If you’ve been to an organic grocery store, you’ve seen a shelf full of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure Castile Soap.
Easily recognisable by the tiny-print labels on every bottle, the soap comes in eight different scents and claims to have over 18 uses, including shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, household cleaner, and more.
But does it actually do all those things?
A little history first: The organic and fair trade soaps were originally invented by a third-generation soap maker named Emanuel Bronner, who was famous for his personal philosophy that he called the “Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith!”
Bronner was eccentric, to say the least. A German immigrant who escaped Nazi Germany, he spent his life sending (unanswered) letters to world leaders, developing his personal philosophy, and making his soap by hand out of his California home.
His label reflects his personal philosophy about unity and peace with ideas borrowed from Christianity, Judaism, and famous quotes from people like Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln. It’s also very liberal with exclamation points. For instance, consider this line: “Human race the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith! For we’re All-One or none! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE!”
Bronner passed away in 1997, and the Dr. Bronner’s company is run by his surviving relatives. The brand has since tempered down Bronner’s original language about what you can actually do with the soap, and added some tips of their own. We gathered these tips from the Dr. Bronner’s website and various fan blogs around the web.
Here are 14 things you can actually do with Dr. Bronner’s soaps:
1. Body Wash: This soap is awesome as body wash, and will last forever. Squirt a small amount on a wash cloth or loofah, and it will lather up extremely well.
2. Face Wash: These products are 100% organic, made with vegetable oils and coconut oil to help it lather, so they’re good for your skin. Put two to three drops on wet hands, and wash your face as normal.
3. Shampoo: The Dr. Bronner’s brand now makes shampoo specifically for your hair, but a lot of people still like to use the soap. Put roughly half a tablespoon in your hand and work it into damp hair. You’ll most likely need to use a conditioner afterwards to detangle your hair.
4. Bath Soap: Dr. Bronner’s does lather a lot, but not so much in a tub of water (unless extremely agitated with water jets) — it will be more like a bath oil. Depending on water amount, put roughly two tablespoons of the soap into the running water.
5. Baby Wash: The mild version of this soap is especially good for infants. Because it’s not made with any chemicals and only contains organic ingredients, it will be especially gentle on babies’ skin.
6. Shaving Cream: There’s no excuse to buy expensive shaving cream. Just work this soap into a lather, shave, and rinse when done. You’ll need approximately 10 drops for your face, three drops for under arms, and a teaspoon for legs.
7. Clearing Congestion: When you’re not feeling well, put one tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s into a bowl of steaming hot water. Drape a towel over you head, and breathe in the mist until your congestion clears. This is particularly good with the Peppermint-scented soap.
8. Cleaning Dishes: Dr. Bronner’s recommends diluting the soap 1:10 with water, and then squirting the diluted mix onto a scrub brush. This only works when hand washing dishes, and not in a dishwasher.
9. Laundry: Use 1/3 — 1/2 cup of soap for a large load in a normal washer. Most people also recommend combining with a cup of baking soda or Borax (a type of powder used in a variety of household laundry and cleaning products) and diluting with water.
10. Cleaning Your House:
a. Mopping: Pour 1/2 cups of soap in 3 gallons of hot water.
b. Windows: Add a tablespoon of soap into a quart of water in a spray bottle. Follow up with pure club soda or half vinegar/half water to prevent streaking.
c. All-Purpose Cleaner: Pour 1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner’s soap into a quart of water in a spray bottle.
11. Fruit/Vegetable Rinse: Put a dash of the soap into a bowl of water and drunk your produce and scrub with hands to get off any dirt. Rinse in cold water.
12. Dog Washing: The amount of soap you use will vary widely depending on the size, hair type/length, and overall dirtiness of your dog. Wet your dog thoroughly, then start to work the soap up and down his body until there’s a good lather. Rinse.
13. Plant Spray For Bugs: To keep bugs from gnawing on your plants, add one tablespoon of soap into a quart of water and spray onto plants. You can also add some cayenne pepper or cinnamon into the mix.
14. Ant Spray: Though less common, some followers of Dr. Bronner’s say the soap is good for fighting ants. Put 1/4 cup of the Tea Tree soap into a quart of water and spray infected areas. (Note: This concentration will burn plants.)
And 4 things you should NOT do with Dr. Bronner’s:
1. Douche: Older labels of Dr. Bronner’s included a suggestion for ladies to douche with the soap. Bronner believed using the soap as a post-coital douche would restore the body’s natural pH. Doctors for years have debunked this myth, and it has since been removed from the labels.
2. Use As Deodorant: Sure you could wipe the oil on your underarms, but it won’t do anything to keep you from sweating and smelling, plus you’ll feel sticky all day.
3. Use As Toothpaste: You can do this (just put a drop on your toothbrush), and some people do. However, not only will it foam a lot, but it does not taste like peppermint or citrus or almond — it tastes like soap.
4. Use As Mouth Wash: Again, this is soap. It tastes like soap. If you don’t want soap in your mouth, do not use this as mouthwash.