Dilutions Cheat Sheet for Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap

Dilute! Dilute! OK!* But how much? Here is a quick reference. None of this is a hard and fast rule. If your stuff is really dirty or your water is really hard, then you may want to use more than the recommended amount. However, this should get you started. You’ll notice that for some applications, I recommend pre-diluting the soap – combining the soap with water in a container. For other applications, the soap is diluted by the water present in the situation. It’s a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that if you predilute, you are also diluting the preservative (tocopherols – vitamin E), so the shelf life drops. Use within a couple weeks. And yes, there are 18 uses here.

Long time Dr. Bronner’s users will remember this expression from the old labels.

Body Uses:

Face:  2-3 drops on wet hands, applied to wet face

Body:  one small squirt on a wet washcloth, applied to a wet body

Hair:  ½ Tbsp. in your hand, worked into wet hair, or dilute ½ Tbsp. in ½ a cup of water and work that into wet hair

Bath:  Completely depends upon water amount, but roughly 2 Tbsp. soap in an average sized tub. (Doesn’t bubble, but still cleans)

Shaving:  Face – 10 drops; Underarms – 3 drops; Legs – ½ tsp; Work to a lather in wet hands and then apply to area.

Teeth:  1 drop on a toothbrush. (Yes, it tastes like soap.)

Foot Bath:  1½ tsp. in a small tub of hot water.

Clearing Congestion:  1 Tbsp. in a bowl of steamy hot water. Breathe in mist with a towel draped over the head.

Household uses:

Dishes (handwashing):  Pre-dilute 1:10 with water. Squirt on a scrub brush and scrub dishes.

Laundry:  1/3—1/2 c. of soap for a large load in a normal washer. Add ½ c. vinegar to the rinse cycle. Use half of these amounts for HE

Mopping:  ½ c. of soap in 3 gallons of hot water

All-purpose cleaning:  ¼ c. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil if desired.

Windows:  1 Tbsp. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Follow up with pure club soda, or half vinegar/ half water.

Toilet:  Predilute 1:4 with water in a squirt bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree oil. Empty toilet, squirt bowl thoroughly, sprinkle baking soda on the brush, scrub bowl, let sit 10 minutes, turn water on, flush.

Other Uses:

Fruit and Veggie Rinse:  1 dash (approx.. ¼ tsp.) in a bowl of water. Dunk produce and swish. Then rinse in clear water.

Dog washing:  Amount varies widely depending on size, hair type and length, and overall dirtiness. I wet my dog thoroughly, then start to work in castile soap up and down their body until I have a good lather. Really massage it in down to the skin. Your dog will thank you for it.

Plant spray for bugs:  1 Tbsp. in a quart of water. Add ½ tsp. cayenne pepper or cinnamon, if desired.

Ant spray (not on plants):  ¼ c. tea tree soap in a quart of water. (This concentration will burn plants.)

I’ve tried to keep this short and sweet. If you have any questions, please ask away!

To download a one page copy of this cheat sheet, click here.

Author Profile
Lisa Bronner

Lisa Bronner is a prolific writer, consumer advocate, and speaker on health and green lifestyle issues. She is author of the blog, “Going Green with a Bronner Mom,” and granddaughter of Dr. Emanuel Bronner, founder of Dr. Bronner’s.

See all stories by Lisa Bronner
  • Stephanie Hopkins

    Hi Lisa, I am a big fan of everything Dr.Bronner’s. I use your products for everything! I have a question though. Recently, I’ve had several friends and family request that I make them some cleaning products. I don’t use preservatives for the items I make for myself and my home, but I’m wondering if I need to if I’m giving or selling to others? I usually use the ratio of 1Tbs to 8oz of distilled water (plus essential oils). Thank you, in advance!!

    • newwavekid

      Not to jump in front of Lisa here, but tocopherol (vitamin E) is actually a preservative, and it’s in all the Castile soaps.

      • Stephanie Hopkins

        It was my understanding that tocopherol vitamin e is not a preservative but an antioxidant to help the oils from not going rancid. It will not protect from bacterias or preserve your product once you add water to it. I read on another blog that there is a calculated ratio that you can use Castile soap to water and it will be safe from bacteria. I just didn’t want to take somebody else’s word for it, I wanted to find out from the actual makers of dr. Bronner’s Castile soap what that ratio is.

        • Stephanie Hopkins

          Thank you, though. I hope I didn’t come across snippy or anything. I do appreciate you chiming in. 🙂

          • Hi! I find that adding a few drops (depending on total volume) of Maximum GSE liquid concentrate to my diy recipes for anything containing water (distilled) helps my products last a bit longer. But I do try to use things up within 3 months max unless it has no water.

    • jojowa

      give them the cheat sheet and web address. they can make their own. whatever they have bottles for.

      • Stephanie Hopkins

        My plan is to eventually sell these products. I customize them with essential oils.

        • Maybe you can make and sell a concentrate, and then put directions on your bottle how the friend/customer can dilute it for use.

          • Stephanie Hopkins

            That’s actually exactly what I do. I’m adding preservatives to the concentrate so when it’s diluted with water it will be protected from bacteria and such.
            The preservative can gum up the sprayer nosel over time, so I was hoping I didn’t need to add it, but no such luck.

          • You could combat that with witch hazel or vodka. I don’t know if you could add it to your concentrate or if your customer would need to add it during dilution.

    • Hi Stephanie, it is definitely the case that once the soap is diluted that its shelf life goes down significantly—and it sounds like you are diluting the soap quite a bit. We don’t recommend selling the diluted soap (although if you figure out a natural preservative that could certainly help). If it’s just something that you’re giving away to friends then you can simply let them know that it should be used within a month or two (you can also make a batch and let it sit, testing it every few weeks to make sure that it hasn’t lost its scent or gone rancid, and that way you can determine the precise shelf life of your products).

      • Stephanie Hopkins

        If I use the recipe for the All-purpose cleaning: ¼ c. soap in a quart of distilled water in a spray bottle… what is the shelf life of this mixture?

        • Lisa Bronner estimates the shelf-life of that mixture to be about 6 months, although she also recommends smelling/checking it as she has not done any rigorous tests for shelf life. Hope this helps!

          • Stephanie Hopkins

            It does! Thank you!

  • stacybel

    Thanks for the dilution list! Now I can stop using chemicals on my toilet.

  • Linda Adsit

    This list is so very helpful. Thank you.

  • Denise Marie

    So many amazing uses but I always wondered about the quantities so thank you for this cheat sheet!

  • Diana Allingham Rubanenko

    Thanks so much for this!

  • LimeGreenYeti

    I use the peppermint liquid soap as a bug spray.
    Three parts water, one part peppermint in a spray bottle. Best bug spray I’ve used.

    • Ann Brigham

      Can be used to maintain bug free, organic garden?

      • LimeGreenYeti

        I don’t know for certain but I think so. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer, but we were bug bite free all year!

  • Chris Romanelli

    Anyone know if the peppermint soap will deter deer?

  • Michael B

    I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps… almost as much as my dachshund! 🙂

  • wally jasper

    I just ordered some Sal Suds but haven’t used that product before. How would the Sal Suds compare with the Castile Soap for home cleaning and laundry purposes? It seems that that is what it is made specifically for. But does the Castile Soap work equally well?

    • In some ways Sal Suds is a more powerful cleanser than the Castile Soap. Sal Suds is a detergent, not a soap, which is a bit of a chemical difference. The main difference in practice is that Castile Soap performs less well in hard water conditions, whereas Sal Suds performs equally well in soft or hard water conditions. This is because the minerals in hard water can interact with the soap and especially in applications like laundry, mopping, or dishwashing, this can make getting a “clean rinse” more difficult.

      • wally jasper

        Thanks, Rafi! Does the vinegar you add to laundry when using Castile Soap address that “clean rinse” issue?

        • Yes, the vinegar helps the Castile Soap rinse clean! This is true in dishwashing as well, where you can add a bit of vinegar into the “rinse tub” to prevent any film or greasiness that can result from hard water conditions. Sal Suds is loved for its powerful degreasing abilities and doesn’t require the vinegar rinse.

  • Veronica Ho

    sorry I’m new to this community, want to ask a very basic simple question that how much the volume of 1 cup is to?

  • chito2800

    Please someone answer this question. I’ve been making my own body wash using honey and carrier oils but I Can’t find no where how to dilute for diy body wash . I’m using 8oz bottle & 16oz. So for every tablespoon of Castile should I add 2 tablesponns? What the most water I can and still have it’s cleaning power? Trying to have this as gentle as possible for skin . Thank you

    • Hi, it’s really a matter of taste. People tend to dilute anywhere from 1:1 all the way to 4:1 for body wash purposes. Even at the lower dilution it still has plenty of cleansing power.

    • Caliqueen

      You make your own shit too?? I guess it’s only catching on here in Oakland lol. I’m making my own moisturizers, body butters, hair stuff, anything else I can try.. I’m waiting for this brand of Castile soap but the unscented kind bcuz I have sensitive skin.. I have the same question u have still haven’t found an answer.

  • Shakti

    I’ve been using Dr. Bronners for two decades for sensitive skin
    and a need to escape chemicals. Wonderful product.

  • Guy Bethell

    If I add castile soap to a neti pot, how much should I use?

    • Hi Guy, sorry for the late response! We do not recommend using our soaps in a neti pot, as the lining of your nose and throat are very sensitive and should not be exposed to soap.

  • Maria Intan

    Thank you for your cheat sheet. Its definitely helpful. For handwashing, how should I dilute it?

  • Teresa Altman

    My home and fresh laundry is infested with spiders, I’m awear peppermint helps ward them off. But the soap container says put 1/2cup vinigar in rinse. Why, I want my clothes to smell like peppermint?

    • The vinegar in the rinse cycle is especially for hard water conditions, to help the soap rinse clean. If you have soft water in your home, then you may not need the vinegar rinse. However, even without the vinegar rinse, your clothes will likely not smell very minty. Usually the smell of the soaps does not remain in the clothes after washing.

  • Beza

    Hi Lisa, thank you for this dilution list. Since I’ve discovered Dr. Bronner’s soaps, I’ve been replacing nearly all cleaning agents in my house with them. But there is one thing I’d like to be able to find out: is there a way to use this as a dishwasher detergent? I’ve found recipes online, but they don’t make sense to me, since mostly they suggest to use white vinegar and/or lemon juice in a solution of Castile soap and water. Adding acid to a basic solution does not make sense to me. Do you have any suggestions? If anything is missing from your list, I’d say it is a dishwasher solution! Thanks!

    • Hi Beza, unfortunately our soap can only be used for handwashing dishes. The soap simply suds too much in an automatic dishwasher, and it will overflow the dishwasher. You are correct that we don’t recommend mixing the soap with vinegar or lemon juice, although there is an exception if the recipe also contains baking soda, as the vinegar will react with the baking soda instead (although you have to get the proportions right). That said, we are not familiar here with a recipe like that for automatic dishwashers.

  • Kathy

    Hi I noticed that your Sal Suds product has Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in it. This has been a controversial ingredient in recent time, and I understood it to be synonymous with engine degreaser. Please correct me if I’m wrong. So, in what applications is it not good to use Sal Suds? I have removed all items from my home that contain this ingredient. Please enlighten me. 🙂

    • Hi Kathy, we wouldn’t compare SLS to engine degreaser, as engine degreasers generally contain petroleum-based solvents, whereas SLS is a gentle surfactant that is derived from coconut oil. SLS has definitely gotten a bad rap recently, mostly because of its confusion with SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate), which can be contaminated and cause health problems. SLS, if formulated correctly, is a safe, mild, effective cleanser. That said, we do not recommend our Sal Suds for use on the body, mostly because SLS can cause skin irritation for some people.

  • Tara J. Brady

    Hello! I am new to green cleaning. My mom used the soap in peppermint growing up though so I love it. I really want to make the switch bc I am chronically ill in many ways. One being that my body can’t process toxins & heavy metals like other body’s do through the process of methylation. So I know regular cleaning products with awful chemicals are poisoning my system trifold! But back to the point. I ordered several of your products but I am not sure if I need both Sal Suds AND the Castile Soap. I am, however, not the biggest fan of most DIY recipes that use vinegar as the cleaning base. Is Sal Suds a base for making cleaning products as well? (Hopefully one that I could use in place of vinegar most of the time?) I know it is more of a cleaning detergent and the other is a soap (even though it can also be used to clean, which is where I get lost lol.) I’m just wondering if I should have gotten one or the other. Thanks for all your posts and family products. You are such an inspiration. I love to clean & was thinking I’d be sad losing my fave cleaners but these products make it fun & I am now excited!! Actually, my first order just got here! I can’t wait to go tear open that box! Thanks!!

    • Hi Tara, both Sal Suds and the Castile Soap are excellent all-purpose cleaners. We definitely don’t recommend mixing either one with vinegar… although vinegar can be useful as a rinsing agent for the Castile Soap. I suggest checking Lisa Bronner’s recent post on her blog to understand the exact difference in applications between Sal Suds and Castile Soap: http://www.lisabronner.com/sal-suds-or-castile-soap-which-one-should-you-use/

      • Tara J. Brady

        Thanks so much! I really appreciate your time.

  • Danny M

    I am using Dr. Bronners Castile soap for my bathroom foaming soap dispensers. I am thinking of replacing my in counter kitchen sink soap dispenser with a foaming dispenser. Is the product a good dishwashing alternative and if so, what is the recommended dilution ratio?
    Thank you

    • Hi Danny, you can use for dishwashing, although its effectiveness really depends on the hardness of your water. If you have hard water, then there tends to be an oily film left on the dishes after you’ve washed them. This can be easily counteracted by putting a little bit of vinegar in the rinse tub (assuming you use filled tubs of water when you wash). If you have soft water then wash away, no problem! And if you have hard water and don’t want to deal with the vinegar rinse, then Sal Suds is likely the better product for this application. As far as dilution, I would start with 2 parts water to 1 part soap and see how that works for you. You can always tweak to taste.

  • peo h

    i can’t get over the fact that you’re using same thing to clean the toilet for your face!