Mopping Floors with Sal Suds

Today was floor mopping day. My floors are tile and get really, really dirty – with three kids, three dogs at the moment, and a backyard full of dirt. Biased though I be, Sal Suds is still the absolute best at getting hard surface floors clean.

Mop Floors With Sal Suds

I don’t have all that much explanation here. Mop with Sal Suds. There’s nothing better. It is so effective, requires so little product, and leaves no cloying aftersmell and no residue. I add ½ Tbsp. of Sal Suds for my whole house. (Seriously – that’s it! More is NOT better in this case – You will be rinsing bubbles off your floor for the rest of the week if you go overboard here.) In my early days in this house, I made the job much more difficult by underestimating the power of Sal Suds. I added way too much to the mop water. I think my record number of needed rinses was 6, and I ended up swabbing the floor with beach towels to clean up the bubbles.

Special Tip:
I often add 20 drops of pure Tea Tree essential oil (not the castile soap – just the oil) to the water for some extra antibacterial power.

The fancy trick is to fill the bucket with water first and then add the Sal Suds. If you add the Sal Suds while filling the bucket, it will overflow with bubbles. I dunk the mop in the bucket a couple times, wring it out pretty well and mop with it. Unless you’ve added too much Sal Suds, there is no need to go over the floors again.

So what do you do if you get a little happy with the Sal Suds bottle? Either call it a day and invite the neighbors over for a bubble party, or go over the floor with a dry mop to soak up as many bubbles as you can. Then, go over the floor with a vinegar rinse – about 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of vinegar. The vinegar smell will disappear after it dries.

43 thoughts on “Mopping Floors with Sal Suds

  1. Like the good Dr. always said, “Dilute, Dilute, Dilute!” This is even MORE true for the Sal Suds than for the classic liquid soap. Just had to post a warning because the first time I used Sal Suds on a vinyl kitchen floor I used a “regular” amount of cleaner and it completely stripped the finish!

    A teaspoon (use a kitchen measuring spoon!) per 5 gallon bucket of water should be PLENTY. Use half that if your bucket is only 3 gallons. Scale amounts down further as appropriate and use even less on more permeable surfaces like wood.

    I am a HUGE fan of the Sal Suds, btw. It is a fantastic bargain, very versatile and convenient (with a lot fewer bottles around) and just plain a better product for so many cleaning needs.

    Also, thanks for this blog! I just discovered it and am checking out the archives. Definitely going in my bookmarks. :)

  2. @Mary – Thanks for the support! It’s even more believable coming from someone outside the family! Definitely dilute.

    ~Lisa

  3. Is this good for hardwood floors as well? They seem to be untreated hardwood floors. I currently use Bona on them with a microfiber mop.

  4. @Katrina and Alexandra – The Sal Suds works great on wood, but the issue is more the water. Excess water left on wood floors will cause them to swell and ultimately rot. So be sure to wring out your mop well before using it on the wood floors. If you notice any water puddling, be sure to soak those up. Let me know how it goes! ~Lisa

  5. Love your blog, Lisa! I recently indulged in Sal Suds and have been immensely pleased with it as an all-purpose cleaner for all house surfaces, indoors and out, and as a laundry soap. (It is absolutely the best for cloth diapers!) Something I don’t know, though, is this: is is a natural disinfectant? Whether it is or it isn’t, if I add a few drops of tea tree oil to my all-purpose cleaner (32 oz. water + 1 t Sal Suds), will the cleaner still be safe for all surfaces?

    Thank you so much for continued insight and direction!!

  6. @Maria – Yes, the Sal Suds is a natural disinfectant. That term is legally defined as being able to kill 99% of bacteria (“antibacterial” means it kills 99.9% of bacteria – these commonly are linked to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.) However, I sometimes add tea tree oil to my solutions as well – just for a little extra punch. At this dilution, it is still safe and effective on all surfaces. As you probably know, pure tea tree oil can burn, so take care in mixing it in.

    Glad you’re keeping it clean!
    Lisa

  7. Hi, I have hard water and notice that when cleaning my floors or my countertops, its hard to get them streak-free. I would like to try the Sal-Suds and/or the castile soap house cleaner (from your video) but to the Sal-Suds should I add some vinegar to keep the floors from streaking ? Also what does it smell like ? I don’t particular want harsh perfumy type cleaners, but I like a fresh, clean smelling home.

    Thanks !

    • @ Sandie – The Sal Suds is the way to go for shinier surfaces (but not glass), but you won’t need to add the vinegar to it. It works great on its own. The only situation with the Sal Suds that would involve vinegar is if you have used too much Sal Suds and you have to clean up the bubbles. A vinegar rinse helps with that. The castile soap works really well, also, but needs a thorough drying for maximum shininess. Since we’re partially talking about floors, that would be a lot to dry. (You never want to mix castile soap directly with vinegar. I explain about that here: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292) The only smell with the Sal Suds is the pure fir needle essential oil. It is very light and disippates after the Sal Suds dry. In fact, I like to add my own essential oils that linger. Lately, I’ve been on a Sweet Orange kick.

      On my counters these days, I’ve been using more of my castile soap spray, instead of my Sal Suds. The ants have been marching 10 by 10 through my house, and the castile soap kills them on contact and destroys their scent trails. When I dry my granite counters with a towel after wiping the castile soap, the surfaces are very shiny.

      Let me know if I can be of further help!
      Lisa

    • @ Rachel –
      My mop bucket holds about 2 gallons. Add the water first so that bubbles don’t overflow out of your bucket.

      All the best,
      Lisa

  8. I just tried sal suds1/2 tbsp in 2 gal of hot water and added 1/4 tsp tea tree essential oil for added kick. I must say this works and smells better than the “dangerous” floor cleaners!! I’m sold thanks for the great product and great advice!! Going to explore the rest of your blog for more!!

  9. Is only Sal Suds safe on wood floors or can you use the Pure Castille Soaps?Where we bought it the lady wasn’t 100% sure and told me to research it but she thinks it is part of the 18 uses. Mainly the tea tree and peppermint are in my family’s interest. Tea tree kills parasites and peppermint repels them according to my research and why we went to the natural grocery store to get essential oils. We can not get them out of our environment for our skin to heal. So we are going to add these ingredients to cleaning the floors (all floors are tile and wood), cleaning furniture (leather), and then to spray on fabric furniture (dining room chairs). She showed us the Dr. Bronner products that already had peppermint and tea tree oil and if safe for all the above will be a lot easier than finding out dilution ratios and etc. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. I have been suffering from this for 4 years and my family now 2 years and we are tired of the harsh prescriptions, especially since they are not working and condition coming back worse or we have a misdiagnosis. Thanks for any insight, Take Care!

  10. I have linoleum tile floors and I have heard that a vinegar/water solution is best for my floors. Do you recommend sal suds over vinegar and if so, why?

  11. I just got my Sal Suds bottle in the mail. Do you recommend using the regular Castille soaps or the Sal suds to clean the tub and shower walls? What is the dilution for this? I read that these cleansers leave a streak or film when it dries on the surface, so do i finish off spraying with distilled vinegar on the cleaned surfaces and just leave it to dry? How do you use these cleansers to clean the toilet bowl? I want to stop using those commercial toilet/bath cleaners. Final question ( sorry got so many), how do i use the Bronner cleansers to clean my Jacuzzi tub jet system. I currently use Cascade to get rid of grime and for routine cleaning of my Jacuzzi.

  12. @ Valerie ~ So sorry for my delay in answering, and to hear about this battle you’ve been fighting! The castile soap is safe to use on wood, unless it is waxed. Both the Sal Suds and the soap would strip the wax. (Use water only in that case.) Otherwise, the water itself can penetrate the wood, so use a well-wrung out mop. Also, as with any surface, use the soap sparingly so that you don’t have extra remaining on the floor. Not only would it be slippery, but it would also attract more dirt.

    Regarding treatment for parasites, castile soap destroys anything with an exoskeleton, so if we’re talking fleas, mites, ants, or whatever, castile soap basically dissolves them. Any of the scents would do this. Peppermint does repel them, so that is a great option, too. Most likely they are hiding in soft furnishings – carpets, anything upholstered in fabric, and definitely bedding – even in clothes as well. Anything that can fit in the washing machine should be laundered with hot water and castile soap, and then dried on a hot setting. I know this isn’t the best technique for the colors, but getting rid of the bugs is probably a higher priority. I have started doing this with my 8 year old’s bedding in order to eliminate dust mites. Bedding needs to be washed this way weekly.

    If we’re talking fleas, wash any animals with the castile soap, too. If you have cats, use the unscented Baby Mild so that they don’t ingest any essential oils when licking themselves.

    General dilutions:
    Castile soap in laundry: 1/2 c. for a large load in a top loading machine
    Mop bucket: 2 Tbsp. in a gallon of hot water
    spray bottle: 1/4 c. in a quart of water.

    Let me know how this goes!

    Lisa

  13. @ Steven ~ I apologize for my delay in responding. Christmas always takes over my routine. Vinegar and water works to a certain extent, and if it does the job, stick with it. It’s definitely cheaper and if you accidentally use too much vinegar, it’s not too much of a problem. However, if you’re finding that vinegar and water are not cleaning your floors adequatley, switch to Sal Suds. I recently tested my recipe again – I mopped my floors with the dilution of 1/2 tsp. Sal Suds in my mop bucket filled with hot water. Then I went over my floors again with water, and it did not pick up any dirt. The Sal Suds solution had gotten it all cleaned up.

    @ Chris – I recommend the Sal Suds for hard surfaces in bathrooms, just because it is more clean rinsing. The castile soap is the one that leaves the streaks, but the Sal Suds, which is a detergent, does not. After you spray and wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth, you won’t need to dry. Toilet bowls are the only place in the house I recommend the use of borax. Borax is a natural (read “earthmade”) product that is renewable and biodegradable, but it is still toxic to the skin and definitely ingested. However, it works better than anthing else on toilet bowls. Holding your brush over the toilet bowl, sprinkle on about 1/2 c. of borax. Scrub the bowl and let it sit for as long as you can – overnight ideally. Then flush.

    If you don’t like the borax, here’s another method. Turn off the water to the toilet (there’s a knob under the back of the toilet). Flush the toilet, which will just about empty the toilet bowl. Then sprinkle the toilet bowl liberally with baking soda. Squirt a good squirt of Tea Tree castile soap on your toilet brush and scrub the toilet bowl. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Turn the water back on and flush it again. (The reason I wouldn’t recommend Sal Suds in the toilet bowl is because if it doesn’t rinse fully down the drain with a flush, then you might be subject to a lot of bubbles, especially the next time someone uses it. While the image this brings to mind is somewhat amusing, it would probably get old pretty quick.)

    I don’t know anything about cleaning Jacuzzis. I don’t know if I could justify the purchase of one as a business expense. Currently, how are you using the Cascade to clean it?

    Let me know if I can answer further questions.
    All the best,
    Lisa

  14. I’ve been looking around for a biodegradable all-purpose cleaner and then decided to make my own (couldn’t find what I was looking for), untill I came across this last week. I havn’t tried it yet, but it looks promising. Looking at the ingrediants, would this be ok to use as a shampoo/bodywash? either I have hard water or my hair just dosnt like the castile soap (even after the vinegar rinse). It would be nice to get to use only one product for everything =) Also, I was thinking of adding essential oils to the formula, would this be fine? thank you.

    • @Mimi – Sal Suds as a shampoo/body wash would be no worse than conventional products. The SLS in it makes it a little dryingt to the skin, but not otherwise harmful. Another reader commented that they use it for such, and my dad did as well. If you added your own essential oils to it, they probably wouldn’t blend well. You’d have to shake it up before each use. I don’t find that a vinegar rinse is enough on my hair, either, after the castile soap. I need the Dr. B’s Hair Rinse that is formulated specifically for it. (I know it sounds like I’m just trying to push Dr. B stuff, but it does work very well – better than anything else I’ve found.)

      All the best,
      Lisa

  15. Love the pine forest aroma of Sal Suds….would like to use it in the bathtub. Is it safe to use (well-diluted of course) for a bath?
    Bronner’s should seriously consider making a pine-scented castile soap. I’d buy that in a heartbeat!

    • Hi Erik – Great question. Sal Suds contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which, although it is in many conventional bathing products, can be drying to the skin. A better option is for you to get some fir needle essential oil and add a bit to your tub. Try 25 drops to start with, which is 1/4 tsp. Depending on the size of your tub and your own preferences, you may want more or less.

      I’ll definitely pass along the suggestion for a pine-scented castile soap. That does sound very nice. We also have the Eucalyptus, which has a nice, albeit different, woodsy scent. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

      Lisa

  16. Hi

    I would like some tips on dilutions. It is hard to pour from the very large size, so I thought I would use some old organic shampoo bottles with a dispenser. I also have a FROSCH (Vinegar based cleaner) dispenser, that delivers froth when mixed with water.

    Toilet–> tired of the scent of Frosch. Do I dilute for this use or just fill the old shampoo containers? If I dilute. how much Salsuds to water?
    Can I use it to clean the toilet floor and tile?

    Batch–> same question as above?

    Anti-bacterial qualities: comes from what ingredient?
    Will it have equal anti bacterial powers to the Frosch vinegar?

    Dishes—> Again, in an old detergent bottle with a dispenser, possibly the old Frosch ones with the frothing fuction, how much water to how much Salsuds?

    Other uses? Is there a list of dilutions?

    Thank you!

  17. Hi Paul – This is a popular question. I’m thinking there’s a need for a post entitled “Dilutions”. However, until that happens, I’ll put it here:

    Toilet – Don’t use Sal Suds straight or you’ll be flushing bubbles for a month. Make up a squirt bottle (the shampoo bottle if it has a small hole opening should work well) with approximately 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds per quart of water. Add 1/4 tsp. Tea Tree essential oil, if you want. Squirt this on the toilet and toilet brush and scrub it down. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so to do its work. Then flush it down.

    A similar dilution will work well for the toilet floor and tile. You can put it in a spray bottle for easier application. A batch for general housecleaning would be the same as this.

    The cleaning power of Sal Suds comes from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Lauryl Glucoside. I know those are really chemical sounding names, but you can read more about them on the Dr. Bronner’s website: http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/SSLI32/SalSudsLiquidCleaner.htm as well as a post I wrote, There is no cancer risk from SLS: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=197.

    I checked out the Frosch website (http://www.frosch.de/main/brand/brandhistory.html) and they have remarkable ingredient discloser. I was glad to see it. The cleaning power of the Universal Cleaner comes from acetic acid, or vinegar, and sodium laureth sulfate. You probably know to be careful with “-eth” ingredients because of the concern of contamination of 1,4 Dioxane. More about that in “Beware of the -eths”, http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=205.

    Yes, Sal Suds will be as powerful as the Frosch cleaners.

    For dishes, I dilute Sal Suds to water at about a 1:3 ratio. This will work for just hand washing dishes. It doesn’t work in a dishwasher.

    Other common uses:
    Mopping – 1/2 tsp. in a bucket of water
    Laundry – 2-3 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a top loading machine. Half that in an HE machine.

    If you can think of another area that needs cleaning that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know.

    All the best,
    Lisa

  18. Thank you, Lisa. The one question I gave left. Isn’t a 1 part SS to 3 part water ratio for dishes more salsuds than adding 1 tablespoon per quart for toilets. I failed math all through high school, so not sure. I was thinking dishes would need less than toilets.

    Just to make sure.

    paul

  19. Lisa, since the castile soap kills insects with an exoskeleton can it be used as a shampoo to kill head lice? Also is the castile soap a natural disinfectant like the Sal Suds?

  20. Hi Paul – Your math is spot on! And you are right that we need more cleaning power for a toilet than for a pot (a cooking one, that is). However, with the toilet, we generally like to coat the whole surface with the cleaner and let it sit for a while, whereas with a pan, we generally put a little squirt in the pan and scrub it around. So, the total amount of Sal Suds that ends up in the toilet is greater than the amount that ends up in a pan. If you prefer to squirt fewer times to clean the toilet, you can also make a stronger solution and use your brush to cover the surfaces. Does that make sense? My only caution is that if you use too much Sal suds in the toilet, you’ll be flushing bubbles for a month.

    Hi Carla – Theoretically, the castile soap would kill lice, but it wouldn’t have any effect on the nits (eggs) which is what causes the recurrence with lice. Yes, the castile soap is also a disinfectant,which means technically that it kills 99% of bacteria. (The term “antibacterial” means it kills 99.9% of bacteria but often contributes to the creatio of anti-biotic resistant superbugs.)

    Hi Toni – If you use a well-diluted concentration, you will not need to rinse your mopped floor. 1/2 Tablespoon of Sal Suds in a couple gallon bucket of water (water goes in first). You’ll know you need to rinse if yyou see bubbles on your floor. If you find you have a big bubble build up,, you may want to use some towels to soak up excess bubbles and then rinse with a solution of 2 c of vinegar in a bucket of water.

    Let me know if you have any further questions!

    All the best,
    Lisa

  21. Hi, I was just wondering if all of the castile soaps are disinfectants or just the tea tree oil scented one?
    Also, I am pregnant. Are there any scents that I should not be using?
    Thank you!

  22. Hi Laura – Congratulations on your pregnancy! All the soaps are disinfectants, which means they kill 99% of bacteria. (As opposed to “antibacterial” which indicates a kill rate of 99.9%, but often contributes to the creation of antibiotic resistant superbugs.) I have looked into the issue of pregnancy concerns with essential oils, having been through three pregnancies myself. Because the essential oils are at a low concentration (of 2%), and are a wash-off product, there is no cause for concern. Usually the issues with essential oils come when they are left on the skin such as with a massage oil or such. If you do feel uncertain about it, though, you can also use the unscented Baby Mild castile soap, which has no essential oils.

    Please let me know if you have further questions!

    All the best,
    Lisa

  23. Hi Lisa, thanks for all the tips, they are extremely helpful. Ever since discovering Dr.B’s, I’ve been trying to use it for everything however, I feel like my mixture of peppermint castile isn’t really cutting through the grease on the wood floors in the kitchen, particularly near the stove where we get a lot of grease flying. But then I read if I don’t dilute enough it could leave residue and attract more dirt? Maybe this is why i’m getting a ‘residue’ feeling vs a clean feeling surface? Or is it not potent enough to cut through really tough grease? Do you think in this instance it would be better to just use the Sal’s Suds? I know Sal’s contains SLS but what are the other primary differences between the two and which is better to use when? Thanks Lisa! PS, other than the patch right in front of the stove, all the floors feel extremely clean.

  24. Hi Leakhena – Yes, I would turn to the Sal Suds for this. It is slightly better at cutting grease and tough stains than the castile soap. And it is very clean-rinsing so you won’t have to worry about residue.

    The difference between the Castile and the Sal Suds is that the Castile is a soap and the Sal Suds is a detergent. Soaps are one step removed from their original, botanical ingredients – which for Dr. Bronner’s is olive and coconut oils. Detergents go through a much more involved process wherein there are many steps between original ingredients and end product. True soaps (such as the Castile) are always made from oils or fat, and the term “castile” means that the oils are vegetable base. Detergents can be made out of any number of things, often petrochemicals, but Dr. Bronner’s is derived from coconuts. Both of the products are surfactants, which means they attach to oil and grease with one end of their molecules, and attach to water with the other end. So, they kind of end up in the same place but via different routes. I address the issue of SLS in the Sal Suds in a previous post: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=197.

    Hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer further questions.

    All the best,
    Lisa

  25. I am currently using bona cleaner as well on my wood laminate with a microfiber mop. Could I mix the sals suds and water in a spray bottle and use that so that I can control the amount of water I use at a time? If so what would the measurement be since I would be using a small amount of water… Not gallons.

  26. Hi Lisa,
    I recently bought Dr. B Sal Sud and I love its cleaning power. My question that I have is that can Dr. B Sal Sud kill germs / bacteria?

    Thank you.

  27. With the Sal Suds All Purpose Spray can I also add several drops of Rose Essential Oil along with the 10-20 drops of tea tree oil? I would like the extra disinfecting power of the tea tree plus the lovely fragrance of the rose (or lemon) oil.
    Thank you . Pat

  28. Is Sal’s safe for pets to walk on after my wood or tile floors have been mopped?

  29. I very much apologize to everyone above for my late responses. I hit a busy stretch the past couple months.

    Hi Roberta – A Sal Suds spray would be a good option. I recommend a low dilution of around 1/2 Tbsp. per quart of water.

    Hi Anny – Yes, the Sal Suds is a disinfectant. For best results, Sal Suds should stay on the surface to be disinfected for 10 minutes before wiping off. I take my spray bottle and spray down all three of my bathrooms, wait a few minutes, then go back through and wipe them down.

    Hi Pat – Yes, you can blend essential oils to your liking. That’s the fun of it!

    Hi David – Yes, it is safe for pets to walk on a recently mopped, still wet Sal Suds floor. It will not irritate their paws.

    All the best,
    Lisa

  30. Hello, my question is about clogged bathtub and if the 18 in one soap work on the clogs or what I should use

  31. Ena – A clogged bathtub is most likely not because of any build up, but much more likely because of hair. The best option is to get a drain snake from the hardware store and use that to clear it out. The castile soap is not going to be effective here, and any product that would be potent enough to dissolve hair, would be really, really toxic. Removing the clog is your safest bet.

    All the best,
    Lisa

  32. Lisa: I was unable to find a specific blog for hardwood floors so I thought I’d use this section. What product do you use on “sealed” hardwood floors? Sal Suds or Castile Soap? Something else? Most hardwood floor products on the market seem to leave a residue behind. Also, unlike a tile floor, I won’t use a mop for a hardwood floor. I “mist” the floor & then buff dry using a microfiber dry mop. Additionally, most hardwood floor manufacturers emphasize the need for a ph balanced product. With this in mind, would Sal Suds or Castile Soap be OK to use? Can you give me some helpful hints on hardwood floors? Thanks again!

  33. Hi Elizabeth – The Sal Suds would be the absolute perfect option. I need to write a post about this. I used to have hardwood floors, and I cleaned them with the exact process you mentioned: I misted the floors with a Sal Suds dilution and then wiped with a microfiber mop. I would use a mild dilution of 1/2 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a quart of water.

    All the best,
    Lisa

  34. Hello Lisa:

    It would be great if you did a brief video on cleaning a hardwood floor. So many people have hardwood floors and everyone is looking for a quality product. I have a few questions:

    Does the 1/2 Tbsp. of Sal Suds in a quart of water provide the necessary PH Balance for a hardwood floor?

    Also, is the 1/2 Tbsp of Sal Suds gentle enough not to harm a hardwood floor. Sal Suds can be an incredible cleaner on stainless steel, glass, granite, toilet bowls, showers and tubs (and the list goes on) so I just want to make sure that Sal Suds is gentle enough for any hardwood floor.

    Would Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap also work on a hardwood floor? Would the Castile Soap be a better product for hardwood floors?

    Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

  35. So does the Sal Suds not dissolve the exoskeletons like the Castille Soap? I’ve just moved into a new house (new to me, but the house is actually very old!) and the previous tenants weren’t the cleanest bunch. We have all hardwood floors -unwaxed – and I want them to be super clean!!! What my best bet – Sal Suds or Castille?

    Thanks! :)

    • Oops! I thought you said 1 TBSP Sal Suds. I thought that sounded like too much. :/

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