Clearing Congestion with Peppermint Castile Soap (or Eucalyptus)

Watching my kids suffer through a cold is just one of the hardest things. If there’s any upside to ailments such strep throat or ear infections is that at least there are antibiotics that fix things pretty quickly. But there’s no easy fix for a cold. The recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics have been so mixed lately on the usefulness of decongestants, that they have been no help at all. I generally avoid them. This is where homeopathic remedies come most into play in my household. For the scratchy throat we have honey lemon tea; for the scratchy eyes we have warm, moist washcloths; for the coughs we have humidifiers. For the congestion we have Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint or Eucalyptus Castile soap.

There are two ways to go about this. If they are really young, go with a warm bath – as warm as they can take it – with a good squirt or two of the liquid Peppermint castile soap. The Eucalyptus has some of the same menthol effect as well. Don’t turn on the bathroom vent; let the room get good and steamy. Let them sit in there as long as the water is warm, taking some washcloths and soaking them in the water and laying them over their backs and chests. If they’re old enough, encourage them to blow their noses gently to add to the clearing.

If your children are older and can sit still for several minutes together, here is a remedy that my grandfather himself partook of. Pour hot, steamy water into a bowl. (Do not do this over boiling water, which is too hot and can cause burns.) Add a squirt of liquid peppermint or eucalyptus soap. Have the child lean over the bowl and drape a towel over his or her head and breathe deeply. If you’ve ever given yourself a facial, this is the exact same technique. The nasal passages will open up and drain out.

Then bundle them up nice and warm and send them to bed. A little of the Organic Magic Balm around the nose will help heal any irritation or chap from frequent nose blowing. Prop them up if they’re old enough to keep the drainage coming out the nose and not back down the throat and into the lungs.

30 thoughts on “Clearing Congestion with Peppermint Castile Soap (or Eucalyptus)

  1. I will be going into labor soon and I plan on taking a humidifier to the hospital as I am doing natural delivery. Is it possible to use the peppermint and or lavender Castile soap in a humidifier for aromatherapy purposes?

    • Hi Edith- Congrats on the upcoming arrival of your little one! It would be better to use essential oils in your humidifier, but refer to the manual to be sure that oils won’t have an adverse effect. I don’t see the benefit of using soap in a humidifier.

  2. Is it just the peppermint oil/eucalyptus oil in the soap which is working to aid decongestion or is there something else in the soap itself which is being inhaled?

    • Hi Reese- It is the essential oils in the soap that help alleviate congestion, and not the soap itself.

    • Hi Jenny- The best option for car washing is Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner. Castile soap reacts with minerals in hard water leaving behind a harmless white precipitate of mineral residue. This is particularly noticeable on shiny surfaces, such as a car. Sal Suds doesn’t react with minerals at all, and leaves cars very shiny. Here’s a blog post on car washing:

    • Hi Michelle – I wouldn’t try to put a baby over the steaming bowl, but when my kids had colds as babies (so not fun), I would go into my smallest bathroom and fill the bath tub or sink with steaming hot water and peppermint soap and then just sit in the bathroom with the baby for a while.

  3. Hello Lisa,

    This is my first time buying the Castile soap. Can the Dr. Bronner peppermint soap be used to wash fruits and household items as well??? Or is it for specific uses only??

    Awaiting your for your feedback!


  4. Hello Lisa, I decided one day to try it in place of toothpaste and to my surprise it’s a great alternative. one day when I was in hurry I used a drop of my lavender pump soap. it had kinda of a sweet taste to it. My favorites are the rose, Lavender and peppermint. I carry a 4oz bottle I bought from the Dr. Bronner’s site that I refill. if a place does not have any soap at least I do. I also like that after using the soap in place of the toothpaste my mouth is not left feeling dry. toothpaste must have drying agents. I also used the peppermint liquid soap on my teeth. And I love the

  5. Hi Laura – I do not recommend putting the soap in a neti pot or any other sinus rinsing device. It would be very irritating and hard to rinse out. Our nasal passages are very sensitive to any foreign matter. Stick with the salt solutions that are made for this purpose. When I have a cold, I double the amount of salt, which is pretty intense and eye-watering, but seems to get things cleared out of there.

    All the best,

  6. Hi Lisa,

    Have you ever heard of adding the eucalyptus soap to a saline neti solution for nasal irrigation?

    • This is recommended now, for prevention of Covid-19. The latest research said to put 1/2tsp of baby shampoo into an 8oz. neti pot and rinse. The soap helps in the exact same way that it does for washing your hands. It loosens up foreign materials and germs and makes them slippery, so that you can blow it all out. I was curious if Dr. B’s would work for this purpose, as opposed to J&J. I might try it, but just Dr.B’s Baby. I’m don’t think peppermint or eucalyptus oil would be beneficial for the tender tissue of the sinus.

    • Hi Jessie- I know how much we all are taking extra care these days to keep ourselves and surroundings clean. I would request, though, that you run this idea by a medical professional. We ourselves do not advise using the soap internally. As you indicate, it can irritate sensitive tissues, especially if it is not fully rinsed out.

  7. Catanya & Sarah – I don’t recommend putting the soaps in humidifiers. Some issues are that you’ll end up coating whatever room with soap, which attracts dirt. Over time this could be really bad. Another problem is that if you have a wicking humdifier, the soap might interfere with this process. Perhaps, though, you could add pure peppermint essential oil to the water to have that natural menthol effect.

    All the best,

  8. Can you dilute the castile soaps in the humidifier? Or do they bubble too much…?

  9. Thanks, Sheila! Me, too. When I’m dragging out of bed some mornings, the peppermint soap is what I reach for.

    All the best,

  10. I use the peppermint DR. BRONNER’S FOR MY SHAMPOO and body wash in the shower, its great for aroma therapy. I’ve never felt so invigerated after a shower before! This stuff is great!

  11. @Mary – As you probably know, the peppermint is pretty tingly and intense. I don’t yet use it directly on my 19 month old. However, I would use it in the bath water to help ease congestion. Depending on the sensitivity of the baby’s skin, I would use it as early as he or she can sit up steadily in the tub. It really works.


  12. Hi Weston,

    I’m not on Twitter. I’ll have to look into that one. Thanks for reading!


Leave a Reply

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