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The Duct Tape of Toiletries
Castile soap is the duct-tape of our toiletry supplies. In fact, aside from cleaning my teeth, I use it for everything. Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and stain remover; castile soap gets the job done. I like to use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap in bar form. Tea Tree is my prefered variety - tea tree oil is a natural anti-biotic - but I have used citrus and almond scents before and can testify they work just as well.
This stuff is ideal for traveling. TSA? The small solid bars of soap don’t raise any red flags. Shampoo leaking into your bag? Not anymore. Traveling light with only three outfits? Use a chunk of the soap for laundry. Need to wash dishes to thank your host for an awesome meal? Hey! It does that too. Castile soap is old-world-do-it-all stuff. Add the fact that Dr. Bronner’s is extremely careful with sourcing its ingredients, buys from a network of fair-trade partners and has a self-imposed wage gap limit, you can’t beat those kinds of ethics.
Even though I often enthusiastically recommend this product to travelers of all kinds, castile soap is not perfect. It is pure soap and it is very good at stripping oils and dirt off of surfaces, but that includes the healthy oils on your skin and hair. Using it over a long period of time can dry your skin and especially your scalp. It can also be hard to rinse out of long hair. When Clare and I are on the road, she prefers to wash her hair with only a small amount of castile soap because it is tough to rinse out. Dr. Bronner’s does recommend using one of their conditioners in conjunction with the soap to replenish natural healthy oils. In the short term though, say a week-long trip, castile soap’s effects are not dramatic and it makes packing and keeping things clean much easier.
You can by it direct on the Dr. Bonner's website. Give this stuff a try and I bet you’ll find a place in your carry-on for it.