Dilutions Cheat Sheet for Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

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Dilute! Dilute! OK!* But how much? Here is a quick reference. None of this is a hard and fast rule. If your stuff is really dirty or your water is really hard, then you may want to use more than the recommended amount. However, this should get you started. You’ll notice that for some applications, I recommend pre-diluting the soap – combining the soap with water in a container. For other applications, the soap is diluted by the water present in the situation. It’s a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that if you predilute, you are also diluting the preservative (tocopherols – vitamin E), so the shelf life drops. Use within a couple weeks. And yes, there are 18 uses here. Dr. Bronner's Castile Liquid Soaps

* Long time Dr. Bronner’s users will remember this expression from the old labels.

Body Uses:

Face: 2-3 drops on wet hands, applied to wet face

Body: one small squirt on a wet washcloth, applied to a wet body

Hair: ½ Tbsp. in your hand, worked into wet hair, or dilute ½ Tbsp. in ½ a cup of water and work that into wet hair

Bath: Completely depends upon water amount, but roughly 2 Tbsp. soap in an average sized tub. (Doesn’t bubble, but still cleans)

Shaving: Face – 10 drops; Underarms – 3 drops; Legs – ½ tsp; Work to a lather in wet hands and then apply to area.

Teeth: 1 drop on a toothbrush. (Yes, it tastes like soap.)

Foot Bath: 1 ½ tsp. in a small tub of hot water.

Clearing Congestion: 1 Tbsp. in a bowl of steamy hot water. Breathe in mist with a towel draped over the head.

Household uses:

Dishes (handwashing): Pre-dilute 1:10 with water. Squirt on a scrub brush and scrub dishes.

Laundry: 1/3-1/2 c. of soap for a large load in a normal washer. Add ½ c. vinegar to the rinse cycle. Use half of these amounts for HE

Mopping: ½ c. of soap in 3 gallons of hot water

All-purpose cleaning: ¼ c. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil if desired.

Windows: 1 Tbsp. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Follow up with pure club soda, or half vinegar/ half water.

Toilet: Predilute 1:4 with water in a squirt bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree oil. Empty toilet, squirt bowl thoroughly, sprinkle baking soda on the brush, scrub bowl, let sit 10 minutes, turn water on, flush.

Other Uses:

Fruit and Veggie Rinse: 1 dash (approx.. ¼ tsp.) in a bowl of water. Dunk produce and swish. Then rinse in clear water.

Dog washing: Amount varies widely depending on size, hair type and length, and overall dirtiness. I wet my dog thoroughly, then start to work in castile soap up and down their body until I have a good lather. Really massage it in down to the skin. Your dog will thank you for it.

Plant spray for bugs: 1 Tbsp. in a quart of water. Add ½ tsp. cayenne pepper or cinnamon, if desired.

Ant spray (not on plants): ¼ c. tea tree soap in a quart of water. (This concentration will burn plants.)

I’ve tried to keep this short and sweet. If you have any questions, please ask away!

To download a one page copy of this cheat sheet, click here.

888 thoughts on “Dilutions Cheat Sheet for Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

  1. From another web-site :

    “FYI. My husband loves dr bronner soap for showers. Says it helps small cuts and sores heal. However, to his horror he thought the drain was plugging up and inside he found that the soap was caking hard as concrete. He had a terrible time getting it out. Wouldn’t recommend it for your washer. It doesn’t have an anti caking ingredient like most liquid soaps. The same thing happened when I put some in an empty hand soap dispenser. Plugged up!”

    I personally have a hard time believing this, but I don’t want to be clearing my drains constantly and I certainly don’t want to “break” my HE front-loading washer!! 🙁


    • Hi there – Hmm. This isn’t a scenario I’ve run across. In order for the soap to cake up in the drain, it would pretty much have to be pure soap with no water going down the drain, which wouldn’t happen in a typical showering scenario. However, this is exactly what happened when the writer says “I put some in an empty hand soap dispenser”. This is because the water content in the soap which keeps in liquid evaporates, turning the soap into a solid which would clog the pump. This is why we recommend against using the liquid Castile soaps in a traditional pump dispenser.

      I think you’d have much greater peace of mind if you used Sal Suds in the HE washer. If I had an HE washer, that’s what I would use. It is exceedingly clean rinsing and you’d only need 1-2 Tbsp per load.

  2. I prediluted 1:10 as directed for hand washing dishes. am I not supposed to squirt it into the dishpan but use only on a scrub brush? I like using a wash cloth for dishes. so if I squirt on brush, it requires squirting more on brush as you go through the pile of dishes? I’m beginning to see that squirting it into a dishpan of water is diluting it way too much. Is there a substitute dilution if I want to squirt it into a dishpan of hot water?

    • Hi Suzanne – There are so many different factors here – the greasiness of the dishes, the hardness of the water, the number of dishes… The 1:10 ratio I mention is meant for keeping in a bottle beside the sink for if you’re just washing one pot, let’s say. If you want to do a whole sink full of dirty dishes, I’d fill the sink with water and then squirt in maybe a tablespoon or so of soap. Adjust it more or less for what works best in the situation so that the dishes are getting clean without wasted soap.

  3. Hi, I would like to use the soap for hand washing. I have a regular hand soap bottle (not foam) I would like to use. What dilution ratio would you recommend? Thanks!

    • Hi Angey – Unfortunately, our liquid Pure Castile soaps do not work well in a traditional pump dispenser. The water content that keeps the soap liquid will eventually evaporate in the pump, leaving solid soap behind which will clog the pump. Before it clogs the pump completely, the partial clog will cause soap to squirt out in unexpected directions and generally make a mess. Instead, we formulated our Organic Pump Soaps (with moisturizing Shikakai extract) that work great in traditional pumps.

    • I find that the castile works well in the foamers with no clogging. I just use the directions for dilution that come with the foamer

  4. My 12 year old daughter has seborrhea dermatitis on her scalp. Her hair is also very oily. It’s like extreme cradle cap. It was suggested that I try Dr. Bronner Castile soap on her hair in combination with coconut oil. I bought the Peppermint Castile. Do I still need to dilute?

    • Hi Lori – I’m sorry to hear what your daughter is dealing with. That’s very frustrating. Depending on how irritated and sensitive your daughter’s scalp is, the Peppermint might be too intense for her, or it might be the intensity that she needs. If it isn’t the right one for her, I recommend the Tea Tree Pure Castile soap. Tea Tree has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that may help alleviate the symptoms of seborrhea dermatitis. For my recommendations on hair washing, check out my personal story in the post: http://www.lisabronner.com/from-shampoo-to-soap-%E2%80%93-my-story/. For my long hair, I use about 1/2 Tbsp. of soap. You can adjust that for your daughter’s hair type and length. Coconut oil is a great scalp treatment. A little goes a long way. Too much, and her hair may look oily even after it is dry. With using the coconut oil, you may or may not need the follow up acidic hair rinse I discuss in the shampoo post. If her hair feels tacky or is tangled after washing with the soap, use a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse to smooth things out. Again, though, if she has broken skin on her scalp, the soap and the vinegar will sting.

      I hope some of this helps!

    • Hi Rebecca – Unfortunately, the classic castile soaps do not work well in pumps. We have tried all manner of pumps and dilutions through the years with little success. Inevitably the soap, which is very concentrated, clogs the pump and either causes it to stop completely or to shoot the soap out sideways or up. We urge customers not to put the pure castile soap in a pump. Rather, keep the soap in its original bottle and use just a drop or two for each hand washing. This is one of the reasons, though, that we formulated our new Shikakai soaps for pumps. They do not encounter the same problems, and come in a pump bottle.

  5. I am a newbie to Dr Bonner’s Castile Soap. Has anyone tried to make a hand sanitizer for purse sized spray bottles? I have just made a dilution of 1/4 tsp. To 3 oz purified water. I also added 8 drops of lavendar oil to the mix. I’m hoping it won’t clog the sprayer and it is strong enough to be somewhat effective. Any advice? Wish me luck!

  6. Hi Lisa!
    I’m writing to once again brag about a new experience with Dr. Bronner’s.
    I just received my order today, of sal suds and the new lemongrass lime pump soap. I have been waiting patiently to try the new scent and version, so, as soon as I opened the box, I took my lemongrass lime soap to the sink and washed my hands.
    Oh! My! Goodness!
    One pump of the soap and I’m in love!
    But get this… My hands were just so clean, smooth and soft to the touch that I went back a little bit later and washed again, this time taking the soap up to my elbows, because I have been fighting what I thought was Contact Dermatitis on the underside of my forearms for over a year now.
    I lathered up to my elbows for just a few seconds, without wetting my skin, just using the water I’d wet my hands with. I then wet a washcloth, wrung it out and wiped my arms to check how easily the soap would rinse. As I expected it rinses perfectly.
    So, out of curiosity, I went to the underside of my forearms, where the rash has been, lightly buffed the area for about a minute on each arm with the washcloth, thinking if this version made my hands so nice and soft, maybe it would help to soften the skin on the back of my forearms.
    Lisa! Lisa! Lisa! I just can’t believe it and You may not either, but, the rash is 100% GONE!
    My elbows are baby’s bottom smooth!
    I’ve gone to the mirror and checked again and again and I just can’t believe my eyes!
    Oh I wish I had taken video or pictures to send to You! I just did not expect this outcome.
    There are no openings on my skin, no marks, no sign whatsoever of the rough, dry, itchy, bumpy rash that I’ve had for so long!
    I am just so thankful. And I can’t wait to get into the shower tonite!
    I bought the smaller bottle to try out the new scent, which I really like. The lemongrass scent after using twice in an hour, is just the lightest, perfectly clean scent ever! And My skin just feels and smells so fresh and clean.
    I’m going over to the website and buying a half gallon bottle. Maybe two. How much does a girl need… 🙂
    …. this year for Christmas, My kiddo’s at college and friends will be getting a bottle as part of their gift. Is it wrong if I wait that long to share with others?
    Thanks again!

    • Hi Elizabeth – That is absolutely fantastic! I am so glad you took the time to share this, especially for others who might be facing the same thing. Dr. B’s for the win!

  7. I also use it as a hand wash at the kitchen and bathroom sinks–put in a foaming stray bottle, about 4 units water to one unit dr bronners. Love it!

  8. Is this soap safe for septic systems? We have very hard well water as well and just wondering if that makes any difference in how we should use your Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap.

    • Hi Christine – Yes, it is completely compatible with septic systems. My house is on septic as well. We had the soaps analyzed for biodegradability, particularly for grey water systems but the issues are similar for septic, and the soaps all passed with flying colors. If you’d like to see those certifications, email me, lisa@drbronner.com, and I’ll send them to you.

  9. Hi Lisa,
    I’ve been a fan of the bar soaps for years and just decided to purchase the peppermint liquid soap. I would like to put it in a non-foaming soap pump on my bathroom sink. I scanned your dilution chart but did not see a recommendation there. What do you suggest?

    • Hi Jonathan – You’ve hit on what is probably the most oft-asked question here. Unfortunately, our liquid castile soaps do not work well in non-foaming pumps. They are too thin and concentrated, squirting out at first and then drying out and clogging the pump. Thickening them would require synthetic ingredients which we are not going to use. For regular pumps, we formulated our Organic Pump Soaps (https://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/category/ORGANICPUMPSOAP.html) or use a foaming dispenser for the castile at a dilution of 1:3.

  10. Hello, I have about a large bottle of the Lavender Castile soap that is about 1/3 full and it seems to have solidified. It is no longer liquid form that will pour out of the bottle…what can I do now? Is there a way to ‘reconstitute’ it?

    • Hi Coleen – I am always thrilled when I can give an easy answer! All you need is water. Your soap has solidified because the water content has evaporated. In order to keep our soaps as concentrated as possible (reducing customer expense and packaging waste), we keep our soaps just barely liquid at 69% soap. Once the soap gets used a lot, and opened and closed, and generally exposed to air, that water evaporates and leaves behind solid soap. Add a bit – maybe a couple Tablespoons and let it sit overnight. It should be good to go.

    • Hi Lorraine – It doesn’t work so much as a repellent as a treatment.

  11. Hello,

    I love Dr. Bronner’s bar soap and want to try the new foaming hand soap. Can I use any foam soap dispenser or do I need to use the Dr. Bronner brand? Also, does the 18-1 Hemp Eucalyptus disinfect surfaces?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Lisa – Hmm. Well, we don’t actually have a new foaming hand soap. I’m not fully sure which product you’re referring to. With some of the other commenters here I’ve been talking about using the Pure Castile Liquid soaps (which we started with in the 1940’s) in foaming pumps at a dilution of 1:3. We also don’t sell a foaming pump, so if you’d like to try this, you’d have to get a foaming pump somewhere else. I feel like I’m not being very helpful here…

      Yes, the Eucalyptus Pure Castile would clear germs off of any surface.

  12. Thank you! This is the first soap that hasn’t set off my skin or hair in years.

  13. Hello Lisa. just been reading all the post on this soap, im going to try some. I’m new to this soap i have very bad dry feet. , but i have a question if you would respond. I want to be sure i understand clearly, the question is do i mix this soap with distilled water, to keep it from clogging drains or just make sure i only use a very small drop when i go to use it, or any water flowing over this soap will run through all drains?

    • Hi Lewis – Welcome! I’m glad you’re going to give us a try. I have never had trouble of any sort with the soap clogging my drains and my water here in Southern California is pretty hard. If you just wet your feet, scrub them with a couple drops of soap and rinse them, your feet and your drains will be in great shape.

  14. Thank you for posting this. I find it to be a reliable, easy to follow guide and have referred to it many times.

  15. Hi! I need to hand wash some clothes and an eno hammock. What ratio should I do? I was thinking of washing in my bathtub. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Rachel – I checked out the ENO FAQ on how to wash their hammocks, and they recommend a mild detergent, which would be our Sal Suds, but the castile soap would also work well. Sal Suds is more concentrated, so you’d need half the amount as for the Castile. In a bathtub, try 2-3 Tbsp. of the Sal Suds, and 1/4 c. – 1/3 c. of the soap.

    • Hi Lydia – Unfortunately, I don’t recommend our products for use in a dishwasher. We’re working on an organic product that works in dishwashers, but haven’t found the perfect one yet. That being said, you’ll see feedback from other commenters and recipes online that use our soaps in dishwashers. I haven’t tried them yet.

  16. Hi Lisa!

    I wanted to make a safe solution body wash for my daughter (5 yrs. old) using Dr.Bronner’s castile soap. Skimming through the comments I’ve gathered it does not work well in a regular soap bottle? Also if I were to keep it in an old 16 oz. bottle, how long would the “shelf life” be?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Roxanne – It works great in a regular Dr. Bronner’s bottle, but it doesn’t work well in a regular pump. I’m not sure what you meant by a regular soap bottle. If it is undiluted in any container, the shelf life is at least 3 years.

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