Click here for my updated how-to blog post on All-Purpose sprays.
I just realized that I have never blogged about my Sal Suds All-Purpose Cleaner spray bottle despite the fact that it is my most reached for house-cleaning weapon. In fact, I think I disappoint some people when they ask me what I use on various household surfaces, because the answer is mostly “Sal Suds in a spray bottle.” They seem to be looking for something more exciting.
This is the jack of all trades in my house. It’s great on my finished wood table, granite counters, tile floors, pleather high chair, plastic toys, painted walls, microsuede bar stools, metal grill… In fact, I haven’t found much house stuff I wouldn’t use it on.
So here’s my ratio:
Fill a quart (1 L) spray bottle almost all the way with water. (This is the fancy trick, because if you put the Sal Suds in first, you’ll lose a lot in bubbles.) Then, add 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) of Sal Suds.
That’s all. If you put in more Sal Suds, you’ll have bubbles, bubbles everywhere.
I’d like to express my appreciation for your family’s continuing dedication to healthy living. I’m a nurse on disability with autoimmune/rheumatoid problems. I react to most modern household chemicals. I write for people with the same problems, on a limited income, and needing easy solutions.
After reading some questions and comments I would like to offer a couple of ideas.
When I add an essential oil to a cleaning solution, I first mix it with a few tablespoons of alcohol. Isopropyl, (Rubbing or drugstore) alcohol or Ethyl (Vodka or Pure Grain) alcohol work equally but choose an Ethyl alcohol with no smell of it’s own. Mix the oils and alcohol with the soap part of the solution by shaking well before adding to the water. This keeps the oils mixed better with less need for shaking so often.
I have looked at many studies of essential oils and many do slow or stop the growth of certain microorganisms but there has not been found, as yet, one oil or combination of oils that are broad-spectrum antimicrobial, killing a wide range of bacteria, viruses or other organisms.
Soap and water works as a mechanical removal method, in other words, soap surrounds contaminants and allows us to wipe or wash them away easier. In fact, mechanical removal is likely the best method of cleaning contaminants from any surface including skin.
Still, the CDC recommends using an alcohol based solution to kill remaining microorganisms, many of which are now resistant to previously effective methods, and we can do that at home with safe products.
I would be happy to post those directions here or they can be found on my blog. I use Dr. Bronner’s soaps to make this solution used on kitchen, bathroom or other surface that need disinfecting often. Don’t forget to wipe doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones, eye glasses, purse handles, bottoms and any other items that are handled often or are potential carriers of harmful microorganisms.
Make sure to understand how to mix an alcohol solution, a %40 or higher alcohol mixture is flammable.
My solution is based on castile soap however, the Sal Suds chemistry is a bit different. I have not been able to find safety information as yet for mixing an alcohol with a Sal Soda solution. I would appreciate an opinion from a chemist before recommending that combination. Short of a knowledgeable opinion, I would use the Sal Suds solution first and then a second soap-less alcohol disinfectant solution with previously mentioned directions.
Thank you again for your wonderful products.
I have been using the Sal Suds for EVERYTHING (except leather) since i posted earlier in Sept. I have also converted several friends and even my cleaning lady to Sal Suds. I wanted to know how much i could actually use per bottle. I have been using 3 tbs. and feel like everything is getting clean, but i am still concerned about the bathroom, namely the toilet. Is there an easy natural way to clean the inside of the toilet? i sometimes put straight SS but not sure that is the best approach.
Also, i started with the castle soap. Is that also appropriate to clean with? i put it in a foaming soap pump and use it for kids bath. My new fav face wash. i know that i have to use it within 2 weeks of diluting.
i was wondering, for cleaning, what the difference was between SS and the Castle Soap.
Thanks for your help!!!
Hi Lisa – The highest you would want to go in a quart spray bottle is 50 drops, which is half a teaspoon.
All the best,
How many drops of tea tree oil would I need to add to make the “sal suds in a bottle” recipe disinfectant?
Hi Elizabeth – Yes, the Sal Suds would be a great option for your house, especially in light of your little one, but also because of yourself and your dogs. It was my kids, too, that spurred me into green cleaning. You do not need different dilutions for each room – the 1 Tbsp. in a quart of water dilution is great for All Purpose. If you are washing grimy windows, you might want the lighter version with just 1/2 – 1 tsp. of Sal Suds. Once you get the hang of cleaning this way, it would be great to convert your cleaning service over as well. They might appreciate knowing how to “clean green” and be able to offer that as an incentive for clients.
The Sal Suds is better on the baby items than the castile soap. The only place the castile soap isn’t the best is on really shiny surfaces like glass and mirrors. Otherwise, if you spray and wipe, especially with microfiber cloths, there will be no residue.
Hi Michael – I know what you mean about soap scum mocking us. I’ve been laughed at before as well. To conduct a truly scientific experiment, let the soap scum build back up and then try cleaning it with just the diluted Sal Suds and see if it does better or worse than the vinegar! However, that would leave you with a scummy shower, so let me say that the vinegar certainly didn’t hurt the solution, and may well have helped. I definitely wouldn’t put baking soda in a spray bottle as it would clog the sprayer. However, if you have particularly stubborn scum, sprinkling a little baking soda from a shaker over the surface can help.
I honestly haven’t looked into those daily shower sprays, so I don’t know what’s in them. I would imagine that something that dissolves minerals (which is what soap scum is) such as diluted vinegar would help. If I find out more, I’ll let you know.
All the best,
I read that the best thing to cut soap scum was vinegar and water. So I mixed up a one to four ratio of vinegar and water and went to attack my shower. It didn’t touch it. In fact I believe it was mocking me. I added just a few drops of Sal Suds to the mix and the soap scum was beat into submission. Did the vinegar play a role in that, or was it just the Sal Suds? I have a PVC shower surround so I don’t want to use anything abrasive, so I don’t add baking soda (which the original recipe suggested).
Also we use a daily shower spray that is supposed to prevent the soap scum from building up. It doesn’t work. It does work in our other bath with a tile surround. I can only assume that these products are typically just some sort of surfactant or rinse aid. Is there a way to make a similar product? I know that wiping the shower dry would work better, but I know it isn’t going to happen.
Oh, I also have just bought the Peppermint soap but have hard water so I am worried that the cleaning people will leave a residue if they use that. But is the soap something I should use on the baby items instead of SS?
Hi! I recently had a baby girl and am trying to use less harmful products in the home. I also have two large dogs who part of the family but also drag dirt in from outside. I’d like a cleaner that I can use that is safer if my daughter crawls on the tile then chews on her hands or something to clean her bathtub with. Is Sal Suds something that would fit the bill? Should I have different spray bottle concentrations for each room? We also have a house cleaning service twice a month who use normal cleansers that I actually keep my daughter out of the house for a few hours because the smell actually bothers me so I know it has to bother her. I’d like to get them to use less toxic cleansers while in my house so I need a very easy way to do this and instructions so they are willing to.
Hi Laura – For my Antibacterial Bathroom Spray, I fill a quart spray bottle most of the way with water. Then add 1/4 c. castile soap and 20-ish drops of tea tree pure essential oil. Fill to the quart line with water.
You could definitely get by for house and body with just the castile soap. However, I like to have both on hand because the Sal Suds works slightly better in the laundry and is more clean rinsing on dishes and shiny surfaces.
Hi Kevy – Yes, I do keep multiple dilutions of Sal Suds around. By the sink I have a quart bottle of Sal Suds in it at a dilution of about 1 parts SS to 10 parts water. I have the spray bottle you mentioned above as well for windows and other quick washes. Then, for most housecleaning purposes, I have my All Purpose Sal Suds spray that is 1 quart of water with 1 Tbsp. of Sal Suds. Sometimes I add pure essential tea tree oil for an extra boost if we seem to have a lot of germs around. For dishes I prefer Sal Suds, but both work well.
Please let me know if you have more questions!
All the best,
I was wondering if you have two bottles of sal suds around with different concentrations or just one? Do you use 1/2 tblspoon with water for dishes and then 1 tblspoon with water for everything else? Is it best to use Sal Suds for dishes or diluted dr. bronners castile soap?
Hi, I was just wondering what the recipe is for your Antibacterial Bathroom Spray that you mentioned above?
Also, would you recommend buying the Sal Suds as well as the castile soap? Or does it depend on what you are cleaning?
PS. I think this site is great.
Thank you for all of the information!
Hi Andrea – Yes, it’s true! This Sal Suds bottle will take care of household dirt everywhere. Regarding the toilet, vinegar may help, but it isn’t as strong a disinfectant as Sal Suds. Also, the vinegar smell would be pretty potent. My method is weekly to empty the toilet bowl (by turning the water off behind the toilet and then flushing the toilet), spray the toilet bowl thoroughly with the spray, scrub it well, then let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, turn the water back on and flush again.
Please let me know if you have any more questions! The conversion from conventional can take some effort, but I’m glad you’re up for it.
All the best,
Lisa, I just ordered sal suds for the first time. I have always used traditional chemicals to clean, especially the bathroom. Can I use your recipe above to clean and disinfect my entire house??? Even the bathroom???? Do I have to add anything else? I read somewhere that vinegar in the toilet each night helps keep the toilet bowl clean…I want to go natural but don’t want a bathroom with germs growing everywhere!!! Thanks for your help!!!!
Hi Carey – Yes, you can definitely add your favorite essential oils. Whether you add them to the undiluted Sal Suds or to your spray bottle solution, you will find some separation and may need to shake the bottle to mix it before each use. I add tea tree oil to my solution for its extra cleaning boost.
Please let me know if you have an further questions.
All the best,
Hello! I love the Sal Suds but am not a fan of the fir needle smell (reminds me of camping latrines–camping good, latrines eww!). Is it possible to add the essential oils to Sal Suds in order to adjust to personal preference? Or is there a Sal Suds that is fragrance free? Thank you—your products and blog is fantastic!!
Hi Patty – Wow! Sounds like you went through your house like a hurricane. I hope you have a party to celebrate. I am so glad that the Sal Suds is living up to my hype. Let me know how the carpet cleaner works out.
All the best,
Hi, Lisa! I received my first bottle of Sal Suds last Friday. On Sat., I mixed up a 1 qt. spray bottle with water, 1 Tbls. of Sal Suds, and 1/4 tsp. tea tree oil. I proceded to clean all the hard surfaces of my house and was really impressed with how well it cut through the hard water on my cultured marble shower surround & bathroom countertops. Since Leslie (Sept. 26th) said she used it on mirrors, I tried that, too. Wiped with a microfiber cloth & they were sparkling. In the kitchen, it did a beautiful job on my quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. Again, using a microfiber cloth. Everything gleamed without the need to dry or buff with another cloth. Feeling pretty smug by now, I proceeded to my biggest kitchen challenge, my glass top range. Just my SS spray and microfiber cloth and it was streak-free and shiny in a flash. Even using glass cleaner, I’ve had to wipe and re-wipe, and still couldn’t seem to eliminate all the streaks.
This morning, I mixed up a mop bucket with the SS & TTO and used it on my tile floors. Couldn’t have asked for anything more. Regardless of what I’ve used in the past, I always felt like there was a film left behind. Today, I felt like the floors were truly clean.
Next big project will be the carpet shampooer, but I’m convinced there’s nothing the Sal Suds can’t handle.
We’ve used Dr. B’s soaps off and on for years, but I feel like I’ve finally found one product that will replace everything else in my cleaning arsenal.
Hi Lynda – These are all great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. I like the idea of coloring the solutions as well. So not only can you personalize the smell of your cleaning products, you can personalize their look, too. This could be especially important for people drawn to that beautiful Windex blue, and such.
All the best,
I bought a gallon of Sal Suds after reading how green it is. A bit costly originally, but I haven’t bought any cleaning supplies in over a year. The gallon has paid for itself already. I’ve given Sal Suds-filled pill bottles to friends to turn them on to green cleaning. I always add a drop of beet or spinach juice for color because they’re used to that and it helps them see how little they’re using. Instead of my lugging out the gallon each time I need a tablespoon of it, I keep a recycled bottle of half water, half Sal Suds under the kitchen sink for convenience. I fill spray and squirt bottles with water then add the diluted Sal Suds to avoid any foam/bubbles. This is such a wonderful product!
I am glad I rechecked your site before making my Sal Suds cleaner. I was about to put 1/4 cup in instead of 1Tbsp. Probably would have been pretty sudsy.
Hi Amanda – You would have been so frustrated! You probably would have tossed the whole kit out the window. I’m glad you rechecked. Just in case anyone ever actually finds themselves in this situation, with too many bubbles from Sal Suds, the best remedy is to mop up the bubbles with a dry microfiber cloth. It will absorb them all. Then wipe again with a clean, damp microfiber cloth, and then enjoy your extra clean surface!
All the best,
I have been using Dr B products for about a year now and love them all. I think it would be a good idea if you could do a section just on cleaning dilutions/recipes for all the different jobs around the house using Sal Suds, Liquid Castile soap, Baking Soda and Vinegar etc. I’m in Scotland so our spray bottles are measured in litres/mls, although I can convert your sizes OK. You could always have a link to your videos that are already all around your website under the different sections your dilutions refer to. I hope that makes sense. I wonder what other people think?
Hi Rosemary – This is a great idea. I am working on something similar. I like your link suggestions, as well as even metric conversions. I sense that many of my readers are abroad. It would be fun to know where everyone is reading from, though.
All the best,
Hi! I am loving your blog!! I was wondering though…..what is the best all purpose Sal Suds spray? I don’t want to have a lot of cleaning bottles laying around my house. There are a few Sal Suds ratios that you have in different spots around the blog. They all use a quart of water…one spot says 1/2 tablespoon, another spot says 1/2 teaspoon and another spot says a full tablespoon. Which one is best for kitchen counters/tables/and bathroom counters? Thank you!!
I bought some Sal Suds, and am wondering if I can use it on a leather rag rug. I am going to try to get out cat spray from my roommates cat. It’s a light brown rug, and I’m wondering if it will change the color or softness of the rug.
Hi Thea – If the rug is suede, any liquid will change the color and the softness. If it’s leather, it probably won’t. However, definitely spot test it first. If the rug is a goner as it is due to the smell, then you might want to attempt to clean it anyways. If you end up wetting the whole rug, there is also the chance of shrinkage. This is all due to the water, though, and not the Sal Suds. If you determine through your spot test that the leather is color-fast, you’ll need to work the Sal suds into the layers and crevices of the rug. Then, be sure to rinse the solution out well and dry the rug fully before putting it back on the floor (to prevent mold or damage to the floor beneath). Good luck!
I LOVE Salsuds. I am the manager of Great Green Cleaning in NYC. We ONLY Use earth friendly Green cleaning supplies – all of our supplies are unscented and we are teaching all of our clients how to clean green. Although our supplies are Industrial and work really well, many clients were missing the old fashioned smell they would get from over the counter Non-Green cleaners. We discovered SAL SUDS last year and started packing a bottle in everyone of our supply kits- WOW!! Our clients are thrilled to know that our supplies are green and safe for pets and kids – but when we clean – they can still have the smell of fresh evergreens – like their grandmothers house 🙂
@ Cindy – Glad to hear it! Sal Suds does have that wonderful scent from the fir needle oil, but if someone ever wants more, you can buy a small bottle of fir needle essential oil (Frontier Natural Products, for one) and add in a few extra drops. Changing what smells clean is often one of the biggest hurdles to making the green switch.
All the best,
Thanks for help !! I have been cleaning with my mix and it works great — I did it how did on video and it works great — thanks for your quick response take care
How long does the spray bottle last ? will it go bad ? I was using vinegar and lemon juice and water for my all purpose spray for my kitchen — my question is can I add Sal Suds to my bottle ? I love Dr Bronners’ products but I just found out about Sal Suds — thanks
@Julie – The Sal Suds is a very shelf stable product, even diluted. Undiluted we give it a shelf life of 3 years. I don’t have a set answer for you when it’s diluted, but I would say it’s at least a year. The lemon juice would turn much sooner than the Sal Suds. Anytime you’ve made a cleaning solution, if it smells different than it did when you first made it, it’s better to toss it out and start again.
All the best,
Wow, Kristina! You aren’t kidding. Want to come over and clean my house next? It would give you lots more opportunity to enjoy all that Dr. B’s you have! Let me know how it all went.
Thank u Leslie for the dishwasher tips. And Thank you Lisa for having this blog. I just got sal suds a couple days ago. I watched you’re video on washing clothes with sal suds. I used sal suds and washing soda with vinegar for the rinse. Love it. I am allergic to ANY perfumes, so this is just awesome. I think I got the fever:). will be cleaning whole house and reporting in with results and questions. I was using a homeade laundry mix of Fels Naptha, borax, washing soda with the vinegar rinse. I like You’re version A LOT better results. lol I also bought the unscented Castile soap, citrus castile soap, tea tree 18-1. I have a feeling I will be buying a ton of the 3-1 and balms and well just everything. yep I got the fever.
@ Leslie – I’m so glad the Sal Suds and the blog have helped you. Trial and error is how I figure a lot of this stuff out, too. And the advice of others, which is why I enjoy reading all the comments.
I have been using Sal Suds for cleaning just about everything for about eight years (prior to that I used the peppermint). However, I noticed a while ago that after I spray it I cough since I ultimately breathe it in. It does linger in the air for a few seconds. This has become more of a concern since I began coughing more often while not using it and have developed a raspy throat. My doctors have been unable to find any cause, and I just happened to make this connection given the SLS in Sal Suds. Is it possible, even diluted, that it can be dangerous?
@ Chrissy –
Thanks for writing and sharing you concern. I am very sorry to hear about your persistent cough. Some people are sensitive to any essential oils and fragrances even natural fir and spruce oil like in Sal Suds. That is more likely the culprit than the SLS. Try using our unscented baby castile soap in the Castile Soap spray instead. Another option that might help is not to spray the soap or Sal Suds, but put them, diluted, in a squirt bottle. Squirt a little on your cleaning cloth, instead.
If you take a break from the Sal Suds for a while, but your cough doesn’t diminish, the cleaner probably isn’t the source. However, if you notice a difference, then you may be more sensitive than you realized.
I do hope your condition improves. Please keep me posted.
All the best,
I wanted to give you some insight into my use of Sal Suds and my dishwasher. After one trial and ERROR…(TOO MANY SUDS and lot of laughs) I figured out that by using only 1 tsp. and less than 1/4 cup of water placed into soap dispenser of my Magtag dishwasher; it worked perfectly; especially, here in South Florida. My dishes came out sparkling clean and my glasses were crystal clear. I did not use any rinsing agent, either! I have use Sal Suds; as a pre-rinse for my dishes with a dishpan so my kids can just dump their glasses, plates and silverware into it, keeping my sink dish-free. After noticing how awesome my glasses looked from this pre-rinse method; I wanted to try the Sal Suds; as a dishwasher detergent in my dishwasher, henceforth, I tried it. I believe with trial and error; those who love Sal Suds can use it with great results depending on the hardness of their water. IMHO give it a try or two. 🙂
I just wanted to let you know I LOVE Sal Suds. I use it on everything, even my mirrors. I just spray and wipe dry. No streaks! They come out beautiful. Today, I even cleaned my daughter’s doll hair. It did a great job.
I am thrilled with the versatility of this product. Thank you for your helpful hints and blog and vlogs.
If I were to add an essential oil to your recipe, would it still be safe for all surfaces?
@Maria – Always spot test your solution on a new surface, but I add tea tree essential oil to my Antibacterial Bathroom Spray, and I add Sweet Orange essential oil to my mop water and have had no adverse results. As long as you’re adding a small amount, and you test it, you shouldn’t have problems.
Lisa, how much tea tree oil do you add?
Hi Kari – I add about 20 drops, or 1/4 teaspoon.
@ Ruth Marie – Once upon a time I found a great 6-pack of the large spray bottles at Costco, but I’ve never seen them since. You might check yours, though. Recently, I’ve purchased mine at the hardware store. If they have several price levels, go for the pricier ones – around $4 instead of $1 per bottle. The cheaper ones break within a year, but the expensive ones last and last. I haven’t broken one yet.
Let me know if you’re having difficulty finding any of the supplies I mention.
Hi there, I see the photo of the spray bottle that you are using
for your every day cleaning.. My question is where can I buy
the same large spray bottle?? thanks so much, I’m loving the
Dr. Bronner website, so much good info, but most of all it seems
that I be needing lots of the products..
God bless you and those you love..
@Lauren – Around the kitchen, with all those shiny surfaces, I use the Sal Suds spray much more than the castile soap spray because it does rinse more easily in my hard water. I tend to use the castile soap spray more in the bathrooms, because I always dry the surfaces immediately, which prevents the soap scum issue. This is not a hard and fast rule here. You can do everything with either. I think the Sal Suds is a bit more effective, though.
@Mary – We’re rethinking our classifications. We put those up at the very beginning, not really knowing what we’d be needing. Classifying by product is a good idea. Thanks!
Hey Brian – Sal Suds (SLS and all) is certified to biodegrade rapidly. I can send you the analysis if you (or anyone else out there) would be interested. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regarding the fish, I can give you my assurance that SLS is not harmful, but I’ve been looking around trying to find an actual objective study of it. I didn’t find anything specific to fish, but here’s a seemingly objective source of info put out by the Australian government: http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Publications/Information_Sheets/Existing_Chemical_Information_Sheets/ECIS_SLS_PDF.pdf. The gist of it is at the end where it says, “Overall, there are no data in the OECD and CIR reports on SLS and their formulations to indicate SLS to be a skin sensitiser, genotoxic, carcinogenic, or a reproductive toxicant.” The fish wouldn’t like being put in pure, undiluted SLS, though, but that’s more an issue of suffocation. They do need their oxygen. Keep looking around and see if you can find the data behind the claim that it’s harmful to fish. I’ve heard it, too, but like the cancer claim, it might be just more hype. You know, the “when in doubt, blame the SLS” hype.
P.S. Can we get “Sal Suds” listed under the Blog categories?
Love all the posts on Sal Suds, please keep them coming! Not enough people know about this wonderful product which is arguably even more versatile than the liquid soap everyone knows as “Dr. Bronner’s”.
I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps and have been using them for many things for years. The Sal Suds sound great, and I’d love to try them as a household cleaner. I’ve also read your post on using the Castile soap as a household cleaner. When do you use the Sal Suds spray bottle and when do you use the Castile soap spray bottle? I’m just trying to figure out which cleaner is best for which household applications. Thanks!
I know SLS is not a carcinogen but I’m wondering if it is an environmental toxin. I’ve heard it is not readily biodegradable and harmful to fish. Can you comment on this? And do you know of any environmental toxicity reports on SLS?
Hi Deb –
The Sal Suds works great on carpeting. It is very effective and doesn’t affect the carpet color. As always with the Sal Suds, don’t use too much or else you’ll have to clean up a lot of bubbles. If any are left in the carpet, they’ll end up holding dirt there and making the spot worse.
Thanks for reading!
Can you use this to spot clean wall to wall carpeting? I need something safe to use on random pet accidents. If not, what do you use to clean up after your dogs? Thanks!
On my granite countertops, I spray with the Sal Suds solution in the spray bottle, and then wipe with a wet cloth. I find that my granite shines and sparkles more if I also dry them afterwards with a towel. For the spray, yours could be too concentrated. Perhaps try reducing it to a 1/2 Tablespoon, per quart of water. Try diluting your mixture and see what happens. If you still see suds on your counter after wiping, then your solution is too strong. Good luck!
Thanks for reading!
Hi Lisa – just found your blog, its great. Regarding your granite countertops, do you just spray and wipe – I followed your “recipe” but it seemed to leave a film on my counters 🙁 wondering if its too sudsy or perhaps needs a rinse after?? Thanks!
thanks! just getting my feet wet in the Dr. Bonner’s products
Thanks for raising this issue, which is a very common misconception. The info on it was too long for this comment box, so I did a couple blogs on SLS and SLES. Check them out for background about this very hot topic.
This product contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which often degrades into dioxane, which is a known carcinogen. I would not use this…
I have Sal Suds in a spray bottle too. I add vinegar and borax to mine and use it to clean house hold surfaces, AND to kill bugs.
Lisa, I Love your blog! I find everything so helpful and I love the products, too. Thanks so much for taking the time to share all this stuff!