Whenever you buy a product based on liquid castile soap you are buying natural or organic foam. The foam in most of your personal care and home care products is manufactured from mostly harmful chemicals that are absorbed by your skin, the largest organ on your body. You can recognize the chemicals by the names of sodium laural/laureth sulphate, cocobetaine (a coconut derivative), cocomide etc. they appear in shampoos, toothpaste, shower gel, foaming cleansers etc.
The word Castile come from an area in Spain, rich in olives, where people used to make soap from their olive oil. So now any soap that has olive oil as an ingredient is called Castile soap. It has also come to mean soap made from vegetable oils in general as opposed to tallow (animal fat) or detergents made from petro chemicals.
Liquid castile soaps have been made by a process called saponification, a process as old as cave men.They found that when the fats next to the fire place accidentally mixed with the rainwater that ran through the ashes producing lye (a very alkaline substance), it produced a primitive version of soap, which made cleaning a lot easier for them. Since then the process has been refined, and now we can make a soap that stays liquid using a different type of lye.
We mix a combination of oils (different oils impart different qualities to the end product, eg. coconut oil makes quite a harsh soap by itself, combined with olive oil the result is a lot more gentle) with an alkali, in this case potassium hydroxide, heat both and cook the resultant mix into a paste, which we dilute with filtered rain water. The result is that the oils have turned into liquid soap and glycerine, and there is no more trace of the potassium hydroxide. This liquid soap may appear a bit runnier than soap substitutes, but don't let that fool you, they are usually more foamy.
Glycerine , technically a by product of soap making, is a natural moisturiser, or humectant, due to it's waterbuilding capabilities, that allows it to draw and absorb water from the air. When soap is handmade, the glycerin is retained , as opposed to industrial soap, where the glycerin is reclaimed and sold seperately.
Soaps have been used to clean just about everything up untill the 1930's with the invention of detergents made from petro- chemicals. Now we are finding that all these chemicals build up in our bodies, and are starting to make us sick.Minimising their use reduces the chemical load on you and the environment, as many detergents are not readily biodegradable and pollute water cycles long after use.
You noticed I mentioned natural and organic foam, well, of course you can use normal oils like coconut, olive, sunflower, avocado and castor oils, but you can also buy these as certified organic oils. That is exactly what we do for our 100 % organic liquid castile soaps.
To purchase unscented liquid castile soaps, natural or certified organic, made in australia, please go to my ebay store Willows Natural Products, my ebay name is grasstreecreek.