Dr. Bronner's

My Favorites – Get to Know the 8 Castile Scents

Castile Soap Scents

It’s been twelve years since I originally wrote this in 2010 and I have a few more things to say about the different scents! I’ve learned more about their history, and I’ve had my own different experiences with them. I hope you learn something new here, too!

Overview of the Castile Soap Scents Line

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps came from a family formulation that was launched by my grandfather’s grandfather in 1858 in Laupheim, Germany. My grandfather was Emanuel Bronner, and his grandpa was Emanuel Heilbronner (the Heil was dropped in order to distance from the “Heil Hitler” association of World War II.) After his apprenticeship, Emanuel Heilbronner passed his examination to become a master soapmaker (literally in German “soap boiler”) and received authorization from King Wilhelm I to begin making soap. Five generations later, we are still making soap.

The base of the Pure-Castile Soap is a blend of olive, coconut, palm or palm kernel, hemp, and jojoba oils. The Castile Liquid is made with palm kernel oil and the Castile Bar with palm oil. For more on our use of palm oil, read my deep dive “Making Ethical Palm Oil a Reality.” For more on differences between the Liquid and Bar Pure-Castile Soaps, read my comparison “Liquid vs. Bar.”

All of the Castile Soaps have the same soap base, with the only difference being the essential oils that are added. But what a difference the essential oils make! The exception is the Baby Unscented Castile, which not only has no essential oils, but also a different ratio of oils in the liquid, as I explain below.

Those of you who have been with us for a while may remember when the Rose and Citrus were the newbies. You may even remember the paper labels, which were great until they got wet!

If you haven’t come across the full range of scents, check out the Store Locator over on the Dr. Bronner’s site (select Filter and select scent or size), or you can readily find them on many online retailers as well as our own webstore. An easy way to try the range is to pick up a set of the 2 oz. bottles or the bars. These also make a great gift set. For the Liquid Soap scents I use the most, I keep a gallon on hand to refill my 8 oz. bottles, which is a great way to reduce plastic usage.

So here’s all the scents, in their order of debut, as well as where you’ll find them in my house and what I use them for.

These are my preferences only! I know I’m in the vast minority with my Peppermint Castile opinion since it’s our number one selling product by far! Feel free to share your preferences and what you use them for.

Peppermint Scent

If someone only knows one Dr. Bronner’s Castile scent, it’s usually the Peppermint. This is the original scent my grandfather began selling in 1955, though he had been making it and giving it out for free for a while before then. The zest! The tingle! It’s been described as a snowman hug, a York peppermint patty in your underwear, the lovechild of an apothecary and a magician. Still the company’s best seller by far—the Peppermint wakes you up and cools you down. Peppermint was Dr. Bronner’s personal favorite, as well as that of my parents, Trudy and Jim Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s youngest child).

  • Label Color: Royal Blue
  • Debut year: 1955
  • Scent in one word: Refresh!
  • Scent personality: Cooling, tingling, and refreshing. A knock-your-socks-off powerful minty burst.
  • Where I use it most: Peppermint is my go-to scent at the end of a hot day—after a workout or the beach or working in the garden. A shower with the Peppermint makes me feel like I’ve molted!

Almond Scent

Two decades later, along came the Almond. This is my all-time favorite for personal care. The Almond is mellow and soothing, like a cup of tea in a comfy chair. The perfect way to ease into or out of the day. The Almond is ultimate companion soap: It blends well with everything. Citrus & Almond, Peppermint & Almond, Rose & Almond. It’s a friend to all. Maybe it’s my favorite because I aspire to the same thing.

  • Label Color: Emerald Green
  • Debut year: 1975
  • Scent in one word: Comfort!
  • Scent personality: Warm and cozy like marzipan or amaretto. Wraps you in a protective and buffering blanket against the world’s agitations.
  • Where I use it most: Every day in the shower, head to toe, for my hair, my face, my body.

Eucalyptus Scent

The Eucalyptus and the Lavender debuted the same year, but could hardly be more different. Though lesser known in the Dr. Bronner’s lineup, the Eucalyptus has fierce devotees. This is the favorite of my brother Mike Bronner (President of Dr. Bronner’s). When my brothers and I were growing up, my dad mixed Eucalyptus with Peppermint for what he called the Euco-Peppo Bear Wash to bathe our dogs.

  • Label Color: Brown
  • Debut year: 1978
  • Scent in one word: Invigorate!
  • Scent personality: Adventurous and woodsy, capturing the wild freshness of a forest.
  • Where I use it most: This soap lures me outdoors and I love taking it camping. I still wash my dogs with it, like my dad. It is my backup facial soap, after the Tea Tree, when my skin is imbalanced.

Lavender Scent

Refined but passionate, our Lavender is no flimsy floral flash, but is lush and spiced, rich with cultivation. If there’s any scent which has been misrepresented most by synthetic copycats, it is lavender. This is no lightweight, but penetrates deep. The Lavender was the favorite of my Uncle Ralph Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s oldest son.) 

  • Label Color: Lavender
  • Debut Year: 1978
  • Scent in one word: Calm
  • Scent personality: Rich yet relaxing, calming while passionate, actively soothing.
  • Where I use it most: Guest bathroom for foaming hand soap, bedding, gifts to new parents.

Baby Unscented

My grandfather received a request from the maternity ward at the UCLA Medical Center for a version of the Castile Soap that would be ideal for newborns’ delicate skin. The result was the Baby Unscented Castile with no essential oils and, in the liquid, double the amount of olive oil in the ratio blend. Olive oil is especially nourishing and mild to our skin. The label was originally light pink but later changed to light blue.

  • Label Color: Light Blue
  • Debut Year: 1979
  • Scent in one word: Soothe
  • Scent personality: Mild and gentle, the lack of essential oils means that all you will smell is some of the naturally occurring olive oil. And since you can add your own essential oils, this is the scent of endless potential!
  • Where I use it most: When I want to customize a scent with my own essential oils for personal or body care. For my garden spray for pests since it doesn’t flavor the herbs and vegetables. In gifts to new babies or to those with skin sensitivities.

Tea Tree Scent

Early in his tenure leading the company, my brother David Bronner (now CEO—Cosmic Engagement Officer) developed the Tea Tree Castile. Research was pouring in about this native Australian plant’s success in the treatment of acne, fungal infections, and general antimicrobial action. This soap accompanied me on my journey out of adult-onset acne. While all of the Castile Soaps do a superb job removing makeup and leaving skin clean and residue-free, the Tea Tree is my favorite for this. When combined with the Eucalyptus, it is a compellingly clean scent for anyone who thinks that green cleaners lack that convincing aromatic punch of conventional cleaners.

  • Label color: Bright Orange
  • Debut year: 1998
  • Scent in one word: Restore!
  • Scent personality: Woodsy and herbal, with notes of pine, this is a therapeutic and cleansing scent.
  • Where I use it most: For nightly face washing and nightguard washing; For housecleaning, in my GIY All-Purpose Spray and anytime I feel the house needs an extra antimicrobial punch.

Rose Scent

Mike brought in these last two scents, the Rose and the Citrus. The Rose with its rich blend of floral essential oils brings to mind an abundant summer garden, exuberant in blooms. Sweet and plush, the Rose Castile is welcoming and one I often keep in my guest bathroom. Although the essential oils are the same in both the liquid and the bar, I find that they communicate differently. The Rose Bar is my favorite of the bars, and in the middle of winter, when I’m craving a reminder of spring vibrance, I will unwrap a bar of the Rose.

  • Label color: Deep pink
  • Debut year: 2006
  • Scent in one word: Embrace!
  • Scent personality: Delicate, comforting, and sweet, this is the most romantic of our scents.
  • Where I use it most: In the guest bathroom. In the shower during the winter. A super thank you gift to a host or hostess.

Citrus Scent

With its blend of sweet orange, lemon, and lime essential oils, the Citrus is my overall second favorite scent after the Almond. Both for personal care and house care, I love the Citrus’ sunny brightness. It is definitely the happiest of the scents, and I was thrilled when Mike developed this blend.  

  • Label color: Light orange
  • Debut year: 2008
  • Scent in one word: Energize!
  • Scent personality: Fresh, bright and cheery, with the zesty sharpness of a freshly peeled orange.
  • Where I use it most: Kitchen foaming dispenser, cleaning stone kitchen counters, laundry, mopping.

Okay, okay. I said this was about my favorites, and then I went on to tell you how they each are my go-to in different situations. So I guess the takeaway is, in one way or the other, they’re all my favorites!

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorites? Have you ever blended two scents, or created your own from the Baby Unscented? When did you first come to know the soaps and how were you introduced? Do you remember the paper labels on the bottles that would dissolve in the shower? Do you remember when the Baby Unscented was pink? Which of you have been washing with Dr. Bronner’s the longest?

Further reading

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.  

Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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


Download Now!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!


Leave a Reply

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

Suz says:

I love the green tea! I know it’s seasonal, but it’s bright and subtle. I feel awakened by it.

Mari says:

I have tried them all since 1978 when Almond was what I first purchased. I do not have a favorite. Currently, I have the Citrus in my home which I use for cleaning and personal. I do seem to remember the paper coming off!
I like to mix citrus and mint and lavender and eucalyptus.
I am very sensitive to scents and one thing that I love about Dr. Bronner’s is that it does not bother me and cause migraines. I would not prefer a Vanilla because that is one scent I cannot do-that and Coconut.
On a side note, that is why Sal Suds is the only other cleaner I use-even Murphy’s oil gives me a headache!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mari- I’m so glad my family’s products have been a help to you! I’ve not tried the citrus-peppermint-eucalyptus blend, but am intrigued. I’ll have to give that a try.

mari says:

Haha-Run on sentence! I meant to say citrus/mint and lavender/eucalyptus-I have never tried all together but I like the idea of citrus with mint and eucalyptus-may try it now going to clean-

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Rebecca- We don’t have plans at the moment to sell those two seasonal scents year-round, but you can expect to see them in our webstore this spring! When they’re in stock I’ll most definitely spread the news in my newsletter and Facebook page.

Jeri A Wood says:

My fav for bath is the seasonal cherry blossom (I stock up) and for my face I love the almond. Had not once considered using tea tree to clear up breakouts – thank you! I agree with Colleen that I’d love vanilla, but I know that vanilla essential oil is very expensive.

Keep on doing what you do!

Ana says:

My favorite hands down is the Rose! I love it on its own or combining it with everything but especially doing a combo of Rose-Citrus, its absolutely magical if you haven’t tried it!

Debbie says:

I love all the scents, but my favorite is lavender! I love love love lavender, and like you say, fake is just not the same. I sometimes blend it with rose for a lovely floral scent. The almond is my second favorite, absolutely delicious! I keep tea tree by the kitchen sink, and mix it with Sal Suds for cleaning. I personally find it too “medicinally” smelling for personal use, but I’m def going to try it blended with eucalyptus! Citrus is great for summertime, nice and fresh! And the baby unscented, even though it doesn’t have added essential oils for fragrance, has a nice gentle, clean scent on its own. I would love to get some tips on ratios for blending if anyone has recipes 😁 I know both lavender and eucalyptus are supposed to be good for stress, but how are they blended? Never tried myself

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Debbie- It sounds like you’re having fun with the various scents! That’s great to hear! I don’t have a go-to ratio for Lavender and Eucalyptus, but I do recommend playing around with a small amount to start and keeping track of your measurements as you go. With your love of lavender, try adding a little bit of Eucalyptus at a time until you come to a blend you enjoy. Let me know how it goes!

Colleen says:

I love the citrus for morning and lavender for night time. I’d love to see a vanilla scent and holiday scents like clove or cinnamon.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Colleen- Thanks for those suggestions, Colleen. I’ll pass them along.

Jane says:

I use citrus for myself But I saw you mentioning using on your dogs? My dog has an autoimmune skin disease called pemphigus. Do you think I could try it on my dog to help his skin issue? He has oily listings on his skin. You mentioned eucalyptus or peppermint. Or would tea tree or baby mild be better?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jane- Yes, I’ve used Castile Soap to bathe my dogs for years. I’m not familiar with that particular skin condition, but we do hear from customers that our Castile Soap can be helpful with skin issues and allergies and such. Because Peppermint and Eucalyptus can be intense, I recommend starting with the Baby Mild as it’s our most gentle formula. Here’s a blog post with more information, and where you can meet my Black Lab, Tucker!

yanni says:

I love almond, but l also like peppermint’tingling feel. wonder if dr b. willconsider almond with menthol cystrals

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Yanni- I’ll pass your suggestion along. If you’d like to make your own almond-peppermint scent, consider combining the Almond and Peppermint Castile Soaps for a new scent, or adding peppermint essential oil to the Almond Castile.

Annie says:

Hi Lisa, I am loving cleaning my house with the dr bronners soaps. Thank you thank you thank you to you and your grandfather. I am just wondering are the essential oils in the soaps like tea tree and citrus safe around pets? It says online that there toxic to cats and dogs. Is it ok to spray the all purpose citrus or tea tree around the house with pets around? Thank you again from New Zealand

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Annie- At too high of a concentration, essential oils would very well make a pet ill. But the essential oils in our soaps is 2% – a very small concentration. Our soaps are further diluted when used for housecleaning and then wiped off with a damp cloth.

Lydiah says:

I’m really loving the Dr Bronners liquid soaps. I started using them last month. Lavender’s working amazingly for my skin – it feels cleaner, brighter and well balanced. I use baby mild for my (African) hair and it doesn’t dry it out. It cleans well and still leaves it soft and easy to detangle. We also use it for bathing and our skins are feeling much smoother and moisturized. I’ve decided that these soaps will permanently be our facial and body wash and shampoo for life. I’m going to try citrus and almond next. I’m actively persuading anyone who’ll listen, to give these products a try. Thanks for the great and honest products. Love from Nairobi, Kenya.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lydiah- Thank you for this wonderful testimonial. It’s great to hear our soaps are a benefit to you and your family!

Lynda says:

I really appreciate your blog and that you take the time to throughly answer questions.
I also REALLY appreciate all Dr. Bronner’s products because I can buy them and be at peace. I don’t have to worry what an ingredient is or where it comes from or how it is harvested/produced or it’s impact on the environment.
I use the Baby-Mild liquid soap for body and hair, Citrus or Lavender in foaming soap dispensers and Sal’s Suds for dishes and household cleaning.

Regarding the bottle opening becoming clogged. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps for decades and Sal’s Suds for the last few years and I’ve always dealt with that in 2 ways – 1) take a wet sponge or washcloth and rub it over the opening/dried soap until I’ve got the amount of lather I need or 2) unscrew the cap from the bottle and drop in a cup or dishpan of water, swish it around until the water is soapy and then wash dishes with it or use in shower. I might have to do this several times or just once – depends on how long I let it build up 🙂
I am perfectly happy to make this “accommodation” in return for such a great product.

Again, there are so many concerns that I feel I need to be vigilant about when purchasing food or cleaning products or personal care products but I can always relax when I buy Dr. Bronner’s. The most difficult deliberations I have to make are what scent and what size. Thank you for that!

Kathryn says:

Hi Lisa,
I have been wanting to try the almond and rose and think I will order them soon. But, I have two questions. With the rose, I know it is a mix of fragrances; are you able to share which ones (dealing with unusual contact anywhere so wanting to know exactly what I’m looking at! ) Also, the last couple times I have ordered, i have had questions or trouble with the order and absolutely no success getting your customer service with any number on the website. I tried multiple times and only got answering machines, and then a package a month later with a free chapstick for my trouble which was great but didn’t really fix anything! Any suggestions??

Leah says:


I love the idea of using Dr. Bronner’s to refill foaming pump dispensers. My concern is with the soap going bad once water is added to it. Would adding a capsule of vitamin E to each batch solve that possible problem?

Karena says:

Just a follow-up, for what it’s worth: I have now finished a full bottle of the liquid soap in a re-used Shikakai bottle using the recipe that I linked to above – I never had any nozzle accumulation or blow-outs of my soap. I would consider the bottle experiment/recipe a cautious success, but it was still very thin – I think I will add more glycerine next time and see how that goes.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Karena – Both the pure castile and the Shikakai have the retained glycerin. I don’t know why some bottles say it and others don’t. Currently our website doesn’t mention it on either one. Technically, it is not an added ingredient since it is a natural byproduct of making soap from oil. Glycerin is part of the soap molecule, and we don’t siphon it off. I apologize for that confusion in the labeling. I’ll be looking into it.

All the best,

Karena says:

Great blog – glad I found it!

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s for years – I love it! I dilute it 10:1 in my foaming dispensers – I get a nice rich lather, and they’ve never clogged up. I know that you discourage the use of the liquid soap in regular dispensers – I haven’t tried it yet, but I ran across this: – the first comment states that she uses it in regular dispensers 3:1 with a tsp of glycerin added. Now that my Shikakai bottle is almost empty, I’ll try re-filling it that way (at my own risk! 🙂 ) – I’ll let you know how the experiment goes. Also, your regular liquid soaps specifically state “retained glycerin” on the label, but the Shikakai does not – does the Shikakai soap formula contain glycerin?


Lisa Bronner says:

I hope my late responses here are still helpful! I do apologize.

Marci – I don’t know what kind of foaming pump dispenser would fit directly on to the 8 oz. bottle. We absolutely discourage traditional pump dispensers, but I do transfer mine to a foaming pump.

Ann – I’m so sorry I didn’t see your question sooner. I hope you perhaps wrote to our customer service department via our website at There is a Julian date printed on the bottle. It is in the lot code – the first four numbers. The first number indicates the year of production, the next three numbers indicate the day of the year out of 365. If you send me the number, I can tell you when it was made. The soap has at least a three year shelf life, but often much longer. No, it is not normal for your hair to smell like greasy/vomit. The soap on the hair is successful with our Citrus Hair Rinse, except in small cases where people with certain hair texture, or really short hair can use it by itself. If you’d like, let me know if I can be of further help.

Susan – This blog I wrote covers a lot of the most common uses and dilutions. Let me know if there’s another use you’re curious about that’s not on there.

All the best,

Ann says:

I’ve just recently bought Dr bronners tea tree oil 32 oz and was excited to use it on my hair and body. Im not sure what its suppose to smell like, but it has a faint hint of tea tree oil smell, not a strong smell. After using it on my hair, it leaves a strong oil smell, im not sure what kind of oil smell, but it smell as though my hair smell greasy/vomit smell. Is this normal?Is it rancid?Is there a date somewhere to determine the shelf life? thanks

marci says:

We have recently switched all our soaps at our Inn to Dr.Bronners. I am using the 8oz bottles and would like to put foaming dispenser pumps on them. Can you tell me what ml. size dispenser pump the 8oz bottle takes. Love this soap!!!

Agricola says:

Thanks so much Lisa,
I am so excited to start this! I am going to make an order asap:)

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Agricola – Glad to hear you’re turning green! It’s a lovely color. For cleaning around the house, one soap to start with would be the Citrus Castile Soap. I really like this soap for bathing as well, but if I had to pick one for the house, it would be this. All the castiles are the same formula, except for the essential oils added for scent, and the unscented Baby Mild has a higher olive oil content.

To get started, one bottle of soap, some spray bottles, water, and vinegar will get you going. Add some baking soda and some tea tree essential oil and you’ll be even farther. If you can spring for a few microfiber clothes (not necessary but very helpful if you can), that would top it all off.

Take it easy as you make the transition! Let me know if you have any questions.

All the best,

Agricola says:

Hi Lisa,
I have stumbled upon your soaps and it has been the best change I have made in a long time! First off, thank you to you and yours for your great work!
I, my husband and kids are currently using your bar soap. Tea tree for myself and husband due to a little acne, and the peppermint for my kids. I want to order some stuff to get all the other cleaning agents out of my home, but am on a close budget! I have noticed it is a bit exspensive using the bar soaps with kids, so am looking into a foam despenser for each shower.I think this will save money if I buy the castile and just dilute. I have been alternating between these two soaps because of the tea tree making me a bit dry. Also, I think I am going to switch to the baby soap for my kids, cause I noticed my son getting a little rash. I don’t think this is from the soap, but I just want to be safe! I am a little confused on where to start? If you have any suggestions please let me know? I printed out your dilution sheets and am just wondering which basic soaps should I start with?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Michael – Thank you so much for taking the time to share this! I’m glad Dr. Bronner’s has become a part of your life.

All the best,

Michael says:

I would just like to thank you for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions.

Taking your advice, I use the tea tree soap in a foaming dispenser as a facial cleanser and hand wash next to my sink. In the shower I use the peppermint or eucalyptus as a body wash and shampoo. My hair has never been better and I could not be happier with my purchase. Thank you for your kindness and superb product!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Merlin – The cap hole size change is a sad thing, and there is a sad reason. As you’ve probably experienced, if our soaps are left open, or even just after many uses, the hole can clog up completely. Some users were squeezing the bottle really hard in order to force the soap out, instead of removing the cap and clearing out the hole. Oftentimes, this resulted in the soap’s shooting out in unexpected directions, including into people’s eyes. Because of the irritation they experienced when this happened, several of these customers then sued us for damages. While their cases were not successful, they still required time and resources on our part to combat them. Therefore, for liability reasons, we made the decision to increase the size of the hole in the cap. I know that for careful users such as yourself, this is not a good change. It sounds like you have developed an excellent adaptation.

The viscosity of the castile soap is a little different because of a higher olive oil content, but the soap is just as concentrated as it was before at 39% solid. Absolutely no dilution has occurred. You can determine this by pouring similar quantities of our older conventional and newer organic liquid soaps into separate cups, and observing that exactly the same amount of solid soap is left behind when the water evaporates.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

All the best,

Merlin says:

Love your products. But I have noticed a sad thing. Your bottle caps have a larger hole now. And, since you changed your formulas, the viscosity is different. The result? We use more product. This is a sad thing.

For those of you that want to save soap, take a wax-paper cup bottom, and cut it to fit the inside of the cap, and place a tiny hole in it. This will act as a “governor” to slow down the flow of the soap going through the hole.

Not sure if this was a bean-counter decision or an oversight, but the result is wasted product.

Tia says:


What do you think about using hydrosols/flower waters to dilute the liquid soaps for use in a foaming cleanser? Also, when using the baby mild formula (for myself), is it okay to add other oils/essential oils to the formula or would it compromise its efficacy?

Venus says:

Thanks a lot, Lisa. I don’t think the soap last more than a month but, perhaps, I did not get the dispenser cleaned the last time.

After this lemon juice episode, however, I did have it cleaned as best as I thought (the lemon juice and soap mixture has formed some very greasy curds…) This time, when I add the soap to just water, the mixture turned a little milky still, not as much as with the lemon juice. I wonder if it has anything to do with our very hard water or just that I still haven’t had the dispenser clean well enough. It seems to be working well though. So, I will wait and see how it goes this time.

Thank you very much for your help.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Venus – The milkiness sounds exactly like a hard water reaction. The soap will still work great even in the hard water.

Hi Gwen – I took a look at this dispenser, and the Dr. Bronner’s castile will probably work in it. Not having tried it, I can’t say for certain, but in theory it should. You might have to experiment with the dilution amounts.

Hi Tia – Hydrosols are basically a tea, where botanicals (plants) have been steeped in the water. It is fine to dilute the water with this, but bear in mind that if the plants are not organic, you may also get residues for anything that may be on them. Also, they may reduce the shelf life of the solution. However, I think it’s great to try things out and see how it goes. Let me know! Regarding adding your own essential oils to the Baby Mild soap, that is a great thing to do. You will find that the oils will separate and float to the top of the soap, so just shake it up before each use. This is a great way to personalize your soap.

Let me know if I can help with anything else!

All the best,

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Venus – I’m glad you found me! I haven’t found that the soap turns darker when diluted in a foaming dispenser. If anything, it is a bit lighter. My household goes through a dispenser every couple of weeks, so my solution isn’t in there very long. If your solution is sitting for several months, it is quite possible that it has turned rancid. If it were rancid, it would also smell bad and not clean well. The shelf life of the soap is at least 3 years, but when you dilute it, you are also diluting the preservative (tocopherols, or vitamin E).

However, if the soap is still working great and smells good, then the difference is only in how it looks. You are welcome to put a coloring in the solution if you’d like. A couple drops of vegetable food coloring could be pretty fun! I can envision how much my little girl would enjoy pink foam coming out of the soap dispenser.

All the best,

Venus says:

I have only recently discover Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and start using it to make foaming hand soap with a used foaming soap pump with a clear bottle. It seems to me that the color turned darker over time as if it has turned bad. I thought I will try to add some lemon juice to it and hope to prevent it and then, of course, it turned milky. Then, I googled about it and found your blog and learn that they shouldn’t be mixed together.

Does the color change over time for you? Is there a way to prevent it? Is there anything safe to add to the mix to give it a splash of color (or to mask the darkening of color)?

Sharon Gist says:

Hi..I ran out of the Peppermint Castile soap about 2 years ago..started using up old soaps that I still had around and then finally, I went out and bought the large bottle of soap..I cannot believe how THIN this is used to be much thicker.I have to use more soap than before..If you didn’t dilute it, I am starting to think maybe someone switched the liquid and returned the Dr. Bronner’s bottle to the store!

Lisa Bronner says:

@Sharon – I’m very glad you shared this concern. The soap is lighter than it was before since now we use colorless but more effective vitamin E (tocopherols) and not dark brown rosemary, and the viscosity is a little different because of a higher olive oil content (and less coconut oil, which is thicker), but the soap is just as concentrated as it was before at 39% solid. Absolutely no dilution has occurred. You can determine this by pouring similar quantities of our older conventional and newer organic liquid soaps into separate cups, and observing that exactly the same amount of solid soap is left behind when the water evaporates. All in all, the integrity of our soaps is higher than they have ever been. We have now converted all of our oils to organic oils, which means that we are supporting lots of sustainable farming and farm-worker health now. The cost to us has been tremendous, but we felt the earth was definitely worth it. Besides, this was an endeavor my grandfather would definitely have supported if he were alive today.

I hope these explanations have helped, but please let me know if you have any further questions.

All the best,

Paula says:

Is there anything I can mix the liquid soap with to make it work in a pump dispenser? I have a beautiful dispenser to use in my new powder room, brass and glass with a satin nickel finish. I want to use the Dr. B’s but I cannot find a decorative foaming pump dispenser. Anything that might thicken the liquid soap so that it won’t clog? Also, what are the actual dilutions of the all-purpose cleaner and of the foaming soaps? I tend to use 10:1 water to soap in my foaming dispensers. I am curious about the all-purpose cleaner though.
Thanks so much,

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Paula – The question that keeps coming back! No, there is nothing you can add to the pure castile soap that will make it work in a regular pump dispenser. It can’t be thickened naturally or organically, and it will always clog and shoot out sideways on your unsuspecting guests. This is one of the main reasons the Shikakai soaps were created. I keep my decorative pump dispenser filled with that and it works great.

For the all purpose Castile soap spray, use 1/4 c. soap in a quart of water. With the Sal Suds spray, use 1/2 Tbsp. of Sal Suds in a quart of water. With foaming pump dispensers, it depends on your pump and the type of water. I’ve heard all sorts of different ratios. Play around with it until you get the consistency of foam that you like. Because of the issues that can come up with the castile soaps in any kind of dispensers, we don’t wholeheartedly recommend them.

Let me know if you have further questions!

Stephanie says:

I love diluting Dr. B’s soaps in foamer bottles around the house! You can get them for pretty cheap at (only $3 for 8 oz. pump bottle). It makes for great hand soap and a little Dr. B’s goes a long way!

Daphne says:

I just bought my first bottle of the mild baby soap tonight and put it in an old foaming pump dispenser with water. It worked GREAT for my kids in the shower. I told my oldest one pump for his hair and one (or two depending on how dirty he is) for his body. We were wasting SO much “soap” before but this is working great. Thanks for all your tips!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hey, Deb,

We haven’t changed the formula for any of the soaps, but the scents do change because of the nature of botanical ingredients. The climate in the growing region has a great effect on the outcome of the scent of lavender in particular. If the weather is different than normal – wetter, colder, hotter, drier, windier, etc. – the scent changes and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. I know what you mean about it sometimes being a bit spicier, more like the peppermint. Because we only buy certified organic oil, and we need a lot of it, there aren’t a whole lot of sources for us.

The change in the color of the label was just a change we made in printers. Also, sometimes the bottles are silk-screened and sometimes it’s a label that sticks on.

We do gaurantee our products, so if there’s something you’re not happy with, email my sister-in-law Erin at and she’ll be quick to help you.


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi All!

We still do not recommend putting the castile soap in any regular pump dispenser. It will always clog and shoot out in unexpected directions, possibly into your face. You can, however, use it in a foaming pump dispenser at a ratio of about 1 part soap to 5 parts water. I have reused foaming dispensers and I have used a new one that my sister-in-law bought me from Pampered Chef.

However, because of the danger of putting the soap in regular pump dispensers, and the unfortunate potential (and history) for lawsuits, we aren’t changing our wording about pumps on the labels or the website. Directions about foamers will have to spread by word of mouth.


miles teitge says:

So I am curious if there are examples of long term use of foaming pump dispensers. I am looking for a stainless steel model that can be used in bathrooms and mounted to the wall. I am hoping to make this change for a small public charter Waldorf School where I work. I am wondering if there are other examples in commercial settings where Bronner’s is used for the hand soap(w/ foam dispensers)? Any leads or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Miles in Idaho

miles teitge says:

I see you have somewhat answered the question below! However, I am also wondering if the Shikakai soap will work and foam in foaming dispensers? Thanks kindly…
Between Shikakai and the and the Castile soap what would be better for a dispenser? If I used the Shikakai in a regular pump dispenser(non-foaming) should I dilute it?

Jean Tierney says:

questions please
In this blog…you said you put the Almond liquid soap in your foam soap dispensers in your bathrooms?
I currently am using full strngth Dr. Bronners liquid soap in a regular pump dispenser in kitchen and bathrooms.
Did you dilute the soap before putting it into your foam dispensers?
where did you get the foam dispensers or did you re-use a comercial/brand foam soap dispenser? many thanks for the answers.

Deb Frost says:

I have a question. Has the Bronner company changed something about the lavender Dr. Bronner soap? The last one we bought had a very different, stronger smell to it. When I use it, it is somewhat irritating (I use it diluted). It’s almost like there is peppermint in it as well as lavender. I did notice that the purple color on the label was a different shade–hence I thought it might be a different formula or something. I’ll switch to a different scent, but I’m sad since I love lavender! Thanks for any input.

Mary Enright-Olson says:

I recently bought several “flavors” and this post was very helpful.
I’m curious about the foaming pump dispensers. Especially since on the label they recommend NO using pump dispensers.
What type of foaming pump dispensers do you use and where did you get them?

Thanks muchly.

Cheryl Kramer says:

Hi Lisa! Just a quick question on the foaming pump dispensers. Do you just buy them somewhere and than dilute the soap solution?


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Amy,

Here are a few thoughts about spiders, from my own experience plus some vicarious:
1. Spiders are more an indication of other, more problematic pests (which spiders eat), rather than being bad in their own right. Except for the black widows and brown recluses, spiders are not harmful – only creepy to some. (I like spiders because they keep the bugs off my tomato plants.)
2. Like other critters with exoskeletons, spiders would be killed by contact with castile soap.
3. Like most animals other than humans, they can be deterred by mint, so try rubbing some peppermint essential oil around your sills and door jambs. Without screens, though, you’re definitely going to have some visitors.

Hope this helps!

Margaret says:

Enjoyed your blog. I use the peppermint soap during all seasons. I just love the smell and freshness.

Amy says:

I’m curious if you use any of the soap solutions to control spiders in the house? I live in a wooded area and am renting so I don’t want to alter the house. There are lots of nooks and crannies that they may be entering through as well as windows and doorways as I don’t have screens. I like fresh air so I have them open quite often. I thought if I could spray some type of citrus or tea tree solution around entry areas, windows, and base boards to keep them out? I want to use natural products but mild enough so they don’t dry out or discolor wood floors. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have used the lavender soap and is wonderful. Thanks!

Terri says:

I just read your blog and love it! I share many of your preferences, so I’m going to try more. I also use almond soap in the shower, but do use my husband’s peppermint on my feet. I mixed up your all-purpose cleaner this morning and used it to clean the bathroom. It was the best! It worked better on a low spot in my bathtub that grows red stuff better than anything except bleach! And without being toxic. Thanks for sharing.

Garnet Green says:

I just came across your blog, love it. My husband and I are always after some new tips, and we love your soaps, they are fabulous. I hadn’t thought about breaking down the different scents for different rooms like that…great idea.

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!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!