Dr. Bronner's

Cleaning Patio Furniture with Dr. Bronner’s

Cleaning Patio Furniture with Dr. Bronner's

Inevitably it is as I’m escorting my guests out back that I discover the birds have yet again mistaken my patio furniture for their personal outhouse.  And then that one person wearing white sits on the barstool previously occupied by a three year old with a popsicle …

Fortunately, Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is the stuff for the job. It can clean all this up and more (even the white clothes, but that’s another post). As good as it is cleaning inside the house, it is possibly even better outside. Just make up a bucket with a small squirt and you’re good to go.

As I explain in the video, Sal Suds outperforms Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap in outdoor use because true soaps like Castile Soap react with minerals everpresent in the environment and can leave a harmless but stubborn white-ish film. So, while Castile Soap does clean up outdoor furniture (see below), this is a place where you’d want to pick Sal Suds given the option.

And best of all, Sal Suds is perfectly safe. There are certainly many other products that can get rid of gunk, but the problem is they don’t stop there. They are also exceedingly harmful to our health and toxic to the environment. And guess what! Outside is the environment! Sometimes I feel like I need to state the obvious.

I want my outdoor furniture to sparkle just as much as the next host, but I want to keep things easy on myself too. I do have my priorities.

Here’s a quick how-to summarized from the video:

Add ½ Tbsp. (7.5 mL) Sal Suds to a bucket of water. Dampen a cloth or dip stiff brush and clean patio tables, chairs, lounges, cushions, and pillows. At this dilution there’s no need to rinse. Dry furniture to prevent water spots, particularly in hard water conditions.

If all you have is the Castile Soap, you can make a similar washing bucket with 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) Castile in a bucket of water. Wash furniture over grass or dirt to prevent white residue on bricks or concrete. After washing the furniture, dry fully with a cloth

On clear glass tabletops, use the above dilution to clean off dust, dirt, and grime, then follow up with undiluted club soda in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe with a microfiber cloth. The club soda removes any water spots and won’t harm the paint.

Sal Suds and Castile Soap readily biodegrade. This means it’s okay to let the water run off into garden beds.

For more info on safe cleaners, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. It’s a great resource that I learn from often.

Further reading

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

This tip and many more are in my book, Soap & Soul: A Practical Guide to Minding Your Home, Your Body, and Your Spirit with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, available now in hardback on or at your favorite bookseller, and as an eBook and audiobook (read by me!) from wherever you download or listen.  

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Cheryl says:

If I use Sal Suds in a pressure washer to clean our screened aluminium pool enclosure and concrete pool deck, if some runs off into the pool is it safe for us? Also if some runs off, or sprays onto plants is that safe for plants? They are right against the pool screen. Besides a pressure washer, is it safe & effective to use Sal Suds in a power washer too (very hot water)?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Cheryl – I’m sorry to have missed your comment back in August. In case you’re still wondering, and if others would like to know, run-off from Sal Suds into plant beds is safe for the plants, especially if you follow my recommendation of using only 1 drop of Sal Suds in the solution compartment with water. Yes, Sal Suds would also be safe in a power washer.

Brooks says:

I’ve read Sal Suds had antimicrobial properties… I’m considering using this over bleach for pressure washing a home and the biggest thing bleach (chlorine water) does is get rid of algae and mold from the sides of homes through pressure washing. Could Sal Suds do the same if let to sit for about 10 minutes and then a rinse? Sounds like a game changer if so.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Brooks- Sal Suds works differently than bleach. Bleach kills things; Sal Suds binds them up and removes them. It’s really good at doing it, too. Usually the term antimicrobial refers to killing microbes, which would not apply to Sal Suds, but I still think Sal Suds could work well in this use. Unfortunately for being able to test this myself, I live in California where it is too hot and dry to have the algae/mold build up on siding, so I can only answer theoretically. However, I think it’s worth trying Sal Suds in the pressure washer – just a couple drops in water for the solution. As you say, spray it, let it sit, and rinse it. Would you let me know how it goes?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi William- Sap certainly is stubborn! I recommend Sal Suds with some baking soda to scrub. Rinse thoroughly. You’ll need to rinse the baking soda thoroughly off any cement or else the whitish residue will show.

Sue says:

I have awful spiders and spider webs covering my log home. What can I get to power wash the house as well as deter spiders from forming more webs?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sue- Spiders are more an indication of other, more problematic pests (like bugs on my tomato plants, which spiders eat), rather than being bad in their own right. Except for the black widows and brown recluses, spiders are not harmful. But that’s not to say they aren’t creepy! To clean the exterior of your home, use a couple of drops of Sal Suds in the solution chamber of your power washer. For ongoing maintenance, spiders, like other critters with exoskeletons, would be affected by contact with Castile soap. And they can be deterred by both mint and citrus. Clean the area periodically with a mixture of 1 quart water and 1 Tbsp. Citrus or Peppermint Castile Soap, then wipe with a damp cloth. The Castile mixture will only affect them on contact, but the scent will act as an additional deterrent.

Sal Suds Dilution Cheat Sheet | Going Green with a Bronner Mom says:

[…] Cleaning Patio Furniture with Dr. Bronners […]

Candace says:

I am wondering if you think Sal Suds would be good for exterior cleaning of our boat? We have white fiberglass cabin top, glass windshields, and teak decks. I am very keen to use totally biodegradable products as everything rinses straight into the bay. I imagine it will be good on the white fiberglass, but wonder if it is good on glass without leaving a film or streaks, and especially concerned to safely clean teak. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Candace- Sal Suds will do great work on the fiberglass. Dilute 1/2 Tbsp. Sal Suds in 3 gallons of water or a mix up a spray of 1 Tbsp. to a quart of water. For windows, add 1/2 tsp. Sal Suds to a quart of water when they are really dirty and follow-up with either pure club soda or a half water/half vinegar spray. Skip step one for less-dirty glass. Not being a boat owner, I don’t have any experience cleaning teak boat decks. But if the teak is finished with a marine-grade sealant, Sal Suds is mild enough to use. Test in an inconspicuous spot before using.

Arielle says:

Hi! Has anyone come up with the perfect pressure washer solution with Sal’s Suds yet?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Arielle- Sal Suds works well in a pressure washer. Just add one or two drops to the solution compartment. Because it’s biodegradable, it won’t harm landscaping.

teresa davies says:

Dear Dr Bronner’s soap maven!

Can I use Peppermint Dr B’s in my power washer? I need to deter some rodents and I hear peppermint wil kwep them away – would love to dow my entire patio and rooftop. Looking forward to your reply.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Teresa- Peppermint is a natural deterrent to rodents. Although, I have not tried it out in this way. It may only work temporarily, and then the soap biodegrades (as designed) and so the effect wears off. I wouldn’t advise using our Castile soap outside though. True soaps interact with ever present minerals in the environment and can leave a stubborn white-ish film. But Sal Suds does a great job outside – just a couple of drops in the solution chamber of your power washer.

Scott woodard says:

How would you use this product with a pressure washer? Say for pressure washing the deck?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Scott – This is definitely on my list of things I’ve been meaning to try. I haven’t yet, but if I were going to do it, I would fill the solution compartment with water and add just 1 drop off Sal Suds. I based this on my carpet cleaning technique. If this isn’t enough, feel free to add more, but the Sal Suds creates so many bubbles, especially under pressure, that I don’t want you to be creating a bubble party. Unless that’s what you want.

Theodore Lewis says:

Hi! I have both liquid Castile soap and sal suds. I want to power wash today. It sounds like a little sal suds and vinegar would be a good mixture for tough cleaning in the power washer (downstream mix). What’s your recommendation for a power washing mixture? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Theodore – I’ve never done this, so I’m working on theory here. The Sal Suds is going to bubble tremendously coming out of a pressure washer, so just a couple drops in the solution chamber is all you want. I’m basing my thought on my use of a carpet cleaner, which is as close as I’ve come to putting it in a power washer. I don’t know if the vinegar will help. You might want to try it both ways and see. If you do give it a go, please let me know the results. I’m curious.

Mouzaya Dabboussy says:

Hi Lisa,
Will Sal Suds be available in 1 gallon containers again anytime soon?


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mouzaya – We are filling them this week and they will be available soon. I am very sorry for the delay on those.

Judith says:

Is the Sal Suds as effective as the Castille soap at deterring ants?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Judith – No, the Castile has the win on that. It’s a soap thing that is able to get rid of the ants.

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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Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

Sal Suds, Sal Suds, How do I love thee?