Cleaner Living: The Magic of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Feb 27, 2012 by

I promised I would do a review of one of my favorite products, Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps.  Honestly, this is my go to for nearly everything in my house!

Photo from Dr. Bronner's website

Dr. Bronner’s soaps are Castile Soaps, which mean they are completely vegetable-oil based, meaning no animal products.  The ingredients listed on the bottle are:

 Water, Saponified Organic Coconut*, Organic Palm* and Organic Olive* Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils**, Citric Acid, Vitamin E

*FAIR TRADE Ingredients
** Available in Peppermint, Lavender, Almond, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Rose and Citrus Orange

The soaps are completely biodegradable, certified USDA Organic, and many of the ingredients are certified Fair Trade.  This means that the workers who produce their ingredients benefit from fair prices, living wages and funding for local development projects in the regions they are produced.  Dr. Bronner’s proudly provides their employees with generous salaries and benefits, cap executive pay at five times the lowest-paid position, and give all profits not needed for business development to support progressive charities and causes.

Oh, and the product is amazing and works to clean almost anything!

The sayings on the bottle are a bit crazy and it’s hard to find instructions on it, so here is a list of the things you can use it for:

Body Wash:

I use the Peppermint kind for myself and hubby.  The Peppermint leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth without feeling greasy or dry.  The Peppermint leaves you feeling a bit tingly and refreshed, though it can burn your eyes, so be careful.  Hubby is pretty particular about his soaps, as he hates moisturizing soap that makes you feel slippery, but gets dry skin from some bar soaps.  This does neither!  The bottle instructions say to wet your body and put a couple of drops in your hands and lather up.  I use an old body wash bottle and mix 70% soap to 30% water and hat seems to do the trick for us.  You can find the 32oz bottle of peppermint kind at Trader Joes for $9.99.

Kids Hair and Body Wash:

I use the Baby Mild version on the kids (and on our, ahem, delicate parts) because of that Peppermint tingle.  It may just be too much for sensitive skin, and like I said it can burn your eyes.  So we have and old baby soap bottle filled with the same concentration 70/30 of Baby Mild.  It lathers up nicely for shampoo, and clears out fast with minimal bowls of water dumped over the head (Great for those kids who can’t stand to have water dumped on their head too many times!). It leaves the kid’s hair shiny and silky, and I usually can wash their hair every other bath (unless there is yogurt, glue, dirt that needs to be washed out)!  I found my 32oz  Baby Mild at Target for $11, but you can also buy it online.

Shaving Cream:

Use the body wash solution to lather faces and legs and shave without incident!  The oils in the soap make for smooth shaving without creating red bumps and cuts.

Shampoo:

You can use this as a shampoo, however it may not work for everyone.  I tried it and it left my hair somewhat tangled and greasy feeling.  I’m told you can use an acid (vinegar) rinse, and I tried their Shikakai Rinse, but got mixed results.  Hubby has used it as a shampoo and likes it just fine, so I guess it is up to your hair type and length.  I do recommend that you rinse thoroughly and use a diluted concentration, much like the body wash.

Pet Soap:

I have not used this on the dog yet, but I am told it works wonders and can even be used as a de-skunk solution!  Use the same solution for pets as humans though keep it out of their eyes and water out of their ears!

Hand Soap:

I bought an old Dial foaming pump for $.99 and dumped the soap and rinsed it thoroughly with hot water.  I filled it with 50/50 concentration of Peppermint soap to water and keep it in the bathroom for hand washing.  It has such a pleasant smell and foams nicely.  Sometimes the spout gets clogged, but I just clean it out with a toothpick and it’s fine.

Toothpaste:

I’ve tried this twice and don’t recommend it for daily tooth brushing.  the experience is what you would think brushing your teeth with soap would be like: really foamy and filmy.  But, in a pinch (like camping) it would suffice to leave your breath fresh, just rinse with water REALLY well!

Shower Cleaner:

In a squeeze bottle mix 1 Cup Baking Soda, 1/2 Cup Peppermint soap, 2 Tbsp Distilled Vinegar, and 1 Cup Warm Water.  Shake well and squirt on your tile or glass shower surfaces.  Scrub with a sponge and rinse thoroughly.  Really does the trick to get rid of soap scum and hard water stains!

Surface Cleaner:

Mix 50/50 concentration of Peppermint soap to water in an old rinsed spray bottle.  Spray on surfaces and scrub with a damp sponge.  Wipe clean with a paper towel.  i use this spray for my kitchen and bathroom counters, as well as my toilets seats and surfaces.

Toilet Cleaner:

I filled an old toilet cleaner bottle with 50/50 concentration of Peppermint soap to water.  I squirt this around the inside rim like you would store-bought cleaner.  Sprinkle 1/2 Cup baking soda in the bowl and then 1/2 Cup vinegar.  It will start to foam.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then scrub with toilet brush and flush.

Floor Cleaner:

Squirt 1-2 Tbsp Peppermint Soap in large basin.  Fill with warm water and clean with mop.  I use this solution on hard wood also (though i squeeze the mop more to get rid of excess water).

Laundry Soap:

I have not used it for this since we have some natural soap already, but I have read numerous reports of it great results on your clothes.  Looking around the interwebs, 1/3 Cup in a regular load should suffice (though be forewarned that this makes suds, so you may want to try a bit less at first!).  Also, from Lisa Bronner’s Blog, if you are washing cloth diapers you should use their Sal Suds instead of the castile soaps, as the latter will affect the cloth diaper’s absorption.

Dish Soap:

I have not used it yet for dishes, but heck it works for everything else!  However, it is not recommended for automatic dishwashers as the suds can be too much for the machine and create a mess!

So, there you have it… MAGIC SOAP!

I love that this product is so safe and natural and it actually does the job as well, if not better, than the toxic stuff on the shelves.

Also, I am saving money.  I bought both 32oz bottles I have for about $21 about 6 months ago, and still have a little over a quarter of the  Peppermint and over half of the Baby Mild left.  We will probably save more than most since we were spending lots of money on store-bought “green” cleaners, but based on average household cleaners that most people would get off the store shelf you could save $60- $100 per year by just switching to this one product!

 And you are one step closer to Cleaner Living!

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Dena

Dena is the busy mom of a 7-year-old son and a 2 year old daughter. In her “free time” she enjoys a good book, a glass (or 3) of wine, cooking, and looking forward to the day she may finally be able to pee in peace. Her biggest hope in life is that she will produce two happy, healthy adults who will treat themselves and others with compassion and kindness.

5 Comments

  1. We use it to clean the fabric on our Phil and Ted’s stroller too. I just squirt some right on, scrub then rinse. Works like a charm! We also use the peppermint bar soap in the shower and it’s not drying at all and I’ll definitely be switching to the Baby Mild for my boys once my old formula California Baby runs out. Have you tried any of their lotions? Wondering how they work.

    • Dena

      I haven’t tried the lotions since I use Extra Virgin Coconut oil for me and the kids (another post soon on that!).

  2. Marcy

    It’s also perfect for washing a fresh tattoo – so gentle!

  3. The RODALE website has a bunch of Make-Your-Own household cleaner formulas that use Dr. Bronners as well – http://www.rodale.com/homemade-cleaning-products?page=1

    I like the company as well as the product, because of the HUGE impact they had in pressuring Whole Foods to adopt an Organic Body Care Policy!

  4. Sidney

    My 21yr old Daughter came home from college with a bottle of the Almond Scented Soap I tried it and haven’t looked back sense I was using Dove for Men and hated the way it felt oily My wash rag felt bloated and oily But after trying Dr Bonners I was hooked I now use the Orange Citrus scented soap you do have to be careful around your Eyes was your face gently but outside of the fact it gives you a naturally Clean feeling the thing that I find interesting is your was rag does not mildew or become saturated with oily chemicals so that’s my take superb Product

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