What is Castile Soap?

What is Castile Soap? Everything You Wanted To Know About Dr Bronner And Castile Soap 2019

Castile Soap was called as such, as it was thought to originate in Castile, Spain. And as glamorous as Spain sounds this time of year...Castile soap is just like regular soap, except a whole lot more eco friendly. Instead of being made from lard, tallow, or other animal fats, it is made from vegetable oils - traditionally, olive oil, and is considered a vegan soap.

Modern castile soaps, including Dr. Bronner's, blend in other vegetable oils, like coconut oil, which has resulted in a Castile Soap that is multi-purpose.

Coconut oil is very high lathering but can be drying and olive oil gives a soft and luxuriant lather but in small amounts. By using both coconut and olive oils in the right ratio, Dr. Bronner’s soaps offer the best of both worlds: high lather that’s soft on the skin. Dr. Bronner’s soaps also contain hemp and jojoba oils, which mirrors the natural oils in the skin’s sebum, leaving skin feeling smooth after the soaps are washed away.

What is Castile Soap?

What are the benefits of Castile Soap?

Castile soap is completely natural with no harsh chemical additives or detergents. It is non-toxic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, an antioxidant and offers deep moisturising effects whilst being 100% biodegradable. 

Whether you want a safe way to bathe your baby, or you want a better way to soothe your skin and clean your home, Castile soap has you covered, and is perfect for sensitive skin and is naturally hydrating.

As an added bonus, it offers natural free radical protection for your skin. Few products are as versatile!

How is Castile Soap made?

Castile Soap is made like other soaps, but they saponify vegetable oil and plant based fats, instead of animal fats with an alkali. The oil is a triglyceride, which means that three fatty acids of various carbon lengths are attached to a glycerin backbone. The alkali is either sodium hydroxide (lye) for bars or potassium hydroxide (potash) for liquids. Alkali is made by running electricity through salt water.

The saponification process is a simple one-step reaction with no waste generated: the glycerin is split off from the fatty acids, and the fatty acids combine with the sodium or potassium to form soap, while the hydroxide forms water. The result is soap, glycerin and water (no alkali remains).

Unlike most commercial soap makers, who distill the glycerin out of their soaps to sell separately, Dr Bronner's soaps retain it in their soaps for its superb moisturizing qualities. The super-fat their bar soaps for a milder, smoother lather and use natural vitamin E from and citric acid (both from non-GMO sources) to protect freshness.

Dr Bronner's do not add any chelating agents, dyes, whiteners, or synthetic fragrances— only the purest certified organic essential oils, and their liquid soaps are three times more concentrated than most liquid soaps on the market, which means more soap per bottle and less waste in packaging materials.


How are castile soaps made?

Are Dr Bronner's Castile Soaps ethically made?

Dr. Bronner’s has created or partnered with fair trade and organic projects all over the world: in Sri Lanka and Samoa for coconut oil, Ghana for palm oil, Palestine and Israel for olive oil, India for mint oil, Ecuador for palm kernel oil, and Brazil for sugar.

An estimated 10,000 people around the world benefit directly from their fair trade projects, and they are supporting the development of domestic fair trade programs in North America as well.

Are Dr Bronner's Castile Soap ingredients safe and fair trade?

Only the purest organic and fair trade ingredients are used and most products are even vegan and certified to the same organic standards as food.  No synthetic preservatives or foaming agents are in Dr. Bronner’s soaps, and they are made using using traditional methods.

Independent third-party certification ensures their products meet the highest standards for ecological and social sustainability.

Certifications include:


Are castile soaps fair trade and ethical?

How is Castile Soap different to normal soap?

Castile soap is made from plant based fats and oils, whereas other soaps are made from animal fats like lard or tallow.

What is the difference between Castile Soap and Detergent?

If a liquid soap isn’t made with either plant or animal based fats, they’re not soaps at all, they’re detergents. Detergents are different to soaps in that they’re often synthetic and they work slightly differently.

What is a detergent?

A detergent is based on surfactants, which are generally synthetic, but can also be derived from natural sources (cocamidopropyl betaine is derived from coconuts, for example). This doesn’t make them natural, as they’re still heavily processed, but they do come from natural sources.

How to tell the difference between soaps and detergents?

Liquid soaps will list potassium hydroxide, bar soaps will list sodium hydroxide in their ingredients lists. Detergents will use some kind of surfactant. These might be naturally derived, like cocoamidopropyl betaine or polyglucoside, or they could be synthetic, like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). So if you’re seeing ‘soaps’ with surfactants in them, they’re actually detergents. Generally, shower gels, liquid hand soaps and washing up liquid are detergents rather than soaps.


Dr Bronner's castile soap range

Should I use a Castile Soap or a Detergent?

If you want something totally natural, go for a Castile Soap, as Castile soaps are made from natural ingredients, whereas Detergents are made from synthetic ingredients, however Dr Bronner's Sal's Suds is slightly more effective on grease and tough stains than standard Dr Bronner's Castile Soap.

What is better for cleaning, Castile Soap or Detergents?

If you’re in an area that has hard water, you may find the high amount of calcium and other minerals in hard water react with the soap to form a scum. This inhibits the surfactant properties, so it doesn’t foam up as easily. You use more soap to make up for this and may end up with a film of scum on your tiles and sink. You’ll probably find that using a detergent based cleanser designed for hard water areas will give you a better result, like Dr Bronner's Sal's Suds.

So Castile Soap for regular water, and a detergent for both regular water and hard water.

What can I use Castile Soap for?What can I use Castile Soap for?What can you use Dr Bronner's Sal's Suds Detergent for?

Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner is not a soap but instead is a concentrated hard-surface all-purpose cleaner. Unlike most supermarket detergents, It is made with plant-based surfactants, natural fir needle and spruce essential oils (no cheap, harsh pine stump oil), without any synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives.

Perfect for general household cleaning (dishes, floors, laundry, etc.), it cleans and rinses with exceptional power, yet it is mild and gentle on the skin. Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner is equally effective in hard or soft water, rinsing freely, hot or cold. It is 100% cruelty-free, as certified by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, and it will biodegrade rapidly after doing its job. To get you started with some of Sal Suds' many uses, check out Lisa Bronner's "Sal Suds Dilutions Cheat Sheet."

Dr Bronner's Sal Suds Liquid Soap

What are the ingredients in Dr Bronners Castile Soap?

Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Palm Kernel Oil*, Organic Olive Oil*, Essential Oils, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol.
**None remains after saponifying oils into soap & glycerin.  

What are the ingredients in Dr Bronner's Sal's Suds?

Click here to read Lisa Bronner’s post about SLS

Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Coco-Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Abies Siberica (Siberian Fir) Needle Oil, Picea Glauca (Spruce) Leaf Oil, Citric Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide.

Does Dr Bronner's give back?

A huge yes! Dr Bronners has always been an activist company, dating back to when Emanuel Bronner was calling on the human race to unite from street corners and auditoriums, selling his peppermint castile soap on the side. Carrying forward that same activist spirit, Dr Bronner's mission is to continue to use the company today to fight for and financially support causes they believe in: regenerative agriculture, fair trade, animal advocacy, industrial hemp and drug policy reform, and living wages among others.
They call themselves the “fighting soap company,” and are committed and strategic in the causes they fight for.

Dr Bronner's activism and giving back

How did Dr Bronner's begin?

150 years and 5 generations of family soapmaking.

Dr Bronner ( Emanuel Heilbronner ) was a third generation soap maker, but the  story began in 1858, 50 years before he was born.
The Heilbronner family ( Dr Bronner's grandfather ) originally owned a Soap Factory in Heilbronn, Germany, before the Nazis seized it. Dr Bronner had emigrated to America in WWII, and during that time, his parents lost their lives in the Auschwitz and Theriesenstadt concentration camps.
With the rise of Hitler, Dr Bronner (Emanuel Heilbronner) dropped “Heil” from last name, and eventually rose up out of poverty and imprisonment in an asylum for speaking out against Hitler, to begin a new story—the story Dr Bronner's children, and grandchildren carry on today at their Vista, California headquarters. 
He used the labels on his superb ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our unity across religious & ethnic divides or perish: “We are All-One or None!” Still family-owned and run, Dr Bronner's honours its founder’s vision by continuing to make socially & environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating profits to help make a better world. All-One!

Where can I buy Dr Bronner's Castile Soap and Sal's Suds?

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