Castile Soap for Boils

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Developing a boil can be a painful and embarrassing experience, depending on its location. Although diluted Castile soap may be effective at preventing the bacteria that cause some boils, MedlinePlus considers antibacterial soaps to be of little help once the boil has formed. For best results, wash the boil regularly three times a day and apply warm compresses to help the boil drain and speed healing.


Castile soap is a type of hard soap made by combining sodium hydroxide with olive oil or some other type of oil or fat. If your Castile soap comes undiluted, as in a detergent or other form, it will need to be diluted in five or more parts of water before being applied to skin. Even when diluted, Castile soap is not recommended for regular topical use and may cause skin irritations or rashes due to its high level of acidity. Since boils are self-contained in a layer of skin, topical treatments are typically unable to provide relief until the boil is ready to burst or open on its own.


The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology website lists two types of boils: isolated and recurrent. Isolated boils may be ruptured cysts or small abscesses that develop on the surface of the skin. Boils that are recurrent are typically infections caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Like many types of harmful bacteria, staph can be picked up from a family member, pet or other random source, and it may appear to come out of nowhere. Since antibiotic ointments and soaps do not penetrate the infected skin, soaps such as Castile or hand soaps are considered ineffective as treatment methods.


To prevent staph bacteria infection, apply diluted Castile soap to the affected area and rub thoroughly. Add a light amount of water and rub the boil until suds begin to form. Rinse the boil with warm water and pat it dry with a towel. To prevent bacterial buildup on your skin and hair follicles, complete a regular full-body wash by adding a small number of drops to your wet skin and applying the soap liberally before rinsing, as recommended by the Doctor Bronner’s website.

Safety Concern

Carbuncles may form in individuals who have multiple boils in a single location. If this occurs, you may need to take an oral antibiotic therapy as recommended by your doctor. Talk to your health care professional as soon as you begin to develop the boil, and clean your body regularly to prevent bacterial infection.