Monday, October 02, 2006

Castille Soap

In one sense, my mom was "green and clean" in the days before the "green" movement brought back gentle houshold cleansers. She was a huge fan of Castile soap, which I saw listed as a very safe and non-toxic "green" household cleanser. (She was a fan of old-fashioned Octagon soap to get stains out of white clothing, too, but that's another story).

Though my mother used it, I never knew exactly what Castille soap was. According to Wickipedia, the name "castile" soap has come to mean soap that is made from vegetable oil rather than animal fat. Sources that have been used in castile soap are coconut oil, olive oil, hemp, jojoba oil, and almond oil. Another source says that it dates back to the 9th century, when people in Castille made soap out of olive oil. Imagine! It goes back that far.

I would imagine that pure, olive oil-based castile soap was what Mom and other women of her generation used.

Since I can't remember exactly what mom did with her trusty bars of castile soap, I looked up some cleaning recipes on the Internet.

Here's an all purpose home cleaning recipe using castille soap from a site called Loretta's place:
"Use liquid castile soap and baking soda or Borax in different ratios. Use a little soap and soda/borax with lots of water on floors, walls and counters. Use more soap, soda/Borax for tubs sinks, cat boxes, anything that can be well rinsed."

Here's a recipe from the same site for washing pets with castille soap to rid them of pests:

"Fleas and Ticks
Wash pets with castile soap and water, dry thoroughly, apply an herbal rinse made by adding 1/2 cup fresh or dried rosemary to a quart of boiling water (steep for 20 minutes, strain and cool. Spray or sponge onto pets hair, massage into skin. Let air dry, do NOT towel dry as this removes the residue of the rosemary."

Here's a substitute for bacterial handsoap from Nature Moms:

Fill pump dispensers with Castile Soap, add essential oil of lavendar.

One caveat: Though castile soap is a very safe, non-toxic soap to use for humans and for household items, it is very high in PH. Thus, it can be drying to the hair. One article I read suggested that it not be used as a shampoo.


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