For a while, I’ve been wanting to expand on my uses for Dr. Bronner’s products. I am already a devoted user of many of their products like Castile soap, coconut oil, and bar soaps—but I knew I could be doing a lot more with them.

I just didn’t know how to start. 

With almost perfect timing, Lisa Bronner published her latest book “Soap & Soul”, which is an amazing guide for DIY cleaning recipes, non-toxic home cleaning, and a lot more. 

This was the perfect excuse to take a deep dive into all things natural cleaning with Dr. Bronner’s. This is my review and experience using some of the recipes shared in the book… and also some made up by me! 

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Not all links are affiliate, and we only recommend things we’d use ourselves!


P.S. Before I get started, I just want to let you know that you can get the Dr. Bronner’s products I mention below at stores like Target & Walmart, or on the Dr. Bronner’s website.

Self-care uses of Dr. Bronner’s

I’m going to start with some self-care and personal care recipes using Dr. Bronner’s products—just like Lisa does in the book. And that’s because I fully agree with something she shared in the book: “taking care of our bodies needs to come first.” 

The products used for this section were:

  • Peppermint Castile Soap – $11.79 for 16 oz
  • Unscented Castile Soap – $11.79 for 16 oz
  • Unscented Organic Magic Balm – $9.99
  • Virgin Coconut Oil – $11.99 for 14 oz

1. Foot rejuvenation using Castile soap

I’m going to start by saying, I didn’t have a lot of faith in the foot care recipes for some reason. I feel like whenever I do a pedicure on myself, it never goes as intended and the recipes given in the book felt quite simple. The book calls for the most effortless foot soak—hot water and a squirt of peppermint castile soap… Not much to it, so you can see why my expectations were low…

I still can’t grasp why, but the soak was amazing. I decided to soak, then do the foot scrub (see below), and then soak again. 

The smell of peppermint alone was energizing but also soothing. After soaking for 10 minutes, I took my feet out and my skin felt soft and the peppermint gave me a really nice cooling sensation all over my feet. 

I truly felt “renewed” and the name foot rejuvenation took on a new meaning. Highly recommend this simple foot soak!

dr bronners uses & recipes
Sorry it’s so blurry; this is the only pic I snapped of the foot soak lol!

2. Peppermint & coconut oil foot scrub

As I shared before, I paired the scrub with the foot soak. After a nice 10-minute soak, I started scrubbing my whole feet and part of my legs with the recipe shared in the book:

  • ⅔ cup of turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup of melted coconut oil (unless it’s already liquid!)
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint_&_coconut_oil_foot_scrub

And again, I was blown away by the results! My feet were honestly not in the best condition. At the time of this soak, I was just returning from spending three weeks living off-the-grid in the jungle in Peru. 

I didn’t wear shoes most of the time and had at least 100 mosquito bites. Plus a dry patch on one of my heels. I was in desperate need of a pedicure. 

My skin was already so much softer and visibly better from the soak, but the scrub allowed for deeper rejuvenation. The sugar helped remove dead skin and get rid of the dry patch on my heel. My feet were baby-soft after! Plus, with the coconut oil, my skin felt hydrated and nourished. 

Overall, this truly felt like a self-care ritual. Me—and most importantly, my feet—were very pleased with the results! This is definitely going to be in my self-care rotation from now on. 

dr bronner uses on Thefiltery.com

3. Cleansing soap 

The book calls for Dr. Bronner’s pure Castile soap as an option for facial cleansing. As I wrote about in my full Dr. Bronner’s review, the soap is a bit drying for the skin on my face. It didn’t work too well for me. I think it’s just too concentrated but even when I used only a tiny bit, my skin felt dry after. 

I still wanted to find a way to use this as a face soap since it’s my go-to travel soap—especially for camping trips! 

In the book, Lisa says that their Castile soap already has naturally occurring glycerin… but I knew adding more could make it more hydrating and gentler on my skin. So I gave it a go! 

After a bit of research on the right dilution for this, I came up with this recipe with the sole purpose of making Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap less drying on my skin: 

  • ½ cup of unscented Castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons of glycerin
  • (Optional) a teaspoon of honey 

I also added a bit of honey since it helps draw moisture into the skin! 

After a couple of uses, I do find this recipe to be gentler on my skin but I would still not use it daily. It’s perfect for travel as it’s natural, biodegradable, and highly concentrated, so I can just take a little bit and it goes a long way. 

Overall, Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap is not the best option as a facial cleanser for me—especially not daily. But I’ll definitely use this recipe while camping, traveling, on the go, or when I’m out of soap! 


4. Makeup remover using Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil

Makeup_remover_using_Dr._Bronner’s_coconut_oil

This one is super simple but effective—which is kind of the trend that Dr. Bronner’s recipes follow. Quick, easy, and effective. 

I actually have been using coconut oil as a makeup remover for a long time, so it was nice to see it in the book! It was one of the first switches I made when I started simplifying my beauty routine and it’s still one of my favorite ones. 

Simply put a bit of coconut oil on a cotton ball or reusable round, and gently rub it across your face and eyes to remove makeup. This works on concealer and lash mascara. 

Plus, a side effect—my lashes got longer and healthier when I started using coconut oil to remove mascara! 


5. Dry patches with Dr. Bronner’s organic balm 

If, like me, your cuticles and the area around your fingers get very dry and chapped—you’ll love Dr. Bronner’s Magic Balm. Besides being a writer, I also work as a musician. And when I started playing string instruments, I noticed the skin around my fingers peeling a lot. It’s painful

The Magic Balm is my saving grace. I use just a little bit on any peeling or drying on my hands and fingers, and it works so well. 

This isn’t really a recipe, but a way I’ve been using this product that has been very helpful! 

If you want to read thorough reviews of each of Dr. Bronner’s products I’ve used, check out this article!

Note: Even though the book shares a lot more recipes for self-care, including some for hair care, I have found Castille soap to be too drying for my hair, so I didn’t try any of the recipes from the book. If you want to try Castile soap for your hair, the book does have several tips! 


Dr. Bronner’s uses for home cleaning 

Now that we took care of our bodies, let’s move on to the home. I was really excited to dive into this part since I wanted to expand on my recipe repertory for Castille soap. But I was also really excited to try a new product from Dr. Bronner’s: Sal Suds

I’ve heard wonderful things about Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds for DIY cleaning but I hadn’t had the chance to tap into it yet. 

Getting the Soap & Soul book felt like the perfect excuse to get and try Sal Suds. It’s a detergent and is supposedly tougher on stains and more concentrated than Castille soap. 

In the book, Lisa Bronner shares the story of Sal Suds and how it was born out of the frustration of Castile soap reacting with hard water minerals. This reaction leaves a film that is not very appealing to the eye. 

There are times you want to exclusively use Castile soap—such as body and personal care. And others where you want to use exclusively Sal Suds—like cleaning a car and outdoor surfaces, or general home cleaning if you have hard water at your house.

In some recipes, Sal Suds and Castile Soap can be used interchangeably, just in different dilutions. And that’s exactly what I did. I used Sal Suds in some, and Castile in others, simply for testing purposes. 

For this section, the products I used were: 

  • Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner
  • Peppermint Castile Soap – $11.79 for 16 oz
  • Unscented Castile Soap – $11.79 for 16 oz

6. All-Purpose cleaning spray

There Are Tons of Uses for Dr. Bronner’s. Here Are Some of the Recipes I Tried

I’ve been making my own all-purpose cleaning spray for years. I always used vinegar as the base but my husband never loved the smell of it, so I was due for a new recipe. Lisa shared in the book two “drop everything you’re doing and make this right now” recipes. This is one of them. 

  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 tablespoon of Sal Suds 
  • 20 drops of tea tree essential oil (optional)

On a spray bottle, add the water (important—water first!), the Sal Suds, and the essential oils. And done. Easy peasy. 

Instead of making it directly in the spray bottle, I used a large mason jar, added some cuttings from my spruce tree for extra aroma, and let it rest for a few hours before using. 

This is definitely one of the stronger recipes in the book. The spray works really well not only for kitchen surfaces but also for the shower, bathroom, and kitchen table. I was particularly impressed by how it got my stovetop clean. I had some baked-on stains that came right off after letting it sit for a few minutes. 

I also paired it with the Soft Scrub (see below) to give my shower a good cleanup and it worked amazingly well! I tend to buy products for the bathroom (rather than DIY), but this spray combined with the soft scrub left my shower looking better than it ever has! 


7. Soft scrub 

This was one of my favorite recipes! I used it on my shower which is white and had some stains that I thought of as permanent. I used baking soda and vinegar before to try and get rid of them which didn’t quite work. 

I saw this recipe in the book and knew immediately I would test it on my shower stains. The recipe calls for:

  • ¼ cup of Sal Suds
  • 3 ⅓ (800g) of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar 

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the baking soda + the Sal Suds and mix well until it’s not lumpy. Then add the water, mix again, and add the vinegar mixing until no lumps remain. Add more water if the consistency is not pourable. 

Soft_scrub -_Dr_Bronner's

I didn’t have enough baking soda, so I made half of what the recipe called for and used it immediately in my shower, giving a good scrub to every little corner. 

My shower has never looked as white as it does now. This scrub is truly magical. Yes, I did scrub a lot but it was well worth it. Some stains came off completely and others are less visible but still there. I think another round with this scrub is going to do the trick—we’ll see! 

After the scrub, I sprayed with the All-Purpose Cleaner and felt like the bathroom was super clean—especially for a DIY, simple recipe. And it stayed clean for longer than usual, which was the most exciting part. 

I’ll continue using the scrub to fight those shower stains and hopefully, it can look brand new again! 10/10 for this one! 


8. Hand washing delicates with Castile soap

I had a few delicates that I’ve been procrastinating on washing, and the book calls for a simple water + Castile soap for handwashing, so I gave it a go. 

The recipe is quite simple. It calls for:

  • a tablespoon of Castile soap
  • a gallon of water. 

I let my clothes sit for a few hours in the soapy water and then gave them a good scrub. Overall, this wasn’t my favorite recipe. It didn’t lather much, so it didn’t feel like I was actually washing my clothes. They smelled neutral afterward, which is expected when using an unscented soap, but it gave me the feeling that it wasn’t clean enough. 

Maybe the Sal Suds is a better option for this, but for now, I’ll stick to my current detergent


9. Spot cleaning on a tough stain with Sal Suds

I recently came back from a trip, and when I opened my luggage, I was so upset to see something spilled over my brand-new white t-shirt. I tried washing it with a stain remover bar, letting it sit in vinegar, and scrubbing it with soap. It was less visible, but still there. 

As a last hope, I mixed a tablespoon of baking soda and added a little squirt of Sal Suds—creating a paste. I put it on the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then scrubbed it. 

Unfortunately, this didn’t work either. The stain looks a bit fainter now, but still there. It’s sort of oily so it might be permanent, but I think this could work for an easier, fresher stain. I’ll definitely try it again! 


10. Yoga mat cleaner 

I’ve been making a vinegar-based DIY yoga mat cleaner for a while, which works well but I’ve wanted to try something different. And this was a good time for that.  

I was hesitant to use soap for this cause I was afraid I would need to rinse after, or it would make a soapy mess. I usually spray and wipe. That’s it. But I gave it a go anyway, hoping it would work fine. 

This is the recipe I used:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil
Yoga_mat_cleaner Dr Bronner's

I added the water into a spray bottle, then the soap, then the essential oil. 

So far, I really like this recipe! It smells better than the vinegar one I had been using, and it does not leave a soapy feel on my mat. I don’t smell any sweat remaining on the mat and it looks just as clean as with the other recipe. 

I can’t say that it works better or worse… But it does work and it smells better, so I’m sticking to this one for now! 

That’s it! Trying and testing different uses for Dr. Bronner’s products was a fun journey! I hope to keep expanding my DIY non-toxic cleaning cabinet and share more recipes and ideas with you. If you’re looking to green your cleaning routine, the Soap & Soul book by Lisa Bronner is truly handy! 

I only shared a handful of recipes here, but the book is a thorough guide of recipes, how-to’s, and even the science behind soap and cleaning. It gives you the tools and knowledge so you can build your own recipes.

I feel a lot more confident making my own recipes knowing what mixes well together and what doesn’t. Plus, not all recipes and cleaning tips from the book use Dr. Bronner’s products. Some are simple kitchen ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemons. 

If you found this article helpful and want to stay updated on the latest DIY cleaning recipes & other *secret* content, sign up for Filtered Fridays!



About Ana

Ana is a sustainability-focused copywriter and the founder of Copy That Co. She helps eco-conscious businesses grow through action-driven copy, inspiring storytelling, and an honest and positive approach to marketing.


Related Posts

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *