What Is Castile Soap?

Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap that is chemical-free and doesn’t have any synthetic ingredients or animal fat. The soap originated from the Mediterranean region in Castile, Spain in the 12th century. During this time, it was made from pure olive oil. Now, the soap is known to be made from a number of plant-based oils such as hemp, coconut, avocado, walnut, and almond. Castile soap comes in bar and liquid form and can come in many different scents. This because of the added essential oils. 

People use castile soap in various ways, including as a hand and body wash, shampoo, shower gel, and shaving cream. Other ways include laundry detergent, dish soap, and an all-purpose cleaner.

Castile Soap

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Uses of Castile Soap

There are many different uses of castile soap.

Health and Beauty

  • Shampoo
  • Hand soap
  • Makeup remover
  • Body soap
  • Face wash
  • Foot soak

Household Uses

  • Dish soap
  • Laundry soap
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Produce cleaner
  • Bug repellant
  • Window cleaner
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Shower and tile cleaner 


With all of the different uses for castile soap, it is important to use it properly. When using castile soap on shiny or hard surfaces, it may leave a residue behind. Hard water and castile soap are also known to create a residue. Due to the alkaline content in castile soap, it is not recommended to mix with lemon juice or vinegar. When using the soap, it is important to read the suggested recommendations for diluting and proper use.

There is limited research on the strength with which it kills germs. One report found that saline wash worked better on human orthopedic wounds than castile soap. Another study on rats found that castile soap was effective on wounds when it was used alone and with benzalkonium chloride.

A Word From Verywell

Castile soap has gained a lot of popularity. Used for many purposes, this product is quickly becoming a staple in many homes. Before using any new product in your home and on your body, do your research and contact your healthcare professional. Although the product is a vegetable-based soap with no synthetic ingredients, it is important to read all of the ingredients to make sure it is a safe fit for your lifestyle.

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  1. Farmers Almanac. 12 reasons to switch to Castile soap. Updated July 4, 2016.

  2. Schlarbaum, Jamie P. BS; Warshaw, Erin M. MD, MS. Do it yourself without allergic Contact dermatitis: Safe household cleaning product alternatives, dermatitis: 3/4 2020 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p e16-e17 doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000503

  3. The FLOW Investigators. A trial of wound irrigation in the initial management of open fracture woundsN Engl J Med. 2015;373(27):2629-2641. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1508502

  4. Conroy BP, Anglen JO, Simpson WA, Christensen G, Phaup G, Yeager R, Gainor BJ. Comparison of castile soap, benzalkonium chloride, and bacitracin as irrigation solutions for complex contaminated orthopaedic wounds. J Orthop Trauma. 1999 Jun-Jul;13(5):332-7. doi:10.1097/00005131-199906000-00002