If you are one of those wanting to go green and natural, you surely have heard of castile soap. Unlike what many think, castile soap is actually not a brand. (The brand comes in when you talk about Kirk’s Castile Soap for example, which is probably the most popular today.) Castile soap is a kind of soap that is made of vegetable oil and lye instead of animal fat.
Many people insist that the only soap of this kind should only be olive oil castile soap. However, other vegetable oils such as coconut, almond, jojoba and hemp can be used as well.
What makes castile soap special and “green” is that it is biodegradable and making it does not produce as much waste harmful to the environment as in normal soaps. Being natural, it is safe and gentle on the skin. Many moms even use them as baby’s first soap.
Uses of Castile Soap
What makes it all the more special is that it is very versatile. In fact, it is known as “seafarer’s soap” for this reason. First, it can be used as shampoo and works well even without conditioner (and is cheaper too!).
Liquid castile soap can be used for general cleaning around the house, for washing clothes and baby diapers, for heavy duty degreasing, for washing the dishes, among many others!
Making Castile Soap
So, how do you actually make castile soap? Making castile soap is much like basic soap making. The only difference is that you use olive oil with lye.
Here is a sample recipe of making a simple castile soap. To make 4.5 pounds of soap, you will need about 40 oz. of olive oil (plus about 5 oz. each of palm and coconut oil to give it some stable hardness), 16 oz. water and 7 oz. lye. You can put about 1.5 to 2 oz. of essential oil, based on your preference.
When making castile soap, it is best to use a stick blender. Doing it by manual stirring will take you long hours to trace.
The cold process is the most common method for making this kind of soap. Your soap temperature should be at 100-120, and curing for about 6 weeks will produce the best results.
You can add your favorite fragrance or essential oils just as well, but remember how these may irritate sensitive skin.
How to Make Liquid Castile Soap
You may know that the main different between liquid soap and bar soap is the base or alkali used. Your liquid castile soap recipe will include vegetable oil and potassium hydroxide, and the usual fragrance and essential oils.
Here is a sample recipe you can try. You will need about 16 oz. of sunflower oil (or olive oil, plus 7 oz. of coconut oil), 5.5 oz. of potassium hydroxide, 16 oz. of distilled water for the lye, and 40 oz. water for the soap paste.
The same procedure is used when making ordinary liquid soap. Simply follow the step-by-step method and you will have your natural castile soap ready in no time.