7 Dr. Bronner’s Products for Your Next Travel Adventure

Dr. Bronner's travel sized products in a travel kit - travelling with Dr. Bronner's products

If I ever need to come up with new uses for Dr. Bronner’s products, my best inspiration comes from traveling. If necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, then travel is the mother of necessity. Inevitably, I’ll be stuck in a hotel room or on a trail or in an airplane when something goes awry, and I have to make do with whatever I have on hand. There’s always a Dr. Bronner’s product that comes to my rescue. This is where I discover the best off-label uses.

Versatility is a hallmark of Dr. Bronner’s products. The Pure-Castile soaps state “18-in-1” right up front, but really all the products are multifunctional. And even 18 is a low ball of the Castile’s uses.

It was while travelling that I first discovered how great bar soap is for handwashing laundry. I always travel with a big lightweight scarf. It’s a blanket on airplanes, a warmth in over-airconditioned theaters, a swim coverup, an endlessly variable outfit accessory. So it was with great dismay that on the initial flight of a recent trip, the scarf ended up with a big grease stain. That night in my hotel room, I wet the spot, rubbed in some bar soap, rinsed it out, and hung it over the shower door to dry. It did a beautiful job!

I can’t say I travel often—cue three kids, dog, three cats, job, garden (Anyone else have a demanding garden? I mean, come on, tomatoes! Behave yourselves!)—but I revel in every opportunity to go adventuring. Soon I’ll be leaving for a two-week trip with my husband celebrating our anniversary. I am already carefully stocking my kit. To earn a place in my toiletries bag, each item must have multiple uses. I don’t have space for high-maintenance single-purpose products.

So here’s a rundown of what Dr. Bronner’s products I bring with me on different types of trips and what I anticipate using them for.

What products to pack for a longer trip

If I’m packing for a longer trip (over a week) where I’m taking a suitcase and staying in a hotel or AirBnB, here’s what gets packed:

Liquid Pure-Castile Soap: I pack about ½ oz. for every day.

  • Shower head to toe (hair, too)
  • Shave
  • Wash face at sink
  • Clean nightguard
  • Handwash laundry
  • Wash reusable water bottles, utensils, straws & other gear
  • Wipe-off body spray for quick kid-clean-ups or when running water isn’t readily available (1 ½ tsp. Castile in 1 c. water in a spray bottle or dish. Wipe and rinse.)
  • Packable GIY wipes (not just for babies) that can be washed out and remade for outings

Slice of Bar Pure-Castile Soap: (No need for a whole bar.)

  • Shower head to toe (I prefer the Liquid for showering, but there are many Bar Soap users among us! And sometimes I don’t want liquids with me.)
  • Pretreat fabric stains (even if you don’t do the whole washing, just getting the bar soap on the stain preps it for later)
  • Handwash laundry – see above!
  • Freshen suitcases – tuck the bar soap slice unwrapped into your luggage
  • Freshen shoes – Tuck the slice into shoes to keep them smelling fresh
  • Shave

Unscented Organic Magic Balm: I always bring both Magic Balms with me if I can possibly fit them. They are the two that come to the rescue for so many of the unexpected scenarios that arise when traveling.

  • Moisturize body and hands
  • Remove makeup (especially waterproof mascara)
  • Soothe scrapes and abrasions
  • Smooth hair and calm flyaways, especially when encountering humidity
  • Prevent chaffing before a long hike or boogie boarding
  • Substitute forgotten makeup: Mix with powdered blush for lip color; mix with lipstick for cheek color, dab on plain for dewy glow
  • Style eyebrows

Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm:

  • Relieve airplane nose (anyone else get stuffed up on airplanes???)
  • Relieve tired and sore feet
  • Massage sore muscles and kinked necks (I am not a fan of hotel pillows)

Organic Lip Balm:

  • Soften and protect lips
  • Soften and nourish cuticles
  • Give nails a quick shine
  • Style eyebrows
  • Control hair wisps on the go

Organic Hand Sanitizer: (How do I love thee?)

  • Sanitize hands (Might as well start with the obvious)
  • Sanitize surfaces like airplane trays
  • Boost deodorant (when halfway through the day your deodorant starts to falter)
  • Cooling body spray (especially the Peppermint)
  • Freshen stale air, such as in a stuffy hotel room or warm tent
  • Afternoon pick-me-up-spray
  • Refresh clothing to get one more wear out of that item
  • Deodorize shoes
  • Soothe bug bites with the Peppermint
  • Freshen pillows, sleeping bags & bedding, masks

Sal Suds poured into a travel-sized bottle: (The Castile soap can handle all of these scenarios, but if I have the space, I like to bring along the Sal Suds because it is more concentrated, which means I need less, and a bit more effective.)

  • Clean spills (such as the time liquid foundation spilled in my cosmetic bag)
  • Restore muddy shoes
  • Wash reusable water bottles, utensils, straws & other gear
  • Machine wash laundry (only pack for half the trip and wash a load midway through! Takes ½ to 1 oz. of Sal Suds!)
  • Clean glasses & sunglasses

What products to pack for the barest minimum

For a short trip or a trip where I need to pare down to the bare minimum, I could accomplish all I need and take care of myself and my stuff very well with just two products:

  • Liquid OR Bar Castile Soap: All uses mentioned above for Liquid & Bar Castile and Sal Suds. When you’re really limited for space, the Castile Soaps can be used for teeth brushing too! (Yes, it tastes like soap.)
  • Lip Balm OR Unscented Magic Balm: All uses mentioned above for Lip Balm plus all uses for Magic Balm

Packing smaller sizes

You may have noticed above that I’ve already mentioned packing smaller portions of the products: taking 1/2 oz. of Liquid Castile per day, slicing a section of Castile bar soap, transferring Sal Suds into a travel bottle. For the Liquid Castile, there is a 2 oz. size, but I encourage you to buy that only once, and then refill it from larger sizes for future trips. I also take the Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste, but this already comes in a 1 oz. travel size (Peppermint only). The Organic Sugar Soap is another one that comes in larger sizes (12 and 24 oz.) but is easily transferred to a travel bottle.

Special note for campers & outdoor adventurers

Per the National Park Service policies, no soap should be used directly in lakes or rivers. Even a small amount of soap can change the pH of the water and disrupt habitat for the millions of creatures that call those waterways home. But a readily biodegradable soap like Dr. Bronner’s Castile is recommended for washing at least 200 feet away from a water source: dig a hole 6- 9 inches deep to dispose of soapy water. Find more camping tips on the Dr. Bronner’s All-One Blog.

So as I head out on for my anniversary adventure, I will be well-prepped for whatever travel expectencies and un-expectencies arise. And maybe I’ll learn another use or two!

Further reading:

Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!


Download Now!

Organic Magic Balms Cheat Sheet

Organic Magic Balms – To know them is to love them!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adrian says:

Hi Lisa, love getting new tips of how to get more from Dr. Bronners products. I have a couple of questions. Will the Sal Suds be suitable for hand washing? And, if you carry a piece of bar soap, what is the best way to transport it?

Thanks again for this type of posts.

Lisa Bronner says:

HI Adrian – My apologies for missing your question previously. Sal Suds is exceptional at degreasing which means that if used regularly on hands, can be drying as it grabs hold of the oils in our skin. While the occasional skin contact that happens during cleaning is fine, I recommend using one of our soaps formulated for skin-cleansing for your regular hand washing. Such as the bar soap! If you have time to let the bar soap piece dry completely, you can put it in your toiletry bag, or perhaps wrap it in a dry cloth to keep it from rubbing on other items. If you need to transport it wet, then perhaps use a small closeable container (honestly my old retainer case is ideal).

Caroline says:

Do you have any advice on cutting the bar soap without getting a lot of little pieces?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Caroline- Over time, the Bar Soaps become more susceptible to crumbling or flaking when cut. This is because moisture in the Bar Soap begins to evaporate, leaving a dryer bar that doesn’t stick together as nicely when cut. Our Bar Soap has shelf life of 3 years past the manufacturer’s date on the wrapper, and the evaporation process begins in the months after the Bar Soap is made, so this doesn’t mean the Bar Soap is old or outdated.

Staci says:


Take a butterknife and heat it up by aiming a hairdryer over it or running boiling water over it then quickly drying it with a clean towel. Then slowly press into the soap bar. If you start to feel resistance then heat up the knife again and then slice again. This is the method I use and it works pretty well.

Kathleen says:

Thanks for the great list.
The hand sanitizer comes along in my purse for every single outing. Travel center bathrooms are usually visibly clean, but a spritz of sanitizer on a toilet seat, and other high touch surfaces, is nice.
Lisa, how do you condition your hair on trips? Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kathleen – I’m glad you found the list helpful! At home, lately I’ve been using filtered diluted lemon juice on my hair, mostly because I have an overachiever of a lemon tree. However, this does not work for travelling since lemon juice needs to be refrigerated. On my past two trips, I’ve traveled with a bottle of apple cider vinegar and use 1/2 cup diluted in water per wash. I am careful to close the bottle tightly.

Carolyn says:

Baking soda makes a nice deodorant but always irritated my underarms. I’ve found that a pea sized amount of baking soda mixed with a little Dr. Bronner’s lotion takes away the baking soda irritation and makes a very effective deodorant. I’ve been using it exclusively for a couple years now and am very pleased.

Kindra says:

Great list and information! Thank you for adding the National Park section.

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

Learn More

Print Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!


Print Now!

Organic Magic Balms Cheat Sheet

Organic Magic Balms – To know them is to love them!