Olive Oil for Castile Soap: Photo Credit, Fotolia
Olive Oil for Castile Soap: Photo Credit, Fotolia

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make soap for yourself at home, Castile soap may offer you a simple solution. Castile soap is made with vegetable oil and not animal fat. It has a variety of different uses and a number of benefits – and can be combined with essential oils.

History of Castile Soap

The history of Castile soap is somewhat sketchy, depending on which source you read. However, most sources tend to agree that Castile soap is the name of a soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain. If you go back further in time, you will find that Castile soap has its roots in Aleppo soap. Aleppo soap originates from the region of Syria, from where it made its way to Europe through the Crusades (1095-1291). Aleppo soap dates back thousands of years.

Ingredients of Castile Soap

Aleppo soap is a hard soap that is made from olive (Olea europea) oil, laurel bay (Laurus nobilis) oil, sodium hydroxide, and water; you can also add essential oils to it. Olive oil is rich in antiseptic, astringent, and emollient properties.

The ingredients of Castile soap are based on those of Aleppo soap. Today, Castile soap is made from a variety of vegetable oil ingredients but originally it was made from olive oil, with the exclusion of laurel bay oil; early European soap makers didn’t have easy access to laurel bay oil, the other main ingredient of Aleppo soap from which Castile soap originated from.

However, the term Castile soap is often used to describe a wide range of vegetable oil based soaps so it is important to check the actual ingredients of Castile soap before buying it. Castile soap is available as either liquid or hard soap.

Uses of Castile Soap

Castile soap has a wide variety of uses, depending on the type of product that you choose. You can use Castile soap:

  • as an all purpose general cleaner in your home

  • to wash laundry

  • wash your car

  • to bath your pet

  • with baby

  • for personal skincare.

Benefits of Castile Soap

Castile soap is natural and has several benefits over commercially-made soap:

  • it’s kinder to the environment as it is non-toxic, unlike regular cleaning detergents

  • it’s beneficial for a wide variety of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

  • it’s an excellent skin toner as it is nourishing to the skin

  • it’s gentle enough to use with your pet or with baby

  • it’s relatively cheap

  • it’s easy to clean with as it doesn’t cause skin irritation like a lot of regular household cleaners.

Castile Soap and Essential Oils

If you want to make a simple aromatherapy soap, with the added benefits of essential oils, purchase a high quality liquid castile soap and add the appropriate essential oils. Beneficial essential oils, which are anti-bacterial in nature, to add to Castile soap include:

  • lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)

  • rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • lemon (Citrus limon)

  • lime (Citrus aurantifolia)

  • tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia).

Use a 2% dilution and combine the essential oils with the liquid Castile soap. Add to a pump bottle and use in place of regular soap.

Cautions: Many essential oils carry cautions for use, so consult a certified aromatherapist for further information, if you are unfamiliar with the use of essential oils. Of the essential oils listed above, use lavender as a beginner essential oil, which is suitable for most people.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course!


  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing

  • Natural Cosmetic News website, Aleppo Soap, The True Natural Soap, accessed January 25, 2016

  • Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead Publishing

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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