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Dr. Bronner's

Green Laundry Care With Dr. Bronner’s

Green Laundry Care with Dr. Bronner's

Profoundly grateful. Every time I load my washer, I feel it. I am so very, very appreciative for all the people whose ingenuity and curiosity led to the invention of the modern-day washing machine.

The whole process of washing my clothes takes roughly 5 active minutes of my time. I realize when I add in “thinking about the laundry,” “getting distracted while doing the laundry,” and “rewashing the laundry because I left it wet in the washer for a week,” then the process gets longer. But as far as my active participation in one load, there’s just a couple minutes to start it and a few minutes to hang clothes to dry or transfer to the dryer. As of yet, there’s no automated way to fold the laundry and put it away so we’re still pretty much just as mechanical as our 19th century counterparts. And while I am missing out on the cardio and muscle-toning aspects of washing king-sized bedsheets by hand, I can start a load while the coffee is brewing and feel productive while reading the morning paper.

If I had a pie chart of how I use the most Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds in my home, the greatest wedge would be laundry. Not because I use a lot per load, but rather because I do a lot of laundry. With five humans, two cats, one dog, and acres of dirt, that’s to be expected.

My laundry cabinet has both Sal Suds and Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, but I reach for Sal Suds more often because it’s a bit tougher on stains and more effective in my hard water. I got started using Sal Suds on my clothes not because my dad invented it (sorry, Pop), but because as I learned about problematic ingredients in cleaning products, I realized that any of them left on fabrics in the wash were going to spend a whole lot of time in contact with my skin, and my family’s skin. That adds up to a lot of exposure. In the video, I go into greater detail about these ingredients, but the end result was my wanting “clean” laundry cleaners, which the Pure-Castile soap and Sal Suds are.

My laundry regimen

It’s pretty is simple. For clothing, use about 1 to 1½ Tbsp. (15-22 mL) of Sal Suds or 3-4 Tbsp. (45-60 mL) of Pure-Castile Liquid soap for each large load in an HE (high efficiency) washing. Double these amounts in standard washing machines.

When I’m washing something grubbier, like towels, I might throw in a 1/4 cup (60 mL) of baking soda and with the Castile, because I have hard water, I’ll add ½ cup (120 mL) of vinegar to the rinse water via the fabric softener compartment. Again, double these amounts in standard washing machines. Both the Sal Suds and Castile soap biodegrade readily and are safe for septic and greywater systems.

For the inevitable ketchup/grass/last night’s dinner on clothing, I pre-treat the stain by dabbing a small amount of Sal Suds directly on to it before washing. For broader stains, like ring-around-the-collar, I spray them with my Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray.

That’s it. I feel I should apologize for being so simple, but my laundry comes clean, the colors stay vibrantly in place, and my clothes don’t wear down unduly. I’m good with that.

Then comes the drying

Drying our clothes is probably the single harshest thing we do to them, or at least it is once we’re old enough to find that sliding on our knees on asphalt is no longer fun. The dryer shortens the life-span of our clothes, not to mention takes a tremendous amount of energy. Air-drying clothes is best for the clothes, best for your energy bills, and best for the environment.

Dr. Bronner’s in HE washing machines

While I’ve had many testimonials over the years from customers and colleagues alike about how well Dr. Bronner’s Castile and Sal Suds works in HE (high efficiency) washing machines, we now have the testing to verify this! This is important because HE washing machines use less water and as such, require detergents formulated to have low foam.

The products underwent testing by a third-party research firm and met test criteria for “acceptable HE detergent” when used at the recommended dilutions of either 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds or 2-3 Tbsp. Castile for a large load. Testing parameters included:

  • The soap/detergent suds cannot fill the machine past 1/3 of the window at any time.
  • The average cycle time cannot exceed the estimated cycle time by 15 minutes. This would indicate the machine senses excess product/suds and increases the rinse time.
  • Machine cannot initiate a “suds lock error” which would be another indicator of an abundance of suds.
  • To pass as “an acceptable HE detergent”, the test is done 4 times and must meet the criteria each time.

The three foundational pillars of my house

All this talk about laundry is part of what I rather recently realized are the three foundational pillars of my house: bed, laundry, and dishes. These three tasks control my productivity, my house’s order, and my peace of mind. When my day rolls out in front of me each morning, with its roughly 1202 undone tasks, I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I am a naturally indecisive person – or as I prefer to say, someone who can see the value in many different possibilities. It’s paralyzing. Now I have a starting place. Make my bed, start the laundry, load the dishwasher.

Here’s why. If I do bed/laundry/dishes, then everything else falls into place, or at least it seems to, which is good enough for me. If I neglect bed/laundry/dishes and start elsewhere, then nothing seems done anywhere, regardless of what I might accomplish. At the end of the day, it looks like all I did was lay around.

I’m past the days when life seemed composed entirely of one giant pile of dirty laundry, like some sort of domestic haystack, with kids of varying sizes sliding down it. I don’t mind doing the laundry, but am far happier to have the time with the kids.

Further reading

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

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Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

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

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Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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

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Jourdan says:

Can Sal Suds be used on all fabric types, including delicates such as wool and silk? It doesn’t look like there are any added enzymes so I would assume it would be fine for natural fibers such as these but please let me know. Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

HI Jourdan – Yes, Sal Suds is a mild detergent with no enzymes, abrasives, or bleaching agents, which makes it able to clean all fabric types that can be washed.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Valerie- To use our Castile Bar Soap for laundry, combine one grated bar of soap with 4 c. (960 mL) baking soda. I like a food processor for this, but you can use the finer side of a greater too Use ¼-⅓ c. (60-80 mL) per large load. I recommend the bar soap for laundry in hot and warm water only. Not recommended for HE machines. Use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile or Sal Suds in cold water and HE machines.

Lisa says:

I’ve been using the Sal’s Suds for dishes and now will begin using for laundry. But my bottle has changed consistency and become almost a white thick liquid. It’s no longer the thin liquid it was Any idea why?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lisa- (Great name!) Is it cold where you are or has the bottle been stored in a cool place? Sal Suds has a freezing point in the 60’s, due to the coconut oil source of the ingredients. When it freezes, it turns cloudy or white and thickens up, eventually turning solid. This does not harm the Sal Suds, and once it warms up, it becomes clear and liquid again. It is still safe and effective. To return it to liquid, reheat the bottle gently in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water or move it to a warm room for a few hours.

Christine says:

Hi, first-timer here! I just bought the Lavender Castile Soap and wish to begin using this for my laundry. I have an HE washer. You mention using 2-3 tbsp for a load, however, am I supposed to mix that with anything or do I just use the castile soap in the dispenser by itself? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Christine- Welcome to the Dr. Bronner’s family! Just add it in! There’s no need to dilute or mix. You’ll notice that’s quite a bit less that conventional laundry detergents and that’s because our Castile Soap is 2-3x more concentrated. If you have hard water, you’ll want to use vinegar in the fabric softener compartment to keep towels and such soft and absorbent.

Travis AJ Laventure says:

I have a new washer with the auto dispenser for liquid soap, can I run the sal suds or Castile soap in it?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Travis- Are you referring to a Load & Go type washing machine? For this type of washer, I recommend Sal Suds instead of Castile Soap. I’m envisioning the Sal Suds evaporating and drying out if left in the soap dispenser for an extended period of time, which would be a hassle. So I think diluting Sal Suds would be good here. Start by diluting the Sal Suds in half (1:1 with water) and give a try on the 2x concentration. In my research I didn’t come across how much detergent is actually dispensed, so if the clothes have a sudsy residue, cut the concentration down to 4x. If your question is about a different type of washer, let me know and I’ll try and help.

Travis AJ Laventure says:

Yes that would be the type of washer! Just want some clarification, you recommend sal suds but then say you think sal suds could dry out in there?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Travis- Apologies if I wasn’t clear. Because detergent is added to the dispenser only after many loads, I believe the water would evaporate from undiluted Sal Suds during that time (and how long that is will vary greatly by the user). By using Sal Suds with diluted with water, it will last longer in the dispensing compartment.

David says:

I’m hooked on Sal Suds. It’s the only laundry detergent I use now–even gave up the bleach. I’ve been so pleased with the results: the clothes come out extra clean (and they often begin extra dirty), and there’s no lingering odor (bad or masking perfume). “Pop” did a fine job on this product.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi David- This is great to hear! Thank you for sharing this testimonial.

Tracy says:

Hi Lisa,
I’m a huge fan of Dr. Bronner’s products, and this email that you send out with tips for using your products is very helpful. I’ve implemented a few ideas in my home.

My question is, can the castile bar soaps be used for handwashing? I need a solution for when I travel so I can take fewer liquids with me in my carryon. Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tracy- Thanks for being a part of the Dr. Bronner’s family! It’s great to know my newsletters are a help to you! Yes, the Bar Soap works great for handing washing. Simply lather bar soap with hands into the water until the water is slightly soapy. Handwash as usual. My Bar Soap Cheat sheet will have other methods of using the bar soap for cleaning, dishes, body care, and such, https://www.lisabronner.com/bar-soap-dilutions-cheat-sheet/. You may also find some helpful tips in this article on traveling with Dr. Bronner’s, https://www.lisabronner.com/7-dr-bronners-products-for-your-next-travel-adventure/. Wishing you many happy traveling adventures!

Janee J says:

Hi Lisa – I have been using Sal Suds for laundry detergent, and pre-treating stains with a castile soap spray, and love it.

But my question is about castile soap. For really nasty laundry, I feel like the castile soap works better, but I do have hard water so I rarely use castile because my fabric softener dispenser won’t hold vinegar back until the rinse cycle. My solution for castile loads has been to run an extra rinse + spin cycle after pouring diluted vinegar onto the clothes. But I’m wondering if washing soda would soften the water during washing and eliminate the hard water problem and need for a vinegar rinse for castile loads? I’m also curious if you mostly use citrus scent when laundering with castile? Runner up scents?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Janee – I’m so glad the Sal Suds and Castile have become part of your laundry regimen! According to my box of washing soda, it can work as a water softener and can be used with both the Castile and the Sal Suds. Here’s an excerpt from my book Soap & Soul which discusses how and when to use it, and some times when you shouldn’t:

WASHING SODA
Washing soda, or sodium carbonate, acts as a water softener and can be
helpful when washing laundry with soap, minimizing the interference
of the hard water minerals. This is irrelevant if using a detergent like Sal
Suds, since the minerals don’t interfere there anyway. Washing soda also
fights stains and whitens, but with a high pH around 11 to 12, it can be
irritating to skin and tissues. Such high alkalinity is not advisable for
wool or silk. Washing soda is harsher on clothing than baking soda and
can decrease the longevity of clothing.
Add ¼ cup (65 g) per large load in an HE machine, or ½ cup (130 g) in a
standard machine, at the beginning of the cycle. Use 1 cup (260 g) for hard
water conditions or extra- soiled fabrics. Works best in warm or hot water.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sharon – Sal Suds is great for the laundry particularly for people with sensitive skin because it is superbly clean rinsing. It leaves nothing on the fabrics. It is lightly scented with Siberian Spruce and Fir Needle essential oils, but these do not linger on the fabrics because the product washes out so thoroughly.

Candra says:

I absolutely LOVE Dr. Bronners for all the things! I have been using it for many many years for all my house cleankng and personal needs. I am ready to try Sal Suds on my laundry (I’ve been using an expensive natural brand). I’ve made my own a few times but the process was lengthy for me. I am ready to just toss it and move on. Thanks for this!

Dee says:

Hi Lisa I’ve been using Castile for every area of my home but the laundry. So I’m ready for the leap. My question is whether you notice the product works better and cleans clothes nicer with hot or cold water. I’ve been hearing people use cold water for towels and I’ve never done that.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Dee – Way to go! The soap works great in cold water, but if your towels are especially grungy, they might need the extra boost that the heat provides. In general, it’s my norm to wash all my laundry on cold, but then when there’s a particularly icky load, I’ll boost the heat.

Lisa says:

Hi, Lisa! Fellow Lisa here who wanted to ask you about pre-treating sports laundry and armpit, hot spot areas to de stink them and clean them. My teenager daughter’s laundry is still smelly in those areas after xc and gymnastics practices, and I already use vinegar in the rinse cycle. I keep a mini bottle of hydrogen peroxide to pretreat stains, but what I can I do to thoroughly clean the hotspots?
I wanted to prepare a glass bottle of vinegar and a surfactant to apply as soon as the clothes are thrown in the hamper, but I am not finding a a good recipe online. Thanks in advance and love your informative page!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi LIsa – My daughter also runs cross country and I know what you mean about those hot spots. I keep a spray bottle that is half Sal Suds, half water. This is a very concentrated solution. I spray it directly on those stains as soon as I can, but definitely right before they go into the wash. I would recommend against combining the vinegar with a surfactant. Changing the pH of a surfactant can often have other impacts. With Sal Suds, for example, vinegar impedes the cleaning ability.

Estelle says:

Hi Lisa. Does this mean we shouldn’t use vinegar as rinse with Sal Suds as Laundry Detergent? Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Estelle- This is fine. The vinegar is dispensed during the rinse cycle, after the Sal Suds will have already been rinsed out of the fabrics.

Lisa says:

Ok, that’s what I figured about the vinegar and surfactant combination. That’s why I only use the vinegar in the rinse cycle or alone to spot treat. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

Tiffany says:

Hi Lisa,
I’ve tried so many clean ways for laundry cleaning. Scent booster mix of iodized salt, baking soda & essential oil; laundry powder with your Castile soap bar, baking soda, washing soda & essential oil; fabric softener using a mix of vinegar, distilled water & essential oil; also using sal suds in my pre-wash dispenser. In the dryer, I use wool balls and spray them with a bottle of witch hazel & essential oil, filled with distilled water. No matter which way, my same clothes smell SO BAD!!!! The best way I can explain the smell is a dirty & sweat-soaked odor and makes me want to vomit. I’m not sure if it’s the material or how old the item is. Am I doing something wrong? Please help!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tiffany – My first thought goes to your washer or your dryer. Might there be a mold buildup in your washer or dryer? How do they smell when they’re not in use?

Trina says:

Lisa,

I have the same question as Tiffany! I have to share the laundry machines with others since I live in a college dorm. Whether or not there is something wrong with the machine (since it’s not up to me to fix), what would you recommend?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tiffany and Tina – I recommend running a load of towels or something that can withstand hot water, set it to hot, add 1 Tbps. Sal Suds in an HE machine (2-3 Tbsp for non HE), toss in 1/2 cup baking soda (1 cup for non HE) and add 1/4 c. (1/2 c. for non-HE) white vinegar into the rinse cycle. As soon as the load finishes, put it in the dryer on hot. The lavender sachets they sell at Trader Joes are an easy and low-tox way to add a light scent. Hopefully this cycle will clean not only the towels but also scrub out the washer.

Sue B says:

Hi Laura,

I have been making my own liquid laundry detergent for years, 5 gallons at a time. I use 1 bar of Fels Naptha (or Lote if I can’t find it), 1 cup Borax & 1 cup Washing Soda plus 92 oz of a commercial laundry detergent. I would like to use Dr. Bronner’s instead of the commercial laundry detergent & was wondering how much of the Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap I should use as a replacement. I haven’t seen the Sal Suds locally but know I can get the Pure-Castile at our local Natural Refill store.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sue – You could try swapping the Castile in at the same volume. It is impossible for me to compare since I don’t know the concentration of the commercial laundry detergent. (Even if you gave me the brand, I likely couldn’t find how much of the volume is actual surfactant content.)

Laurie Lyman says:

Vinegar also helps whiten clothes a bit and helps inhibit sweat stains. If you have set in yellow pit stains, spray directly with white vinegar and let it soak in a bit. I spray the stains, put a different load if laundry through, then when that load goes into the dryer, I put in my presprayed load. After multiple washes, it will be gone. With using a vinegar rinse, it goes a bit faster. I notice that the stains don’t come back, either, using vinegar to rinse. Vinegar leaves our clothes soft, removes any soap residue left over and the smell is gone when the clothes are dry, and they look good and absorb better – think towels. Definitely better than commercial softeners in every way, including price.

Janee J. says:

Hi Lisa! I’ve been using Sal Suds in my washing machine for a long time, and using the tea tree castille soap as a stain remover, and it works so fabulously. My gallon of Sal Suds ran out today, and I’m wondering if castille soap is ok to use for period underwear in the machine? The underwear directions say I can’t use fabric softener. Hoping castille is fine though? I’d never actually use fabric softener (yuck!).

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jane- Sal Suds is slightly better at whitening and brightening, but Castile Soap will be just fine here. Add vinegar (1/2 cup in an HE machine/1 cup in a standard) to your fabric softener compartment to keep the fabric feeling soft and more absorbent. I recommend getting them soaking or rinsed as soon as you can. Another thing to consider is that warm and hot water set blood stains. It’s not like a grease stain where heat helps lift it. So, wash them in cold water. Let me know how it goes.

Sophie says:

Hi Lisa, I have switched to castlle soap or Sal suds for all cleaning tasks except laundry and I am ready to give laundry a try! I have a front loading small washer, should I dilute the Sal suds before using? If yes, can I dilute and decant a large amount – say 2 qt container – and use over time? What dilution ratio would you recommend? Thank you! And thank you for so many wonderful, useful product that have made such a difference in our household.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sophie – You don’t need to pre-dilute the Sal Suds for laundry, but if it is easier for you to do so, you can. For the smaller front loader washer, I’d reduce the amount of Sal Suds per load by half. If this is an HE washer, go with 1/2 Tbsp. If it uses standard detergent, 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp.

If you want to predilute it, perhaps try a 1:4 ratio with water. Then you would need to multiply the amount I recommended per load by 4.

Kensey Matthews says:

I’m wondering why you add the vinegar and whether it’s needed or not. Can I use this soap for my laundry and skip the vinegar stage?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kensey – The vinegar acts as a fabric softener and hard water mitigator. It’s only needed if you find that your clothes are too stiff for your preferences. It is not essential.

Lala says:

Vinegar is also a deodorizer and kills many smells such as soured towels/cleaning rags, extra dirty or sweaty clothes, musty items from the basement etc.

Camille Piccininni says:

If you have a FRONT load washer do you put the sal suds mixed with the pure Castile soap in the top detergent drawer or do you put it directly into the barrel of the FRONT load washer before you put your clothes in?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Camille – There isn’t a benefit to using both the Sal Suds and Castile together in the washer. I recommend choosing just one. Whichever you choose, if your machine has a detergent dispenser, that is the best place to add the soap or Sal Suds.

Estelle says:

It is so wonderful to only have a few items to clean our clothes and home. To have those be non-toxic, no chemical items is icing on the cake. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE Dr. Bronners!! The best on the Planet! Thank you also Lisa for all of your tips and information on keeping our lives clean in a non-toxic way. 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Thank you for the kind words, Estelle! You are very welcome!

Laura says:

While getting a refresher on some green laundry tips, I re-read the bed/laundry/dishwasher pillars and more so than ever, it resonated with me. For the last few days I have been focusing on these three tasks and they absolutely make me feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

Thank you for this site and all of the wonderful Dr. Bronner products. I use them almost exclusively in my home in so many ways, and feel good about replacing otherwise toxic items in my cupboards!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Laura – I’m so glad all this has helped. I recently articulated to myself a fourth pillar – which is self-prep. It sounds silly to specify that, but I certainly find that if there is a day in which I jump straight into doing other stuff without fully prepping myself (nothing fancy, just normal hygiene and dressing in “real” clothes even if I’m not going anywhere), at the end of the day I still feel behind. So I have four pillars now: self-prep/bed/laundry/dishes!

Laura says:

Genius! Self-prep is so important. Thanks for sharing – I can already envision this step in my routine!

Laura B says:

Hi!
Any tips for getting body oil out of bamboo sheets? Would the castile or Sal suds be best?
Thanks.

Lisa Bronner says:

HI Laura – I am so sorry for overlooking your comment from August. The Sal Suds would be the best product for this. I keep a spray bottle of Sal Suds and water 1:1 for just such occasions. This is a much more concentrated solution than I use for anything else. Spray this on the oil stains and let them sit for at least 20 minutes. An hour would be best. Then wash on as hot of a cycle as the sheets can take.

Laura says:

Hello, I’ve been using Sal Suds for almost everything in my house for close to a year. Love all of it! Is there anything I can add to the Sal Suds when doing laundry for a fresh clean scent? I know we were all spoiled with all those unhealthy additives and scents to give us the impression it was clean and healthy. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for saving the planet!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Laura – Good for you for making all these changes! You can add essential oils to the Sal Suds during the wash, but the issue is that Sal Suds is so good a grabbing everything and whisking it away that there won’t be much scent left on the final dry clothes. (As a sidenote, the fact that conventional laundry detergents leave a scent testifies to the fact that they don’t rinse fully.) Since I don’t recommend any dryer sheets either, my go-to if I want a scent is to use herbal sachets in the dryer. You can purchase lavender sachets for this purpose (make sure they’re sealed well) or make your own. They can be reused many times.

Lisa says:

Hi, I’ve been using a brand of laundry detergent that I thought was eco-friendly, but it turns out that it’s actually not. I already use the castile soap for other things, so I thought I should try it with laundry. I have a small, top-loading with agitator, apartment-size washer, definitely older ad not HE, and I have hard water. With my old laundry detergent, I would always add a bit of baking soda and vinegar for their amazing properties. I will either use the Sal Suds soap or the baby unscented soap to wash my clothes now; however, I saw an article on your website about not combining castile soap and vinegar, but in this article it says you can? Is that only because it says to add the vinegar to the fabric softener compartment? My washing machine does not have one of those. Is there any way I can use castile soap for my laundry and still use baking soda and vinegar with it? Thank you! 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lisa – Yes, as you deduced, the vinegar works here because it is released in a later stage of the washing after the soap is functionally used up. In a machine without a fabric softener compartment, I have heard others recommend the Downy balls that you fill with the vinegar. I haven’t tried them myself, but somehow they’re supposed to release at the end. My guess is that the spinning in the final stages opens them up.

Gina says:

Hello! Do I add the Sal Suds and baking soda directly into the top loader or in the soap dispensing tray?
Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Gina- It’s great that you’re giving Sal Suds a try in your laundry! Sal Suds can go in the dispensing tray as its your detergent and then sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the fabrics.

Brianna says:

What kind of vinegar do you use? White vinegar? Does it matter? Also, I have a very small laundry machine that can’t do large loads. How much should I decrease the amount liquid Castile soap for a load?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Brianna- For laundry, use plain old distilled white vinegar. It’s cheap and effective. Do you know how much water your washing machine uses per load? An HE washing machine uses about 12 gallons per load. If your machine is in that range, I would start with the same amount of Castile Soap – that is about 1/4 cup – and scale down to 2 Tbsp. if your washer uses 6 gallons, and so on. Let me know how that goes.

Nancy says:

Is one of the products better for whitening old faded white clothes?

Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nancy- Sal Suds is best for tackling dingy laundry. Consider adding a booster as well. Normally I go with baking soda, which is the mildest of the options. However, if you have a pretty dingy load, you might want to up it to Washing Soda, which is sodium carbonate. It is a higher pH, so it is harsher on fabrics and can reduce their longevity, so it is not something I use regularly. Follow the amount recommended on the box.

John says:

I had to buy a new washing machine a few months ago, changing from the old water guzzler to a HE, and was worried sals would not work in the HE due to the lack of any specific reviews. I am happy to say that sals DOES work in a top load Maytag MVW6200KW without oversudsing and without any buildup. 1.5 tbs in regular loads and 2-2.5tbs in any deep fill loads (towels, sheets, heavy soil). This is my experience in about 3 months and about 50 loads.

Lisa Bronner says:

Excellent! Thanks so much for sharing, John! I’m sure your comment here will be helpful to others. Would you mind if I shared it on my Facebook page?

John says:

You may want to add for more information. I am on unsoftened well water at about 14 grain hardness, and do not use any fabric softeners.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi John- Great to hear that Sal Suds is doing great even under those extreme conditions!

Stephen Osterday says:

OK, you’ve got me using Sal Suds on my laundry and everything else. (Almost) My question is about your suggestion to use Baking Soda with the laundry. Can I use Borax instead? Can I use Oxiclean instead? If so, which one would be preferred and how much in an HE washer? In my mind I’m thinking Borax, but I need an expert opinion. Thank you, and your Dad for some great products!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Stephen- That’s great! I’m glad Sal Suds is working so well for you! When it comes to laundry boosters, I like to start with the mildest option and intensify as necessary. I choose not to use Borax ever because it’s a skin irritant and any left of fabrics could be problematic. It would also wear down fabrics more quickly than a gentler option. Oxyclean is often sodium percarbonate which disassociates in water to sodium carbonate (washing soda) and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is pretty unstable, and the alkalinity of Sal Suds would just break it down. It would be a waste. Baking soda is affordable, available in larger bulk, and a little gentler on fabrics than other options which makes it a win for me. Use 1/4 cup in an HE washing machine.

Laundress says:

I noticed you said you use castille soap OR sal suds. Is there any benefit or harm to using them together?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there- Both are effective cleaners all on their own, so it’s completely unnecessary (and also more costly). Chemically speaking, though, there are no adverse effects.

Aubrey says:

Hi, We are on a well and our water is very soft. Often times our clothes/towels don’t smell clean no matter what natural detergent we use. Any recommendations ?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Aubrey – With very soft water, sometimes products don’t rinse off as fully. If you’re not already, try using vinegar as a rinse-aid. Add it to the fabric softener compartment. The acid helps lift soap residues in hard water.

About Lisa Bronner

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

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

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Print Now!

Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

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

DOWNLOAD

Print Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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

DOWNLOAD