Liquid vs. Bar in Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

Liquid vs. Bar

The liquid came first – Peppermint to be exact. Bar soap meandered in a few decades later. While there are hardliners in both camps, the difference between liquid and bar is mostly a matter of personal preference. However, there are some differences between the two.

Liquid vs. Bar

Here are the ingredients side by side for the Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Soap. I chose our simplest soap, which lacks any essential oils, so that the differences are easier to see.

Differences explained

  • Liquid contains more water.
    • Why: There is just enough water in the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soaps to keep them liquid. Any less water and the soap begins to solidify. To test this, leave the cap off your bottle for a day, and you’ll notice the soap’s starting to gel. You can reliquify it with a bit of water. (The thickness, or thinness, of the soap is not due to high water content, but to the consistency of the various oils.)
    • Effect on Performance: None
  • Liquid uses potassium hydroxide to saponify oils; bar uses sodium hydroxide.
    • Why: Hardness – sodium hydroxide produces a harder soap than potassium hydroxide. The purpose of these strong alkalis is to blast apart the oil molecules, separating the glycerin from the fatty acids. The fatty acids then reattach to the sodium or potassium ion, leaving the glycerin and water (hydroxide) free-floating. (Just a sidenote – soap cannot be made any other way. None of these alkalis are left in the soap. Check out the link at the bottom about soapmaking.)
    • Effect on Performance: None
  • Liquid contains palm kernel oil; bar contains palm oil.
    • Why: Saponified palm oil solidifies into a harder bar soap than palm kernel oil is able to.
    • Effect on Performance: Our Castile Bar Soap is slightly more moisturizing. Palm oil contains stearic acid, which some people find to be less drying than the lauric acid found in palm kernel oil.
  • Bar contains salt (NaCl – sodium chloride or table salt).
    • Why: Also serves as a hardener.
    • Effect on Performance: The Bar Soap is slightly more moisturizing. Since our bodies are slightly salty, salt water is gentler on our skin than pure water. Salty soap is, too.

Other differences in formulation

  • How the hemp seed and jojoba oils are added:
    • In the liquid soaps, the hemp seed and jojoba oils are saponified, i.e. turned into soap, along with the coconut and olive oils. However, in the bar soaps, these two oils are added unaltered after the saponification process. This is called “superfatting” the soaps. A while back my brothers tried superfatting the liquids with the hemp seed and jojoba oils, but found that the oils separated out and floated to the top.
    • Effect on performance: Bar soaps produce a creamier lather and are slightly more moisturizing.
  • Amount of essential oils:
    • This is only relevant to the scented soaps (everything except the Baby Unscented). The liquid soap have a higher percentage of the essential oils than do the bar soaps. Once again, the issue at stake is hardness. The bar soaps would soften with that high a concentration of the essential oils.
    • Effect on performance: This is entirely a matter of personal preference. Those who like an intense whiff of scent, and those who are looking for the specific benefits of the particular essential oils, should opt for the liquids. Those who like a little scent, but not too much, the bar soap would be better.

Differences in usage

For all body applications, they are entirely interchangeable – from washing face, hair, or body, or shaving. For around the house purposes, you would need to take the extra step of dissolving the bar soaps in water before using them in a spray bottle solution, but they are equally effective. Also, the bar soap can be grated to achieve a kind of powdered soap for laundry, although the liquid works just as well.

Volume of actual soap

I don’t know how to de-math this, but people who put together their own recipes for cleaners might want to know this. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soaps are 5% water; Liquid Castiles are 61%. The chemistry is a little different for both, but considering that a bar of soap weighs 5 oz, and thus 4.75 oz of it is soap, you would need 12.18 ounces (a little over 1 ½ c.) of liquid soap to equal the soap content of a 5 oz bar. Doing the math the other way, 1 cup of liquid soap equals approximately 2/3 of a bar (or 3.64 oz.) of Dr. B’s Bar Soap.

Bottom line

The Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar and Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps are interchangeable. However, the bars are slightly more moisturizing. The liquids are slightly more scented.

If you want more info on the process of soapmaking, check out this article, Making the Best Soap. And here’s a video tour of our Liquid Soap Production Factory and one of our Bar Soap Production Line.

If you have any other questions about what is in the soap and why or where it is sourced and why or anything else, let me know!

Wondering how to use the Pure-Castile Liquid & Bar Soaps for personal care and house care? You may find these blog posts helpful.

This use and many more are in my book, Soap & Soul: A Practical Guide to Minding Your Home, Your Body, and Your Spirit with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, available now in hardback on or at your favorite bookseller, and as an eBook and audiobook (read by me!) from wherever you download or listen.  

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Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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


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Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!


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beth koskoski says:

Hi Lisa: My husband has a terrible bacterial infection on his nose. He is on an antibiotic ointment but that treatment is not working for the redness at the tip of his nose. I am about to purchase your castile soap. Do you think it would help. Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Beth – I have no idea if the soap can help clear up an infection, but keeping the area clean and unirritated by residues is probably helpful. Run the idea behind your doctor. I would start with the Tea Tree.

Taylor says:

Hi Lisa, I recently purchased the bar to use for my 18mo old son. I was really happy with how it lathered and seemed moisturizing. The first use was fine, but last night he broke out in a strong rash after his bath (it was the second or maybe third time we used it). Do you think there is an ingredient he could be sensitive to? We previously used Mustela and didn’t have any problems, I was just trying to clean out our products to include more natural ingredients and less chemicals. Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Taylor – Although no ingredient in our soap is a common allergen, there is always the possibility for sensitivity. Which bar did you use?

LynWilson says:

Hello Lisa,

I have a recipe that calls for 2 cups grated soap, can I substitute a cup of your liquid soap instead of grating for 20 minutes including shredded skin?!
It’s for liquid laundry detergent?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lyn – I’ve heard of people using the grating attachment on a food processor, but I haven’t tried it. You can definitely interchange the two, but it is not a 1 to 1 exchange. Bar soaps are 5% water, while the liquid soaps are 61% water. The chemistry is a little different for both, but considering that a bar soap is 5 oz., and thus 4.75 oz. of non-water soap, you would need 12.18 ounces of liquid soap to equal the non-water content of a 5 oz. bar. The number I don’t know off the top of my head is how many cups of grated soap do you get from one bar. Does the recipe you’re looking at happen to say how many bars it would take to get that 2 cups?

Virginia says:

Hello . Was wondering was I still the best essence in bar soap for washing your face. Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Virginia – The Tea Tree castile is very good for balancing skin on the face. If you do not have any skin difficulties, you could use any of the scents that you like. The Peppermint can be a bit intense, though, for the face. Almond, Citrus and Lavender are my favorites.

James Brooks says:

Does the liquid soap rinse as well as the bar. Any liquid soap I have used in the past other brands, don’t rinse well. Leaving a slippery feeling. Now if I can get my 2 local Walgreens stores to stock up I’d be set or do you know where I can get a decent case price

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi James – The Liquid Castile is very clean rinsing. It does not take a lot of effort to get it to rinse off. I, too, get super frustrated when I use other products and spend longer rinsing than I did washing. Look around online for the best prices on the scent you’re looking for. Walgreens does carry it as well. Our website has a 15% off monthly special as well,, with free shipping at $35.

Vicky says:

Hello, Liz. Please help me out. I have googled everywhere and the little info out there varies a lot, so I figured I should go to an expert. 🙂 How many cups of grated soap equal one bar? I’d really appreciate your help!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Vicky – I am sorry, I haven’t measured the volume of a grated bar of soap.

Can another reader weigh in on this??

Amory says:

I read in one of your responses that the pH of the bar soap is about 10, but skin has a natural pH of 5. How does the bar soap not dry out your skin?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Amory – The bar soaps are superfatted, which means that oils are added to them that mimic the natural oils of your skin – namely hemp and jojoba. These have a fatty acid profile that is quite similar to what naturally occurs in our skin. These nourish the skin and leave a super smooth after feel.

Caitlyn says:

Hi Lisa!

I’ll be going on a 3 month trip backpacking trip soon and will be exclusivley hand washing my clothes (with a Scrubba laundry bag using ~1gallon of water per load) so as to save money and space in my pack. I’d like to use Dr. Bronner’s soap for both body wash and laundry but am having trouble choosing liquid or bar!

Is it a must to add washing and/or baking soda to the bar soap for an effective wash? Or could I grate off just a bit of the bar as I go for each wash?

And how much liquid soap do you think I would need for one small hand wash load (~1gallon of water)?

Thank you so much! I’m excited to become a Castile soap convert. 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Caitlyn – Ack! I’m sorry I’m late on responding. I was on vacation myself. If you haven’t left yet, I hope my thoughts will still be of help. No, the baking soda is not a must. You can absolutely wash with just the castile. Both the bar and the liquid will work, but the trick is getting the bar to dissolve. It’s somewhat intentional that it doesn’t dissolve quickly in water so that it doesn’t turn to mush in the corner of people’s showers, but that means that getting it to dissolve in laundry can be a bit of challenge. If you can grate it into a powder, that would be great, or if you can rub it on the clothes, that would work well, too. In general the bar is better for traveling since there’s no risk of spillage and it is more concentrated, so it has some definite advantages. Both are great, though.

Stephanie says:

Hi Lisa- Where can I find the 4-digit Julian code on products other than the bar soap? Is it in the UPC label? If so, is it the first 4 digits of the second number? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Stephanie – It’s actually lasered onto the bottle near the bottom – not on the label. It’s easier to see if you hold the bottle in the light.

Kelley says:

That doesn’t make sense. You can’t superfat bar soap after saponification. The sodium hydroxide is added to all the oils and if you include a 5% superfat it doesn’t discriminate as to what oils remain as free oils. So you can’t be sure. Although some oils have higher unsaponifiable values.
As for the liquid, it’s easier to superfat after saponification as long as you use an emulsifier.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kelley – I’m glad you brought this up. I love talking soap chemistry! In order to make sure it is the hemp and jojoba oils that remain unsaponified in the bar soaps, we don’t add them until after the saponification reaction is finished between the sodium hydroxide and the coconut, palm, and olive oils. For the liquid soaps, because we do not use an emulsifier, we cannot superfat the soap or else the unsaponified oils would separate out.

Alicia says:

I read that one can brush teeth with a single drop of the liquid, could I also run a toothbrush over a bar of Castile a couple of times and use it to brush with? Also, is it as effective as toothpaste, if not, in what ways does it differ? Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Alicia – Yes, you can definitely brush your teeth with our Castile soaps via either of the two methods you mentioned. Compared to toothpaste, there are a range of responses from customers on this, but the clearest difference is that it does taste like soap. Honestly, I’ve never used the soap exclusively for a long enough period of time to compare it to toothpaste. It is a great option for if you’re camping or in some other situation where you don’t want to carry a lot of gear (or if you forgot your toothpaste). The Castile does a great job in such instances. However, our toothpastes ( taste much better, and I use them exclusively and my dentist says my teeth are in great shape.

Beth says:

So this is the first time this has ever happened to me. I am a long-time user of Dr Bronner’s liquid and bar Castile soaps. I have a small bottle of the baby mild liquid soap and it congealed. Why did this happen and how do I fix it!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Beth – This is common if the cap is left open, even a little bit, and the water content in the soap evaporates. There is just enough water in the soap to keep it liquid, so if any of it evaporates, the soap starts to solidify. Just add a bit of water back into it and let it sit for a while. It will reliquify.

Doreen Henry says:

I object to your labeling!! Pure Castile soap contains OLIVE OIL as the ONLY oil. Long ago Castile soap was made with olive and or laurel oil. The word PURE in your case is really offensive. What your soap contains does not even stretch a point as “Bastille” soap. Bastille soap usually contains 80% olive oil in the oil list. You list Coconut oil as you first ingredient. If it were even to be Bastille soap OLIVE OIL WOULD BE YOUR FIRST OIL. What a con game. Jojoba and Hemp oil are lovely ingredients to moisturize. Coconut and Palm oils add lather and cleansing qualities. HOWEVER check other bar soaps and you will see that coconut and palm oil almost always listed. Coconut oil can be very drying and must be used in moderation for a soap to be gentle. You are charging Major Dollars for ordinary soap. Go to a soap maker and get real Castile soap. There will be a big difference.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Doreen – Thanks for writing. I am sorry to hear that our labels distressed you. I love discussing the oils in our soaps, as they are all carefully chosen for their unique contributions. You are absolutely right that the origin of Castile soap is from the Castilla region of Spain, where they were originally made from olive and laurel oils. The term Castile differentiated them from the common homemade soaps which were made from animal fats such as tallow or lard. The term is still used to differentiate vegetable based from animal based soaps. We do add the coconut and palm oils because they conribute that lovely creamy lather you mention, and the olive, hemp, and jojoba oils add the nourishing moisture. Hemp in particular almost exactly mirrors the fatty acid profile in our skin, leaving a super soft afterfeel. Our Unscented Baby-Mild soaps contain twice the amount of olive oil in ratio to the other oils. The term Pure emphasizes that our soaps contain nothing extra or unnecessary – no fillers, thickeners, emulsifiers, synthetics, or petroleum byproducts. It is pure and simple soap.

James says:

I’ve used pure olive oil soaps, and I can’t say I’m impressed.
I’ve used pure coconut oil soaps, and while I love the lather, they are a little harsh on the skin.
Dr. Bronner’s “Baby Mild” is a happy balance: great lather, and not harsh at all. I would not call it “ordinary”.

Doreen, I get where you’re coming from, but I’m finding that in the 21st century, the term “castille” pretty much means vegetable rather than animal fats, regardless of whether the source is olive, coconut, etc. Unfortunately, language changes over time, a great example of which is the common meaning today of the word “gay” as compared to fifty years ago.

Sherlyn says:

Hi Lisa,
Am just wondering if the liquid soap can be used on my 5 year old and 7 year old? Would it be too harsh on their skin?

Barbara Ladner says:

I’m interested in getting away from detergent body washes, because of reports that they have a much bigger ‘carbon footprint.’ However, we had a problem with soap scum (and the mildew that grows on it) when we used bars. How is Dr. Bronner’s on the ‘soap scum’ front? How does its carbon footprint compare to detergent body washes? (I understand that shipping costs might be an issue, but I’m willing to consider that a ‘wash’ (sorry!), since I understand that Castile soaps can be made to go a long way.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Barbara – Good for you for looking into all this! Soap scum is dependent on the hardness of the water, as it is really a reaction between the minerals in the water and the soap. It isn’t leftover soap residue, as the name falsely implies. (You probably know all that, but just for others I’ll include it.) We have moderately hard water here in southern California. A week or so after my sinks have been clean, I start to notice that the shine is gone due to soap scum, but a quick wipe with a washcloth lifts it away. I’ve never noticed mildew growing on it. Because our soaps are concentrated, they do go a long way, which means less money spent, less packaging spent, less of a footprint. Also, because part of our mission is to “Treat the Earth like home”, the company as a whole is working in that direction as well. Check out this article on our webpage that discusses all of that: Fun stuff!

Rosemary (Scotland) says:

Hi Lisa
I have noticed recently that the soap bars I have had recently don’t smell as strong as they did before. I don’t really like soap to be too strong but they used to have a very delicate fragrance. Now I can only smell the soap base and a very slight hint of perfume that I can hardly identify.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Rosemary – I’m sorry to hear that! The concentration of the essential oils in the formula have not changed, but of all the ingredients, the essential oils are the most naturally variable. There are so many factors that can affect their pungency, such as growing climate variations from year to year and rainfall. There are some factors that can affect the strength of the essential oil after they’re made as well: if the soaps are stored in a warm or moist environment, if they’ve sat on the store shelves for a long time. There is a Julian date on each bar of soap that we make (every product actually). The first 4 numbers tell you the date of manufacture – the first number gives the year (e.g. a “7” would indicate 2017) and the next three numbers tell you the day of the year out of 365. So 7001 would have been made on January 1, 2017. We give our soaps a shelf life of 3 years, under reasonable storage conditions. The soap is still fine after that point, but usually the scent has started to fade. Check and see how long your supplier is keeping the product in stock before selling it.

Phil says:

Hi Lisa,

I was quite interested in finding out what process is used to make your bar soaps. Specifically I was wondering if they are cold process?

FYI I tried the link to the soap making overview and got a 404 error.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Phil – Thanks for your interest! Our bar soaps are made by a “triple-milled” process, meaning that after the soap is made, it is dried into crystals, then rolled at least three times between large stainless steel rollers until a paste is formed. The resulting paste is then pressed into soap molds, and the triple milled bar soap is created. It is a mesmerizing process that I love to watch!

Thanks for the heads up on the link. I updated it to the correct one,

Nick says:

Some sites online state that triple-milling soap removes the glycerin. Is this true? Does Dr. Bronner’s process require that glycerin be added back to the soap during milling?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nick – Our triple milling process does not remove the glycerin. The glycerin is a naturally occuring byproduct of the soapmaking reaction, and we leave it in. Some manufacturers remove it in order sell it separately. We leave it in and don’t add more.

Lisa Bronner says:

Time for true confessions, folks. It is February 9, 2017, and I have missed several months of comments for the simple reasons that things went a little crazy around here. I very much apologize. I am tackling them now for the sake of those faithful and new readers who might actually read them all. I am going to start with the most recent. Bear with me.

Caralyn says:

I just wanted to share my recipe for turning bar soap into body wash and laundry powder.

Body wash : 1 bar of soap, grated
3 litres of water
2 tablespoons of glycerin
Add the grated soap to 3 litres of water. Let it simmer until all the soap has melted. Turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of glycerin. Mix well and cover. Set aside for 24 hours to set. Mix well and fill pump bottles.
I use this for my body wash and hand wash. If it gets a bit thick just shake it up or add a little water if needed.
Store remaining body wash in a sealed container. I use an ice cream container.

Laundry powder : 1 bar of soap, grated
4 cups of baking soda
3 cups of washing soda
Pulse the grated soap in a food processor with some of the baking soda to make the soap finer.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. I use 1 tablespoon per wash (2 if it’s a dirty/heavy load). I mix it with a bit of water first then add the machine. I have a front loader. I also use vinegar as fabric softener. It prevents the machine from getting clogged aswell.

Andry Paez says:

Hi! I was just wondering what the pH level are on these 2 products, more specifically, if they are the same or not

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Andry – The pH of our liquid castile soaps is 9.75-10. The pH of our bar soap is 10.0 – 10.5.

Phil says:

Because, as part of the saponification chemical reaction, it is completely dissipated from the product.

Veronica says:

Hi Lisa,
Thank you so much for your time and fountain of information! I clean primarily with Dawn (original), baking soda, and vinegar. Baking soda in the Dawn, rinse with water, spritz with vinegar. Or spray bottle with vinegar and a tiny amount of Dawn. I would like to convert to using Bronners, what would you suggest? Replace the Dawn? Mix with BS & vinegar ok?? Thank you!
(Previous submission had wrong email, sorry!)

Veronica says:

Hi Lisa,
Thank you so much for your time andf ountain of information! I clean primarily with Dawn (original), baking soda, and vinegar. Baking soda in the Dawn, rinse with water, spritz with vinegar. Or spray bottle with vinegar and a tiny amount of Dawn. I would like to convert to using Bronners, what would you suggest? Replace the Dawn? Mix with BS & vinegar ok?? Thank you!

Craig says:

Hi Lisa, what percentage of hemp oil would you estimate makes up the Bronner’s bar soaps?

Joy says:

Hi! I just purchased one of your bar soaps. I understand that we are required to add water to the castille liquid soap before using it. Are we supposed to do that or can we use the bar soap directly for shower?

Shauna Bradley says:

Hi Lisa,
I’ve been using the liquid castile soap for years and I love it, however when using it in the shower, in order to get a nice lather out of a few drops, I have to use a plastic mesh shower puff. I’d much prefer to use something not made from plastic.
I recently crocheted a cotton shower puff but when I attempted to use it I ran out of soap on it and I had to end up using so much more. Can you think of any solution to this?
Appreciate any help you can provide!

Anna says:

Hello. I recently purchased a 2-ounce travel-size soap. It was not sealed. This surprised me as all of the other bottles, albeit larger sizes, that I have purchased in the past have been sealed. Are the travel-size bottles sold unsealed? Thank you in advance.

ZF says:

Hi, I found on few website that the liquid soap was use by some as toothpaste. Would it be the same thing using a bar soap? And is it actually safe? Thanks

paul says:

I bought a large container of Dr. B liquid soap and it seems to be too thin for my usual soap pump. Are the Dr. B pump soaps the same consistency as the liquid soaps, or are those thicker to suit the pump mechanism? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Paul – We formulated the Pump Soaps because there was so much customer call for soaps that worked in pumps. As you’ve seen, our Pure Castile soaps do not. They are the wrong consistency and changing that requires a good bit of reformulation. That’s how we ended up with the Pump Soaps. The Pure Castile soaps also inevitably clog the pump by drying out in them and creating a blockage that squirts the soap out in unexpected directions. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, just take my word for it. It’ll undoubtedly happen to the next person you have over that you’re trying to impress. I speak from experience.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mark – I love talking about density! No, the bar soap does not float. Its density is slightly higher than that of water, so it sinks. The only bar soap that I know of that floats is Dove because it has air whipped into it. Just out of curiosity, why do you ask?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Donal – Yes, they’re safe for psoriasis and the Eucalyptus and Tea Tree have gotten customer feedback saying that they may even alleviate some of the symptoms.

Tandy Cummings says:

I have a question. Do all of your soaps contain citric acid? I have a severe reaction to it, as well as most other chemicals.
Thank you!

Tandy Cummings says:

Thank you so much for getting back to me. I react to most products so I have to be very careful about trying something new. I appreciate you researching this for me.
Thanks again,

Sarah Banas says:

The palm kernel oil in your liquid soap, is it sourced from Ghana or Equador?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sarah – Our palm kernel oil comes from Ecuador and is sourced through Natural Habitats, which is certified under IMO’s Fair for Life, the most rigorous Fair Trade and sustainable certification in the world. Fair for Life also certifies Dr. Bronner’s. You didn’t ask, but since you got me started, check out this new venture from Natural Habitats called “Palm Done Right” about how palm oil production can happen without destruction to the environment, habitat loss, or worker exploitation: Our palm oil, which we use in our bar soaps, is from our sister company Serendipalm, located in Assoum, Ghana. You can check out more about that awesome operation here:

Kathy says:

My question has disappeared, so I will retype it: Can the liquid Dr. Bronner’s soap still be used in the garden? I noticed that palm kernel oil has been added to the ingredient list, so I just wanted to make sure that the liquid soap is still usable as insecticidal soap, or just as part of grey water on plants. It doesn’t have sodium, as the bar soap does, so I know people that used the old formulation in the garden. Thanks for your help.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kathy – The Palm Kernel Oil does not affect its use in the garden. It’s still safe for grey water systems.

Kathy says:

I didn’t see you mention a major difference between the two soaps, which is that the liquid soap does not contain sodium, and so can be used outdoors or in the garden. At least I am hoping this is still true, because now I see that palm kernel oil has been added to the liquid soap, so I hope it does not affect use outdoors near plants or in the garden.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kathy – Great point! Thanks for bring that up. As water shortages increase, many people are looking to grey water systems. We had our soaps certified for grey water system safety quite a few years ago. I have the certificates if you’d like to see them. Email me at

Doris M.Bell says:

Which soap should I use for delicate clothes such as bras, panties, & items such as these ?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Doris – I prefer to use our Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner for these delicate items. It is very mild and super clean rinsing, which is best for delicate items, especially those which contain elastic.

Ahmed Safaa Eldin Ataiw says:

What kind of process used to make the bar soap? Is it cold process or melt and pour, or other?!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there – Our bar soaps are made by a “triple-milled” process, meaning that after the soap is made, it is dried into crystals, then rolled at least three times between large stainless steel rollers until a paste is formed. The resulting paste is then pressed into soap molds, and the triple milled bar soap is created.

Sanjay Rajvanshy says:

Can i use Dr Bronner castile Bar soap on my hair directly ?? Which is the best castile bar soap between Citrus orange & peppermint ?

After washing with the Bar soap , should i need to compulsory use hair rinse ?? When can i use style creme ??

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sanjay – There is so much here that is specific to hair type. There are many people out there who don’t use anything but the soap on their hair and have for years. The bar soap cleans just as well as the liquid. My preference for the liquid is really a time thing – it takes a lot longer to work enough soap off the bar and into my hair to get a good lather. But I have really long hair. My boys and husband, on the other hand, use only the bar and lather from head to toe all at once and are good to go. As for a rinse, if you need it, use it. If you find afterwards that your hair feels slightly tacky, even when dry, or isn’t as smooth as it should be, the problem is probably that you need the pH balancing of the acidic hair rinse. Instead of the hair rinse, a 50% solution of apple cider vinegar has a similar effect. Again, my husband and boys do not need the hair rinse and are fine with the soap alone.

There are so many different types of hair out there that it definitely takes some experimentation. Good luck!

Jenn Pritchard says:

Do your bottles come sealed? I recently ordered hair rinse and the bottled came unsealed and had leaked in the packaging. I wondered if it was still safe to use or if I should throw it away.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jenn – I’m so sorry to hear this and that I didn’t see this sooner! Please contact our webstore and they will fix the shipment. The soap bottles have an induction seal, but the hair rinse only have a foam insert. I’m not sure why that is.

Juliana says:

Hello! Recently I got some liquid organic castile soap and I was wondering weather I can transform it into bar soap.

I would love to make some lovely organic bar soaps and I don`t know how to make them. Could you please advice me. Many thanks and regards.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Juliana – Because the ingredients in the liquid soap are not conducive to hardening fully, it is not really possible to create a bar soap out of it. I have never made homemade bar soaps, although there a plethora of recipes online to do so. I’m sorry not to be of more help.

Perhaps other readers here have some suggestions?

Joanne T. Schunter says:

HI Lisa,

I’m wondering if Dr. Bonner’s glycerin soap can be used to clean waxed or oiled canvas luggage without damaging the finish. The luggage in question is Filson.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Joanne – I don’t have experience with this and I don’t want to lead you wrong. If the manufacturers instructions say something about using a “mild soap or detergent”, then our Castile or Sal Suds would be an excellent choice.

tee says:

Is there enough essential oil in your soaps… lavender, tea tree, orange, peppermint to “kill” germs or do I need to add more oils for this effect when using it for household uses?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tee – None of the essential oils in our soaps are strong enough alone to kill bacteria outright. However, the soap itself is your main warrior here. Soap gets rid of bacteria by attaching to it and water and getting it rinsed away. If you’d like an extra antibacterial punch, add 1/2 tsp. of pure essential tea tree oil. Killing germs is not so much the need as getting rid of them. This is because attempting to kill all germs is backfiring tremendously as shown by the well-documented rise of antibacterial resistant superbugs. Here’s one of many articles on this: Hope this helps!

tee says:

Thank you for your reply, Lisa. You are correct, I do NOT want to kill ALL bacteria as there are healthy bacteria. The healthcare profession still uses alcohol or other agents constantly that do kill bacteria before and after patient care. I do a LOT of yard work, clean my toilets, take care of my children then they are ill and pick up dog waste, albeit, with a bag, but I do not want to potentially get “bad” bacteria where it becomes a potential risk to my family’s health. I will keep a small container of your soap and add additional tea tree oil for cleaning my hands and toilets at times when I feel there is possible health risk. Thanks again! 🙂

James Chen says:

I think Lisa is correct that everyday use of antibacterial substances will do more harm for the general public. Not only that this facilitates the formation of drug resistant bacterias, the lack of exposure to bad bacteria can have negative effect on immune systems – and this is especially true for young kids. (You may like to read up on the topic of “hygiene hypothesis”)

Healthcare professionals use alcohol to clean their hands because they not only work with patients with contagious diseases, but also with patients who are more volnerable to these diseases, so the benefit of using alcohol to wash their hands would outweigh the risks. However, this is very different from most scenarios that the general public would encounter at home.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Karen – Yep! It’s a great option for dogs.

Anne says:

I’ve heard that glycerine can be drying/irritating. I have very sensitive skin. You note that glycerine is in the soap but it’s not listed in the ingredients.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Anne – Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the soapmaking reaction. Here’s how it gets there: soap is made from oils, coconut, olive, and palm oils in our case. An oil molecule is made up of three fatty acid chains attached to one glycerin molecule. During the soapmaking reaction, the fatty acids are blasted off of that glycerin backbone by a strong alkali, such as sodium or potassium hydroxide. The fatty acids combine with the sodium or potassium, forming a soap molecule. The hydroxide ion forms water, and the glycerin is left free floating. It’s not listed in our ingredients because we don’t add it. It’s part of the oils that are listed in the ingredients. Some soapmakers drain off this glycerin and sell it separately, but we prefer to leave it in there because it actually makes for a much softer afterfeel. It will not irritate or dry your skin.

chiane says:

Hi lisa!
I have a bar of your soap here and I’m trying to figure out how to make it liquid. To use as a body wash for my babies. I boiled water but the chips didn’t melt all the way. Also wondering, is vegetable glycerin really nessacary? Or if I continue to boil water to melt them down until they are, is that fine too?? I don’t really know what I’m doing just trying to get a body wash made that I can add lavender and frankincense too. Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Chiane – Funny you should mention this because I was just trying to do this myself. Like you, I discovered that it’s really hard to liquify our bar soap! I had to add over 6 times the amount of water as that of the soap and I still had to boil it a long time and let it sit overnight. Even then, when it cooled, it didn’t really stay liquid. it gelled up a lot. It probably could have used some more diluting. So, all this to say, liquifying the soap is not a terribly easy thing to do, but it is still possible. If it does end up being too much work for you, check out our liquid Pure Castile soaps.

James Chen says:

This is what I have done and it seems to work well for me: I cut the bar soap into little pieces, add around 20 times the water by weight and soak the pieces of soap for a while, then use a blender to turn it into liquid soap. It seems to me that the liquid soap made this way will start to smell different in about a month under room temperature, so if I make more than what I would use within a few weeks I would store the rest in the refrigerator.

Lauren says:

Listed above it shows that the liquid baby unscented soap does not have palm kernel oil, but when you search the product on your website, palm kernel oil IS listed as one of the ingredients. I am wondering which is true? Thanks again!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lauren – Thanks for pointing that out! I’m the one who is out of date. I wrote this four years ago and we just started adding palm kernel oil to our soaps this year. If palm oil or palm kernel oil gives you pause, check out how we’re sourcing it ethically and sustainably through our Fair Trade sister company Serendipalm in Ghana. Good stuff is happening here:

Brisita says:

Hi Lisa! I clicked on the link you provided about where you guys source the palm oil, but it gives me a blank page. I would like to read about it. Can you please repost a link that would work? Thank you so much!


JZ says:

Hi Lisa, I’ve heard that castile soap can clog HE washers’ feeder hose. Would Dr. Bronner’s castile soap damage HE washers? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi JZ – I am relying on word of mouth here since I don’t have an HE machine. Other customers have said that they have used it with no problem as long as vinegar is included in the rinse cycle. Because of my local hard water, I opt for Sal Suds in the laundry, and this doesn’t have the hard water issue that the castile soap does. Use 1-2 Tbsp.

About Lisa Bronner

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

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Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

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