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Body

Wipe-Off Castile Body Wash Spray

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.

How to make & use

Combine:

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. 

  1. Fill a small spray bottle with the solution.
  2. Dip a soft cloth in warm water and wring until it is not drippy but still wet.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Other tips

  • 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.

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Pamela says:

My water heater sprung a leak and I used this method rather than getting in a cold shower. Worked a treat. I imagine this is how people kept themselves clean before showers were in every home. Thank you for this!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Pamela- Ack! I’m sorry to hear about your water heater, but glad this simple dilution came in handy at just the right time.

Lorre says:

I am concerned now that I may need to change out my foaming hand soap, which sits by the sink for weeks. Do I need to worry about this?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lorre- The shelf life of the Foaming Hand Soap is 2-3 weeks. It is the concentrated nature of our Castile Soap that makes it self-preserving, so when the soap is diluted, the shelf life is less. Because this dilution is about 1/8 of the foaming hand soap, is has a shorter shelf life. With any dilution, if it begins to smell off, dump and remake.

Tamika says:

Hi Lisa,

Thank you so much for these green tips !!!
I am in need of decluttering and freeing my mind/body/and spirit!!
😇

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tamika- It’s great to hear my blog is helpful to you. Thanks for reading!

Trina says:

Thank you for this. I’m an End of Life Doula and guide families through after death care with their loved one. This idea could help considerably. One questions. You mention that it’s crucial to rinse the spray soap solution off the body but your steps above don’t include that—just drying with a towel. Is drying w/a towel sufficient to remove the spray solution?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Trina- What you do is a gift to families and their loved ones, thank you. This is a very weak dilution and wiping skin with a wet cloth will remove any soap remaining on skin.

Dina says:

Thank you for this, Lisa. Please explain your grandfather’s method “rub towards the heart.” Does it mean to start low and rub upwards?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Diana- He method was to start from the extremities and rub towards the heart. I don’t know the medical backing for this, it’s just something he always would say.

Laurie says:

Wait.. not self preserving? I use citrus or lavender and mix with water in a foaming nozzle container that’s my shower soap. Is this not a good idea?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Laurie- We don’t add any synthetic preservatives to our Castile Soap. It is their highly concentrated nature that makes them self-preserving, and so once they are diluted with water, the shelf life is reduced. The Wipe-Off Body Wash Spray is an extremely weak dilution – about 1/8 the dilution of the Foaming Hand Soap dilution – which is why the shelf life is so much shorter than other dilutions. To know if a dilution has turned, use your nose. If it smells off it’s time to dump it and make a new batch.

Jackie says:

While my mom was in hospice at home, I gave the nurse’s aide Dr. Bronner’s baby castile to give my mom a bed bath.
Just a couple of drops on a wet washcloth.
So much better than those chemical washes they wanted to use.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jackie- I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. Thanks for sharing that this worked for her.

Ellen says:

I am a big fan of your products and use diluted citrus soap for hand washing and a diluted Sal suds to clean my counter tops and then rinse.
Can you explain what it means that your soap loses its self preserving nature after being diluted for 2-3 days?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Ellen- Those are some of my go-to products as well! We do not add synthetic preservatives to our soaps. Rather it is the highly concentrated nature of our soap that makes them self-preserving. Once diluted with water, their shelf life is reduced as they are no longer self-preserving. The Wipe-Off Body Wash Spray is an extremely weak dilution which is why the shelf life is so much shorter. It is half the dilution of the Castile All-Purpose Spray, and about 1/8 the dilution of the Foaming Hand Soap dilution.

Carolyn says:

In Ayurveda, it is recommended to always rub toward the heart! 😊

Kate says:

Could this spray be used on dogs for spot cleaning (after they roll in something odoriferous) or entire baths?

Susan says:

I use to use the Dr. Bronners lavender scent on my dog all the time. As the dog stuff was to much for him. He loved as it relaxed him at bath time bonus fleas hate the smell of lavender.

Linda says:

Thank you Lisa I love the concept of the wipes but so much land fill and health concerns with them. I love this new solution and will start using the spray instead.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Linda- Excellent! Let me know how it goes.

Kimberley says:

Lisa,

This is EXCELLENT information, engagingly written and very helpful.

Blessings to you for sharing.

Lisa Bronner says:

Thank you, Kimberley. I’m glad you found this topic helpful!

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Lisa Bronner

Green means life. “Going Green” is living in such a way to promote vitality and vibrancy in every sphere of life. Grab an idea to make your days healthier, simpler, and more beautiful at their core.