustainable and less toxic journey has been to SIMPLIFY… when you have one product that can replace so many others, it’s a no-brainer to make the switch. In making this ONE more eco-friendly, less wasteful swap, I have not only greatly reduced the number of toxins my family is being exposed to with numerous traditional products, but I have also greatly reduced our waste and use of plastic as well as decreasing our overall product spending in the process! It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN!
Do not use castile soap:
– On color-treated hair
– With other acidic soaps/cleaners (like vinegar! This neutralizes both, rendering them useless.)
– Some stone surfaces if you have hard water
For more posts from our Green Living Series check out:
Guest Writer Bio: Amanda Coates
Hi! My name is Amanda and I am a mother of nine, five bio children, and four soon-to-be stepchildren. I am a medical coder, blogger, content writer, activist, DIYer, and virtual assistant. I have always been a little crunchy and tend to prefer more natural remedies instead of chemical or pharmaceutical ones (my mom calls it “hippy-dippy”.)
I officially started my eco journey about two years ago after reading an article online from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) about all of the toxins in the everyday products we use. This was not new information to me, but I had no idea of the extent of the toxic exposure or the extreme side effects these toxic products can have on your health, ranging from allergies and hormonal issues to infertility and cancer! I was blown away that this is still being allowed in the U.S. when countries like the UK are banning these toxins in products. This drove me into action. From there, I started looking into cleaner and greener product choices to lessen my family’s exposure.
And while I am not sure I will ever be toxin-free, I feel like every little step towards being more sustainable and less wasteful counts for something. I now make the majority of my beauty and personal hygiene products as well as my own household cleaners. This has helped my family greatly reduce toxin exposure, plastic and other waste, and saved us a ton of money in the process!
It has been such a joy so far practicing and sharing my love and knowledge of plants, recycling, reusing/repurposing, and thrifting!