Simplifying the Shower

Simplifying the Shower

One soap from head to toe. That’s it. I use it on my face. I use it on my body. I use it on my hair.

It’s a common question we get, whether the soap is OK for this or that body part. So much marketing has gone into specialty face soaps and body soaps and hand soaps. Then there’s the realm of shampoo – do you need volume today or moisture?

I used to have so many different products in the shower that the little built-in shelf was pretty much a joke. And as we added little ones to our family, the problem multiplied. We had kid soap and baby soap and my soap (body and face) and my husband’s soap, and then the shampoos and separate male and female shave gels. Now there’s just a bottle of the Liquid Castile Soap and the Organic Hair Rinse. Occasionally the Organic Shaving Soap if I’ve remembered to stock up on it.

To answer the question, “What’s this soap for?” I have to say, “Everything.” I may get a look that says I must be naïve at best or at worst a nut on the fringe. Maybe, but nonetheless, experience speaks.

I’ve bought the gamut of facial cleansers that are supposed clear problem skin. Nothing worked until I came back to using only Dr. Bronner’s (Pure Castile Tea Tree when it gets bad, but any scent the rest of the time). And I was a really hard sell initially regarding using the soap on my hair. I’m no beauty queen, but I do have some vanity, and I thought washing my hair with soap would leave it frizzy and dull. But my hair is strong and healthy. (I wrote about my switch from shampoo to soap in another blog post, but I want to mention here that you do need the Organic Hair Rinse.)

I’ve already blogged about my switch to the Unscented Castile Soap for my baby. My older kids are washed head to toe with it, too. It’s a lot easier on them as they learn to wash themselves. Hand them one bottle or bar and off they go.

I use the Organic Shaving Soap, when I have it on hand, which is about 50% of the time. It lathers more quickly and thickly than the Castile Soap. And it is more moisturizing. It’s a nice treat when I’ve remembered to grab some. When I don’t, though, the Castile Soap works well, although requires a bit more effort.

So our skin is clear, our hair is healthy. No one has dry skin or funny fragrances. It’s a whole lot more efficient just to grab one bottle – and a lot less to think about in the morning.

Now, as for the cleaning action of the Castile Soap: Our soaps are concentrated. A little bit goes a long way – but don’t let that phase you. Use as you would any other soap, just less of it. Here’s my not-so-fancy routine:

  • Deep breath. Quiet. Alone time. Thinking time. (Fellow parents, you know what I’m talking about!)
  • Body: Apply a small squirt of Castile Soap on a wet cloth and scrub away. I don’t pre-dilute the soap, as I find the water present in the situation does the diluting for me. I’ve also found that prediluted soaps are, well, cold.
  • With the Castile Bar Soap, lather soap into wet hands or washcloth.
  • Face: I use 2-3 drops Castile Soap in my wet hands and massage into skin.
  • Hair: A good ½ Tbsp. of Castile Soap is enough for my long, thick hair. Use more or less as needed for your hair type, cut, and texture. After I have thoroughly rinsed out the soap, I dilute the Organic Citrus Hair Rinse by half in a cup and then pour it over my head, work it through, and rinse thoroughly. If I’ve forgotten to stock up on the rinse, I’ll use a dilution of half water and half apple cider vinegar instead. My husband and son use the Castile Bar Soap on their short hair, and skip the rinse. There’s no wrong or right way here. Do what makes your hair happy.

And that’s it. This is really all I have in my shower on a daily basis. If you’ve seen photos of my bathroom cabinet, you know I’ll grab other products when my skin is feeling dry (Organic Sugar & Shaving Soaps, and GIY Scrubs, I’m looking at you). But more often than not, it’s just one soap. Life is complicated all on its own. My shower doesn’t have to be.

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!


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Jaclyn Derr says:

I am new to the product, and can’t wait to receive an order in the mail. My 18 year old daughter is having an issue with her underarms. When out of the shower for 5 mins she already has underarm BO. She was researching the internet for anything that she could find that helps with that issue…tried just about everything….different brands, strengths, liquids, bars, fragrance, non-fragrance and the different ways to apply.
NO SUCCESS!! she learned of your product on YouTube…She bought a bottle of the liquid soap and we both cannot wait to see the results…I am ecstatic about all the different uses and can’t wait to try it out on them all.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jaclyn- Welcome to the Dr. Bronner’s family. I hope the soap works for your daughter. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Joyce says:

I have one toe nail that has fungus. It is very thick, I have read that tea tree oil ( or the soap)? Will help. Do I just use the soap right out of the bottle to clean the nail? I have not found any instructions on using the soap for nail fungus Thank you for your help.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Joyce- Fungal infections can be so tough to cure. I have not heard of Tea Tree Castile Soap as a treatment for this particular use, and pure essential oils applied directly to skin can cause burns or irritation. Please confer with your medical provider for advice.

Deitra says:

I started swimming 5 days a week for the first time and during the cold season. My skin is drying and itching all thru the day. Will your products remove the chlorine from my skin?? I’m 65, and I’ve never experienced this before. I have considered giving up swimming to save my skin. Please HELP!!!!!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Deitra- Oh goodness! I know that dry, itchy feeling! When it’s particularly dry, as it can be this time of year in Southern California, I use our Organic Shaving Soap. It is the most moisturizing of our soaps, with the Organic Sugar Soap as a close second. Both are formulated with organic white grape juice and organic sugar, humectants which draw moisture into the skin, and also Organic Shikakai powder, which is known for its ability to nourish skin and hair. I think you’ll find this blog post on the “moisturizingness” of our soaps helpful: I also find coconut oil to moisturize and soothe dry skin. Apply a small amount of coconut oil (a little goes a long way) after swimming and showering. If you use too much coconut oil, it will stay on the surface of the skin and get clothing or bedsheets greasy, so be sure to use just a bit.

George says:

Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps are very alkaline. If you’re not familiar with this, it means your hair will get very clean, but also very dry and brittle despite being wet. It’s as if you washed your hair with a mild glue. To successfully wash hair, namely on your head, you must have (a) this compatible rinse OR a diluted solution of ACV & water. You will seriously be amazed after rinsing with a DIY solution of 25% apple cider vinegar and 75% water. You can adjust the rinse from there, if more softness is desired. It’s amazing how well this works. My hair (medium-length men’s dark brown hair) is regularly dry as I live in SW Colorado. The ACV rinse is required and strong. When I’m in the Adirondacks where the humidity is much higher and the water softer, the rinse is still very necessary, but much weaker dilution. It’s a cheap experiment. We all have ACV in the cupboard. Put it in a used water bottle with a pull-up squirt cap or just in a glass jar. Drizzle 1/4-1/2 cup over washed hair (while in shower). Spread it around. Let it sit a few minutes. Bam! Soft, manageable, clean, fresh, hydrated hair. Good luck.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi George- Thanks for sharing your experience!

scatterbrainz says:


Question: Is it possible to dilute the liquid castile soap to -> 50/50 water/liquid castile soap in like a squirt bottle – to be kept in the shower and squirt that into a louffa/sponge/cloth ? Or should it be used straight as is ? I find I end up using too much like a table spoon – instead of a few drops. Best…-scatterbrainz

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Scatterbrainz- I don’t because dilutions are usually cold (and I’m a wimp), but you sure can! You can probably get by with less soap, but tinker with that dilution to find what you like best.

Jukka says:

Another page on your site links to this one as if this will contain the instructions on how to actually dilute your soap.

But it doesn’t.

Please add the actual “dilution cheat sheet”. Now all these posts just read like advertisements.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kim- Yes, Castile Soap is safe for sensitive areas. Peppermint Castile can be intense, whereas the Unscented is an extra gentle option.

Olga says:

Hello! I’ve been switching to natural products lately and I’m very excited to have discovered your brand. I got the Pure Castile Soap (Almond) and it smells divine!
However, I’ve been seeing a lot of comments about people insisting that it HAS to be diluted, otherwise it will cause a rash etc .
So I figured who better to ask than the company itself.
Do I HAVE to dilute it for use as body wash or hand wash etc?
Or is it safe to use as is, straight out of the bottle?
Thank you!!

Koreyah Lipsey says:

Hello, I’m looking to make the switch in our household and I’m trying to choose the best soaps for my husband, children (ages 16,7 and 4) and myself. Any recommendations?

Also, what do you recommend for kitchen/floors?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Koreyah- Welcome! For personal use, try the Pure Castile Liquid soap. This is our original, most popular, and my favorite soap. For scent, to meet the preferences of a variety of ages, try one of the mellower scents like Almond. This is also my favorite (along with Citrus). There is the zestiness of the Peppermint, but not all kids like that. Then there are the floral, but guys may not go for that. Almond is a great crowd-pleaser. You can use the Castile for a bunch of different things. Start with just general body and hand washing, but then give it a try for other uses from my Cheat Sheet ( For cleaning kitchens and floors, you can’t do better than the Sal Suds. It is amazingly versatile and effective. Dilute 1 Tbsp. in a 1 quart of water in a spray bottle for All-Purpose Cleaning. Use 1 tsp. per gallon of water for mopping.

Katherine Lent says:

I am looking for a substitute for the orange ‘Gojo’ type soap that my husband uses when he works on the car. Can he use this straight on his hands? Will it cut the grease? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Katherine- The Castile can be used straight on the hands for intensely greasy situations, but if the automotive grease is too much, I would try the Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds All-Purpose Cleaner (1 Tbsp Sal Suds in a quart of water). I have not found a grease that Sal Suds can’t handle.

Heather says:

Hello! I used the peppermint soap and I loved it! However my female parts didn’t. Felt like it swallowed an altoid. I obviously didn’t use it directly down there, but in the shower it drips all over your body when rinsing and washing. Did I maybe put too much on my rag or something? Would it help if I diluted it before I got in the shower in a seperate bottle? Because it was not fun.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Heather- The Peppermint Castile is pretty intense, and a little bit goes a long way. Our Unscented is the most gentle for delicate areas.

Jania B. says:

Hi, are the liquid soaps safe to use in the vaginal area? Specifically the Unscented ( Baby blue ) one.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jania- Yes, Castile soap is safe for sensitive areas. The Unscented is an extra gentle option.

Cynthia Rodriguez says:

I’ve heard that using the Dr B’s peppermint soap as a body wash helps keep bugs and mosquito bites away. Any info on this would be great. Forgive me if this has already been asked.


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Cynthia- While Peppermint is a great natural deterrent to mosquitos, it might not be enough to keep them at bay if they are really swarming and are intent on eating you. But they are attracted to our sweat and smells, so showering with it couldn’t hurt. I’ve also found the Peppermint Castile to be very relieving to itchy bug bites afterwards.

Janine says:

Hi there, I’m looking for a ‘green’ shower screen cleaner and was wondering if you know whether the GIY Soft Scrub would be suitable? 🤞Love your products.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Janine- If it is glass, yes it would scrub off water spots, soap scum and the like. You can test it on an inconspicuous spot.

Nicole says:

Hello, there are lots of baby shower and shampoo 2-in1 products in the markets said soap free and tear free, and we can simply add a bit in a small bathtub of water to clean baby without further rinsing with water again, which is easier to handle with a little baby. Can I do the same with this Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap? Just add little bit in a bathtub of water to clean my baby without further rinsing with water afterwards? Will it be harmful or simply not clean to leave some residual soap on baby? Thank you very much

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nicole- Yes, rinsing with the bath water is sufficient. Keep in mind, no true soaps are tear-free, so take care to keep out of your little one’s eyes.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mayra- The soaps do not clog pores. Pores are clogged by products that leave behind certain residues on the skin, usually done in the name of moisturizing or smoothing the skin. The Castile soaps are very clean rinsing. You need to give your skin two weeks to acclimate to them before deciding on their efficacy. I found when I first switched that I had a slight increase in breakouts, but then my skin was clearer and smoother than it had been in years. My guess is that the soap was really digging stuff out of the pores. Be a bit wary of labels that make “non-comedogenic” claims as this word is not regulated. Anyone can say it about any product.

Bianca says:

so i purchased the 18 in 1 hemp and peppermint liquid soap and i did’nt notice the dilute part until after and just poured into my bath water while the water ran.. my skin felt great afterwards but i wonder are there any negative effects that could’ve caused by not diluting?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Bianca- There’s no need to dilute the soap before adding it to bathwater. It will get diluted plenty there! As I’m sure you noticed, a little bit of our soap goes a long way.

Javen says:

Hi since the Castile baby soap has double the amount of olive oil does this mean my skin or surface I clean on become more oily to the touch?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Javen- In our Unscented Castile, the essential oils are replaced with the extra olive oil. This makes for an extra nourishing soap. But our soaps do not contain any relevant amounts of the actual oil. Rather, the oils are “saponified”, that is, through a chemical reaction they are turned into soap with very different physical and chemical properties than oil.

Jerry says:

Hi Lisa,

I just got my hands on a couple small bottles of the 18-in-1 soap. I want to use it in the shower in a squeeze bottle, as my teenager will drain it quickly (he won’t adhere to three drops on a washcloth, etc.). What would be a reasonable dilution? It would also be used as a shampoo of sorts. Note, this is all I have. I don’t have any of your other products nor have access to them.

Second question, does this soap has any sanitizing properties? At this time that’s a question we’re all thinking about in everything we do?


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jerry- I hope you don’t mind that I’ve combined both your questions here. Using a smaller amount of our soap can take some getting used to! A foaming pump dispenser will help control the amount of soap your son uses. It adds air and gives volume to the soap. Use a ratio of 1 part soap to 3 parts water. In squeeze bottle, use a ratio of 1:5 and adjust if needed. For hair, use about 1/2 tsp. soap and work into wet hair. Follow with an acidic rinse of 1/2 water and 1/2 apple cider vinegar. Having said that, my husband and son both have short hair and simply wash-and-go, without the acidic rinse. Soaps, including our Castile Soap, work effectively by attaching to dirt, germs, and grime and rinsing them away, leaving clean surfaces – or skin, in this case – behind. And as I’m sure you know, the CDC advises that washing with soap and water for 20 seconds is effective in preventing the spread of respiratory diseases. Dr. Bronner’s soap products are effective cleaners but are not disinfectants since they do not contain a pesticide and do not kill, but instead remove germs, dirt and grime from surfaces. If you’d like to read more on this, take a look at my blog post, Ditch the Antibacterial: Soap Is All You Need at

Fatima Delgado says:

What’s the most moisturizing soap i have very dry skin but normal hair (not dry) which one is the best between sugar soap, 18-1 castille or maybe shaving soap.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Fatima- The short answer to your question is the Shaving Soap. It is the most moisturizing of our soaps, with the Sugar Soap as a close second. I rotate my soaps throughout the year based on the varying level of dryness of my skin and hair. I think you’ll find this blog post on the “moisturizingness” of our soaps helpful:

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Janet- We do not recommend soap for color-treated hair. The alkaline pH of soap opens up hair follicles and can cause color to fade more quickly.

Doug says:

Hi! I train in Jiu Jitsu and like using soap with tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil to prevent skin infection. The soap I’ve been buying is quite expensive. I was thinking of buying one of each (tea tree/eucalyptus) Dr. Bronner’s and combining the two along with some peppermint or lavender to use as a body wash.

My question then is should I also add more essential oil to the mixture, or would the percentage of oil already present be enough?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Doug- That’s a potent mixture there. It’s the soap that’s cleaning you, not the essential oils. As Tea tree is known for having microbial properties, the Tea Tree Castile Soap will give you the extra boost you’re after.

Ronnie says:

Hi Lisa,

I was looking at the EWG rating for the Dr. Bronner’s liquid Almond castile soap and saw it was a 3 because the fragrance received a rating of 8. I love the smell of Dr. Bronner’s almond liquid soap but just wanted to get your thoughts on this EWG overall rating of 3, and the fragrance rating of 8. I have primarily been using the Peppermint and the Unscented Baby ones because they get a EWG rating of 1. But I really wanted to start using the almond scented one. I would guess the fragrance would be for the almond fragrance.

Thanks in advance for your reply. Ronnie

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Ronnie- Almond Castile is a big favorite in our house! The word “fragrance” in “natural almond fragrance” triggers an 8 on the EWG scoring rubric. There are two types of almond oil, sweet almond oil and bitter almond oil. Sweet oil is scentless. Bitter almond oil is aromatic, but it contains toxic levels of prussic acid, better known as cyanide. Since we don’t want to use that, the “natural almond fragrance” comes from Benzaldehyde, which is extracted from the cassia flower. The scent is similar to almonds, but without any traces of nuts or cyanide. EWG ranks the ingredient Benzaldehyde as a 1.

TJ says:

Hi Lisa,

If I use the Organic Shaving Soap on my long hair, I can use Apple Cider Vinegar as a rinse, correct? I just want to make sure I understood that it is okay to use the shaving soap as a shampoo. Thanks. TJ

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi TJ- Of all our soaps, the Organic Shaving Soap is the most moisturizing, making it great for dry hair. Do follow-up with an acidic rinse, such as a dilution of half water, half apple cider vinegar.

rodriana says:

do you have to dilute the liquid soap while in the shower if so how much ?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Rodriana- I find the shower does the diluting for me. A small squirt on a wet cloth or in wet hands is all you need.

Maureen Chappell says:

Hi, I want to make hand washes in pumps for for my bathrooms and kitchen. Do i dilute it and if so what ratio. Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Maureen- Our soap works great in a foaming pump with a dilution of 1 part soap and 3 parts water. We don’t recommend a regular pump as the soap can clog and squirt out unexpectedly at odd angles.

Joanna says:

My husband and I absolutely love the organic sugar soap in the shower. We also bought the citrus liquid castile soap. So far I used it twice in an Epsom salt bath and each time the soap immediately turn to solid, greasy residue. The first time i used about 1oz of the castile soap, 1 cup of Epsom salt, 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar and couple drops of essential oils. I thought that perhaps the vinegar caused the soap to harden, so the second time I skipped the vinegar but the same thing happened. There were solid greasy flakes floating in the tub and my skin was covered in oil and so was my tub. What am I doing wrong? Thank you in advance!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Joanna- I’ve been doing some research on this and learned something new. I didn’t realize that Epsom salt (or magnesium sulfate) is acidic. Castile soap, on the other hand, is alkaline. When the two were mixed in those quantities – a small amount of soap to a relatively large amount of Epsom salt – the pH of the Epsom salt overwhelmed the soap and reversed it. What you noticed were flakes of oil. The vinegar, which is also acidic, accelerated this reaction. Castile soap and Epsom salts are both great ingredients – but it turns out they are not great together. Thank you for asking this question!

Taaisa Robinson says:

Hey i was wondering for a body wash do i have to dilute it if im wetting my body first? I was going to put it on my sponge and can i pour a good bit on my sponge to wash instead of a little bit.. and for my face can i just wet my face then add the soap?
Which soap is best for dark spots for the body?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Taaisa- A small squirt on wet hands, body or sponge is all the diluting our soap needs. None of our soaps will help to reduce dark spots. However, Castile soap will help promote healthy skin that is more able to heal itself. Protection from the sun by wearing hats, UPF clothing and sunscreen are really the best way to prevent future dark spots.

Tracie says:


I have extremely sensitive skin- can you tell me which soap would be good for eczema skin?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tracie – I haven’t tackled eczema myself, but we have received very positive comments regarding our Unscented Baby Mild Castile soap and Tea Tree Castile soap from our customers with sensitive skin, eczema and such. I also recommend our Unscented Organic Magic Balm ( to soften dry patches.

Heather says:

Is there a safe and effective way to use the Castille soap as a feminine wash?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Heather- The Unscented Castile or one of our more mild scents, such as rose, are gentle enough. For an external wash, use a couple of drops and rinse well. As a douche, the concern is that the soap has an alkaline pH and disruptions to the natural pH can be problematic. Also, rinse thoroughly as any leftover soap can be very drying and ultimately irritating.

Handwashing Delicates with Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap and Sal Suds says:

[…] time you’re about to shower, take that blouse, sweater, or scarf you’ve been neglecting and fill your sink with cold water.  […]

Rachel Klette says:

Can I use tree tree castille liquid soap on highlighted hair?
Sometimes it is a tint and sometimes bleach.
Would I need to water down for my acne prone skin and Hair and use the
Diluted citrus rinse?..
I new to this and desperate to use the products 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Rachel- Glad you found us! The Castile soap can be used on highlighted hair, but not with low lights. The alkalinity of the soap opens up the hair follicles, where the color resides. The color will drain out and fade quickly. For hair, you do need to follow with an acidic rinse – either a 50:50 dilution of water and apple cider vinegar or the Organic Hair Rinse. It does take time for hair to adjust from conventional shampoo to soap. For face and body, simply use a small amount in your hands or washcloth. The Castile soap “cheat sheet” will be of help to you:

Amelia Dillenschneider says:

Hi Lisa, summer is around the corner, as well school lice infestation, do you have any suggestion? I heard Tree tea essential oil keep those annoying bugs away .

Thank you


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Amelia- Oh yes, lice is one of the nastiest four-letter words in my house. Grocery store chemicals just don’t work. I’m a fan of physically combing out nits (try the Nit Free Terminator Comb) or visiting a lice salon – because you’ll end up there anyway. Once you’ve done those things, some people have found that washing hair with Tea Tree Castile soap and using a very small amount of coconut oil in the hair can keep lice at bay.

Leanne says:

I just found this comment and while it is over a year old, thought I would chime in. When my daughter was young, her best friend got lice and unbeknownst to me, spread it to my daughter. Well, I had just started using tea tree oil in many cleaning products around the house. I added a few (maybe 5-10) drops to our shampoo. We did have to treat several times with nit-picking between but after about a week, no more lice. Then, as my daughter did not want to go through that again (and neither did I) we continued to use our regular shampoo with tea tree oil added. Her friend went through several bouts of lice infestation but my daughter never did again. Oh and I did share my methods with the friend’s parents but I could not control what they did nor how diligent they were with treatments.

gaby says:

Hello, I just recently purchased the hemp citrus soap, a month or two ago. My skin has been feeling dry and slightly irritated. Not sure if my skin is irritated and dry because of the soap or something else. However, my shower is very dimmed and I cannot see how much I am actually pouring onto my loafa. If you could provide me with another way to make sure I am diluting it enough (i.e. a ratio of what to pour into a jar, or a mixture with something that will help moisturize while still cleaning my body), that would be greatly appreciated.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Gaby- I’m glad you’re giving the Castile soap a try! Some customers find that putting the Castile soap in a foaming pump dispenser at a dilution of 1 part soap to 3 parts water works well in the shower. It might be that you have dry skin, as is common during these winter months (that is, if you’re in North America). In this case, the Castile Unscented soap omits essential oils and instead has double the olive oil, adding extra nourishment for the skin. For even more moisture, the Sugar Soaps have white grape juice and organic sugar added, which are natural humectants and draw moisture into the skin. It also comes with a pump dispenser, which is convenient for the shower.

The Only Soap You Really Need – A Challenged Minimalist says:

[…] Read Post: “Simplifying the Shower” […]

Nannette Stewart says:

Is the Organic hair conditioning rinse suitable for color-treated hair? Also, is the liquid soap suitable for
color-treated hair? Thanks much

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nannette – The Hair Rinse is safe for color treated hair, but not the liquid Castile soap. The alkalinity of the soap opens up the hair follicles, where the color resides. The EWG Skin Deep Database at can help you to find a color-safe shampoo.

Chris Bridgewaters says:

Such excellent information. I have recently changed to organic in every way possible. My husband and 10 year old daughter have terrific allergies and sensitive skin. We love the Lavender Castile soap and have had no problems at all switching over to it. I am so thankful and excited to have found Dr Bronner’s soap and now this fantastic website with so much information. Thank you for educating us. Jut wanted to clarify something from the previous post about the hair rinse. What I understand is that you can use the ACV rinse after shampooing with Dr Bronner’s Castile liquid soap OR use Dr Bronner’s hair rinse. One or the other for those of us with hard water. Is this right? I much rather use the hair rinse than a vinegar rinse. Not a fan of the smell of vinegar particularly.

Denise Woodside says:

I just received my first bottles of Tea Tree. Used it head to toe in the last two showers – no issues. I’m curious about the rinse for hair – is it primarily for tangle purposes? I’ve used a spray leave-in olive oil conditioner so far.

Also – would it be fine in an Epsom salt bath?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Denise – Glad to hear you’re liking the Castile soap! While not true for everyone, many people find the soap leaves their hair feeling tangly and matted. This is because the outside of our hair is made up of cuticles: layers of cells that lay over each other like roof shingles. Washing with our soaps disturbs these cuticles but an acidic conditioning rinse tamps these cuticles back down. Our organic conditioning rinse is designed for this, but others use diluted apple cider. And yes, you can certainly use our soaps in a bath with Epsom salts!

Eric and Marilea Palmer says:

I would like to quit buying shower body wash and use a pre-diluted mixture of the Dr Bronners Peppermint soap in my present hand pump bottle. We have a water softener. What dilution should I use?
Should I use a different dilution if I want to replace my hair shampoo also with it?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Eric & Marilea – We don’t recommend that you put the Castile in a regular pump dispenser because it tends to clog and squirt out in unexpected directions, even if you dilute it. However, it does work well in a foaming pump dispenser diluted at a ratio of 1 part soap to 3 parts water. I personally don’t dilute it for my hair, but you can start by pre-mixing it with 1/2 tsp to a cup of water and then tweak from there to add more or less soap, depending on your preference.

Nacola says:


I brought the peppermint and tea tree liquid soap but did not dilute. I use about 3-4 drops on my wash cloth and then the water from my shower (about a handful). The soap feels like it is burning my skin, I believe I have given myself the equivalent to a chemical burn. My neck in particular now is very sore and red also under my arms. Should I have diluted the soap in a different bottle (i.e. 3-4 drops in a 16oz bottle and fill the rest with water)?
Please advise!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nacola – I am so sorry that happened to you. It sounds quite painful. Peppermint in particular is quite an intense essential oil and some people are more sensitive to it than other. Our more mild Castile soaps would be Almond, Citrus, Rose and Unscented. If you do give one of those a try, I would suggest diluting it during the first few uses or testing it on your inner arm with just a drop to see how you tolerate it. Another reason for the reaction could be an allergic response to one of the ingredients, which are listed on the bottle.

Sydney says:

Would distilled white vinegar work the same as apple cider vinegar for rinsing? I’m curious what properties make ACV different and (I assume) superior. Thanks for all the great info!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sydney – I’m glad you asked this question. Both types of vinegar will have the same effectiveness, however, most people find the ACV to be more pleasant smelling than regular distilled. Regardless of what type of vinegar you use, what is crucial is look for vinegar with 5% acidity or a 5% vinegar, as that’s best for rinsing.

Sydney says:

Thank you so much for the information, Lisa! I actually prefer the smell of white vinegar so I’m happy to receive confirmation that it can be substituted!

monica says:

hi i suffer from light butt acne (so embarrassing and quite uncomfortable) i was wondering if i can use it on that and which one you would recommend for it?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Monica – Tea Tree Pure-Castile soap is great at clearing up and balancing out problem skin. Give your skin about two weeks to adjust to the change.

Efel says:

My daughter has keratosis pilaris and needs to constantly moisturize her skin. Would you recommend diluting with water and a natural moisturizing oil like coconut? If so, what would be the ratio?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Efel – Our soap has natural oils in them that are nourishing for the skin. I’d suggest giving our Coconut Lavender lotion a try.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Michele – I am so sorry to hear that. I know they can be quite painful. While our soap cannot offer a full treatment plant for boils, the Tea Tree Castile or Eucalyptus Castile are both good options for keeping the area clean, and have the antimicrobial properties to help contain them.

Theresa Hanken says:

I love Castle Soap! Concerning Boils:
My entire life I suffered with boils, canker sores, and eye styes. Several years ago, a friend suggested I drink parsley tea. I did it and have not had even a hint of any of these awful things since! I made a full pitcher and started drinking it in the morning and finished it before I went to bed. The first few sips didn’t taste good as parsley has such a pungent taste. However, after those first few sips, it was in my sinuses and wasn’t so strong. The more I drank, the more I craved it!

Here is the simple recipe:
1) Boil 1 Bunch of Organic Parsley for 5 minutes. (If not organic, you can wash in a large bowl of water with one ounce of hydrogen peroxide, then rinse.) Lisa Bronner, is there a soap that would wash non-organic parsley?

2) Throw parsley away and pour tea into a 2 quart container and add cold water to fill.

3) Drink the 2 quarts of tea throughout the day. Do not store over night.

Occasionally, if I feel my lymph nodes are sore… or I’m just craving some parsley tea, I will boil just enough for a cup in the morning or before bed. I now find it yummy and all those blood-related issues are in the past.

I pray you will try this and it you will benefit as I have.

Paula says:

Hello Lisa, I was wondering about the use of Dr. Bronners as a shampoo in places with hard water, I’ve read that the soap can react with the minerals in the hard water and become a problem in the scalp. What do you suggest to minimize the deposits caused by the soap plus hard water on the scalp?
Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Paula – Vinegar is the needed element when shampooing in hard water. I have hard water myself, and the acidity of the vinegar after I rinse out the soap gets rid of any minerals and makes my hair very smooth. I use a 50% apple cider vinegar solution. I use about a cup after I’ve rinsed out the soap. I let it sit a few moments and then rinse the vinegar out too.

Louise Dickens says:

18 in 1 hemp peppermint pure Castile soap, can I put it in a hand soap dispenser? Do I have to dilute or is it ok straight in and it dilutes when washing your hands in water?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Louise – We don’t recommend that you put the Castile in a regular pump dispenser because it tends to clog and shoot out fast in unexpected directions, even if you dilute it. However, it does work well in a foaming pump dispenser diluted at a ratio of 1:4.

sandy says:

Is the Tea Tree soap the best to use for body? I use the bar currently because I am confused on the measurements for the liquid. Can the liquid go in a plastic bottle? what are the measurements for soap and water mixture?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sandy – You can use whichever scent you like best for body washing. They all have the same castile base but differ on the essential oils. I’m usually in the mood for Almond or Citrus, but many swear by the Peppermint, and I think every scent has its own set of admirers. Go with the TEa Tree if you’d like. I don’t predilute the soap before the shower, because the water present in the situation dilutes it (and the dilutions are always cold!). I use a wet wash cloth and put a small squirt on it and wash away. The soaps are perfectly safe in plastic bottles.

william says:

Hey, is it a good idea to put the soap in a lathering dispenser and dilute it sightly for body wash? thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi William – The soap does work well in a foaming pump dispenser. Dilute it at a ratio of 1:3 with water.

Ryan says:

So I’m still somewhat confused on exactly how much soap to use for my body, my scalp, and my laundry. I’m going to be traveling for a few years and I need to limit how much I can carry.

A) exactly how much should I use for washing my body? I’m experimenting with different soaps to choose a 1-soap for everything. Is it like a cap full, or a quarter-sized amount in my hands? Does it have to be in a wash cloth?

B) same question for cleaning my scalp. Does it absolutely need to be diluted, or can I squirt some in my hand, like a dime or quarter sized amount, and clean normally and rinse with water? Is the rinse absolutely necessary, or can I skip the rinse all together?

C) same question for washing my clothes. I use a scrubba wash bag (dry bag) to wash my clothes. How much should I use for that? Is it necessary to use vinegar to rinse the clothes, or can I skip that and just use the soap and rinse with water?

I can send pictures of what I’m using to give some frame of reference.

Appreciate the timely response!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Ryan – I apologize that this is a week later! I hope you haven’t left on your trip yet. I can save you the thought process and just tell you that the Castile soap is the one soap that can do it all and is exactly what you should carry on your trip. If you need extra convincing, though, I’ll answer your questions more specifically! I use a wash cloth so that I don’t use any soap running through my fingers, but it certainly isn’t necessary. In terms of measurement, I would say I use half a capfull of the 8 oz. cap. That works out to probably 1 tsp. For my hair, I apply it straight on my hair. My hair is pretty long (see pic above) and it takes probably another teaspoon of soap to get it all. My son, who has a buzz cut, just uses a few drops. You can triangulate from there if your hair is somewhere in between. My son does not use any sort of rinse and his hair is fine. I do, otherwise my hair would be pretty tangled. I don’t know how big your scrubba wash bag is, so maybe start with a couple tablespoons of the castile. You can rinse with just water. The vinegar is to help soften clothes, but that may not be a priority here. You also may want to consider the bar over the liquid. For traveling it has a couple benefits: it can’t spill, it’s more concentrated (only 5% water content vs. 63%), less wasted through loss, only a paper wrapper which is compostible. You can scrub hair, body, and laundry with it. For laundry, you might just shave off some slivers into the laundry bag with some water and let it agitate.

Safe travels!

Luzvi says:

Dr B was my inspiration to make my own liquid and bar of soap. I didn’t regret that I did because I enjoyed making it as well as using it.

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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