I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Castile Soap on my baby, even though it is not “tear free”. Consider that babies have been washed with normal soap for a really long time before the advent of “tear free” stuff. In fact, most of us who are now washing babies were washed with non-“tear free” products ourselves, and we survived. We have to be careful to keep it out of the eyes.
To understand why I chose to abandon the realm of “baby friendly” products demands the question, “What makes ‘tear free’ products ‘tear free’?” “Tear free” products have a neutral pH. Irritation to the eyes is caused primarily from a deviation in pH. Our eyes have a very narrow window of tolerable pH, around 7.54+/- 0.01. This is ever so slightly alkaline (a pH of 7 is neutral). Dr. Bronner’s Castile soaps are around 9.3, a pH not at all irritating to our skin. To lower the pH would neutralize the cleaning ability of the soap.
So, using a product with a neutral pH that doesn’t irritate a baby’s eyes but still gets a baby clean may seem like a no-brainer – until you look at what these products are made of. I never use the word “soap” regarding these substances because they are not, in fact, soap. Soap is a natural (i.e. directly from nature, not synthetic) product made by reacting animal or vegetable oils (in Dr. Bronner’s case, olive and coconut oils) with an alkali. Baby products that go by names such as “cleansers,” “baby wash,” “shower gel” or the like, are made from non-soap surfactants, which almost always means petro-chemicals, or derived from petroleum. They are very mild petrochemicals, but petrochemicals all the same. Additionally, such products will probably have synthetic preservatives which can be irritating to the skin. (We use Tocopherols, aka vitamin E.)
So, although it’s not good for the eyes, our Baby Unscented Castile soap is awesome for babies’ sensitive skin. It does not contain any of the essential oils that the other soaps have and it has twice the concentration of saponified olive oil which makes it even more soothing.
How to wash a baby with our Baby Unscented Castile soap:
First, I don’t use any products on my baby’s face. I use a wet wash cloth to wipe her face gently. Then, I add a couple drops of the pure castile soap to the washcloth. The washcloth helps immensely. First, you don’t use or lose as much soap. Secondly, it is easier to control where the soap goes, and you don’t have it running all over the baby. Thirdly, the soap is diluted on the wet washcloth and isn’t applied strongly to my baby’s skin. I use cup of water to rinse the soap off. It rinses very easily. To take care of her head, I tip her head back so that the water and soap run backwards off of her head. I’ve also heard that there are little bath visors babies can wear to keep the soapy water out of their eyes when rinsing their heads. I haven’t tried them, though.
I saw a recpie that used ca site soap and coconut oil what’s ur opinion on that should I use it alone just bought my first bottle today of baby mild
I am so sorry not to have responded to these comments sooner. I hope my responses are still helpful to someone:
Andrea – You can use whichever soap you prefer. All the castile soaps should be kept out of the eyes. If you like the lavender scent, go with that.
Maria – Yes, the unscented Baby Mild soap is great on newborn skin. As always, it should be kept out of their eyes. I used a washcloth on my babies with just a couple drops of soap. It worked perfectly.
Vanessa – The Shikakai should be fine on newborn skin as well, unless your baby is very sensitive. It is a slightly more complicated soap than the pure castile, with the addition of shikakai powder, sucrose, and white grape juice. The lotions all contain ethanol. Personally, I went with the balm over the lotions when my kids were babies.
Kathy – Baby hair is a very different texture from adult, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I used it on my children’s hair with no need for a rinse. Once my daughter hit about 3 or 4 and her hair started to thicken and coarsen slightly, I did find the need for the rinse. With my boys’ short hair, the soap alone works great. If you do use the Citrus Hair Rinse, definitely make sure all the soap is rinsed out first, or else the rinse will react with the soap with messy results. The difficulty with switching adult hair to using the soap with a rinse is that conventional products have been coating our hair, effectively disguising damage. The first time you wash your hair with the soap, you will strip off all that coating and reveal what may be very damaged hair. It takes a while for your hair to strengthen itself, once you start using sulfate-free products. There is definitely a transition time. For me it was about two weeks, where I used two capfuls of rinse and had to blow my hair dry and add some moisturizing with the Conditioning Hair Crème. I also like the idea of using coconut oil – a little goes a very long way.
Stefany – Yes, all of the castile soaps, including the Baby Mild, can be used for laundry. Use about 1/3 to ½ cup of soap per large load in a traditional washer. Add ½ c. of vinegar to the rinse compartment.
Nicole – Thanks for sharing! Awesome to hear how well it’s working for you.
Jennie – The castile soap doesn’t work as a bubble bath, although it is still able to clean the kids when added directly to the tub. It clouded the water because it reacts a bit with the minerals in hard water. I still add the soap directly to the water because sometimes my kids need a good soak in soapy water. If they have stuffy noses, a little peppermint in the water is awesome to clear them up as well.
Carmen – Yes, the tea tree liquid soap is safe for infants and can be particularly helpful if the infant has baby acne or eczema. As always, keep it out of the baby’s eyes.
Jennifer – Yes, I dilute the liquid castile at a ratio of about 1:4 for foaming pump dispensers.
Let me know if I can be of further help!
All the best,
Can the lavender Bronners be watered down and put into a foaming dispenser? I would prefer it for washing my little one! I am using it now but the bottle is a bit bulky and I worry if the concentration is a bit stronger than necessary….
Is the tea tree liquid soap safe for infants?
I added the baby mild soap to the running bath water and it clouded up the bath! My boys couldn’t find their toys it was so cloudy? Maybe I used too much or maybe you are not supposed to add it to the water like you would a bubble bath?
I’ve been using the Baby Mild on my 3 year old and my newborn. My 3 year old had eczema and the Bronners soap cleared it up and we haven’t had a problem with it since. When I wash my baby I use a few drops in my hand, rub my hands together and rub it on the dirty areas and rinse it off. I don’t use it on her face and I haven’t had trouble keeping it out of her eyes. I love it 🙂
Hello, i was wondering can the baby mild castile soap be used to wash baby’s laundry? I know the other castile soaps can be used for laundry I didn’t know if this one can be as well. I tired to research but couldn’t find any reviews to whether or not it did a good job or if the extra moisturizing properties in one made the clothes feel like they had a film or something.
if i use the baby mild shampoo on child’s hair and my hair will i get the same sticky feeling like i do with the peppermint and is it necessary to do the citrus rinse or vinegar after soap is all rinsed out to AVOID that oily , stringy feeling and look ? I am still a little confused on the liquid soaps for hair and my first experience was not so good . i washed with peppermint and rinsed and towel dried and then put small amount (1/8 tsp) of coconut oil through hair to conditon it and i think that made it worse. Any suggestions on shampooing for babies, children’s hair and adults would be appreciated. Thank you!
Hi Lisa –
I’m so happy I found your products both for my baby and my family. As a first-time Mommy, I’m hyper-sensitive about what I put on my baby. I’ve been using the Baby Mild Liquid Castile Soap on him, however I was thinking about switching to the Baby Mild Shikakai. Is this still safe to use on baby? How is it different than the regular castile? Also, besides the baby balm, are any of your lotions safe to use on baby?
Thanks so much!
I am also looking for an all natural (organic) detergent for my child, please let me know if you have anything in your product line that I might use or can suggest any other one’s that you might know of
I would like to know whether the mild baby soap would work on a newborn
I have put a foaming soap dispenser in the kids bathroom with castle soap for bath time.
Is there any reason to use the baby soap over the lavender scent? I have been using lavender, and am careful to keep out of their eyes.
I use it as a face wah too with great results.
Thanks for your help!
Hi Jeremy – Great idea. That’s what I would suggest as well.
All the best,
Hi Angie – I am so very sorry I haven’t responded to your question. Here’s a great cheat sheet to get you started on using the castile soap: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=1127. The short answer is, on your body you can use it straight. Around the house, you may want to dilute it.
Hi Beth and Kelsey- Again, I apologize for my delay. All of the castile soaps have the same base, but different essential oils. It would depend on which one they’re selling in bulk. If it’s the Peppermint Castile, that might be a little strong for babies and children. My kids don’t like it – it’s too tingly for them. However, if they have the Almond, Lavender, Citrus, or Rose, those are all really nice for kids.
All the best,
I’m curious about the above question, too! Can we use regular in scented soap on our babies??
As for what to do with ‘old soap’, may I suggest freecycle. Lots of people want to buy it and then maybe you even get a conversation in, but at least someone gets to use it.
I just today received my order of the baby mild 8oz liquid soap. I’m impressed! I’ve used it for hand washing so far today and I must say it is very much less drying than traditional “soap” like Dial or Softsoap. I have sensitive skin on my hands and feet (psoriasis) which any soap-like product dries out so badly after washing. I’m interested to see how this castile soap makes my feet react. I know I still do generally have to put on lotion after washing my hands (if I do a really good job washing, scrubbing, etc) so we’ll see how my feet do. In fact I’m thinking of buying the lavender liquid soap for bathing in. Though the peppermint has me entranced about that idea. I hear so much about the peppermint.
This soap does not dry my hands out as much as other soaps and I feel better knowing I’m not using a soap with triclosan or other non-earth-friendly ingredients. I do not know how I react to essential oils since I don’t think I’ve ever used a soap with real essential oils in it. Anyway—Thanks for this blog, I’ll continue reading through the pages to learn as much as I can. HUGS!-Brittany
Is it okay to use the regular Dr Bronners on babies/toddlers. At my Whole Foods I can buy the regular in bulk, but not the baby one. Just wondering if it’s okay to use the regular on my babies b/c I prefer to buy in bulk.
Is the baby one better?
Lisa, I recently purchased the liquid Bonners baby castile soap and I was wondering if you use the product straight from the bottle or do you dilute it? Thanks
Hi Victor – Yes, you can add essential oils to the unscented Baby Mild. You may find that they separate and float to the top after sitting, but you can shake the bottle before using for a quick mix. The concentration all depends on your preference, which may change from oil to oil since some oils are more potent than others. Dr. Bronner’s adds oil at a concentration of 2%, which means that in an 8 oz. bottle of castile soap, there is slightly less than 1 tsp. of the essential oil.
Please let me know if I can answer further questions.
All the best,
Can I add essential oils to the baby soap for use on a 5 month old? If so, what is the ratio?
Hi Tabatha – Yes, a foaming pump dispenser works well. Use a 1:3 dilution with water. There are many for ale o Amazon, or you can buy a filled one at any store and put your own stuff in it.
Let me know if you have any further questions!
All the best,
Hi I really want to use this soap on my baby, but I’ve used castille soap before. My problem is it is soo runny, I waste a ton of soap! And I know you’re only supposed to use a couple drops but I am sort of excessive, I like a whole handful of soap- and with this soap it all just goes down the drain. So I was wondering if the consistency of this soap is right to use in a foaming hand soap container? That way I will have foaming baby wash and I will get enough without it all being wasted. Or do you think I would need to water it down first for it to work that way? Thanks
Hi LIsa, love the site and find it very helpful as I begin to navigate into healthier/green living! I stubbled upon Dr. Bronners looking for recipes to make my own hand soaps, body wash, shampoos ect… Most of them call for simply diluting the soaps. My hand soap recipe for example uses a foaming pump bottle, water and a bit of castile soap. My baby wash is now an old bottle with water and again, a bit of Dr. Bronners soap. My question is this, is it safe? Do I need to be using distilled water in the bottles that will be sitting around? I am not overly concerned about bacteria, but I also don’t want to be growing anything too funky in my quest to be healthier!
I am sorry….I should mention she is 9 1/2 months old 🙂
We think our daughter has ringworm on her body and scalp… can we use the tea tree soap for her, or will it be too harsh?
Thanks so much!
Hi Toni – I don’t know much about ringworm specifically, but the tea tree will not be too harsh for your daughter. As with any of the scents, use just a little bit – a few drops on a wet washcloth. However, I really can’t say whether this will be enough of a treatment. You may need to check with her doctor as well.
Hi Heather – As long as you’re using up the water/soap solution within a couple weeks, you don’t need to worry about tap water vs. distilled water. No reason to make life more complicated!
All the best,
Thanks for the replay. It has been almost a week and their hair is still looking good. Seems softer now when it dries and it is easier to brush gently. Hopefully it is ok to wash with dr bronners soap everyday because my girls can’t keep their dirty hands out of their hair while eating, so washing every other day is impossible. Also, I found I like my hair better if I don’t do the vinegar rinse. The citrus rinse is coming in the mail in a few days, so I will have to see if that works better, which I assume it does.
Hi Amanda – Washing daily is just fine! It’s all about what works for each family/individual. Even if my kids don’t get a daily bath, I almost always stick my two year old on the counter for a sponge bath or foot washing.
Hi, I just bought my first bar of baby mild soap and have used it on my girls hair and body. They are 1.5 and 4 years old. Should I also be using some sort of rinse like I would on my own hair. My 4 year old has long hair, and I have even longer hair. All three of us are going from showers everyday with shampoo and conditioner (or kid 2-in-1), to showers with the baby mild soap only. Is this right? I have been using a vinegar rinse on just myself until I can order the actual dr bronner’s rinse. I like the bar soap more then my scented liquid castile soaps for some reason. I get a better lather.
Hi Amanda – Yes, the bar soaps do produce a better lather than the liquid due to the palm oil in the bars. (For more on that topic check out my Liquid vs. Bar post, http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=675). All of my kids use the soaps on their hair, and none of them use a rinse. My daughter has long hair, and her hair is super soft and smooth when it dries. Right out of the shower, though, her hair is more tangled than if she used a conventional conditioner. I brush it out from the bottom up, and it dries great. Occasionally, I put some of the Dr. Bronner’s Hair Creme in her hair, but that’s only when I’m doing some sort of fancy style where I want extra sleekness. (something I don’t often have the time for!)
All the best,
I am happy I found ur article about dr
bronner’s soap. I’m just recently aware of the toxic chemicals on most beauty and baby products. I want to try dr. bronner’s products however I have some questions. my daughter is two years old, can she still use dr. bronner’s baby mild product? also I notice dr bronner’s soap have a lot of different scent,what are the differences between each other? I wanna buy the tea tree oil soap for cleaning but can I use it too for baby wash, hand wash, adult soap? thankk you for ur respond in advance
I’m glad you found this information helpful. Yes, you can certainly use the unscented Baby Mild soap on your two year old. My whole family (2 adults, 3 kids, 2 dogs) all use various pure castile soaps and some of the Shikakai soaps, head to toe. We do not have any other shampoos or shaving products. The different scents are mostly a matter of personal preference. The only difference with the Baby Mild and the other soaps is that the Baby Mild does not have any essential oils. It also has a greater concentration of olive oil over coconut oil, making it more moisturizing. I mentioned all my different “favorites” in a previous article which you may find helpful: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=105.
All the best,
Using the Bronner products on my baby and children has been great! Whether it’s to wash their hair and body or let them have a safe bubble bath. Their skin is soft and hair just feels clean and natural! I’ve tried the Baby Mild liquid so far, the Lavendar Coconut Lotion and the Baby Balm. I want to try the Lavendar soap starting in Spring when they shouldn’t need as much moisturizing.
What is your regimen for washing the hair?do you just use the soap?
I have been squirting some Peppermint into my kiddos (3.5 years and 16 months) bath for a few weeks now. Then I just scrub ’em down with a wash cloth. I rinse their hair with the bath water to “clean it.” Once a week (every 1 of 3 baths) they get a wash with J&J Lavendar. Just until it’s gone.
I think the peppermint baths have helped with the colds they’ve been having. HOWEVER, I did notice some pimple like bumps on my sons arms. Could this be related to the peppermint washing? Should I pick up some Baby Mild to use for family bathing purposes? BTW we haven’t had any complaints in the eye area.
@ Stephanie – The natural menthol in the essential peppermint oil greatly assists in clearing congestion, so I don’t think you’re imagining that. Regarding the bumps on your sons’ arms, one of my sons got those, too. They were just on his upper arms. The doctor said that they were not a reaction, but something that would go away with time, which they did. He also said I could scrub them with a washcloth to help them diminish. I left them alone. If you are concerned about them, though, check it out with your doctor. I don’t think it would be a reaction to the soap, though – especially if it’s only on the arms. That’s generally not a sensitive area.
All the best,
I have a friend with a 3 year old and she puts goggles on him to keep the soap out of his eyes. Seems to work great for them.
My kids would think goggles were great fun! Good idea!
@ Alison – Congratulations! I have a December kiddo, too. Great month. The castile soaps are great for all ages. Even the Baby Mild is not just for babies. It is unscented and was orginally created as a special request for the UCLA birth center, but anyone who doesn’t like essential oils or much fragance would prefer this version. It also has twice the amount of saponified olive oil, which makes it even more moisturizing.
@ Janie – Great idea! Thank you for sharing.
also Alison… CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alison– Give it a whirl, bet you won’t go back to your old washes. I do use it personally and for a shampoo too. Instead of conditioner I use a little evoo after my shower in my hair. it’s nuts when you go into the chemistry of the commercial/hard core products. The chemicals in those products interact with the hot steam shower which is typically releasing chlorine and fluoride and can be deadly over time.
I went on my local freecycle ( a yahoo group) and offered all my partly used shampoo/ conditioner/ lotion/ soap bottles, i cleaned them up, and were all pump style…. i got a surprising amount of responses, and gave away a big bag full. they were happy. one man trash is another mans treasure 🙂
How about donating unused portions of health and beauty products to a local women’s shelter? I know we don’t want to spread the use of the not-so-good checmicals but I know these women really appreciate such donations since they do not have many options. I’ve donated old products once I find out I wish to not use them anymore based on ingredients, as well as any leftover hotel miniatures if I needed to use them.
As for the castille soap, I’m very excited to try this for my baby (due in December!). I’ve used the castille soaps as cleansers before but never thought about using them for shampoo and body wash replacements. Can we as adults also use it for our skin? I would assume so, but just thought I’d check. Thanks!
So glad I found your blog I could leave comments all night. I switched from peppermint to baby mild when my little one was born, I am so excited to read we can use the lavender too! YUM! The great thing, as you mentioned, about the Baby mild is the fact that it just has a clean smell. I’ve always HATED the smell of that J&Js stuff, who wants a baby to smell like talc? I want my baby to smell like baby…ok or maybe lavender baby 🙂
As for the poster worrying about baby mild in the eyes…just take a little extra time. you can hold a clean/dryish wash cloth on their foreheads too – to soak up any dribbles. My girl is only 5 months and there’s been a few times when rinsing her hair that the diluted wash has dribbled in her eyes. While I rinsed it out (using clean water in the cup of my hand) it NEVER made her cry/tear.
The Lavender Castile soap and Lavender coconut lotion are very safe for babies. Any studies of the effects of lavender oil on people have involved very high concentrations and very long exposure, and the results are inconsistent. There is only a 2% concentration in our products, and the soaps are rinsed off. The lavender essential oil in the lotion is actually only there to “denature” the alchol – a legally necessary thing to do to make the alcohol unappetizing. So, some of the lavender oil will be carried away with the evaporation of the alcohol. The alcohol in the lotion is also not a high enough concentration to provide any risk of toxicity. However, if it still concerns you, I found that the unscented Baby Balm worked fabulously on my little one – for eczema, flaky skin or general redness. (Our other scented lotions have the essential oils added separately from the alcohol, and they stay on the skin longer which is why their scent is stronger than the Lavender Coconut.)
Eucalyptus might be a little strong for babies as well – it has a bit of that menthol effect the peppermint has.
As far as what to do with the old stuff, there’s no great answer. You can’t dispose of it at hazardous waste centers, because of course they don’t see it as such. 🙂 I don’t want to pour it down my drains because I’m on septic and it ends up in my fields. Anyone else have a suggestion? Maybe some sort of modern art sculpture – a commentary on the carelessness of our culture?
All the best,
oops. I meant to say “he” seems fine with it! I went back to change my sentence from “It seems fine.”
@ Stephanie and Selena- I have used the lavender on my 7 month old boy (hair and body) and it seems fine with it. I only use a tiny amount. His skin seems a lot less itchy as well. sometimes, I don’t know if it’s soothing for him because he gets really excited in the bathtub. Maybe it’s just soothing for me! 🙂
I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask, but now that I’ve switched completely to Dr. Bronner’s soap, what do I do with all my leftover shampoo, conditioner, baby wash etc.?
I’m curious now too if it’s okay that I’m using the Lavender. I only have it in Lavender and Peppermint, and have been using the lavender on my 5 week old son since he came home. The “tear free” stuff made him break out in a rash all over, his skin dried out, and he started getting a flaky scalp. I started washing him with Dr Bronners and it’s all gone away and his skin looks beautiful. I also had to stop using the baby wipes we had because they gave him sores on his bottom. I now use a spray bottle of diluted Dr Bronner’s and use washcloths or flannel scraps. His bottom wipes clean quickly and is no longer red and does not get any sores on it.
Other than the Peppermint (I know from experience to be careful with that one!), is there any type we shouldn’t use?
Is it OK to use the lavender soap on babies too or is it too strong? A lot of baby care products contain lavender and are marketed with their “calming” effects on babies. Any reason why Dr. B’s lavender soap can’t be used in the same way? Also, is it safe to use Dr. B’s lavender coconut lotion on babies 6 mos. and older or is the alcohol content too high? I know that too much hand sanitizer on kids can cause alcohol poisoning; does the body lotion have too much alcohol in it for a baby’s sensitive skin and body?
[…] already blogged about my switch to the 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 […]
Hi, Lisa. I am new to the Bronner soaps but love them. I appreciate you putting together a blog. I just wanted to mention that I used the ‘tear-free’ shampoo on my three kids when they were babies and learned that it did burn their eyes if I wasn’t careful. Maybe my children have unusually sensitive eyes. Maybe.
On your own, there isn’t a way to add an oil and keep it blended. It is a fine thing to do in order to get your favorite blend, but you will have to shake it up each time you want to use it.
I love Dr. Bronner’s baby mild castile soap! I have been using it for years. Any advice on how to scent it with essential oils without it creating a floating mass at the top?
I like the blog! I’ve been under the (most likely mistaken) impression that the J&J body “wash” I’ve been using on my kids will dry them out less than regular soap. Why would I even assume that? And my kids are horribly dry in this Montana climate where we live. It is so bad that my doctor commented on it just yesterday so I think I will try your suggestion! Thank you!
Thanks for this information! I’m still concerned about the whole “soap in the eyes thing,” especially since I usually just stick my kids in the shower and it’s nearly impossible to keep the soap out of their eyes. My guess is that your suggestion would be to invest in a visor? Thanks for the tips… keep them coming!