Mopping with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap or Sal Suds

My mop bucket connects me to my childhood. For the bulk of his career, my dad Jim Bronner, younger son to Dr. Bronner, was a chemist and inventor, and at one point he was commissioned to create various floor care products. To test these out, he had all manner of floor cleaning tools, including this super industrial, blue, wheeled mop bucket that would look at home in a high school’s custodial closet. It’s bulky as all get out, but it reminds me of Dad, and the nostalgia makes it beautiful.

When it comes to cleaning hard floors, there are many methods that work equally well so long as the floors end up clean and free of residue. For the most part it comes down to personal preference. I recently did a reader poll on my Going Green Facebook page to get a sense of the prevailing mopping trends, and the responses were wide ranging: traditional mops and buckets, spray mops, spin mops, flathead mops, string mops, steam mops, and even a few motorized robot mops. Some even mentioned crocheting their own pads for the flathead mops, which is pretty next-level. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I do go for microfiber string mops and flathead pads I can wash and reuse. They’re super easy to throw in the washer with my load of cleaning cloths.

In my house, I have engineered tile in the highest traffic areas, engineered bamboo in the living rooms and office, and carpet in the bedrooms. Carpet cleaning is its own topic which I’ve covered elsewhere. For the tile and bamboo, I bring out the earlier-mentioned blue wheeled mop bucket. I use the microfiber string mop for the tile which does a great job getting in the uneven surfaces of the grout lines, and the flathead mop for the smooth bamboo floors.

Two Dr. Bronner’s products work excellently on hard floors, be they wood, laminate, vinyl, all manner of stone, or some engineered material. I don’t have a preference between these two when it comes to floors: the Pure-Castile Soap and the Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner. The differences between them are that the Castile is a soap and the Sal Suds is a detergent. For those of you who will ask, read about their differences here. Use whichever one you prefer. Note that Sal Suds is more concentrated and so you’ll need less of it.

Your choice of scent is where you can express yourself. Sal Suds is scented with essential spruce and fir needle oil. The Pure-Castile soaps come in eight scents. Combining the Tea Tree with the Eucalyptus Castile Soaps makes a convincingly clean smell, or you could opt for something soothing like Lavender, or even create your own by using the Unscented Castile Soap with your own essential oil blend or leave it scent-free.

Vacuum or sweep before mopping

The first step to cleaning hard floors is to get rid of loose debris with a good sweeping or vacuuming (without a beater brush). Then pick the following method that works best for you.

Mopping bucket

Feel free to double or triple this batch to fill your bucket as needed. Since I have a lot of floor to mop, I use a triple batch.

  • 1 gallon (4 L) water
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. (37.5 mL) Pure-Castile Soap OR 1 tsp. (5 mL) Sal Suds
  • Optional: 20 drops of Tea Tree pure essential oil for some extra antibacterial power

Put the water in the bucket first so that when you add the soap, you don’t get an overflow of bubbles. (That’s my fancy tip for this recipe.) Submerge the mophead, whether it’s a string or flathead, and wring out until damp. Mop the floor. With this dilution, no rinsing should be necessary. However, if you see bubbles on the floor, go over it once again with plain water.

Squirt or spray bottle

For the squirt bottle, you can reuse a Dr. Bronner’s quart bottle, an athletic bottle with a push/pull lid, or you can refill the bottle that came with your spray mop. To remove the spray mop lid, first fill a small saucepan with 2-3” of water and bring it to a boil. Once it’s reached a boil, remove it from the burner. Taking care not to burn yourself, hold your empty spray mop bottle upside down in the water with the lid fully submerged for 90 seconds. Using a pot holder, give the lid a firm but short twist and the lid will pop off. Clean out the bottle with hot water and a few drops of Sal Suds or Castile Soap. Rinse.

  • 1 quart (1 L) of water in a squirt bottle
  • 2 tsp. (10 mL) Castile Soap OR 1/8 tsp. (.6 mL) Sal Suds

Combine this solution in your squirt or spray bottle. Dampen your mop with plain water. Squirt or spray the floor and mop over with the mop. Again, rinsing should not be needed, but if you see bubbles, go over the floor again with plain water.

Be sure not to leave any soapy residues on the floor. For one thing, they would make the floor incredibly slippery. Second, soap attracts and holds on to dirt, making your floors dirty faster. It is also very important not to leave standing water, which could warp wood or etch stone. If needed, absorb any excess water by pushing a dry towel over the floor with your mop handle.

Solving your mopping quandaries

Help! I spilled a large amount of Castile Soap or Sal Suds on the floor. I can’t get the bubbles/suds up. What do I do?

You could invite the neighbors over for a slip and slide bubble party, or to clean it up, absorb the liquid with a large towel. Then, if it’s soap, use the foam cutting power of alcohol. With a solution of 1 cup of  isopropyl alcohol (70%) in a gallon of water, remop the floor. (Take care to have a window or door open to vent the room as alcohol is flammable.) If it’s Sal Suds you’ve spilled, do the same with a solution of 1 cup of vinegar in a gallon of water.

Help! I added vinegar to my Castile Soap mopping solution and now I have an oily goopy mess. How can I clean that up?

Vinegar unsaponifies soap, which means it breaks it back down to oils. If you have combined the two and gotten it on a household surface, you can clean it up with Castile Soap or Sal Suds and water.

Is it safe to mop with Castile Soap or Sal Suds around cats and pets?

I have three cats and a dog myself, so this is certainly something I’ve thought about. The concern for cats in particular is that ingesting or absorbing pure essential oils can be harmful to their sensitive systems. However, in this situation, not only are the essential oils in both products a relatively small amount–less than 2%–but they are extremely diluted by the water in each of the recommended dilutions. Further, per the method above, there should not be soapy residues left on the floors. Residues are detrimental in many regards. If you have remaining concerns, use the Unscented Pure-Castile Soap which is free of essential oils.

I prefer to use the bar soaps. Is there a way to mop with them?

Yes! The Bar Castile Soap is just as versatile as its liquid counterpart, though it takes an extra step or two. For mopping, add 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated bar soap or ¼ c. (60 mL) soap cream to 1 gallon (4 L) hot water. Stir with the mop handle to dissolve. Soap Cream is a fun little GIY* that you can learn how to make from my article on the Bar Soap Cheat Sheet. 

To wrap it up

Our floors are the single largest horizontal surface in our houses. Cleaning them is a quick route to making the whole place feel bright and cared for.


Further reading

Sal Suds or Castile Soap – Which to Use?

Making a Foaming Hand Soap With Castile Soap

Cleaning Carpets with Sal Suds & Castile Soap

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

Download Now!

Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

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


Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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


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Michele says:

HI Lisa,

Are either sal suds or castille soap okay for a 5 cat household? I’ve had to stay away from essential oils on floors bc so many of the oils are toxic to cats so I just bought the sal suds to use. But I wondered if the castille soap is okay to use on cleaning house hold items and wiping down furniture if it doesn’t have any Eo’s in it and doesn’t leave a residue that would cause allergies to cats?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Michele – Our Castile soaps contains just a 2% concentration of essential oils, which is further diluted when used in cleaning, and then wiped off. I haven’t had a problem using any of the scented Castile soaps or Sal Suds when cleaning at home. But if you have any concerns, the Unscented Castile soap can be used for cleaning.

Tara Brady says:

I’m sure someone asked this somewhere already but has anyone tried this in a steam mop? I got a fantastic used Shark Pro Steam & Mop for $15! But the cleaner bottle is empty (which I’m actually glad since I am a DIY cleaner girl) and was wondering if this works alright. I use this for everything else & floors so I dont see why it wouldn’t. I have a mix of tile, vinyl & laminate faux wood floors. All finished/sealed never an issue with mopping before. Thanks in advance!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tara – I’m not familiar with steam mops, but as long as the mop picks up the solution and doesn’t leave it on the floor, it should be fine. Usually this means it has a rinse compartment (I’m thinking of a carpet cleaner here). Sal Suds, like any soap or cleaner, when left on the floor will attract more dirt. If you do use Sal Suds, you only need one drop with water in the cleaning solution compartment. Let me know how it goes if you do give it a try.

Kayla says:

Hey there, Lisa!

Love your blog! I learned of Sal Soap and Castille from Also, a wonderful blog for natural living. I have been through all the posts here on floor cleaning, but have only seen hardwood and laminate. I have concrete sealed or stained floors. Is Sal Soap or Castile still safe to use?

Thank you so much!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kayla – Thank you for your kind words! Wellness Mama is a great resource as well. I apologize for my delay in responding here. Both the Sal Suds and Castile would work on the concrete floors (I’m assuming they’re interior?), but I would probably reach for the Sal Suds just in case there are minerals the Castile might react with. You can read more about the overlap between the two products here:

Susan says:

If I’m wanting to make a spray solution to use on my laminate floor how much sal suds would I use? Also, does it have to be rinsed?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Susan – Since you want to keep any suds to a minimum on your floor, I would make what I call a Sal Suds Lite mixture – use 1/2 Tbsp. of Sal Suds in a quart of water. If you’re going over it with a damp mop, you do not need to rinse again. The mop will pick it up.

Katie W says:

Is the solution with tea tree oil safe to use with dogs when cleaning floors?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Katie – Yes, it would not harm dogs. The concentration of essential oils in the original soap is 2%. This would be hugely diluted in the wash water, and truly minute in any possible residue.

Lisa Bronner says:

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.

Magali says:

Hi there,
I clean houses professionally and have started using Sal Suds for many purposes. I follow the suggested solution and just add different essential oils for different purposes. My question is for a solution to mopping. I only use microfiber pads and don’t use the bucket method. I feel as if the multipurpose solution is too strong for wood floors. Would you suggest a different recipe for squirt solution?
Please help,

Sandi says:

Is Sal Suds safe to use on vinyl wood flooring? I have read about wood and wood laminate but not vinyl. We were told to clean the floors with 1C apple cider vinegar (white vinegar for disinfectant) to 1Gal warm water. If floors are really dirty, add a few drops of Dawn detergent. I would prefer to get rid of the Dawn and use Sal Suds for dishes and everything else, including my quartz countertop. Please let me know if Sal Suds will harm the finish on the vinyl floor or the quartz countertop. Thanks in advance for your response.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sandi – Sal Suds would be just the thing for both the vinyl floors and the quartz. Steer away from vinegar for the quartz, though, as acids can etch natural stones.

Allison says:

Hey there! I have one of those point and spray mops. The container to hold cleaner is fairly small. How much would you suggest using. I’d say it holds a little less than 2 cups. Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Allison – That sounds neat! I’d use very little Sal Suds so that you don’t have any left on your floors, which would be slippery and attract dirt. Start with just one or two drops. Let me know how that goes.

Jaclyn says:

I was wondering if Sal Suds is safe to use on bamboo flooring?

Thank you!!!

Mike says:

I have 5 dogs and luckily, tile floors. I have used Sal Suds in my FloorMate machine. The machine is made to clean hard surface floors. And using the Sal Suds makes it a lot easier and cleans the grout better than any of the other floor cleaners. The key, as Lisa said, less is more! The solution tank holds about a quart of water, and I only add a SMALL squirt. I also use really hot water. One thing to mention, in my case, I cannot add the essential oils, it reacts to the plastic solution reservoir. I learned that lesson the hard way!

Paige B. says:

Hey there!!!!

So huge fan of Sal Suds!! Have been using it to clean for over a year now, and continually fall in love with my Sals;) QUESTION is: I love doing a vinegar rinse afterwards simply for the extra shine:) does it matter if I use distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar- I always have apple cider vinegar on hand- we use it for many things, just didn’t know wether I should stock up on distilled or not?? THANKS SO MUCH!
All the best, The Baileys

Olivia says:

So does the Sal Suds not dissolve the exoskeletons like the Castille Soap? I’ve just moved into a new house (new to me, but the house is actually very old!) and the previous tenants weren’t the cleanest bunch. We have all hardwood floors -unwaxed – and I want them to be super clean!!! What my best bet – Sal Suds or Castille?

Thanks! 🙂

Alisha says:

Oops! I thought you said 1 TBSP Sal Suds. I thought that sounded like too much. :/

Elizabeth says:

Hello Lisa:

It would be great if you did a brief video on cleaning a hardwood floor. So many people have hardwood floors and everyone is looking for a quality product. I have a few questions:

Does the 1/2 Tbsp. of Sal Suds in a quart of water provide the necessary PH Balance for a hardwood floor?

Also, is the 1/2 Tbsp of Sal Suds gentle enough not to harm a hardwood floor. Sal Suds can be an incredible cleaner on stainless steel, glass, granite, toilet bowls, showers and tubs (and the list goes on) so I just want to make sure that Sal Suds is gentle enough for any hardwood floor.

Would Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap also work on a hardwood floor? Would the Castile Soap be a better product for hardwood floors?

Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Elizabeth – The Sal Suds would be the absolute perfect option. I need to write a post about this. I used to have hardwood floors, and I cleaned them with the exact process you mentioned: I misted the floors with a Sal Suds dilution and then wiped with a microfiber mop. I would use a mild dilution of 1/2 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a quart of water.

All the best,

Elizabeth says:

Lisa: I was unable to find a specific blog for hardwood floors so I thought I’d use this section. What product do you use on “sealed” hardwood floors? Sal Suds or Castile Soap? Something else? Most hardwood floor products on the market seem to leave a residue behind. Also, unlike a tile floor, I won’t use a mop for a hardwood floor. I “mist” the floor & then buff dry using a microfiber dry mop. Additionally, most hardwood floor manufacturers emphasize the need for a ph balanced product. With this in mind, would Sal Suds or Castile Soap be OK to use? Can you give me some helpful hints on hardwood floors? Thanks again!

Lisa Bronner says:

Ena – A clogged bathtub is most likely not because of any build up, but much more likely because of hair. The best option is to get a drain snake from the hardware store and use that to clear it out. The castile soap is not going to be effective here, and any product that would be potent enough to dissolve hair, would be really, really toxic. Removing the clog is your safest bet.

All the best,

Ena says:

Hello, my question is about clogged bathtub and if the 18 in one soap work on the clogs or what I should use

Lisa Bronner says:

I very much apologize to everyone above for my late responses. I hit a busy stretch the past couple months.

Hi Roberta – A Sal Suds spray would be a good option. I recommend a low dilution of around 1/2 Tbsp. per quart of water.

Hi Anny – Yes, the Sal Suds is a disinfectant. For best results, Sal Suds should stay on the surface to be disinfected for 10 minutes before wiping off. I take my spray bottle and spray down all three of my bathrooms, wait a few minutes, then go back through and wipe them down.

Hi Pat – Yes, you can blend essential oils to your liking. That’s the fun of it!

Hi David – Yes, it is safe for pets to walk on a recently mopped, still wet Sal Suds floor. It will not irritate their paws.

All the best,

David B says:

Is Sal’s safe for pets to walk on after my wood or tile floors have been mopped?

Pat Hain says:

With the Sal Suds All Purpose Spray can I also add several drops of Rose Essential Oil along with the 10-20 drops of tea tree oil? I would like the extra disinfecting power of the tea tree plus the lovely fragrance of the rose (or lemon) oil.
Thank you . Pat

anny says:

Hi Lisa,
I recently bought Dr. B Sal Sud and I love its cleaning power. My question that I have is that can Dr. B Sal Sud kill germs / bacteria?

Thank you.

Roberta says:

I am currently using bona cleaner as well on my wood laminate with a microfiber mop. Could I mix the sals suds and water in a spray bottle and use that so that I can control the amount of water I use at a time? If so what would the measurement be since I would be using a small amount of water… Not gallons.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Leakhena – Yes, I would turn to the Sal Suds for this. It is slightly better at cutting grease and tough stains than the castile soap. And it is very clean-rinsing so you won’t have to worry about residue.

The difference between the Castile and the Sal Suds is that the Castile is a soap and the Sal Suds is a detergent. Soaps are one step removed from their original, botanical ingredients – which for Dr. Bronner’s is olive and coconut oils. Detergents go through a much more involved process wherein there are many steps between original ingredients and end product. True soaps (such as the Castile) are always made from oils or fat, and the term “castile” means that the oils are vegetable base. Detergents can be made out of any number of things, often petrochemicals, but Dr. Bronner’s is derived from coconuts. Both of the products are surfactants, which means they attach to oil and grease with one end of their molecules, and attach to water with the other end. So, they kind of end up in the same place but via different routes. I address the issue of SLS in the Sal Suds in a previous post:

Hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer further questions.

All the best,

Leakhena says:

Hi Lisa, thanks for all the tips, they are extremely helpful. Ever since discovering Dr.B’s, I’ve been trying to use it for everything however, I feel like my mixture of peppermint castile isn’t really cutting through the grease on the wood floors in the kitchen, particularly near the stove where we get a lot of grease flying. But then I read if I don’t dilute enough it could leave residue and attract more dirt? Maybe this is why i’m getting a ‘residue’ feeling vs a clean feeling surface? Or is it not potent enough to cut through really tough grease? Do you think in this instance it would be better to just use the Sal’s Suds? I know Sal’s contains SLS but what are the other primary differences between the two and which is better to use when? Thanks Lisa! PS, other than the patch right in front of the stove, all the floors feel extremely clean.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Laura – Congratulations on your pregnancy! All the soaps are disinfectants, which means they kill 99% of bacteria. (As opposed to “antibacterial” which indicates a kill rate of 99.9%, but often contributes to the creation of antibiotic resistant superbugs.) I have looked into the issue of pregnancy concerns with essential oils, having been through three pregnancies myself. Because the essential oils are at a low concentration (of 2%), and are a wash-off product, there is no cause for concern. Usually the issues with essential oils come when they are left on the skin such as with a massage oil or such. If you do feel uncertain about it, though, you can also use the unscented Baby Mild castile soap, which has no essential oils.

Please let me know if you have further questions!

All the best,

Laura says:

Hi, I was just wondering if all of the castile soaps are disinfectants or just the tea tree oil scented one?
Also, I am pregnant. Are there any scents that I should not be using?
Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Paul – Your math is spot on! And you are right that we need more cleaning power for a toilet than for a pot (a cooking one, that is). However, with the toilet, we generally like to coat the whole surface with the cleaner and let it sit for a while, whereas with a pan, we generally put a little squirt in the pan and scrub it around. So, the total amount of Sal Suds that ends up in the toilet is greater than the amount that ends up in a pan. If you prefer to squirt fewer times to clean the toilet, you can also make a stronger solution and use your brush to cover the surfaces. Does that make sense? My only caution is that if you use too much Sal suds in the toilet, you’ll be flushing bubbles for a month.

Hi Carla – Theoretically, the castile soap would kill lice, but it wouldn’t have any effect on the nits (eggs) which is what causes the recurrence with lice. Yes, the castile soap is also a disinfectant,which means technically that it kills 99% of bacteria. (The term “antibacterial” means it kills 99.9% of bacteria but often contributes to the creatio of anti-biotic resistant superbugs.)

Hi Toni – If you use a well-diluted concentration, you will not need to rinse your mopped floor. 1/2 Tablespoon of Sal Suds in a couple gallon bucket of water (water goes in first). You’ll know you need to rinse if yyou see bubbles on your floor. If you find you have a big bubble build up,, you may want to use some towels to soak up excess bubbles and then rinse with a solution of 2 c of vinegar in a bucket of water.

Let me know if you have any further questions!

All the best,

Carla says:

Lisa, since the castile soap kills insects with an exoskeleton can it be used as a shampoo to kill head lice? Also is the castile soap a natural disinfectant like the Sal Suds?

paul Arenson says:

Thank you, Lisa. The one question I gave left. Isn’t a 1 part SS to 3 part water ratio for dishes more salsuds than adding 1 tablespoon per quart for toilets. I failed math all through high school, so not sure. I was thinking dishes would need less than toilets.

Just to make sure.


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Paul – This is a popular question. I’m thinking there’s a need for a post entitled “Dilutions”. However, until that happens, I’ll put it here:

Toilet – Don’t use Sal Suds straight or you’ll be flushing bubbles for a month. Make up a squirt bottle (the shampoo bottle if it has a small hole opening should work well) with approximately 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds per quart of water. Add 1/4 tsp. Tea Tree essential oil, if you want. Squirt this on the toilet and toilet brush and scrub it down. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so to do its work. Then flush it down.

A similar dilution will work well for the toilet floor and tile. You can put it in a spray bottle for easier application. A batch for general housecleaning would be the same as this.

The cleaning power of Sal Suds comes from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Lauryl Glucoside. I know those are really chemical sounding names, but you can read more about them on the Dr. Bronner’s website: as well as a post I wrote, There is no cancer risk from SLS:

I checked out the Frosch website ( and they have remarkable ingredient discloser. I was glad to see it. The cleaning power of the Universal Cleaner comes from acetic acid, or vinegar, and sodium laureth sulfate. You probably know to be careful with “-eth” ingredients because of the concern of contamination of 1,4 Dioxane. More about that in “Beware of the -eths”,

Yes, Sal Suds will be as powerful as the Frosch cleaners.

For dishes, I dilute Sal Suds to water at about a 1:3 ratio. This will work for just hand washing dishes. It doesn’t work in a dishwasher.

Other common uses:
Mopping – 1/2 tsp. in a bucket of water
Laundry – 2-3 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a top loading machine. Half that in an HE machine.

If you can think of another area that needs cleaning that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know.

All the best,

paul says:


I would like some tips on dilutions. It is hard to pour from the very large size, so I thought I would use some old organic shampoo bottles with a dispenser. I also have a FROSCH (Vinegar based cleaner) dispenser, that delivers froth when mixed with water.

Toilet–> tired of the scent of Frosch. Do I dilute for this use or just fill the old shampoo containers? If I dilute. how much Salsuds to water?
Can I use it to clean the toilet floor and tile?

Batch–> same question as above?

Anti-bacterial qualities: comes from what ingredient?
Will it have equal anti bacterial powers to the Frosch vinegar?

Dishes—> Again, in an old detergent bottle with a dispenser, possibly the old Frosch ones with the frothing fuction, how much water to how much Salsuds?

Other uses? Is there a list of dilutions?

Thank you!

Erik says:

Love the pine forest aroma of Sal Suds….would like to use it in the bathtub. Is it safe to use (well-diluted of course) for a bath?
Bronner’s should seriously consider making a pine-scented castile soap. I’d buy that in a heartbeat!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Erik – Great question. Sal Suds contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which, although it is in many conventional bathing products, can be drying to the skin. A better option is for you to get some fir needle essential oil and add a bit to your tub. Try 25 drops to start with, which is 1/4 tsp. Depending on the size of your tub and your own preferences, you may want more or less.

I’ll definitely pass along the suggestion for a pine-scented castile soap. That does sound very nice. We also have the Eucalyptus, which has a nice, albeit different, woodsy scent. Let me know if I can help with anything else!


mimi says:

I’ve been looking around for a biodegradable all-purpose cleaner and then decided to make my own (couldn’t find what I was looking for), untill I came across this last week. I havn’t tried it yet, but it looks promising. Looking at the ingrediants, would this be ok to use as a shampoo/bodywash? either I have hard water or my hair just dosnt like the castile soap (even after the vinegar rinse). It would be nice to get to use only one product for everything =) Also, I was thinking of adding essential oils to the formula, would this be fine? thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

@Mimi – Sal Suds as a shampoo/body wash would be no worse than conventional products. The SLS in it makes it a little dryingt to the skin, but not otherwise harmful. Another reader commented that they use it for such, and my dad did as well. If you added your own essential oils to it, they probably wouldn’t blend well. You’d have to shake it up before each use. I don’t find that a vinegar rinse is enough on my hair, either, after the castile soap. I need the Dr. B’s Hair Rinse that is formulated specifically for it. (I know it sounds like I’m just trying to push Dr. B stuff, but it does work very well – better than anything else I’ve found.)

All the best,

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Steven ~ I apologize for my delay in responding. Christmas always takes over my routine. Vinegar and water works to a certain extent, and if it does the job, stick with it. It’s definitely cheaper and if you accidentally use too much vinegar, it’s not too much of a problem. However, if you’re finding that vinegar and water are not cleaning your floors adequatley, switch to Sal Suds. I recently tested my recipe again – I mopped my floors with the dilution of 1/2 tsp. Sal Suds in my mop bucket filled with hot water. Then I went over my floors again with water, and it did not pick up any dirt. The Sal Suds solution had gotten it all cleaned up.

@ Chris – I recommend the Sal Suds for hard surfaces in bathrooms, just because it is more clean rinsing. The castile soap is the one that leaves the streaks, but the Sal Suds, which is a detergent, does not. After you spray and wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth, you won’t need to dry. Toilet bowls are the only place in the house I recommend the use of borax. Borax is a natural (read “earthmade”) product that is renewable and biodegradable, but it is still toxic to the skin and definitely ingested. However, it works better than anthing else on toilet bowls. Holding your brush over the toilet bowl, sprinkle on about 1/2 c. of borax. Scrub the bowl and let it sit for as long as you can – overnight ideally. Then flush.

If you don’t like the borax, here’s another method. Turn off the water to the toilet (there’s a knob under the back of the toilet). Flush the toilet, which will just about empty the toilet bowl. Then sprinkle the toilet bowl liberally with baking soda. Squirt a good squirt of Tea Tree castile soap on your toilet brush and scrub the toilet bowl. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Turn the water back on and flush it again. (The reason I wouldn’t recommend Sal Suds in the toilet bowl is because if it doesn’t rinse fully down the drain with a flush, then you might be subject to a lot of bubbles, especially the next time someone uses it. While the image this brings to mind is somewhat amusing, it would probably get old pretty quick.)

I don’t know anything about cleaning Jacuzzis. I don’t know if I could justify the purchase of one as a business expense. Currently, how are you using the Cascade to clean it?

Let me know if I can answer further questions.
All the best,

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Valerie ~ So sorry for my delay in answering, and to hear about this battle you’ve been fighting! The castile soap is safe to use on wood, unless it is waxed. Both the Sal Suds and the soap would strip the wax. (Use water only in that case.) Otherwise, the water itself can penetrate the wood, so use a well-wrung out mop. Also, as with any surface, use the soap sparingly so that you don’t have extra remaining on the floor. Not only would it be slippery, but it would also attract more dirt.

Regarding treatment for parasites, castile soap destroys anything with an exoskeleton, so if we’re talking fleas, mites, ants, or whatever, castile soap basically dissolves them. Any of the scents would do this. Peppermint does repel them, so that is a great option, too. Most likely they are hiding in soft furnishings – carpets, anything upholstered in fabric, and definitely bedding – even in clothes as well. Anything that can fit in the washing machine should be laundered with hot water and castile soap, and then dried on a hot setting. I know this isn’t the best technique for the colors, but getting rid of the bugs is probably a higher priority. I have started doing this with my 8 year old’s bedding in order to eliminate dust mites. Bedding needs to be washed this way weekly.

If we’re talking fleas, wash any animals with the castile soap, too. If you have cats, use the unscented Baby Mild so that they don’t ingest any essential oils when licking themselves.

General dilutions:
Castile soap in laundry: 1/2 c. for a large load in a top loading machine
Mop bucket: 2 Tbsp. in a gallon of hot water
spray bottle: 1/4 c. in a quart of water.

Let me know how this goes!


Chris says:

I just got my Sal Suds bottle in the mail. Do you recommend using the regular Castille soaps or the Sal suds to clean the tub and shower walls? What is the dilution for this? I read that these cleansers leave a streak or film when it dries on the surface, so do i finish off spraying with distilled vinegar on the cleaned surfaces and just leave it to dry? How do you use these cleansers to clean the toilet bowl? I want to stop using those commercial toilet/bath cleaners. Final question ( sorry got so many), how do i use the Bronner cleansers to clean my Jacuzzi tub jet system. I currently use Cascade to get rid of grime and for routine cleaning of my Jacuzzi.

Steven Oliver says:

I have linoleum tile floors and I have heard that a vinegar/water solution is best for my floors. Do you recommend sal suds over vinegar and if so, why?

Valerie says:

Is only Sal Suds safe on wood floors or can you use the Pure Castille Soaps?Where we bought it the lady wasn’t 100% sure and told me to research it but she thinks it is part of the 18 uses. Mainly the tea tree and peppermint are in my family’s interest. Tea tree kills parasites and peppermint repels them according to my research and why we went to the natural grocery store to get essential oils. We can not get them out of our environment for our skin to heal. So we are going to add these ingredients to cleaning the floors (all floors are tile and wood), cleaning furniture (leather), and then to spray on fabric furniture (dining room chairs). She showed us the Dr. Bronner products that already had peppermint and tea tree oil and if safe for all the above will be a lot easier than finding out dilution ratios and etc. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. I have been suffering from this for 4 years and my family now 2 years and we are tired of the harsh prescriptions, especially since they are not working and condition coming back worse or we have a misdiagnosis. Thanks for any insight, Take Care!

Sharon C says:

I just tried sal suds1/2 tbsp in 2 gal of hot water and added 1/4 tsp tea tree essential oil for added kick. I must say this works and smells better than the “dangerous” floor cleaners!! I’m sold thanks for the great product and great advice!! Going to explore the rest of your blog for more!!

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Rachel –
My mop bucket holds about 2 gallons. Add the water first so that bubbles don’t overflow out of your bucket.

All the best,

Sandie says:

Hi, I have hard water and notice that when cleaning my floors or my countertops, its hard to get them streak-free. I would like to try the Sal-Suds and/or the castile soap house cleaner (from your video) but to the Sal-Suds should I add some vinegar to keep the floors from streaking ? Also what does it smell like ? I don’t particular want harsh perfumy type cleaners, but I like a fresh, clean smelling home.

Thanks !

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Sandie – The Sal Suds is the way to go for shinier surfaces (but not glass), but you won’t need to add the vinegar to it. It works great on its own. The only situation with the Sal Suds that would involve vinegar is if you have used too much Sal Suds and you have to clean up the bubbles. A vinegar rinse helps with that. The castile soap works really well, also, but needs a thorough drying for maximum shininess. Since we’re partially talking about floors, that would be a lot to dry. (You never want to mix castile soap directly with vinegar. I explain about that here: The only smell with the Sal Suds is the pure fir needle essential oil. It is very light and disippates after the Sal Suds dry. In fact, I like to add my own essential oils that linger. Lately, I’ve been on a Sweet Orange kick.

On my counters these days, I’ve been using more of my castile soap spray, instead of my Sal Suds. The ants have been marching 10 by 10 through my house, and the castile soap kills them on contact and destroys their scent trails. When I dry my granite counters with a towel after wiping the castile soap, the surfaces are very shiny.

Let me know if I can be of further help!

Lisa Bronner says:

@Maria – Yes, the Sal Suds is a natural disinfectant. That term is legally defined as being able to kill 99% of bacteria (“antibacterial” means it kills 99.9% of bacteria – these commonly are linked to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.) However, I sometimes add tea tree oil to my solutions as well – just for a little extra punch. At this dilution, it is still safe and effective on all surfaces. As you probably know, pure tea tree oil can burn, so take care in mixing it in.

Glad you’re keeping it clean!

Maria says:

Love your blog, Lisa! I recently indulged in Sal Suds and have been immensely pleased with it as an all-purpose cleaner for all house surfaces, indoors and out, and as a laundry soap. (It is absolutely the best for cloth diapers!) Something I don’t know, though, is this: is is a natural disinfectant? Whether it is or it isn’t, if I add a few drops of tea tree oil to my all-purpose cleaner (32 oz. water + 1 t Sal Suds), will the cleaner still be safe for all surfaces?

Thank you so much for continued insight and direction!!

Lisa Bronner says:

@Katrina and Alexandra – The Sal Suds works great on wood, but the issue is more the water. Excess water left on wood floors will cause them to swell and ultimately rot. So be sure to wring out your mop well before using it on the wood floors. If you notice any water puddling, be sure to soak those up. Let me know how it goes! ~Lisa

Katrina says:

Is this good for hardwood floors as well? They seem to be untreated hardwood floors. I currently use Bona on them with a microfiber mop.

Lisa Bronner says:

@Mary – Thanks for the support! It’s even more believable coming from someone outside the family! Definitely dilute.


Mary says:

Like the good Dr. always said, “Dilute, Dilute, Dilute!” This is even MORE true for the Sal Suds than for the classic liquid soap. Just had to post a warning because the first time I used Sal Suds on a vinyl kitchen floor I used a “regular” amount of cleaner and it completely stripped the finish!

A teaspoon (use a kitchen measuring spoon!) per 5 gallon bucket of water should be PLENTY. Use half that if your bucket is only 3 gallons. Scale amounts down further as appropriate and use even less on more permeable surfaces like wood.

I am a HUGE fan of the Sal Suds, btw. It is a fantastic bargain, very versatile and convenient (with a lot fewer bottles around) and just plain a better product for so many cleaning needs.

Also, thanks for this blog! I just discovered it and am checking out the archives. Definitely going in my bookmarks. 🙂

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

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