Sal Suds in the Laundry

Sal Suds makes a fabulous laundry detergent.  This video shows how simple it is.  Clothes are left clean, soft, and fragrance-free.  Sal Suds is gentle enough for any washable delicates (although it cannot be substituted for dry cleaning).  It works at any temperature, and rinses fully with hot or cold.

The baking soda and vinegar are optional.  I only use them on my whites, or if a load is really smelly.  Be sure to put the vinegar in the rinse cycle only.  If it mixes with the baking soda during the wash cycle, it will cancel out the cleaning capabilities.

I do not have a front loading, HE machine, so I have not tried this recipe out there.  Generally, we had been recommending cutting the ingredient quantities in half, but we’ve heard that there is also an issue with mold in the HE machines, and I don’t know how to counteract that without bleach.

So, here’s my recipe for a top loading washer:

·         2-3 Tbsp. Sal Suds for a large load


·         ½ c. baking soda added to the wash cycle;

·         1 c. vinegar added to the rinse cycle

200 thoughts on “Sal Suds in the Laundry

  1. Time for true confessions, folks. It is February 9, 2017, and I have missed several months of comments for the simple reasons that things went a little crazy around here. I very much apologize. I am tackling them now for the sake of those faithful and new readers who might actually read them all. I am going to start with the most recent. Bear with me.

  2. As for laundry using Sal suds, do I rinse clothes twice or only the once should be OK ?

    • Hi Tomoko – I apologize for not seeing your question February. One rinse is fine.


    • Hi Jan – I am sorry for missing your comment from March. “1:10” means 1 part soap to 10 parts water. The amount depends on the size bottle you’re trying to fill, but an example is 1/4 c. soap to 2 1/2 cups of water. Here’s an active link for Sal Suds: Thank you for pointing out the broken link.

  4. Hi, how much should I use for a 1kg load in a top load washing machine?

    • Hi there – You do not need much for a 1 Kg load. Try just 1 Tbsp, or 15 mL of Sal Suds.

    • Hi, I’ve since upgraded my machine haha… How much should I use for a 10kg top load HE machine? 10 or 5 tbsp?

    • My norm on that sized barrel is 2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 mL). But if the loads aren’t that dirty, feel free to go with less.

  5. I’ve been having a ton of issues with residue on my laundry and stink that has gotten progressively worse over the 3 years making my own laundry detergent using the common bar soap plus washing soda and borax method. In searching I found that those recipes use so little of the soap that they’re leaving a lot of dirt behind and, in a front loader a lot of residue as well. I found Sal suds as a suggestion to a natural solution that won’t cause these problems. I can’t wait to try it after I actually strip all the gunk out. Google dig laundry detergent not working to learn more and see some disgusting pictures. My first tubfull looked exactly like those pictures and the water absolutely stank. Please don’t suggest using a soap for laundry detergent as it can cause real problems. The detergent in Sal suds is a way better suggestion.

    • Castile soap is not the same as a bar of soap you would wash your body with like say Dove soap. It is a pure soap and the same type on which detergents for laundry are made with. (They just add a lot more chemicals.) But soap is used in all detergents. People just get confused with the word “soap” and assume they can use any kind of soap and that’s where all the problems happen. Pure soap such as castile is excellent in the laundry but Sal Suds is definitely MUCH better for basic DIY laundry detergents. I agree that people see soap and just grab for any cheap bar and some baking soda and think they’re done. I saw one woman recommend washing with DAWN DISH SOAP! I about died! Sal Suds is the way to go for most of us who are not chemists lol. Best of luck!

    • I have been using Dr. Bronner’s tea tree bar soup, washing soda and borax as my laundry detergent for the past 4 1/2 years with excellent results. One bar Dr. Bronner’s soup, 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda. I grate the bar of soup real fine, then add the borax and washing soda and mix well. When using this recipe, I put 2-3 tablespoons of detergent in the washer first, then start adding water so the the detergent gets a chance to dissolve, then the clothes. I always rinse twice since I have sensitive skin. My husband is a maintenance man and his clothes are always very dirty, so I’ll add an extra tablespoon of detergent when I do his work clothes. They always come out clean and we both like the way the tea tree smells.


    • Laura thank you for enlightening us all about the problems with the homemade laundry powder, I have made this in the past and really didn’t know that it didn’t get the laundry clean, I used ground up laundry soap however now that I have a vegan lifestyle, I didn’t feel comfortable using the laundry soap as it contained tallow. I have been using vegan and environmentally friendly laundry products however from now on I will be using the Dr Bronner Sal Suds instead and will be adding some baking soda and vinegar too. I have tank water where I live and therefore I don’t have issues with ‘hard’ water so it is an added bonus.

    • Hi Chelsea – Yes, this would make an awesome detergent for baby items. In fact, I was horrified the other day when I was reading the Environmental Working Group’s review of the common baby detergent Dreft: Sal Suds is free of colorants and fragrances and is exceedingly clean rinsing. It also is tough on stains and can be applied straight to fabric to lift out stains.

  6. You are part of the Bronner family dynasty of soaps by Hebrew soapmaker?

    • Hi there – Yes! Dr. Bronner was my grandfather. My family still runs the business today.

    • wow what a remarkable man your grandfather was, how very interesting. I just read his Wiki Page.

  7. Hi Lisa,
    Just wondering if Sals Suds will get massage oil out of my massage sheets. Haven’t found anything really effective in the last 15 years of being a therapist. Have tried Oil Eater, Windex, Simple Green, you name it as a pre-wash treatment followed by laundering with regular and DIY detergents. Lots of work and not great results. Wondered if you have experience with Sals Suds and oil stains? Thanks for any help!

    • Hi Gayle – I do have some experience with this, not from massages, which would be more lovely, but from being a messy cook. I found that a very heavy concentration of Sal Suds spray works great. Try 1/4 c. of Sal Suds in a quart of water (this 4x the amount I normally recommend). Spray the stains thoroughly and rub it in. Let it sit for a bit and then soak in water before washing.

  8. What would be a good solution for a top loader machine that does not allow powder, only liquid?
    Also I think my top loader is classed as a ‘HE’ like mentioned in the original post, if that makes a difference.

    Thank you

    • Hi Jordan – The Sal Suds would be a great option. Try a mere 1 Tbsp. to start with.

  9. Hello. I wondered if this method would work for cloth diapers as well? Laundry is the one area where I have the hardest time switching…

    • Hi Stephanie – This works really well on cloth diapers. While I never did that myself, I have heard excellent reports from friends. Wash them with the Sal Suds with vinegar in the rinse compartment and then dry in sunshine for ultimate whitening.

  10. Hi Lisa,

    I use Sal Suds for washing laundry. How would you recommend I hand-wash a microfibre mop after use? (mopping with dilutions as per your instructions on dilution cheat sheet) As i don’t want to mix it with clothes in my HE machine? Bear with me, I’m new to this way of living eco 🙂

    Btw, I read your grandfather’s story. A beautiful man, and such inspired enduring messages. Great legacy and company your family has inherited, who I am proud to support.

    Paul, in the UK.

    • Hi Paul – Thank you for your kind words! I wash my microfiber mophead with my other microfiber clothes in a small load once a week. I agree that I wouldn’t wash it with other clothes. If this idea works for you, use about 30 mL per load, with vinegar in the rinse compartment. By hand, soak the mophead in your bucket with clean water and 15 mL of Sal Suds. Swish it around and then let it sit for 10 minutes. Then swish it around some more and rinse well.

    • Lisa- can you let me know why you would wash the microfiber clothes separately from your clothes?

    • Hi Katherine – To make sure I get my microfiber cloths really clean, I wash them with hot water, with added vinegar and baking soda. This is much stronger than I wash my clothes – on cold with just the Sal Suds. The repeated hot water, with baking soda, would wear my cloths down.

  11. Hi!

    Would you or would you not recommend added essential oils to this mix in order to create nice smelling laundry?
    Do you think it would be safe for clothes and not leave marks?

    • Hi Chelsea – There is no adverse outcome to adding essential oils to the laundry. The only thing is that the Sal Suds itself is so good at grabbing oils and rinsing clean that the scent will probably be carted away. To get scented laundry, it might be better to sprinkle some essential oils on a cloth and add it to the dryer.

  12. Thanks for all the useful tips, Lisa!

    Do you have a Sal Suds-based formula recommendation for getting laundry fragrances out of secondhand clothes and fabric? I’ve had to quit shopping for clothing, household linens, and fabric at thrift stores and yard sales because it takes so long to get the smell out that I’ve actually had things mildew on the line in our damp climate before the smell ever faded.

    I did have good luck with adding a (natural, fragrance free) dishwashing soap and some borax to my laundry soap, then washing the whole load of thrifted sheets on the highest temp my machine could manage (205). But I don’t want to have to wash everything on 205!

    I haven’t tried Sal Suds in my front-loading HE washer yet, but will this weekend. Is it ok to use borax in place of the baking soda, to boost the fragrance breakdwon? I am concerned about over-sudsing, which could mess up the washer.

    Looking for an economical and ecologically friendly solution to those nasty synthetic fabric fragrances. Thanks for any remedies you can suggest.

    • Hi Vickey – I absolutely love hand-me-downs and re-owned clothes, especially for my kids, but I too have noticed the leftover fragrances of detergents on them. It goes to show you how powerful those fragrance ingredients are! If they stick to the fabrics so tenaciously, how much do they stick to us?! I wash all my laundry with Sal Suds, and I have found that one washing with Sal Suds alone on cold water is enough to get the old scents out. If that’s not enough, I would add baking soda first before trying borax. Borax isn’t my favorite ingredient because there are some toxicity concerns with it, so I try to avoid it. Another option is washing soda, or sodium carbonate. This is a little rough on clothes, so I wouldn’t recommend using it regularly, but one time to get that scent out would probably be fine.

      Sal Suds works great in HE washers. You only need 1 Tbsp.

  13. Hi Lisa, after using Dr Bronners castille soap for years in the shower etc, I’ve now bought Sal Suds and am loving it. I’m using it in my laundry too (HE) washer and just have a couple of questions: Do you suggest using the Sal Suds neat or diluting, and in the dispenser drawer or directly into the drum in one of those little containers that come with liquid detergents that you sit on top of the washing? Also, I note that you sta baking soda and white vinegar are optional additions. I believe the vinegar is to soften, and have yet to try, but can you explain what the baking soda is for please and in which situation you would / wouldn’t use it? Many thanks

    • Hi Linda – Welcome to Sal Suds! Great stuff. I don’t predilute the Sal Suds for laundry. I just pour it over my clothes in the tub, but I don’t have an HE machine with one of those snazzy detergent spots. You could do it either way. Vinegar is to soften and deodorize, and baking soda provides extra scrubbing, whitening, and deodorizing. I only use it on really grubby rags or towels. I would not use it on regular clothes.

    • Hi Cookie – Sal Suds was specifically designed for use in hard water. Hard water is the one place our Castile soap sometimes struggles – when washing shiny things like glasses or cars. Castile reacts with the minerals in the water and leaves behind a film we call soap scum. It’s actually precipitated minerals, but whatever you call it, it’s not that pretty. Sal Suds does not react with the minerals and rinses exceedingly well.

  14. wonderful Im using your products fro years,although I prefer more alkaline washing soda for laundry)

  15. I love, love, love your products. Especially sal suds. Now that the weather is getting cooler my sal suds got so thick it won’t pour. Is this normal? Any suggestions as how to keep it in liquid form other than keeping it in a warmer place?

    • Hi Stephanie – Sal Suds does indeed become thicker, and even solid and white in cold weather. There is nothing wrong with it, but it can be more difficult to pour as you said. Other than giving it a warmer home, you could dilute it with some water to lessen this effect, or have a smaller bottle of it that you keep in a warmer spot and refill it as needed. Electric blankets or heating pads might be going a bit far… 🙂

  16. Is SalSuds a natural detergent? I’ve been wanting to make my own laundry detergent and have seen many recipes calling for Castile Soap. But I have hesitated because I know that soap can leave a residue and doesn’t always wash out of clothes. The idea of SalSuds is appealing to me… but what makes it different than the Castile
    Soap? Thanks!

  17. Question… why do you suggest to not use Sal Suds for washing bedding? Does that include sheets too?

    Thank you

    • Hi Michele – I am not finding where I said not to use the Sal Suds for bedding. Either Castile or Sal Suds work great. I sometimes opt for the Castile because of the scents and because it would eliminate dust mites if any exist, but both work great. You’d need 2-3 Tbsp of Sal Suds in a large load of a regular washer. Use half that for an HE machine and twice that if you’re using the Castile.

    • Hi Sue – I am very sorry for my delay in responding. Does your HE machine have a spot for adding fabric softener? I don’t have an HE machine so I’m not familiar with the compartments. If you have a fabric softener spot, that is where you put the vinegar.

  18. For a top loader he washer is 1 tbsp a good amount? Also do I put the sal suds in the washing compartment where the detergent would usually go?

    My sal suds has become thick I think from the cold. Will that affect anything?

    • Hi Summer – Yes, 1 Tbsp is a good amount for an HE machine and it should go in the detergent compartment. Sal Suds does get thicker and white when it gets chilly, but it will still work just as well.

  19. Silly question, but does the vinegar go in the fabric softener dispenser? Or does it go where you would put the bleach? Thank you!! I have been using a natural detergent but it is not cutting it so I will try the sal suds next to see if I get better results. Thank you for your videos!

    • Hi Megan – Not silly at all. Put it where you would put fabric softener. Then the machine will release it in the rinse cycle.

  20. Hi, Lisa!!

    We have used the Castile soap products for years as both bars and liquids (almond, baby unscented, and lavender are the faves)
    I actually hadn’t heard of the Sal Suds product till the last couple years. I bought a couple bottles to try, and went to grab one the other day to find it has…like, brown goo at the bottom (much darker than the normal liquid) with giant pale ‘fuzzy’ looking clumps sitting at the bottom. It is vaguely reminiscent of the way apple cider vinegar with what they call ‘the mother’ looks at the bottom.
    It is still sealed with the foil top so no air has been introduced.
    Is that normal as it gets a little older in your experience…? It’s taken a year and a half/two years to get to this particular bottle…I now know one bottle at a time is enough, but do you feel I should throw this one away (which I feel terrible to do) or is it still okay, just funky looking…?
    Thank you for your thoughts! And the products!!

    • Hi Jennifer – I am very sorry I didn’t see your question last month. What you’re noticing is from the Sal Suds getting cold. It is not a problem. The Sal Suds will still work just like always. If they bother you, you can set the bottle in a sink of hot water.

  21. I think somehwere on your site you addressed this but I can’t find it. Do you have a place or business where you get the pump dispenser for the one gallon Sal Suds? Appreciate it. Thanks.

    • Hi Dave – Not officially. I ordered mine from Amazon.

  22. Hi Lisa,
    I have a top loader and have recently done a bowl clean using other products (i.e bowl soak for a couple of hours to get rid of the soap scum), but I’m still getting flecks of scum on my sheets etc after many washes since. Can I use Sal Suds as a bowl cleaner and if so what would be the ratio to the bowl size (I think mine is 7kg).


    • Hi Sharon – A couple thoughts since I just went through this with my washer – Make sure your fabrics are getting thoroughly rinsed. Try doing an extra rinse cycle and see if the flecks remain. If the issue is that the fabrics aren’t getting rinsed fully, you will see no flecks after this second rinse cycle. If the issue is that your drum has film on it, you will see as many flecks as before.

      If you are still seeing flecks stemming from soap scum, an acidic rinse would do a better job at eliminating this. Fill up the drum with water and add white vinegar – a good bit – let’s say a quart. Let that sit and then drain it out.

      My issue was one of rinsing – I discovered I had been thoughtlessly adding too much Sal Suds to my loads. I cut back on that and the flecks were gone. I also think I overload my washer a bit in an effort to do fewer loads of laundry. But then that’s super inefficient when I have to re-rinse loads.

  23. Hi Lisa!

    My husband was recently advised not to use detergent (synthetic) to wash his clothes but to use baking soda because of having a “moderate reaction” to detergents. Is Sal Suds considered a safe alternative to detergent or would it be considered a detergent? I appreciate your article and advice so much. It doesn’t sound like I would want to use baking soda for every day clothes…but that the combination of Sal Suds and white vinegar could be a great alternative?

    • Hi Misty – I apologize for my delayed response. Sal Suds is a detergent, albeit a mild and non-toxic one. Detergents are a vast category. Do you know what in particular about detergents he was advised against using? While baking soda will scour clothes, it will not by itself get them as clean as using some sort of surfactant – soap or detergent. An option for you is to use our Castile soap instead. You can read more about the differences here: For Castile in the laundry, use 1/3-1/2 c. for each large load. You can still add the baking soda for added whitening and brightening. About 1/2 c. of that too.

    • Hi Lisa, How much Castile Soap should I use for a Front Washer that require HE? Or can I use Sal Suds?

    • Hi Sue – Over the years, we’ve found that the Sal Suds works best in HE machines. You’ll need a tablespoon of it. It’s exceedingly clean rinsing, which is of particular priority with the HE washers.

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