What is Castile Soap and why is it so versatile?

Greenscents Castile Soap

Castile soap has been around for over a thousand years and is still as useful today. It is prized because of its mild but effective formula and it can be safely used in so many ways. The formula has been adapted over the years, but it has always been vegetable based and amazingly versatile.

What is Castile soap and how did it get its name?

Its origins are found in the Middle East, but the crusaders were believed to have brought the soap back to Europe in the 11th century. The original Aleppo soap was a hard green soap made from olive and laurel oils but this was refined by the Spanish to contain just olive oil – which was their local crop. This soap, made in the Castile region of North West Spain, matured to a whitish colour and was favoured by royalty. It then became a popular export and could be found all over Europe and in Britain.

castile soap in hard version

The soap started life as a hard bar soap just containing olive oil. The downside was this soap could cause scum in hard water and the lather could feel rather slimy. However, in 1890’s Heilbronners invented the first liquid castile soap and began supplying washrooms all across Germany. During the inter-war years, scientists in Germany & USA developed surfactants and designed detergents that topped sales of Castile soap. However, in the 1980’s as consumers began to understand the toxic nature of conventional cleaning & laundry products, Castile soap started to make a comeback.

How is Greenscents Castile Soap made?

Artisan producers still make the traditional recipe today, but at Greenscents, we make ours as a liquid using certified organic potassium salts of olive oil and coconut oil which create a creamy lather in hard and soft water. By blending these oils together, we end up with an enhanced product that is a pleasure to use.

It’s the original eco-friendly cleaning product. It is non-toxic, vegan and 100% biodegradable. Greenscents Castile Soap is certified organic with 96% organic ingredients, certified palm oil free and cruelty free too! It is the only product in the Greenscents range that is alkaline (in common with all soaps) and this provides some unique characteristics.

Keep it simple

There are endless applications for this most versatile product – you will find you can replace many of your standard cleaning & laundry products with just this one. We recommend it for travelling and holidays because Greenscents Castile Soap is so concentrated a small bottle is all you need.

Here are some of our favourite uses:

girl eating icecream
  • A super hand wash – use a pea sized blob and dilute with water then rinse thoroughly. Take at least 20 seconds to wash your hands. Then dry your hands carefully with an organic cotton towel. You may find you need hand cream but your skin soon adjusts to the pH of Castile soap.
  • A fantastic stain remover – after trialling on a small patch of fabric, use it as an excellent stain remover for organic stains – that’s anything natural so grass stains, food, wine, blood etc just nothing man-made. A nail brush is useful to apply the soap. Leave for 10 minutes or so and then wash on the appropriate machine cycle or hand wash.
  • A natural deodorant – mix Castile soap with two parts salt and water in a spray bottle. This deodorant is suitable for unbroken skin.
  • Toothpaste – use a small amount on a toothbrush – try Minty for the best experience.
  • A fruit and vegetable wash – half a teaspoon in a bowl of water is enough to wash your fruit and vegetables and remove surface residues. Just wash the products by hand and then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • An excellent surface cleaner – Castile soap can be used neat or diluted on a damp cloth to remove bacteria and clean surfaces including worktops, bathroom ceramics and hard floors.
man showering a pet dog
  • A laundry liquid – Castile Soap is a great replacement for Greenscents Laundry Liquid but it will not foam as much so we tend to use more – around 40 ml for a 4-5 KG load.
  • Body wash & shampoo – Castile soap is mild enough for babies & children so long as it is diluted sufficiently. Greenscents Castile Soap is super concentrated so a little goes a very long way
  • A mild pet shampoo – use Nonscents Castile Soap as a fabulous pet shampoo. Make sure it is diluted with water at least 1:10 and give your canine a summer treat.
  • A bug spray for plants – 30 ml of the nonscents Castile soap topped up with water in a 500 ml spray bottle will repel bugs from indoor & outdoor plants. This is also great for deterring ants.

Do you have any other favourite applications? Let us know on Instagram and we will update our list! To order a bottle now just go to our online shop.