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
- 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.
I still use the instructions on the bottle of peppermint soap I’ve been buying since the ‘70s. Wet a washcloth with hot water, wring it out, put a few drops of soap on it, and rub away. Yep, towards the heart, just like the instructions say. When I am done with the soap, I wring out a washcloth in plain hot water and wipe again.
You’ll be clean, refreshed, and ready to carry on. Saves soap, saves water, straightens out your mind for a fresh start to the day.
Would it be OK to add Frankincense oil to this for bathing? Thank you. Love your products and all of your words of wisdom!🤗
Hi BJ – Thank you for your kind words! Frankincense oil would blend with the soap and water just fine in this dilution. I do not have the expertise to comment on the impact of frankincense oil on skin, so be sure to look into that if you haven’t already.
Love this idea but for some reason I’m just not understanding the instructions. Doo I spray on skin and wipe and spray again on damp cloth and wipe the same area? You mentioned in the comments that no rinsing is necessary, just dry off with towel? Also, how long does an opened bottle of the castille concentrate last and Sal suds? Thank you so much.
Hi Lenna- I’m sorry if I’ve confused you! To use, spray on skin and wipe with a damp cloth to remove any remaining soap on skin. Then dry skin. Both Castile Soap and Sal Suds are good for 24 months after opening the product. There’s a nifty icon near the bar code on our bottles that looks like an opened jar with a number tucked under the lid. That symbol indicates the shelf life of a product once opened. This is fairly standard across personal care products, so you can keep an eye open for it on other products too!
I’ve been thinking of making my own DIY grooming solution to use on my pup on a daily basis. She usually comes in from our walks pretty dusty and/or muddy. I don’t really want to spend the money on disposable grooming wipes when I could make my own. Do you think this solution would work for that? Would it maybe keep a bit longer if I keep it in the fridge?
Thanks for all the pointers! 🙂
Hi Wednesday- I’ve not tried this on my own dogs, but suspect using this dilution to wipe off your dusty pup would work fine. Many customers tell me they use the GIY (Green It Yourself) Baby Wipes for this purpose too. Check out that recipe in this blog post, https://www.lisabronner.com/giy-baby-wipes-video/.
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!
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.
Thank you for your helpful tips. I have used Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap since the 1970’s. Whenever it has been unavailable to me I always watch for it because it is the most perfect cleanser. In regards to ” rub in the direction of your heart”, his advice is very accurate as it is the direction used for dry brushing the body for treating Lymphedema as well. It is amazing what that method does to helping the body circulate the lymph system.
Acid balanced body wash and creams?
Is it a “thing”? Good or Bad?
They reduce body odors. Harmful or not?
You can edit out company names.
Lume and from Fresh Body- Fresh Breasts
I tried both of these and they work. Bumpy skin and itchiness gone! Can I make something like these from Dr. Bronner’s?
I live in Florida and sweat is every day all day.
Hi Denise- I am not familiar specifically with the term “acid balanced” but it is some sort of commentary on the pH. While pH is important, I don’t think it is what is doing the work in either of these products. The Lume Body Wash could easily be replaced by the Dr. Bronner’s Castile. The Fresh Breasts product both absorbs moisture with tapioca starch and corn starch and lubricates to prevent chaffing. There isn’t a Dr. Bronner’s equivalent that would absorb moisture, but the Magic Body Balm is awesome at preventing chaffing. For more info on skin and pH, check out my article https://www.lisabronner.com/skin-health-ph-and-dr-bronners-soap/.
Video you’re referring to is the one about your grandfather it’s a documentary that I Believe your brother came out with around 2004 or 2008. In that documentary he’s in the bathroom using the sink and talks about always watching towards your heart. So are you basically saying that you don’t sell a wipe or anything like that or a spray that we have to make it ourselves? Just from one professional to another I’ve been using your products for years and years and years if you can come up with a solution where you have a spray and it’s already done and it doesn’t include all the chemicals you were talking about that’s harmful to the body that would sell a lot more than telling somebody they need to buy the product and then they have to add stuff to winter take away stuff to it you follow? I’m just trying to help I also think that you guys should have an app with a game on it. That would introduce your soaps to a whole new generation as opposed to just a hippie generation who made it popular in the first place.. Take of space invaders… on the bottom of the screen you have a Dr. Bronner‘s soap bottle and from the sky down comes dirt or debris and you have to press the button to squeeze the bottle to kill the dirt. You don’t charge for this app you use it for just awareness and all the app you have a way to go right to the Bronner store to buy the soap if 1 million people download it and 100,000 people buy soap that’s still 100,000 new customers… I just so happen to have a masters degree in marketing and I think that would be a great idea but that’s just my opinion lol
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?
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.
Thank you so much for these green tips !!!
I am in need of decluttering and freeing my mind/body/and spirit!!
Hi Tamika- It’s great to hear my blog is helpful to you. Thanks for reading!
can i use regular soap, like the peppermint, or almond soap, in a bottle?
Hi Limor- I wouldn’t recommend using the soap undiluted in a spray bottle, as it will clog the spray nozzle.
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?
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.
Thank you for this, Lisa. Please explain your grandfather’s method “rub towards the heart.” Does it mean to start low and rub upwards?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Hi Jackie- I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. Thanks for sharing that this worked for her.
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?
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.
In Ayurveda, it is recommended to always rub toward the heart! 😊
Could this spray be used on dogs for spot cleaning (after they roll in something odoriferous) or entire baths?
Hi Kate- Yes, it would be especially helpful for spot cleaning. I use undiluted Castile Soap to bathe our dogs Tucker and Sadie. Meet Tucker in his starring role in my Dog Washing post, https://www.lisabronner.com/dog-washing-with-dr-bronners-soap/
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.
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.
Hi Linda- Excellent! Let me know how it goes.
This is EXCELLENT information, engagingly written and very helpful.
Blessings to you for sharing.
Thank you, Kimberley. I’m glad you found this topic helpful!