Dr. Bronner's

Car Washing With Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds

Car Washing With Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds

The first thing I remember ever washing with Sal Suds was my car.

This might just be my favorite use of Sal Suds. It works so fast and rinses so quickly that I once ran out during a rainstorm and cleaned my whole car. Hey, I’m from California, and I know the value of free water!

It does such an impressive job on vehicles, is harmless to the environment, and is completely safe for the person using it. What’s not to love?

And as an added bonus, there’s a lovely froth of bubbles to play with in the wash bucket. You might even coax the kids to help you.

If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s the short and sweet:

Add ½ Tbsp. (7.5 mL) Sal Suds in a bucket of water. (That’s about 11¢ of Sal Suds, with 128 car washings/quart bottle.) Use a stiff brush on the wheels and a microfiber mitt on the car. Rinse well with a hose—I recommend adding a control nozzle to reduce water waste—and dry with microfiber cloths.

Sal Suds readily biodegrades. This means it’s okay to let the water diluted with Sal Suds run off into grass, garden beds, and the like.

Pure club soda in a spray bottle is the best natural hack for windows, mirrors, and lights. Spray and wipe with a microfiber cloth. The club soda removes any water spots and won’t harm the paint.

This is one of the very few instances where the Sal Suds and Castile Soap can not be interchanged. If the water has any hardness, Castile could cause the minerals to precipitate out and form a film on the car. Stick with the Sal Suds for washing cars

Ready to green clean your car’s interior? See my post, Green Cleaning Car Interiors with Dr. Bronner’s.

Further reading

Sal Suds cleaner shows >60% biodegradation after 28 days per ISO 14593

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Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Rodger – While I’ve not had a ceramic coating on my car, my understanding is that they need to be washed with a mild car wash solution. Sal Suds is definitely that. I think it would be an excellent option for your ceramic coating.

Outdoor Water-Smart Practices to Fight Climate Change - SCARCE says:

[…] going to wash your car at home, pull your car onto the grass. Use a mild, biodegradable soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds) and a hose nozzle with a shut off so the water doesn’t run the whole time. Not only will you […]

Mark says:

Would using regular Dr. Bronner’s peppermint Castile soap (diluted of course) to wash a spot of bird droppings off be harmful at all to a car, particularly the paint and wax? I may have just done exactly that today on my girlfriend’s brand new car and then I got nervous afterwards.

Thank you!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mark- You’re in the clear! You may notice some white water spots, which comes from the Castile Soap interacting with the minerals in hard water, but it’s safe for paint and wax. With future car washings, Sal Suds will leave your girlfriend’s car (and yours!) spot free and shiny!

Marilena Silbey says:

Hi there!
Great blog, thank you!
I grew up with Dr B’s Castile soap and am very happy that the company is thriving.
I just bought some of the Sal Suds at Sprout’s after reading about its many uses here.
I like ammonia because it is free rinsing and cuts grease so fast,
but Sal Suds is just as good . I cleaned the metal mesh screen above the stove in one dip!
So sudsy.
Now I have a problem with stucco on my car.
I would love to know if anybody has any results on this problem for me?
Thanks so much!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Marilena- Thanks so much for your kind words! Glad to hear you’ve been with us for a while. Stucco on your car does not sound fun. Unfortunately, I do not know how to remove that without damaging the paint. Perhaps another reader can give some tips, or you might need to reach out to an autobody shop. Good luck!

Leslie says:

I love Dr. Bronner’s liquid and bar soaps and use them to clean just about everything. I would so love to start using the Sal Suds to wash my car instead of chemically laden car wash soap. I have heard time and time again how regular dishwashing soap ( I do understand that Dr. Bronner’s is not like commercial soaps) will eventually strip the paint finish off of a car over time. I have been hesitant to try Dr. Bronners for my car without first having some more concrete information. I was wondering if you might have any research or solid information to suggest that Dr. Bronners won’t harm a car’s paint finish? Would you also recommend using Dr. Bronner’s regular liquid soap for exterior car washing?
Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Leslie- I’ve washed all my cars with Sal Suds for years and haven’t had a problem. I wouldn’t recommend the Castile soap though. True soaps like our Castile react with minerals everpresent in the water and can leave stubborn water spots on shiny surfaces. Sal Suds is clean rinsing and leaves cars spot-free.

Lynne says:

Will Sal Suds harm aluminium? I have an airstream travel trailer I’d like to wash.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lynne- Sal Suds will do an excellent job cleaning your trailer, inside and out.

Green Cleaning Car Interiors with Dr. Bronner's says:

[…] my post, Car Washing with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, for using Sal Suds on your car’s […]

Alicia Pape says:

Sal Suds in San Antonio: Bed Bath & Beyond at Huebner Oaks, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, some HEB stores too!

mary martinez says:

I have yet to see Sal Suds in any of the stores around here. Would really like to try them out. Already use Dr. Bronners Castile soap, but would like to try the Sal Suds.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mary – The Sal Suds is usually placed in the house cleaning aisles in stores. It is more common to find it in a natural foods store. Where are you located?

Lisa Bronner says:

It’ll definitely be in the big chains like Whole Foods, Sprouts & Wild Oats, but quite possibly in smaller ones too. Just look in the housecleaning aisle and not in the body care aisle. It won’t be on the same shelf as the castile soaps.

Dustin Blythe says:

Hi. I wanted to use Sal Suds as a natural car wash concentrate, but it seems to me that I read (here?) Sal Suds will strip wax. Is this true? If so, my fellow readers should know that a reapplication of wax afterward is necessary to protect the paint.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Dustin – I haven’t found that to be the case. Is this something you’ve experienced?

Dustin Blythe says:

I was hesitant to use it, but I will gladly defer to you on this. You know Sal Suds better than I do! If you say it’s ok, I will use it with no qualms.

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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