Bar Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet

Like the forgotten middle child, the Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap has languished without a usage cheat sheet for years while the Pure-Castile Liquid Soap and Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner hoarded the attention. No more.

Bar soap afficionados, this one’s for you!

Click here to download a PDF of the Bar Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet.

Whether you champion the bar soap because of cost, packaging, travel convenience or availability, this Bar Soap Cheat Sheet will help you use the bar soap for almost every purpose as the Pure-Castile Liquid Soap.

Using the bar soap for household cleaning takes a few extra steps. However, I know there are those of you out there whose priorities will gladly swap the extra time.

The main reason I’ve delayed on this cheat sheet is because some of the uses, such as the All-Purpose Spray, require that the soap be liquid. Liquifying bar soap is difficult. That bar wants to stay a bar, which in most circumstances is good. You want your bar of soap to stay solid from first unwrap to final sliver. Who wants a mushy mess on their shower shelf?

The entire time I was trying to liquify the bar, I felt that the bar was fighting back.

The bar soap is not directly a solid version of the liquid soap. They’re very close, as you can read about in my Liquid vs. Bar post, but those few differences, which are designed to make the bar soap hard, make the bar soap very difficult to liquify. It doesn’t melt. (Word to the wise: don’t microwave bar soap.) It doesn’t dissolve readily. However, dissolve it I finally did.

What I produced I have named “soap cream.” It is a white, foamy, thick gel, which thickens further the longer it sits. This liquified bar soap is not the same as the Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap. However, it is still soap, cleans well, and disperses in warm water so that it can be diluted for all manner of household applications.

Because the water needed to dissolve the bar soap also dilutes the preservation system, this soap cream will not have the same shelf life as either the bar soap or the liquid soap. After about three weeks, the soap cream thickened so much anyways that it was nearly solid again. I recommend making only as much as you’d use in a couple weeks.

Making Soap Cream

You’d laugh at my first attempt, wherein I plopped a whole bar of soap in a cup of water, just to see what would happen. Hey, if that worked, why make it more complicated? It didn’t work. Here’s what did:

If you have 24 hours:

Dice a bar of soap into ½” cubes. Soak this in 4 cups (960 mL) of water (distilled or reverse osmosis preferred) for at least a day. (In one practice-run, I hit a busy life stretch and let it sit in water for three days. It still worked.) Diced soap in water looks a lot like tofu.

Put the mixture in your blender on low for about 30 seconds or until the soap is fully blended. Do not turn the blender on higher as this will whip excess air into the mixture and increase the volume beyond the capacity of your blender. If you think this process might be too big for your blender, blend half the soap/water at a time. This made 10 – 11 cups of soap cream. Soap Cream looks like beaten, foamy egg whites. Store in air-tight containers. I used mason jars.

If you need it NOW:

This takes more effort on your part, but gets to the end faster with no soak time. Grate a bar of soap on a medium to fine kitchen grater. Combine this with 4 cups (960 mL) warm (not steamy) water in the blender. Blend on low for 30 seconds to a minute.

It is important that the water not be too hot because steam will cause the bubbles in the foam to swell and the volume of your soap cream will increase uncontrollably. When you open your blender, it will continue to grow and pour out all over your counter and down your cabinets and on to your floor. Ask me how I know.

Other forms of Bar Soap mentioned on the Cheat Sheet:

Solid Bar Soap

Some of the purposes on the Bar Soap Cheat Sheet simply use the whole bar. You can rub your washcloth or your toothbrush or your dish brush directly on the bar of soap. I do recommend sectioning off a piece of soap to dedicate for toothbrushing.

Grated Bar Soap

A few usages call for grated bar soap. Use the medium to fine side of a four-sided kitchen grater. Take care not to grate your fingers. I did try using the grating attachment on my food processor. This did not go well. (Cue wide eyes, running footsteps, hiding cats. It was loud and not healthy for my grating attachment.) Keep grated bar soap in an air-tight container. One bar makes about 3 cups (720 mL) of grated bar soap. Grated bar soap looks like cheese.

A few other notes before you get started

If you follow my math listed elsewhere about the soap content of the bar (95%) vs. the liquid (67%), and compare the dilutions of the Bar Cheat Sheet vs. the Liquid Cheat Sheet, the numbers will not match up. I don’t yet have an explanation for that, but I tested these all, and these dilutions are what work best.

All of these are my recommendations from my own experiments using the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar. The ratios can easily be adjusted to suit your needs. If you have another recipe or way of doing something, please share it in the comments below. I’m always learning.

Click here to download a PDF of the Bar Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet.

Bar Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet


HANDS-FACE-BODY: Lather Pure-Castile Bar Soap on wet hands or washcloth. 

MAKEUP REMOVAL: Wet face and lather bar soap on to hands. Massage into skin. Rinse. 

HAIR: Rub wet bar soap into very wet hair. Lather and rinse. Follow with Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Organic Hair Rinse or diluted apple cider vinegar. 

BATH: Add 4 Tbsp. (60 mL) grated bar soap or ½ c. (120 mL) soap cream to running warm bath water. (Doesn’t bubble, but still cleans.) 

SHAVING: Lather bar on area to create creamy foam. Or, cut to fit as a shaving cake in bottom of shaving cup. Whip up lather with wet shaving brush. 

TEETH: Cut a portion of bar to dedicate to toothbrushing. Swipe toothbrush on bar and brush to teeth. Rinse. 

FOOT BATH: Add 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated bar soap in a small tub of very warmwater. Swish to dissolve. 


DISHES (HANDWASHING): Best—Rub dishcloth or brush on bar soap. Or, add 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) grated bar soap or ¼ c. (60 mL) soap cream to about 1 ½ gallons (6 L) very warm running water. Swish to dissolve. 

LAUNDRY: Recommended in hot and warm water only. Not recommended for HE. Use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile or Sal Suds in cold water and HE. 

•Grated bar soap: In a food processor, combine one grated bar of soap with 4 c. (960 mL) baking soda. Pulse to blend. Use ¼-⅓ c. (60-80 mL) per large load. 

•Soap cream: Use ½ c. (120 mL) for a large load. Add ½ c. (120mL) baking soda to wash cycle. 

For either method, add 1 c. (240 mL) vinegar to the rinse cycle. 

HANDWASHING DELICATES: In 1 gallon (4L) cold water, lather bar soap with hands until the water is slightly soapy. Swish garment gently. Let soak 10 minutes. Swish again. Rinse with clean water. Gently press out excess water with a towel. Hang or lay flat to dry. 

MOPPING (WOOD, LAMINATE & STONE FLOORING): Add 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated bar soap or ¼ c. (60 mL) soap cream to1 gallon (4 L) hot water. Dunk mop and wring thoroughly. On wood and laminate, avoid excess water.  

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANING SPRAY: Dissolve ½ c. (120 mL) soap cream in 3 ½ c. (840 mL) warm water. Whisk to blend. For extra antimicrobial, add ¼ tsp. (1.25 mL) tea tree essential oil. 

WINDOWS: Dissolve 1 tsp. (5 mL) soap cream in 1 quart (1 L) warm water in a spray bottle. Spray window and squeegee. Follow with spray of club soda or vinegar/water. Wipe dry. 

TOILET: Spray toilet bowl thoroughly with All-Purpose Spray (above) with optional ¼ tsp. (1.25 mL) tea tree oil added. Sprinkle baking soda on toilet brush, scrub bowl, let sit 10 minutes, flush. 


FRUIT & VEGGIE WASH: Lather bar soap with hands into a bowl of water. Dunk produce and swish. Rinse in clear water.  

DOG WASHING: Wet dog thoroughly. Massage bar in fur to create good lather. Rinse thoroughly. As with people, avoid soap in eyes and water in ears. 

CLEANING MAKEUP BRUSHES: Wet makeup brush thoroughly. Lather soap in hands and massage gently through bristles for 10+ seconds. Rinse and air dry. 

ANT SPRAY (NOT ON PLANTS): Dissolve ½ c. (120 mL) soap cream in 3 ½ c. (840 mL) of water 

Click here to download a PDF of the Bar Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet.

42 thoughts on “Bar Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet

  1. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s products exclusively for about 15 years now. I thought I “knew it all” but love all the tips shared here. Thanks everyone!

  2. I just came across your site as I was searching for plants to use in my recycled washer- grey water garden! Loving all the comments and am going to start using Dr. Bronner’s products! Thank you for all this great info!

    • Hi Paula- Glad to have you as part of the Dr. Bronner’s family! Please reach out if you have any questions.

    • Hi Gia- On its own, the bar soap makes a great hand soap. If you want to make a liquid-ish hand soap out of the bar, I would recommend using a foaming pump dispenser. I haven’t done this, but I would try a 1:1 ratio of the soap cream to water. Or dissolve 1/8 of a bar in 1 ½ cups of water.

  3. Loved the liquid soaps for years! Now I’m trying the baby bar soap to handwash dishes, and I noticed a lot of whitish water spots when they air dry. What might cause that? (I used a sponge or a brush on the bar and then the dishes.)

    • Hi Jane- The spots you are seeing are a reaction between the Castile Soap and the minerals in your water. The Bar Soap is so much more concentrated than the liquid Castile Soap, and you’re noticing the effects of more soap content. Try going a little lighter on the amount of bar soap your using.

  4. Hi Lisa,
    Wonderful posts!
    I have just bought my first bottle of Dr Bronners castile soap. Could you share what is a good recipe mix for handsoap please? i.e. such that it effectively removes germs.

    Also, is the castile liquid soap safe for laundry HE machines if I were to make a laundry detergent out of it?

    Thanks a mil


    • Hi Laks- Welcome to the Dr. Bronner’s family! Castile soap works best in a foaming pump dispenser. Start with a ratio of 1 part soap to 3 parts water and adjust to your preference. We don’t recommend using it in a standard pump as it can squirt out in unexpected directions. For laundry, use 1/4 cup Castile in an HE machine. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the fabric softener compartment to keep clothing soft. The liquid Castile cheat sheet covers the many uses and dilutions:

  5. Hi Lisa,
    I’m slightly off-topic here, but this seemed the closest, most recent post to use: would hair colored with henna be ok with Dr. Bronner products. I know you mentioned with regular hair color, Dr. Bronner’s would open the cuticle too much, but since henna coats the hair, would this be an ok combo?

    • Hi Rachel- I don’t have any personal experience with hennaed hair, but from what I hear, our Castile soap works fine with henna. I believe this is because henna stains, or coats, the hair rather than going into the hair shaft. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

  6. Hi Lisa, I use Dr. Bronner’s soap to wash my hair, but I use the bar because I have hard water. I feel like I spend a lot of time and waste water as I have to re-lather my hands two or three times to get enough soap on my medium-length hair. What are your thoughts on making the soap cream with the bar and using that on my hair? It seems like that would be easier to apply and spread on my hair. Thanks for all that you and everyone at Dr. Bronner’s do to make products that are good for us and the environment!

    • Hi Nikki- I think the soap cream would work well for this. One bar makes a lot, though. You might want to make only half or a quarter bar worth of soap cream. When I wash my hair with bar soap, I wet my hair really well and then rub the bar directly on my hair. The soap cream is a great idea, too, though.

  7. Hi. Could I add isopropyl alcohol to the 18-IN-1 Hemp Peppermint liquid soap and use as an anti-bacterial soap or spray? If so what would the ratio be??? Thank you. E

    • Hi E- You can add a little bit of alcohol to soap, up to 5% of the total solution, but it doesn’t add much benefit. Soap works by bonding with dirt and grime, which is then washed away in the water during rinsing. If soap isn’t rinsed away, it just sits there. So a spray-on hand sanitizer with Castile soap would not work. We do make an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, although we are having trouble keeping it in stock. I wonder if you could also make your own with essential oils, glycerin, and alcohol. I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

  8. I have used Dr. Bronners soap for well over 20 years. I like getting a quality product that is environmentally friendly, fair traded and safe for humans. I am addicted to the peppermint scent. I have not tried any of the other uses listed here but I probably will. I just bought a tube of your shaving soap but have not used it yet. Dr. Bronners products are a perfect example that you get what you pay for.

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  10. I had been using Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint oil liquid soap off and on since 1972. I think it has the truest and most assertive fragrance of all the soaps. I stopped using it, however, because of the plastic factor, in favor of bar soaps–including those I make. I keep a Dr. Bronner’s bar and a grater in a decorative bucket by my toilet and grate it directly into the bowl and swish. I keep another bar by the sink for dish washing.

    I actually came here today to find out the bar-to-liquid conversions to make a laundry recipe I found using liquid soap and here was all this great information on alternative and green uses. I am glad to see that your recipe uses baking soda. I think I will meditate an hour later to grate up a bar to have on hand rather than make up a liquid for ease in storage and longer keeping. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • Hi Gina- This post was written for people like yourself! I’m glad you found it helpful!

  11. This may sound werid but do I actually need to wash off Dr Bronner’s soap? I made a GIY foot balm from coconut oil 1/2 cup, eucalyptus essential oil 6 drops, and Dr Bronner’s eucalyptus soap 1&1/2 tbs. I have been putting it on pretty good before bed then putting on socks for about an hour so it soaks in. I haven’t had to file or sand my feet with winter foot problems since I started using it but then I wondered if I can leave it on and not actually rinse it off.

    • Hi Nicole – Normally, yes, the soap should be rinsed off. I’m not sure what benefit the soap is bringing to the salve, though. What do you think of leaving the soap out? I love the incorporation of the eucalyptus. That sounds fantastic for the feet!

  12. Here is another use, I was surprised not to find. I use the bar soap for their lovely smell in my closet and drawers. When I open the drawers a sweet lovely whiff of lavender greets me.
    Also, I learned a neat trick for cleaning windows using bar soap. Simply slide it over the window and squeegee off. Wet or dry its a streak-free, mess-free experience.
    Take care and keep on being so lovely and cosmic!

    • Hi Alicia- The bar soaps do have a lovely smell! I have not heard of using them to clean glass. I will give that a try!

  13. I would like to add to your suggestions, first reminding pet owners [especially cat owners] that Tea Tree oil & pets don’t mix well … Felines are very susceptible to all Phenols — which are Toxic to them. They can have mild or very severe allergic reactions; even die. It may not happen every time, but as a former Zookeeper & Veterinary Paramedic, plus many decade wildlife rehabber I have seen some truly tragic pet reactions– be careful! _____ Your suggestion for dog washing should probably include using vinegar in the rinse water [avoiding eyes 🙂 ] — On hand wash items, I have been using Dr Bronners with a solution of Hydrogen Peroxide & water. I it is very good for getting white or light colored items ‘whiter’ by a more natural ‘bleaching’ action without a harsh chemical. Items should be tested for color-fastness prior to adding Peroxide. Works very well on items stained by sweat, blood, or urine– if you have pets or kids it’s good to have safe cleaning solution for all those issues! Peroxide can be even added to the dog washing– great for dogs with white markings/coats. ___ I also add Dr Bronners to my toilet tank as a cleaner — Peppermint is a good one which leaves a nice fresh scent when flushing [also adding Peroxide will help whiten the toilet] — keeping in mind the pet caution, Tea Tree would also work well. __ I am older, so bending & getting on my knees to scrub is no fun– I simplify my tub & shower cleaning by scrubbing them after I’ve completed my bathing– I use my old loofahs, facial buffing pads, & old toothbrushes to scrub my tub thoroughly with Dr Bronners while I’m still sitting in it — then rinse the whole thing & myself well. Leaves a perfectly clean tub for the next use. Ditto with the shower– I turn the shower to a warm trickle, scrub the surround walls & glass door with my old scrubbies, then return water to full force to rinse. ____ Bugs & rodents hate Peppermint, so the scent will help deter them both whenever one uses it in a cleaning solution 🙂 Ditto for natural Orange & Lemon oils/cleaners. — Don’t care for spiders? [or even scorpions… I’m thinking TX & SW ] — Use Lavender– arachnids despise it 🙂 ___ Basically, between keeping Dr Bronners soaps plus a spray bottle each of Hydrogen Peroxide & one with vinegar I manage to do most my cleaning. __ Hope you can use my suggestions 🙂

    • Hi Christine- Thanks so much for all these tips! You have some new ones that I’ll need to try myself. I’m glad our soaps have been such help to you – and in so many ways!

  14. I just purchased the hair conditioner. The product is very “thin”,and pours out too fast. I think a cap that is like the one used on the small bottles as in the castle soaps would be better. I have wasted a lot of my product because you have to remove the cap.
    Thank you

    • Hi Claudia- A flip lid for our Citrus Hair Rinse is a great suggestion that I will be sure to share. I usually pour the Citrus Hair Rinse into a small cup and mix with water before using. Another idea: because cap sizes are standardized, you can take the cap off another product – like our 8oz Castile, for example – and put in on the Citrus Hair Rinse bottle.

  15. I love the comment of Dr. Bronner having the advantage of taking his teeth out to brush them! I have brushed my dentures (and mouth) for years with a couple spritzes of diluted Dr. Bronner’s tea tree liquid castile soap on my brush. When i soak my dentures overnight, I use a couple drops of the soap in my water. I do rinse with filtered water and have never been left with a soapy taste in my mouth – only an incredible clean with no chemical film left behind. Thank you for a truly wonderful line of products!

  16. I love Dr Bronner soaps. I lather up with peppermint before going outside in summer heat to garden and it keeps the mosquitoes and gnats away. The Tea tree soap aids in keeping psoriasis at bay. I use both the bar soaps and liquid soaps. I am wondering if there is a way to color mark the different soaps for ID when in the soap dish? Perhaps a color stripe that corresponds to the packaging.
    Anyway, thanks for your soaps and lip balm. Your lip balm is the only one I can use without an allergy reaction.
    Dr Bronner’s products are great!

    • Hi Franne- That’s great that you’re having success with our soaps! We are never going to add artificial colors to our soaps. Perhaps you can cut one of the bars to help identify which is which.

  17. I just LOVE Dr. Bronners. All of it. I”ll be dicing my Dr. Bronners bar soap after I sign off. I love to try new things in the chemical free cleaning world. I’ve dumped all my chemical cleaning arsenal years ago (my husband has since come to my terms, at first he was saying WHAT DO I USE NOW???) ha. They can be trained!
    Love the humor with your posts. Thank you for this one!

  18. What a great article! And thank you for “proofing” the process! (what I would call, ‘good ole clean fun’!)
    The creaminess is so motivating to use!

    Thank you!
    Cheers, Sheila

  19. I use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap for washing my hair, but an apple cider vinegar rinse did not work for me. So I tried washing my hair with the bar soap, then used Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hair Crème as a leave-in conditioner (applied to damp hair), and this combination works well, leaving my hair clean and soft.
    I also use the bar soap to wash my dog, as well as to wash dishes (just rubbing the soap with a dishrag, as you also suggest, rather than liquify or grate the soap). I tried brushing my teeth with bar soap but can’t quite get past the soap taste. I might try adding some mint flavoring or cinnamon to see if that helps.
    Thanks for experimenting with the soap in blenders and microwaves (LOL!), and sharing your findings with us!

  20. Would you consider making sal suds a bar? I really am trying to reduce plastic use and buy it in a gallon. I also use your bar soap for personal washing.

    • Hi Dida- I like the idea of a Sal Suds bar and will definitely share it with our team.

    • Sal Suds Bar, fantastic idea. Not quite as natural as Castile soap, but should leather more for when one needs it. Most likely won’t be anywhere near as popular as “regular” bar soap, but sure will have its uses.

  21. Thank you for this information. I didn’t know I needed or wanted it until I read your post. The more I read and learn about Dr. Bronner’s products the more I like them. Right now I use them mostly for laundry and washing my hair, but I plan to incorporate them into all my cleaning regimens.

    • I recommend keeping a travel -size supply of the liquid soap in your car or bag! It’s perfect for removing accidental beverage spills on clothes or car seats – and for cleaning those drinking glasses in hotel rooms you’re not really sure are clean or not!

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