DIY Cleaning & Organizing

12 Secret Uses for Dr. Bronner’s Soap

By now maybe you've seen Dr. Bronner's Castile soap in the personal hygiene aisle at your local grocery or health food store. While Castile soap isn't new—it's been around for centuries—Dr. Bronner's has pushed the soap into the spotlight in recent years and helped a new generation rediscover the benefits of the natural oil-based cleaner. Generally considered to be gentler and more ecologically friendly than synthetic soaps, Castile soap has a wide variety of uses that range from personal hygiene to everyday household cleaning, laundry, and more. Here are some of the best uses for this versatile and mild cleaning product.
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General Cleaning Spray

Skip the pricey commercial cleansers and make your own all-purpose cleaning spray by adding one-quarter cup of Castile soap to a quart of warm water, stirring well to combine. For a fresh and fruity fragrance, add a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle, and spritz surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, and all over your home for a natural clean. To get extra grease- and stain-busting power, add one-half cup of white vinegar to the mix.

Related: 10 Home Maintenance Miracles You Already Own

Tub Scrub

Busting soap scum is cheap and easy when you make your own all-natural, antibacterial “tub scrub” using a mix of pantry staples and Castile soap. Fill a spray bottle with one-third Castile soap, two-thirds water, then add a quarter cup of white vinegar. After whipping up your cleaning cocktail, spread baking soda liberally around the tub and tile, and activate the powder’s foaming action by spraying the soap mixture on top. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes, then use a soft scouring pad on the area to get a squeaky-clean shine.

Related: 9 Top Tips for a Bathroom That Cleans Itself

Laundry Detergent

Castile soap’s mild cleaning power makes it a great all-natural laundry soap for people who are sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. Mix up one cup of liquid Castile soap and three-quarters cup of baking soda, then add one-quarter cup of sea salt dissolved in two and one-quarter cups of warm water. Pour the solution into a gallon jug, top it off with warm water, and pour out about one-quarter cup per laundry load.

Related: 12 Laundry Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Dish Soap

If you hand-wash your dishes, you know that harsh detergents can take a toll on your skin, leaving it dry and cracked. Eliminate chapped hands when you swap out your regular dishwashing liquid for Castile soap. It’s gentle on your hands, but still tough on dirt and grime. Fill a wash basin or sink with 10 parts warm water to one part Castile soap, and wash dishes as usual. To give old pans a like-new shine, pour a few drops of the undiluted soap directly on the surface and scrub away.

Related: 10 Things Always to Keep Near Your Kitchen Sink

Dishwasher Detergent

Homeowners who prefer to use a dishwasher can also take advantage of Castile soap’s natural cleaning properties. To make your own grease-fighting dish detergent, mix eight ounces of liquid Castile soap with one cup water and three teaspoons of lemon or lime juice. Add one tablespoon of the soap mixture to your dishwasher’s unsealed detergent compartment, add one cup of white vinegar to the sealed compartment, then run the washer on a normal cycle. If you have hard water, try adding a little more vinegar to prevent water stains from forming on glassware.

Related: 9 Ways You’re Loading the Dishwasher Wrong

Floor Cleaner

Floors composed of most materials—including tile, wood, and vinyl—can be cleaned with a DIY floor solution consisting of one-half cup of Castile soap dissolved in three gallons of hot water. Using a barely wet mop on hardwood floors and a little more moisture on more water-resistant materials, wipe away dust and debris. Then let dry and enjoy a streak-free floor!

Related: 7 Unusual Tricks for Your Cleanest Floors Ever

Carpet Cleaner

Banish those stubborn carpet stains for good when you apply a DIY carpet pretreatment and cleaning solution. Mix Castile soap with hydrogen peroxide, and spray the mixture on stains to pretreat, dabbing and scrubbing lightly if necessary. Follow that up with a spray or two of all-purpose carpet cleaner. You can make your own cleaning cocktail by adding one-quarter cup Castile soap to one cup of water, then mixing the ingredients in a blender until it forms a stiff foam. Apply the foam to the carpet and use as you would a commercial cleaner.

Related: 7 Secrets to Keep Your Carpet Looking New

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Why spend money on store-bought fruit and vegetable washes when you can make your own? One-quarter teaspoon of Castile soap in a bowl of cool water provides exactly the right amount of nontoxic cleaning power to rid fruits and vegetables of pesticide residue and dirt. Simply swirl the produce in the bowl, rinse well, and enjoy.

Related: 15 Things Never to Put in the Fridge

Glass Cleaner

Maybe you’ve heard that white vinegar makes an effective glass cleaner, and it’s true. But if you can’t stomach the acidic smell of pure vinegar, consider this recipe a more fragrant take on the original. Mix one-half cup of white vinegar with two teaspoons of liquid Castile soap and two cups of warm water. Add a few drops of essential oil to give the mixture a nice scent. Shake well, spray on glass, and wipe dry with newspapers for a crystal-clear shine.

Related: 12 Genius Tips for Everyday Speed-Cleaning

Ant Spray

Add one-quarter cup of tea-tree-oil-scented Castile soap to one quart of water, then stir to mix. If you can’t find that variety of Castile soap in stores, make your own by adding six to eight drops of tea tree oil to regular Castile soap. Once mixed, spray indoors or out to prevent ants from encroaching on your territory. Take care to avoid spraying this mixture on garden plants, as this concentration will burn leaves, stems, and roots.

Related: 10 Reasons Bugs Love Your Home

Plant Spray

Prevent bug infestations and fungal infections by treating plants with an all-natural insecticide and fungicide. It’s easy to make: Mix one tablespoon of Castile soap in a quart of water, and add one-half teaspoon of cayenne pepper or cinnamon. Mix well and spray on plants to repel bugs.

Related: 8 Ways to Combat Garden Pests

Dog Shampoo

Because Castile soap is an oil-based cleanser, it is milder than regular soap, which makes unscented Castile soap a gentle yet effective pet shampoo. Simply wet your pet’s coat and massage a small amount of Castile soap into the fur until you have a good lather. Keep rubbing in the soap until the foam reaches all the way to the skin, then rinse well. Not sure if Castile soap is right for your pet? Consult your vet before giving your doggy a bath. 

Related: 9 Brilliant Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Know

Clever Cleaning Hacks

Ordinary household items have the potential to be your most reliable cleaning products. Club soda works as a glass cleaner, Chapstick can remove sticky residue
, and even chalk can eliminate odors. The maintenance products you need are already hanging around your house.