How Castile Soap Ingredients Compare To The Ingredients In Most Soaps

Have you ever thought about what’s in your soap? Most people don’t bother to read the ingredients on the back of the package much less look up where those ingredients come from. Soap is supposed to make you feel clean, right? That’s the general idea. Okay, so let’s look at some of the ingredients typically found in most soap then you can decide for yourself how clean it actually sounds. Then we will look at pure castile soap ingredients and see how they compare.

We’ll look at two popular brands of bar soap.  First, let’s examine the ingredients in Irish Spring. First, it says soap, but then in parentheses it lists the ingredients used in making that “soap.” We won’t need to look at all of them. Just a couple will probably be enough to gross you out.


First, it says “soap.” Hmm…okay…but let’s see what goes in that soap.

  • Sodium Tallowate – The very first thing on the list, so if ingredients are still listed in order of most to least like they have always been, then there is more sodium tallowate in Irish Spring than anything else. But what is sodium tallowate? Well, it’s the main ingredient that made me stop buying all the name brand soaps in the first place (as well as the fact that most soap brands are tested on animals).

Sodium tallowate is made by combining tallow with lye. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it. But what is tallow? It is the               rendered fatty tissue of animals. The worst part is how it is obtained. I have found this from information from several sources, but I just decided to take a screenshot from

This may sound just gross to you, but it is totally horrifying to me! And people use this stuff in the shower every day and probably never know what they are using! Not to mention that it is also used in some lipsticks and eyeshadows! Ugh.

  • Next, we see sodium cocate and/or sodium palm kernelate. These products come from either coconut oil or palm oil, that is reacted with sodium hydroxide. Nothing horrible like tallowate.
  • After those so called “soap” ingredients, if you skip a couple of ingredients, you will see Tallow Acid. Yes, you guessed it! More rendered animal fat (to put it nicely, I guess). But even the safety of this fatty acid is questionable. According to tallow acid may be toxic to aquatic life, both fish and plants and not enough studies have been done to confirm the safety of this product in cosmetics. THEN WHY IS IT THERE?
  • Further down on the list, you will see Titanium Dioxide. I had to mention this one because I cannot find anywhere that is has any skin benefits, and it can cause rash and irritation. I personally am allergic to it. It is found in many sunscreens and I have had many adverse reactions from trying to use these sunscreens.

Now lets look at the ingredients in Tone Soap. As you can see, there isn’t much difference, so I don’t see any need to discuss the ingredients in Tone. I’d be repeating what I just said about Irish Spring. I do see some cocoa butter, aloe, and papaya extract in there, but if this is their idea of a soap that’s beneficial to your skin, I have to disagree. It looks like the animal fat, that could of have come from roadkill, and the harsh chemicals tag-team to dominate this soap.

Once you compare the ingredients in these soaps to pure castile soap ingredients, I think you will see that the better choice is a no brainer. Unless your idea of clean is smearing animal fat over your body that is. So lets look at the ingredients in castile soap. I chose my two favorite brands of pure castile soap, Kirk’s Castile Pure Botancial Coconut Oil Soap and Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap. I have both of these brands in my bathroom vanity, so I copied the ingredients directly off of the packaging.

Kirk Castile Soap Ingredients: Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Gluconate, Fragrance

Kirk's Castile Soap

That’s it. Just a few simple ingredients. The soap is made with absolutely no animal by products, is biodegradable, and it’s cruelty-free. I like it because it lathers so well, seems to destroy odors, and there is hardly no waste. You can take the tiniest little bit and make a rich, creamy lather in your hand – enough to wash your whole body with actually, no exaggeration.

Dr. Bronner Castile Soap Ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Palm Oil, Sodium Hydrochloride, Water, Organic Olive Oil, Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

Dr. Bronner's Castile Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s is made largely of organic oils so as you might guess, it’s certified organic. It’s vegan and also cruelty-free. And Dr. Bronner’s comes in a variety of scents, all scented with organic oils. I personally prefer the baby unscented.

Once you’ve tried either Kirk’s or Dr. Bronner’s, you’ll be hooked. And I know you will never go back to those nasty old soaps made with animal by products…roadkill? 

Have you tried either of these soaps? Do you have a favorite? Tell us in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

For the Love of Animals,





Featured Image Found on Pixabay


  1. Katie says:

    Oh my goodness…yes that info on tallow is horrifying. So glad I only purchase organic vegan body products at the health food store! I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps and they work just as good if not better than your typical grocery store soaps. Thanks for spreading the word and educating people to make better choices! Do you have any recommendations for shampoo?

    1. Linda Kwasniewski says:

      Hi, Katie. Kirk’s makes shampoo, which I personally haven’t used yet, but plan to try. Right now, my personal favorite cruelty-free shampoo brand is Paul Mitchell. Paul Mitchell makes a variety of shampoos for different hair types and needs.

  2. HappyB says:

    Thanks for this article Linda.
    I assumed that the principle part of soap was sodium hydroxide (Caustic Soda,) which is also the most active ingredient.
    (In its concentrated form it cleans and unblocks drains and strips paint.)
    Your list of ingredients does not seem to include this.
    It is a frightening list of things we put on our skin.
    I will definitely look more closely in future and take a give Kirk Castile Soap a try-out.
    Can you tell me: are the ingredients of “liquid” soaps generally similar?
    I am wondering now about shampoos as well.
    Do you have any info on them?
    I know I could walk through the chemist’s looking at ingredients of all the shampoos, but I might look a little suspicious.

    1. Linda Kwasniewski says:

      The ingredients are all listed just as they appear on the soap wrappers. For both Kirk’s and Dr. Bronners, the liquid soaps are very similar to the standard bar soap versions. Kirk’s has hand wash available in a pump bottle, with similar ingredients. Kirk’s also makes a shampoo. As for Dr. Bronner’s, the soaps come in liquid form that is not specifically a hand soap but can be used for anything from washing dishes to washing your hair, literally! It is biodegradable and very mild.

  3. Barb says:

    Hi! Thanks so much for this very informative article on how castile soap compares to commercial soaps.

    OMG! When I read what sodium tallowate was, I nearly puked! Aaaaah! I had no idea I was covering my whole body in road kill. Eeek! Never again. You have a convert. I’m definitely going to try the soaps you suggest.

    I’ve never heard of Kirk’s before, but I have heard of Dr. Bonners. Which one do you like between the two?

    1. Linda Kwasniewski says:

      Hi,Barb! I know what you mean. It made me sick to think of it also! I actually prefer Kirk’s. I like the way it lathers up, and you can literally use the whole bar without waste. You know how you have those little pieces of leftover soap that seem too good to throw a way but they are too small to use? You don’t have that with Kirk’s. When it gets tiny, you can rub it in your hand and create enough lather to wash your whole body. It is the creamiest soap I have ever used. As for Dr. Bronner’s, I really like it too, but the lather just isn’t as creamy as Kirk’s. Thanks for your comment! Let me know if you try one of these soaps and what you think after you try it!

  4. Netta says:

    Hey Linda:

    I’m a great fan of both Kirk’s and Dr. Bronner’s soaps for pretty much the same reason that you choose them. The list of ingredients on many beauty products are off-putting sometimes. (I’m putting THAT on my skin? EEE-YUUUU.)

    It’s great that there are such a wide range of products to choose from, but checking labels can be a bit nerve-racking sometimes.

    1. Linda Kwasniewski says:

      Hi Netta. Yes, I agree. Reading labels can be tricky and nerve-racking, especially when the list of ingredients is long. And, it’s even more difficult if there are ingredients that you have never heard of! When I review a product, it’s cruelty-free of course, but I also try to list the ingredients and let readers know whether or not it’s vegan. If it’s a vegan product, people will know right away that it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients, and they can usually buy with confidence without having to spend a lot of time deciphering the label.

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