Castile Soap

The name "Castile Soap" has been coined after Castile - a historical Spanish region. Its prime ingredient is olive oil. It is available either in bar or liquid forms. Castile soap is free from animal fat and contains only vegetable oils.

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Similar to most other soaps on the pH scale Castile soap notes 8.9 on this scale. Thus it is on a similar level with baking soda with a wee bit more of alkaline compared with dish soap that is mild. But alkaline content is less than that in bleach or other types of harsh tile cleaners.

The name recalls the romantic Kingdom of Castile. Evidence hints that this particular soap had its origins in northern parts of Italy and from there it spread. However, Castile soap has such ancient roots that to hone in on exact details is difficult. At Castile only olive oil was used to prepare the soap. There are differences between Castile Soap with capital letters containing olive oil and castile soap in the lower case; the latter contains vegetable oils other than olive variety.

Castile soap is prepared with fat from pure vegetables without a drop of animal fat like tallow. Historically this variety of soap has been greatly valued and regarded as soap of the highest quality. It is gentle for human skin and can be widely used for other purposes. Shop counters in many parts of Europe sell these castile soaps - it is being a specialty in some parts of the continent wherein it is produced using multiple traditional ingredients. One can buy this kind of soap base for mixing with individual choice of other soaps.

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From time immemorial olive oil has been the base of this soap but it can be also be produced by using oils extracted from fruits and vegetables like hemp, coconut, almond, avocado, walnut etc. The composition varies slightly in relation to the base oil being used. The pure variety of the soap is hard and white sans any odour. Many soap producers make it in liquid form. The colour varies between cream and white; it is without odour and frequently becomes thick when the weather is cool.

After making the base, multiple floral ingredients are used to add scent to it; then oatmeal is blended in together with different coarse stuff to help exfoliation; alternatively it is treated differently to produce soap that would be put into specific use. This soap sometimes serves as hand-soap in star hotels. It also may be used as typical body-soap, as shampoo and/or as general cleaning agent. These soaps are useful for washing clothes, scrubbing floors, bathing pets and in multiple uses whenever there is the need to clean something.

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This kind o soap has great value because natural ingredients are used to make it attractive for those who are environment friendly. It is extremely gentle and suits those whose skins are sensitive; these are ideal for sensitive surfaces and for materials like silk or soft stone. Some prefer to mix it with their own variety of soap using it as the base having essential oils.

Is Castile soap "natural"?

Hard soap is produced by mixing oils or fats plus lye or sodium hydroxide. Liquid soap is produced by mixing oils or fats plus caustic potash or potassium hydroxide. Many are worried about use of caustic compounds and question how these could be "natural" when containing such stuff.

Chemistry abounds with wonders because when you mix two substances to kick off any chemical reaction then a totally new substance is produced. For instance salt can be cited as an example. The chemical compound known as natural sea salt comprises basically of chloride and sodium. In pure state the metal sodium violently reacts when there is exposure to water; chlorine is a green gas that is poisonous and has frequently been useful in any sort of chemical warfare. But when put together they become salt! This is a natural resource that is invaluable for sustaining life.

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The point to note here is that if properly made soap becomes a handy cleaning agent that is both gentle and safe for the skin and for having the home cleaned. There is no longer scrubbing of any caustic chemical on the skin when dishes are being cleaned with the help of olive oil.

How does Castile soap work?

Broadly it can be said that soap molecules including those of Castle soap have a characteristic of one end being attracted by water and another avoiding it. When soap combines with water, free-floating atoms that are charged are created. These attract dirt capturing it together with different types of other molecules that are non-water-soluble.

This trait of grabbing grease results in making Castile soap handy on hoods of smart ovens, grease stained pans and pots and also oily messy spills that are extremely difficult to clean; actually a broad range of everything else can be included in this list.

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Castle soap with water comes in handy for cleaning sinks, counters, floors, bathtubs and toilets; it gets rid of infesting houseplants and insects and can also be used as a replacement for laundry detergent.

Castile soap is biodegradable as well as non-toxic. Hence it can be safely applied on pets and kids. One can even have vegetables washed by using it if it has been sufficiently diluted.

Uses of liquid Castile soap

Homemade natural shampoo

One can make a homemade natural simple shampoo containing lather with only few ingredients lying around in the house. Castile soap very gently cleanses dirt but does not strip the scalp. Coconut milk adds nourishment to hair and prevents its breakage and loss.

Homemade natural body wash

Natural homemade body-wash that is moisturizing can be made by combining Castile soap's cleansing quality with anti-bacterial and soothing qualities of honey for making body-wash that will be kind to the skin.

Foaming face wash

The most important feature of the body is the face and thus it requires sensitive care. The professional beauticians aim at stripping, exfoliating and chemically peeling the face into nowhere and frequently the prescribed "solutions" kick off an irreversible cycle of 'need' and wanting for greater number of products. The best method of skin care involves eating healthy foods while trying to balance the natural oils that are produced by the body. Castile soap's use does not strip beneficial oils from the face while allowing soap to do its prime task of removing dirt. However the skin could be requiring some adjustment time but in the long run the face will be grateful to the soap. Skins prone to acne responds well to lavender and tea tree. It's advisable to apply lavender and frankincense for skin that is mature and/or chamomile and sandalwood for skin that is dry.

Mopping

For mopping floors a mixture can be made of Castle liquid soap (2 tablespoons) and one gallon of water (hot). It is ideal for mopping floors.

Hand-washing dishes

Fill the sink with running hot water for dishes to be washed and then add a squeeze of liquid Castile soap. There will be no bubbly suds like those produced by detergents but the job will be done as before. For tough food stains the dishes need to be soaked prior to scrubbing.

Windows

For routine cleaning of mirrors in the house using soap is not required. But if one wants to change over from using a cleaner bought off shop shelves it will be necessary to add some drops of Castile liquid soap to the window cleaner that is homemade to get rid of residual dirt left behind by commercial products. For cleaning of exterior windows the addition of Castile liquid soap will help to removed the collected dirt and grime the windows have endured all through the year.

Dog shampoo

The amount of Castile liquid soap to be used varies in relating to the dog's size and its hair length. The puppy's fur has to be made thoroughly wet. The proper amount of Castile liquid soap has to be poured on the hand and worked around the palm. Then the dog's fur has to be massaged with it taking care to cover the animal's entire body. Sufficient lather has to be worked up before rinsing.

Plant bug spray

Spray the plants with a mixture containing Castile liquid soap (1 tablespoon) and water (1 quart). It will act as a repellent for bugs. For anti-ant spray the measure of soap has to be increased to quarter of a cup for spraying on the problem zones. Higher concentration should not be sprayed on the plants to avoid them from getting burnt.

Castile soap can be used to replace the toothpaste - it being kinder to the teeth compared with objectionable chemicals that are mostly used by the commercial products. Only couple of drops has to be directly applied on a wet toothbrush. Although one will have to take time to get used to the flavour, it will undoubtedly work wonders.

A veggie wash that is simple can be made for cleaning all products by adding Castile soap (1 tablespoon) to water (2 cups). The solution can be kept in a bottle fitted with squirt mechanism on top of the sink in the kitchen.

A "soft scrub" can be made for cleaning tiles, tubs and toilets using Castile liquid soap and baking soda. A spray bottle has to be filled with 1:3 dilutions of this soap and water. The zone to be cleaned has to be sprinkled with baking soda using generous doses and then the Castile solution has to be sprayed over it. With a brush or sponge the zone has to be scoured for the stains to disappear. It is also great for tackling stubborn crusts on stovetops.

A smart carpet cleaner can be made by adding quarter cup of Castile liquid soap to a cup of water. The solution has to be mixed well in a blender before being allowed to fly in the form of stiff foam. The application is the same that is used for other products used for cleaning carpets.

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