Castile Soap + Foaming Dispenser = Awesome and Affordable

Castile soap in a foaming dispenser solved a bunch of my cleaning/shopping issues, enough to explain how to use castile soap in a foaming dispenser (it’s super easy and super cheap).

Castile soap is something I never tried until assembling a Grove Collaborative order (and it disappeared fast once the bottle was open). Foaming soap (hand soap) OTOH always annoyed me — I suspect I’m not the only one who ordered liquid hand soap and received foaming soap as a substitution during the height of the 2020 shortages.

On top of that, there’s a third issue that I think is more a “me” thing. Being widowed means carrying everything in myself, which sucks. And when you’re lugging gallons of soap and cleaning stuff, concentrates start to look attractive. Concentrated anything is one less thing to lug in an extra trip to the car in the rain.

This hostility to lugging-from-the-car means most of my non-Trader Joe’s grocery trips are from AmazonFresh/Whole Foods Market. Most of my other purchases are from Amazon for the same reasons, mainly that I don’t love the outernet unless I’m going to Spa Castle. (We’re approaching a point, I swear.)

A few Whole Foods delivery orders ago, I noticed that my half-gallon or so of hand soap was diluted for foaming. Instead of exchanging it, I spent $8.49 on a (clear) mason jar foaming dispenser:

castile soap foaming dispenser recipe

As I admitted earlier, I didn’t initially love foaming soap. But my eldest child is a frequent hand washer (like me), and I noticed we had less gallon of soap lugging to do. And I also noticed the pre-foamed soap seemed easier to rinse.

When my eldest kid took my foamer upstairs, I decided to replace it with a set of two clear mason jar soap foamers, for $12.49:

Those unfortunately came shattered, which wasn’t typically the case when ordering glass stuff from Amazon, and I liked them, so I immediately bought another set of two mason jar foamers for $12.99; those were painted white:

Both clear and white were good, all bathrooms and the kitchen had foaming hand dispensers, and I ran out of the foaming refill that triggered all these new dispensers being ordered. And then I noticed that the diluted version of Whole Foods’ 365 brand foaming soap was the same price as the undiluted liquid soap for the large refill — both were $9.99, and both had five refills (64 ounces).

It occurred to me that the foaming solution was likely the same as the liquid (but diluted), and separately I noticed that Dr. Bronner’s castile soap was $11.51 (normally $15.99) for 32 ounces.  I bought the castile soap in citrus because it was a fantastic deal and I liked the last one:

Then it occurred to me that the castile soap could probably go in a foaming soap dispenser, and that it probably was already concentrated. I searched around a lot, and found that nearly all advice concerned a specific ratio:

One part castile soap to four parts water.

Distilled water could be used, but it seemed like more to carry. More broadly, instructions for foaming castile soap were:

  • One part of castile soap to four parts water, or roughly 12 ounces of water to 3 ounces of castile soap (with a little room for the pump);
  • Add the water first, then add the castile soap to the foamer;
  • “Swish” the mixture gently before using.

Notably, the foaming castile soap mixture felt more substantive than pre-diluted liquid soap, and I might reduce the ratios further. The foam produced was silkier and less aerated, but that might be due to a less sudsy texture.

Both formats of liquid soap (not castile soap) had five (5) refills for $9.99, or about $1.99 a refill. Normally, the 32 ounce Dr. Bronner’s was $15.99, each refill was 3 ounces, and the bottle had roughly 11 refills in it — making castile foaming soap refills a less expensive $1.45 each.

Although there are aesthetic reasons to use castile soap in a foaming dispenser (and it’s cheaper), it was also space-saving and reduced waste from single-use hand soaps. It also occurred to me that orange and clove essential oil could be added, to create a “fall” scent.


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