My record is pretty good for 46 collective years of parenting. To date, there’s been only one broken bone. If there’s only going to be one, it should be impressive and impressively done, and it was. My daughter had a phenomenol skim board dismount and fractured her ankle in two directions at the growth plate. This required a cast from the tips of her toes up to her hip.
It was green. It was large. It looked like a giant frog leg.
Two things were particularly unpleasant about the recovery. One was that it was August in southern California, which means it was roughly 12,000 degrees outside. Second was that she couldn’t bathe.
That, along with several readers asking me for bathing options for people who are bedridden or otherwise cannot immerse in water, led me to figure out a way to make a Wipe-off Castile Body Wash Spray.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap with its nourishing blend vegetable oils—coconut, olive, palm kernel, jojoba, and hemp seed—makes a gentle but effective wash for every skin type.
Any of the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap scents work for this. If the person has sensitive skin, opt for the milder Lavender, Almond, Citrus, Rose, or Unscented. But then perhaps the invigorating Peppermint or Eucalyptus, or the therapeutic Tea Tree would be just the thing. The Unscented Castile, with its moisturizing double-dose of olive oil and no essential oils is the gentlest of all. You can also add your own essential oils for a custom blend. Add 3-4 drops of pure oils to the dilution below.
- 1 ½ tsp (7.5 mL) of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
- 1 cup (240 mL) distilled, filtered, or otherwise purified water, room temperature
Alternately, rub the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soap with your hands in a small bowl with 1 c. distilled, filtered, or otherwise purified water until it is slightly soapy.
- Fill a small spray bottle with the solution.
- Dip a soft cloth in warm water and wring until it is not drippy but still wet.
- Spray Body Wash lightly on skin and wipe with the wet cloth. Alternately, spray the cloth lightly with the Body Wash and wipe skin gently.
- Dry skin gently and thoroughly with a soft towel.
That step of wiping the water/soap solution off skin is not skippable. Soap works by latching on to dirt, oils, germs, and grime. It encapsulates them into nifty little nuggets called micelles. When we rinse or wipe a soapy surface, the micelles—along with the dirt and grime inside—attach to water and are removed, leaving clean skin or surfaces behind. If we don’t rinse, the micelles, grime, and leftover soap remain on our skin instead of leaving us clean.
This dilution will last 2-3 days. Our soaps are self-preserving, but when diluted with water, they lose their self-preserving nature.
- When doing a full body bath, wash from the head down to the toes. My grandfather, Dr. Bronner, would always remind to rub in the direction of your heart!
- Use a fresh, clean cloth to wash face and delicate areas.
- Spray away from any casted or bandaged areas.
- If the bather is lying down, tuck a towel beneath them before bathing so bedding remains dry.
- This is a good time to change bedding. It feels so good to have fresh clean bedding when you’re fresh and clean.
- This is also a great thing to keep next to baby’s changing table to clean off soiled bottoms.
Take it on the go
The Castile Soap Body Wash Spray isn’t just for at-home situations—far from it! Use it any time running water isn’t available.
- Hiking or backpacking in a remote area
- Dry camping
- After a bike ride commute to work
- Following a midday workout
I can think of plenty of situations when my kids were younger in which this Wipe-off Spray would have been handy. (How is it that you put kids in the car clean, and they come out dirty??) Take this with you to clean orange goldfish fingers, sticky PB&J cheeks, and spilled drinks; wipe off the grass itchies; or remove sand and sunscreen after a day at the beach. Not to mention the inevitable on-the-go diaper blow-out.
Elsewhere on the market
There are a slew of “no rinse” or “waterless” body washes, wipes, and foams available on the market. Many of these contain harsh surfactants which irritate the skin, alcohol which causes dryness, artificial fragrances which are a primary source of indoor air pollution and increasingly linked respiratory irritation, and synthetic preservatives which can be endocrine disruptors and allergens. These are particularly of concern in no-wipe formulations which remain on the skin, giving the body plenty of exposure and opportunity to absorb them.
Pre-moistened wipes and pads not only rely heavily on preservatives to inhibit the growth of bacteria and microorganisms, but the wipes or pads are often neither compostable, biodegradable, nor recyclable.
Follow the recommendations and advice of your medical professionals regarding treatments for health conditions. In general, though, a simple Wipe-off Castile Soap Spray is the best way to keep skin clean when full bathing isn’t an option.
A final word from Dr. Bronner
For midday freshening, my grandfather would give himself a quick sinkbath with a squirt of the Peppermint Castile Soap in a sink of water. Somewhere there’s a video I need to find of him describing this—(He’s clothed!)—always with the reminder to “rub towards the heart!” This Wipe-Off spray reminds me of his tutorial.