How To Make Homemade Liquid Castile Soap

By on October 7, 2013
Castile Soap

One of the really fun things I get to do is mess around with DIY cleaners.  The inner chemist in me comes out and I play around with different formulas until I get something just right.  My bloopers not withstanding, I can usually muddle my way through a recipe and make it work with minor adjustments here and there.

Today I would like to show you how to make your own liquid Castile soap for pennies.  Well not really pennies but a full quart of liquid castile soap for less than $1.50.  Compare that to Dr. Bronner’s at $14 or $15 dollars and you will see why I am excited.

DIY Liquid Castile Soap Wonderful   Backdoor Survival

What is Castile Soap?

Castile soap is wonderful stuff.  It is made from 100% plant oils – typically olive oil or coconut oil – and it includes no animal fat and no mysterious chemicals. It’s a true soap, not a chemical detergent, making Castile soap completely biodegradable and very earth-friendly. This means it is also skin friendly unlike traditional soaps which can be extremely drying.

The big kahuna in Castile soaps is Dr. Bronner’sDIY Liquid Castile Soap Wonderful   Backdoor Survival which makes a great product that simply grows on you.  It comes in many wonderful fragrances (I like the Rose and the Peppermint) and the liquid version is concentrated so that a little goes a long way.  The downside is that at $14 or $15 for 32 ounces, it is expensive.  Dr. Bronner’s also makes a bar soap that sells for about $4 to $5 per bar.  I will tell you why all of this is important in a moment.

There is another brand of of Castile soap that is widely available.  Kirk’s Castile Soap has been around since 1839. As far as I am concerned, it is a hidden treasure in that it is priced at less than $1.50 per bar.  Here are the ingredients: Coconut Soap, Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Natural Fragrance.  There is also an unscented version.

DIY Liquid Castile Soap Wonderful   Backdoor Survival

Being a relatively new fan of Dr. Bronner’s, and of course wanting a bottle in every single one of the luscious scents, I realized there had to be a better way.  Enter Liquid Castile Soap “Wonderful”.

The Master Recipe

This is so easy it is a wee bit embarrassing but stay with me.

Ingredients:

1 bar of castile soap
2 quarts (8 cups) of boiling water  (I used filtered water)

Equipment:

A large kitchen or vegetable grater
A bowl or pot large enough to hold 2 quarts

Directions:

1.  Using your kitchen knife, slice and dice the bar of soap into small chunks.  Or, if you are so inclined, grate it up with a vegetable grater instead.  Castile soap in inherently soft so there is no reason to drag our the food processor or blender to do this.

DIY Liquid Castile Soap Wonderful   Backdoor Survival

2.  Measure out your boiling water and place it your bowl, pot or do as I did and use a large Pyrex measuring cup.

3.  Add the chunks or flakes and walk away.  Go do something else.  Walk the dog. Catch up on Backdoor Survival.  Just do something. When you come back in an hour or so, most if not all of the soap will be dissolved into a nice concentrated liquid.  At this point, transfer your liquid castile soap to some mason jars, a squirt bottle or other container and you are ready to go.

Notes:

Within 24 hours, my batches of liquid soap turned gel-like and semi-solid.  A quick run under hot water brought them back to liquid form.  In a way, this makes sense because coconut oil does not liquefy until it reaches 76 degrees.  Given the tremendous cost savings, this was something I could deal with.

DIY Liquid Castile Soap Wonderful   Backdoor Survival

I tried both cutting the bar soap into chunks with a knife and grating it with my vegetable grater.  I felt that the vegetable grater resulted in a better end product.  I believe the soap dissolved more quickly and for some reason the resulting liquid was smoother.  I don’t know – hard to describe.

As will all Castile soaps, there will not be an abundant amount of sudsing.  The suds in most soaps comes from sodium lauryl sulfates, a known irritant that does nothing but make suds. Be aware that you may get a few bubbles with this, but not many. Odd as it seems, it still clean very well and does not feel at all oily even though it is an oil based soap.

Those of you familiar with my Dirt Cheap Soft Soap will notice some similarities although there is no added glycerin in liquid Castile Soap Wonderful.  Castile Soap Wonderful has a completely different texture plus it is highly concentrated.

Castile Soap Wonderful

This is the fun part.  With a simple dilution and the addition of essential oils, I was able to make up multi-purpose household cleaners just like I do with Dr. Bronner’s.  The addition of 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of essential oils results in such a useful cleaner that I started calling them “You Name It” Wonderful.  I now have Tea Tree Wonderful, Lavender Wonderful, Orange Wonderful and Peppermint Wonderful.  This is so fun.

After much trial and error, I came up with the following dilution:

3 TBL Liquid Castile Soap
1 quart (4 cups) filtered water
1/8 to 1/4 TSP Essential Oils

Shake everything together in a re-purposed bottle or juice jug and use your premade brew to fill individual spray bottles  (These spray bottles I purchased at Amazon work great.)

Now that you know what it is and how to make it, be sure to click below to learn all of the fantastic uses for this homemade wonder!

Great, I made it…Now what’s it good for?

About Gaye Levy

Gaye Levy started her website, Backdoor Survival, so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism. To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper's Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

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7 Comments

  1. Dale

    Here is a method that allows you to make liquid castile soap from scratch. Follow the link below.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Liquid-Castile-Soap

  2. J.T.

    A HEADS UP – FYI: LOOK AT QUIETKAT.COM FOR A NEW G.O.O.D. ELECTRICT
    POWERED, WITH A 50 MILE RANGE – 100 % SILENT ANT ELECTRICT.
    JUST WAW IT ON A HUNTING SHOW AND ADD IS IN 12/13 OUTDOOR LIFE ABOUT PG 76? ENJOY AS IT LOOKED GOOD ON TV.

    THE SOAP IS A GREAT IDEA AS IF YOU DO NO STAY REASONABLY CLEAN, YOU
    ARE VERY OPEN TO MANY DISEASES, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE KILLING WILD
    GAME! STAY AWAY FROM WILD HOGS – PIGS DUE TO A DEADLY, UNFRENDLAY
    HUMAN ILLNESS AS WELL AS ARMADILLOS WHO CARRY A FORM OF LEPROESY.

  3. Kay Anderson

    I have been buying Kirk’s Castille for several years now. I love it and it’s the only bar soap I use. I keep a large supply on hand because I never know when my local grocery will quit stocking it. I’ve started buying for my emergency kit also.
    I haven’t tried the soft soap variety but it sounds easy enough to do and will try it also. Hate to give up my bars though. :)

  4. The Soap Guy

    This is an interesting article with good information for those who do not wish to get into full scale soap making from scratch. Thank you for pointing out that it is not the bubbles that get you clean. There are a few things that I would like to point out, however. Castile (think Spain where many olives are grown) soap is made from mostly or, preferably 100% olive oil, water and lye. Pure Castile soap is VERY gentle to the skin. The lye used to make bar soap is sodium hydroxide. The lye used to make liquid soap is potasium hydroxide. Yes lye is used to make all soap including the commercial detergent “beauty” bars you get at the grocery store. Yes you can desolve grated bar soap as described to get a gel like liquid but if you don’t start with Castile (olive oil) soap you will not get liquid Castile soap, you get some other liquid soap which may be all right. Again, a good article for those not wishing to make soap from scratch which can be hazardous if proper precautions are not taken.

    • kamiko

      Please list all hazards from making homemade soap, and their sources. i have been making my own laundry detergent, household cleaners, soaps, shampoos, carpet cleaner, flea and tick spray, for almost a year now. i have save d a ton of money. it doesn’t bubble, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. your version may have been hazardous, but most homemade soaps and laundry supplies re not. I dont think the government would allow people to share if they were trying to kill anyone, even accidentally.

      • Dot

        @kamiko If you read The Soap Guy’s last sentence again he says “make soap from scratch” and that refers to a chemical reaction which actually makes soap from lye and a rendered fat like lard or tallow and it is a very different thing from making your own laundry detergent by combining things like Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, borax, etc.

        Years ago people made their own soap from scratch in a big black cast iron washpot over a fire in the backyard.

        Lye is very dangerous. http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/11/how_to_make_lye_soap_by_masqui.html

        If you add water to the lye instead of lye to the water, there can be a violent eruption.

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