Living Lightly

Green Cleaning Starter Kit

You know you want to. You’ve been meaning to for ages. Everybody’s doing it. It’s so easy!

Today is the day you put together your Green Cleaning Starter Kit.

The kit is so simple that you’ll need to trust me that it will indeed clean your house. Trust it. No side effects. No funny business. No fancy gimmicks. Just clean.

Check out the video for some extra motivation and then go gather these supplies:

  • 2 – 1 quart (1 L) bpray Bottles – good heavy-duty ones
  • 1 shaker jar with holes in the lid – such as an old spice jar or a mason jar
  • ¼ c. (60 mL) Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap – your favorite scent
  • 2 c. (480 mL) white vinegar
  • 1 qt. + 2 c. (1 L + 480 mL) water – I use reverse osmosis water because I have it handy, and it makes for a crystal clear solution, but tap water is fine
  • 2 c. (500 g) baking soda – bicarbonate of soda
  • Essential oils (optional) 20 drops/recipe – tea tree for an extra cleaning punch, and any other essential oil that makes you happy
  • Microfiber cloths – often sold in the auto care section

To keep things simple in the video, I use the Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap for the All-Purpose Spray. However, if you have snooped around my blog, you know that you can also make an All-Purpose Spray with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds – 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) in a 1 quart (1L) spray bottle.

You really have no excuses. Go get started!

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Marina says:

Thanks for the video, I would try soon,
I wish to buy your products from Costco here. I purchased before not nowadays, love your castile soap very much.💕

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Marina- It’s great to hear you’re a fan of our soap! If you can’t find our Peppermint Castile Soap in Costco, try natural food store, or Walmart or Target, in your area.

Janna says:

Hello! Love your products. The magic balm is a life saver for winter hands. Question, I haven’t been able to find a giy for leather furniture… Any ideas?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Janna- I hear you! The balm has been getting lots of use at our house too. Depending on what you have on hand, either the Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray (1 Tbsp. in a quart of water) or the Castile All-Purpose Spray (1/4 cup in a quart of water) will do a quick clean of leather. If it needs to be nourished, you may want to look into a leather polish made from 1/3 c. vinegar with 2/3 c. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. pure essential lemon oil. Shake this up and rub it on with a soft rag. Spot test in an inconspicuous spot before use.

Eric says:

Great stuff. Simple, effective, safe, and cheap. I advise not to use microfiber cloths, however; they are made of plastic! Cotton is safer.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Eric- Thanks for the kind words! I have gone back and forth on the rag option – both have their pros and cons! Cotton is a water, chemical, and labor intensive crop. Microfiber is plastic, though hopefully PCR depending on the manufacturer. I think the best thing is to have something that is reusable so that we’re not consuming new resources and not contributing to waste. So many things to consider!

Becky says:

Thank you!! Those look very easy to make but what do you use on hard water stain in the toilet. Do you have any suggestions for that?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Becky – Hard water stains are mineral deposits. The best way to lift them is either with a good scrub, such as the GIY Soft Scrub, or dissolving them with an acid, such as vinegar. With the soft scrub, squirt this under the rim of the bowl and brush thoroughly. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and then flush. With the vinegar, I’d pour a cup or so into the toilet bowl, brush thoroughly, let it sit 10 minutes, then flush.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Zhinka – We have not had Dr. Bronner’s products tested specifically against Hepititis-C. Our soap products are effective cleaners but are not disinfectants since they do not contain a pesticide and do not kill, but instead work effectively by attaching to dirt, germs, and grime and rinsing them away, leaving clean surfaces behind. Disinfectants are chemicals used on hard surfaces and are registered with the EPA. Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps and Sal Suds are effective cleaners, but not EPA-registered chemical surface disinfectants.

Aunt Jam says:

PLEASE do NOT use microfiber cloths!! There cause major environmental damage and are definitely NOT “green”. Furthermore, in my experience, old cotton T-shirts do a better job, especially on glass.
Do your research please.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Aunt Jam – Thank you for calling attention to microfiber pollution. Patagonia sells a great tool to help with this. The concern is that non-biodegradable microfibers can sluff off the clothes during laundering and end up in our waterways. This is more of an issue with newer and lower quality microfiber. Cloths that have been washed repeatedly don’t tend to shed. Either way, the Guppyfriend bag catches these particles, which can then be wiped out and disposed of in the trash. Choosing which type of cleaning cloths to use presents issues either way. Microfiber is a great way for responsible manufacturers to make use of our abundance of recycled plastic. However, it is still plastic. Cotton is an extremely water, chemical, and labor intensive crop that is increasingly genetically modified. However, you can use repurposed cotton from old t-shirts, cloth diapers, burp cloths, or socks. Lots to think about here.

Green Cleaning Your Bathroom | Going Green with a Bronner Mom says:

[…] Learn more about making the first three items in my GIY Starter Kit video.  […]

Martha says:

These natural cleaners are awesome. There’s one thing I worry about these days with cleaning: does my cleaner have a disinfectant? With our current pandemic disinfecting seems even more important.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Martha – The Castile and Sal Suds are effective cleaners but are not disinfectants since they do not contain a pesticide. Soap removes all debris – be it dirt, grime, germs, etc. Disinfectants kill living organisms, but do not remove them and have no impact on non-living dirt. Cleaning with soap and water is the first step the CDC recommends these days, and ever after I imagine. We have not specifically tested our products on the coronavirus COVID-19. However, we do know that Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps and Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner are effective cleaners, and work by attaching to dirt, germs, and grime and rinsing them away, leaving clean surfaces behind.

Mario says:

Hello Lisa. I’d like to please share the recipes to clean wood floors and granite countertops using either castle soap or soap suds. I love your blog, is so informative, and since I learned about your products I’ve become more conscious about the environment and the effects on earth about using other products with so many quemicals on them. From now on I’m going green team!☺

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mario – I’m so glad you’ve found my blog helpful and that it has inspired you in your own green journey. You are welcome to share my recipes and welcome, so long as you share the source. I appreciate your taking the time to ask!

Mario says:

Hello again Lisa. What I meant on my previous comment was if you can share with me what products can I use to clean wood floors and granite countertops. Do you have the recipes for those surfaces??
Thank you so much, and like always, I love your blog and your products.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mario – Whoops! I misunderstood your first post. Sal Suds works great on wood floors. You need a very mild dilution or else you’ll end up with a bunch of bubbles and will need to rinse. If it’s diluted enough, you will not need to rinse. If you’re using a mop pad and bucket, a dilution of about 2 gallons of water and 1 tsp. of Sal Suds. Add the water to your bucket first and then the Sal Suds to avoid a bubble overflow. Also, excess water on laminate flooring will cause it to swell, so be sure to wring your mop out well before using and mop up an excess water. As for granite, you can use either our Castile Soap or Sal Suds. Dilute the Castile Soap with water in a spray bottle using the All-Purpose Cleaning Spray (recipe here:, spray on your counters, then wipe off with a damp cloth. Here are Sal Suds recipes and uses: With those two pages, you should be up and running!

Mario says:

Hello Lisa, I can’t thank you enough. Thanks for the advice, thanks for for taking the time time to reply, thanks for the wisdom you share in your blog…thank you, thank you thank you. Did I mentioned we love your products and your blog?? I think I did, but can’t help it. We are green now since we learned about Dr Bronner soap and its wonders, and you, for being the best ambassador fir them. Honestly your response, so quick and assertive surprises me, and fir that I thank you too.
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and videos, and by far yours are the bestest!!!! I dont know if that’s even a word but for you, I’ll creat it. Keep up the good work ??and God bless.. The CHAMP???.

Katherine says:

How long do all these products keep once made up? Is there any risk of bacteria developing in them after a certain period of time?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Katherine – Diluting the soap does dilute its preservation. It is naturally preserved by its own alkalinity as well as the tocopherols (vitamin E) that we add. Its shelf life undiluted is at least three years. I have found that the All Purpose Spray here lasts at least a month, probably longer but I run out of it. If it is smelling “off” to you, then dump and remake. Perhaps make a smaller batch next time around. With the vinegar glass cleaner, I have never found this to go bad, but again, if it smells wrong to you, then dump and remake.

Kerri says:

Any guidance for choosing spray bottles without their own chemicals and nasty leaching additives?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kerri – I do recommend buying empty spray bottles instead of repurposing one that might have had problematic ingredients which could have leached into the plastics. Also choose sturdy bottles instead of pretty ones. Plastics that are HDPE 1 or 2, so they wouldn’t have BPA in them. Another option is to buy glass spray bottles. These are pricier and obviously breakable, but if you are fairly coordinated and don’t have little ones around, they could be a good option.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Maggie – As luck would have it, I was just reading another blog that mentioned that what Americans call “dish soap”, Brits call “washing up liquid”, so I know what you’re talking about! How’s that for cross-cultural communication?? Anyhow for washing dishes, I use Sal Suds because soap (which is what the Castile is) has a tiny reaction with hard water that can leave a film on shiny surfaces (aka “soap scum”). Sal Suds is much more clean rinsing. I keep a quart bottle filled a quarter of the way with Sal Suds and the rest with water. This way I don’t use too much Sal Suds (which is the concern when not diluting. It’s not like more Sal Suds is toxic. It’s not. It’s just unnecessary and wasteful.)

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Brandi – I believe we ordered it online. Search for “daisy cut out mason jar lid”.

Brandi says:

Thanks! I looked and found them in several places. I ordered mine from Wal-mart.

Miriam Hahn says:

This was great, thank you! How do I make liquid hand soap? The non foaming kind.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Miriam – The Castile soaps do not work well in traditional pumps. They inevitably dry inside the apparatus and cause soap to shoot out sideways or up. Even diluted, this will happen. Instead, either keep the soap in the original bottle and use just a few drops, or consider our Organic Sugar Soaps which we formulated to work in traditional pumps.


Lisa Bronner

Green means life. “Going Green” is living in such a way to promote vitality and vibrancy in every sphere of life. Grab an idea to make your days healthier, simpler, and more beautiful at their core.

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Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!


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Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

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