Update May 2022—I’ve added a few uses to both the Sal Suds and Castile Cheat Sheets. Plus: All four Cheat Sheets are now available in Spanish! (See the side bar to download or print.)
There is a lot of overlap here with the Castile Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet because the products can often be interchanged. It is largely a matter of personal preference, but the Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner is more clean-rinsing in hard water situations, and is slightly more effective on grease and tough stains. As with the Castile soaps, these recommended dilutions are not set in stone. You may have dirtier stuff, larger sinks, a larger washer, etc., and may need to tweak these amounts to your own situation.
Sal Suds, Sal Suds, how do I love thee?
I use it for…
Clothes, towels & sheets
Tile & bamboo floors
Granite, quartz, marble, tile
Painted walls & shelves
Plastic trash cans
Stainless steel water bottles
Brita water filter pitcher
Exterior of small kitchen appliances
Stainless steel appliances
Rubber oven mitts
Wood, bamboo & plastic cutting boards
Dog & cat bowls, carriers & collars
Cars, inside and out
Finished, sealed, or painted wood
My grill (aka bar-b-que)
Outdoor metal & plastic furniture
Plastic storage bins
Toothbrushes & brush holder
Porcelain bathroom fixtures—toilet, tub, sink, handles, faucets
Plastic light switches & covers
Diaper changing pads
Silicone parts of my breast pump
My plastic nasal irrigator
Nylon camping tents
Beach balls, rafts & pool toys
Fruits & veggies
Trumpets, saxophones & trombones
All this to say, I use Sal Suds A LOT! In fact, it might be more efficient to list what I don’t wash with it. The long and short of it is, if it’s not on this list, then I probably didn’t think of it. Sal Suds is safe for any surface or material that can get wet (but it’s not meant for people or animals—it can be drying). However, if you have something that’s iffy, do a spot test.
Dishes (Handwashing): 1/2 – 1 1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) Sal Suds in a large sink of water. Or 1 drop Sal Suds for one pot, more if needed.
- So I don’t use too much, I keep a bottle of diluted Sal Suds by my sink: 1/2 c. (120 mL) of Sal Suds in a quart (1 L) of water. A small squirt in a pot or a larger squirt for a sink.
- With All-Purpose Spray: Using a Sal Suds Spray to Clean Dishes
Laundry: 2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 mL) for a large load in a top loading washer. Optional: For extra whitening/brightening, add ½ c. (120 mL) baking soda to wash cycle and/or 1 c. (240 mL) vinegar to rinse cycle. Halve these amounts for HE washers.
Pretreating Laundry Stains: Pre-measure Sal Suds for load. Apply some or all directly to stain(s). Let sit 30 minutes or more. Add remaining Sal Suds to washer. For broad stain, spray with a solution of half Sal Suds/half water.
Handwashing Delicates: 1/2 capful (1/2 Tbsp. or 7.5 mL) Sal Suds in about 1 gallon (4 L) of water. Swish gently. Let soak 10 minutes. Swish again. Rinse with clean water. Gently press out excess water with a towel. Hang clothing or lay flat to dry.
Mopping (Wood, Laminate, Vinyl, Stone & Tile): ½ Tbsp. (7.5 mL) Sal Suds in approximately 3 gallons (12 L) of hot water. 20 drops tea tree oil (optional). Dunk mop (microfiber, preferably) and wring thoroughly. On wood and laminate, avoid excess water and mop up wet areas.
- For smaller areas, add 1/8 tsp. (.6 mL) Sal Suds to a quart (1 L) of water in a squirt bottle.
- Mopping Floors with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap and Sal Suds
All-Purpose Cleaning Spray: 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) Sal Suds in a quart (1 L) of water. Hint: Put water in the bottle first. Spray and wipe with a damp cloth. Optional: Add 1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) tea tree essential oil. Use on any surface that is safe in contact with water.
- Tips to make & use: GIY (Green It Yourself) All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
- Countertops & Tile: Spray and wipe with a damp cloth.
Cleaning Stone with Castile Soap and Sal Suds
- Microsuede: Spray and scrub with a gentle circular motion.
- Wood: Painted or Sealed (not waxed)—Spray and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
Wood: Making It Shine
Window Wash: (aka Sal Suds Lite) ½ tsp. (2.5 mL) in a quart (1 L) of water. Spray and squeegee. Follow with a spray of pure club soda, or half vinegar/half water, and squeegee.
Stainless Steel Appliances & Sink: Spray appliance with All-Purpose Spray. Wipe with a soft damp cloth in the direction of the grain. Spray sink and sprinkle with baking soda from a shaker. Scrub then rinse.
- Appliances: Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances with Dr. Bronner’s
- Sink: Cleaning A Stainless Steel Sink
Toilets: For best results, empty toilet. Spray bowl thoroughly with All-Purpose Spray, or sprinkle 2-3 drops of Sal Suds directly on toilet brush. Sprinkle baking soda on a brush, scrub bowl. Let sit 10 minutes. Turn water on. Flush.
Fruit & Veggie Wash: 1 drop of Sal Suds in a bowl of water. Dunk and swish the produce. Rinse in clear water.
Oral Appliances & CPAPs: Removable retainers, nightguards, etc. & dentures: Wet device. Add 1-2 drops of soap to a soft toothbrush. Brush gently, then rinse. CPAP mask, tubing, and headgear: Submerge in a warm water with a small squirt. Allow to sit 30 minutes, then wash, rinse, and towel dry. Allow to air dry thoroughly before reassembling.
Pressure Washer/Carpet Cleaner: In cleaning solution chamber, fill with water and add 1 drop of Sal Suds. Add 1 c. (240 mL) vinegar to rinse water (optional). Use All-Purpose Spray on carpet spots (use sparingly).
Cars: ½ Tbsp. (7.g mL) Sal Suds in 3 gallons (12 L) of water for exterior. Use All-Purpose Spray on interior surfaces and leather seats. Wipe with damp cloth.
- Exterior: Car Washing with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
- Interior: Green Cleaning Car Interiors with Dr. Bronner’s
Patio Furniture: 1/2 Tbsp. (7.5 mL) Sal Suds in a bucket of warm water. Wash with sponge, microfiber cloth or stiff brush. Wipe with damp cloth.
Not sure when to use Sal Suds or when to use Castile Soap? Head over to my blog post, Sal Suds or Castile Soap—Which to Use?
If you have SLS concerns, check out this blog post: There is no Cancer Risk from SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
Please clarify, if I have a front load washer, how much Sals Suds do I use?
*Please tell me the quantity for suds diluted with water as well as if you are using it straight from the bottle.
*Lastly, because I have a front load washer, do i put the suds in the top dispenser or do I open the front door and disburse directly into the drum?
Hi Camille- In an HE machine, use 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds straight from the bottle in the soap dispenser just as you would conventional laundry detergent. The water running through the soap dispenser dilutes the Sal Suds for you. For extra grubby loads – like towels or rags – I like to add baking soda for an extra boost. In an HE machine, sprinkle 1/4 cup directly on fabrics before starting the cycle.
Can you use sal suds for a houseplant leaf shine?
Hi Jeanelle – You can definitely wipe your houseplant leaves with a dilution of Sal Suds to remove any dust. Use 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a quart of water. Spray the leaves and then wipe off with a damp cloth. It would not be best to leave more Sal Suds than this on plants, though. It would end up attracting dirt.
Can you use it in a dishwasher and how much per load . And will
I also have to add vinegar for the spots ?
HI Susan- Unfortunately, no. Sal Suds is not recommended for the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergents are designed to be no-suds, and as the name implies Sal Suds is too sudsy. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) ranks products by ingredients, environmental impact and such. It’s a very helpful resource for finding products.
We had new vinyl “linoleum” flooring installed in our kitchen. The installer said to use a “PH neutral” cleaner. Is Sal Suds PH neutral?
Hi Lois – At the recommended dilution for floors of 1 tsp. Sal Suds to 1 gallon water, the solution is pH neutral.
Can you mix citric acid with Sal suds?
Hi ShirlAnn – No, this isn’t recommended. While there is no reaction between citric acid and Sal Suds, as there would be with the Castile soap, the acidity still interferes with Sal Suds effectiveness. What are you wanting to do?
Does Sal Suds kill mold and mildew?
Hi Joy – I have used Sal Suds to get rid of mold and mildew. A couple different occasions that have come to mind: wet laundry that was left in the washer over the weekend (ahem); the corners of my shower, the canvas awning of a camper. Generally a combination of Sal Suds, some scrubbing with baking soda for laundry or a stiff brush, and hot water if possible. Sometimes mold causes stains in grout, which can be bleached by spraying with hydrogen peroxide and letting it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. Spot test this in an inconspicuous spot first, though, to be sure it does not bleach your tile.
What’s the best cleaner solution and method for a shower surround and hard water?
Hi Jamie – There are a couple options, so choose the one you like best:
1. Simplest (and what I mostly use): All Purpose Spray with either the Sal Suds or Castile. Spray surfaces and scrub with a stiff brush. Add a sprinkle of baking soda if you need more scrubbing action. Rinse with water.
2. Step it up: GIY Soft Scrub which does a great job of clinging to vertical surfaces and already contains baking soda. Squirt it on, scrub, and rinse.
3. Hard water build up: If you have a lot of residue from very hard water or irregular cleaning, and if your shower is not a soft stone like marble or travertine, you can use a spray of vinegar to help cut through the residue. Spray the surface with a 50/50 vinegar and water spray and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub it and rinse away.
You can ready more about these strategies in my article Scum, Scum, Go Away.
Does the Sal Suds product need to be rinsed if used for mopping in tile floors?
Hi Cyndi- No, at this dilution there’s no need to rinse.
Are we able to mix Peroxide with Sal Suds in a spray bottle?
Want to make a diy daily shower cleaner for glass shower & tiled walls & floor and have seen Peroxide helps fight mold. We live in FL and it can be an issue even with bath exhasut fan
Hi Denise – Mixing hydrogen peroxide and Sal Suds is not a good idea. Hydrogen Peroxide, which works by releasing its extra oxygen atom, kicks off that oxygen really quickly when mixed with Sal Suds, or any soap or detergent. You would find that it would create an quickly expanding foam. You can see what I’m talking about at about th 20:50 mark of this video I did https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GJTT6WjHG0&t=341s. Instead, use the hydrogen peroxide separately from the Sal Suds. Clean the surface as best you can first to remove any debris. Then spray it with the hydrogen peroxide and let that sit for 10-20 minutes and then rinse it. Because hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent (a key component of oxygen bleach), be sure to test it on an inconspicuous spot of the surface before fully using it.
We love using Sals Suds for dishwashing. I’ve mixed up a container with your recommended amounts of 1/2c sals suds to 1 quart of water. It works well, but we find it too thin (watery). Can you recommend a way to thicken it?
Hi Martyn – I’m glad the Sal Suds are working well for dishwashing. While there is not a simple way to thicken the dilution in a squirt bottle, you could put it in a foaming pump dispenser to get a nice foamy texture.
In your Aug. 6, 2021 post, you mentioned using vinegar and Sal Suds together but on your February 12, 2022 post, you said there’s no benefit to combining the two. Can you clarify? Thanks. PS-Love your products!
Hi Ada- I’m glad to see you reading so closely! In the past have recommended a combo of Sal Suds and vinegar, but we recently did some formal testing and learned that vinegar in fact reduces the cleaning power of Sal Suds. They are both excellent cleaners, but best to keep separate.
Can one use in the dishwasher?
Hi Kathryn- Unfortunately we do not recommend our soaps in the dishwasher. They bubble up too much and can leak through the seams. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) ranks products by ingredients, environmental impact and such. It’s a very helpful resource for finding products.
This looks excellent! I feel confused, how can Sal Suds be used both for cleaning dishes, tubs, etc. and also for cleaning the exterior of a car? It is my understanding that dish soaps are abrasive and cannot be used on cars because they remove the wax coating over time. I’d really like some more clarity please. 🙂
Hi Jordan – I do apologize for not seeing your question earlier. There is a ton of marketing messaging out there to convince consumers that they need different products to clean every surface. That sells more product. HOwever, if you have a product that is an effective cleanser with nothing harsh or abrasive, and leaves no residues AND biodegrades, there is no reason you can’t use it everywhere. Standard dish detergent may be too harsh for cars – I’m not going to make a blanket statement about them, but I suspect that would be the case. However, Sal Suds does not have any abrasives or enzymes in it that might be found in dish detergents. It is just a simple cleanser. It will not eat your car wax. It will only take away the dirt and grime. It will also do everything I’ve listed here. The best advice is to give it a try and you’ll see what I mean. To get feedback from others who use it, check out the conversations on my Facebook page, if you use the site. Search for @GreenwithLisaBronner.
I am a huge fan of Dr. Bronners but recently noticed palm oil in the label. Shocked I didn’t pick up on this year’s ago. Will this change given the damage our use of palm oil has done to the wildlife who need these trees to survive?
Hi Elaine- Thanks for your question and for reading the labels so carefully. This is such an important issue and a concern that we share. The vast majority of palm oil used in food and body care products is sourced from southeast Asia with devastating results. I am happy to say that there are ways to produce palm oil that do not have this impact. In searching for options, our company partnered with small scale farmers in Ghana and founded Serendipalm, a sister company, that is producing palm oil in a way that promotes health not only to the environment and farmers, but also to the communities around it. Take a deeper look into how we source our palm oil: https://www.lisabronner.com/making-ethical-palm-oil-a-reality/
Would you recommend Sal Suds or Castile soap in an RV washer, 2-15 lb capacity, and how much? It is front load, washer/dryer combo, and I believe it is HE.
Hi Linda- An HE washing machine uses about 12 gallons per load, so I would start with the same amount of Sal Suds – that is, 1 Tbsp. – for a large load, and scale down for smaller loads. 1/2 Tbsp. for a 6-gallon load, and so on. If using Castile Soap, use 1/4 cup for a large load or 2 Tbsp. for a 6-gallon load. With Castile be sure to use 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle for a large load. Let me know how that goes.
Los Angeles Hillside. Lovely flowering vine and other plants attacked by tiny yellow aphids. Please tell me the best mixing ratio for this from your experience. Thank you.
Hi Anton- An insecticidal soap made of 1 Tbsp. Castile Soap (any scent) in a quart of water should do it. Spray plants twice daily in the cool of the day until infestation clears. It sounds like you’re covering a large area, in which case this can be used in a 1G multi-use sprayer with a hose attachment. Check out my blog post, https://www.lisabronner.com/castile-soap-spray-for-garden-pests/, for a deeper dive.
Just used Sal Suds for the first time. Read all the good reviews and product description on your site. Unfortunately I really get a “burnt”, rather chemical sensation on my skin after dealing with it (mixed as directed for dishwashing) as well as after hanging laundry washed with it. Seems like it irritates the skin. Anybody else experiencing this?
Hi Teresa- I am so sorry to hear of the sensation you have been feeling when using the Sal Suds. I assure you this is not common as Sal Suds is both mild and clean rinsing. It sounds like you might be sensitive to an ingredient, and should consider not using it, or using it with gloves to protect your hands. So that we can verify there is nothing amiss with this batch, would you look for the lot codes (2 sets of numbers etched into the plastic bottle, just below where the label ends), and confirm the size of the bottle and name of store of purchase, and email that to me at GoingGreen@drbronner.com or to the Dr. Bronner’s Customer Service Team at firstname.lastname@example.org? Our Unscented Castile Liquid Soap is an even milder alternative to Sal Suds, made with organic plant oils, and can be used for almost all the same uses as Sal Suds.
Can I dilute dr bronzers to use in my dish soap dispenser that is part of my kitchen sink?
Hi Joanne- Yes, a dilution of half Sal Suds, half water works well for this.
This is the BEST cleaner! I use it on windows and its totally streak-free. I use it to wipe down most surfaces in my home. It’s the only thing that doesn’t irritate my lungs. LOVE IT!!!
Hi Tracey- Excellent! I’m glad to hear it!
I’m looking for a disinfectant for my bathroom and around the house. Is there something that I can dilute and spray?
Hi Dorothy- There is distinction between cleaning and disinfecting. In general, all surfaces need cleaning, but not all need disinfecting. Soaps or detergents, including Sal Suds and Castile Soap, clean by removing. They remove germs, dirt, oils, and other debris from surfaces. Here’s my deep dive into how soap works https://www.lisabronner.com/how-soap-works/. Disinfectants clean by killing. They are biocides. Unless someone is sick, I do not regularly disinfect my surfaces. This is per the CDC’s recommendation (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html) as unnecessary disinfecting can reduce the efficacy of disinfectants and unnecessarily expose us to more intense chemicals. However, when disinfecting is called for, either alcohol between 60%-90% spray surface and let air dry – or Hydrogen Peroxide, if bought at the standard pharmacy concentration of 3%, diluted with water at a ratio of 1:5 – let sit for 1 minute. Alcohol smells worse but hydrogen peroxide can bleach some surfaces, so spot test before deciding which to use first.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and I am obsessed with the smell of fir trees and the forest. This smells like that. Can I use it as body soap in the shower, or will it slowly melt my skin off?
Hi Daniel- I hear you! I too enjoy the scent of Sal Suds. However, it is our all-purpose household cleaner and because it can be so drying to skin, we don’t recommend it for body care. What would be nice though is to create your own pine-scented Castile Soap by adding fir, pine, or spruce essential oils to the Unscented Castile. Start with about 1 tsp. for a quart of soap, and add more if you’d like a stronger scent. If you try it and find a combo you like, please let me know.
Hi there! I just used a 50/50 combo Dawn Dish Soap + Vinegar to successfully clean soap scum off my glass shower doors. It worked well, but the smell was awful (I’m used to a vinegar smell, so I think it was the Dawn). Would it make sense to try a 50/50 combo of Sal’s Suds and vinegar next time for similar results? Thanks so much!!
Hi Lisa- Vinegar does not react with Sal Suds in any way, however, we recently did effectiveness testing on this one because I get a lot of questions, and Sal Suds mixed with vinegar is less effective at cleaning than Sal Suds alone. Diluted vinegar alone cleans soap scum. Dilute one cup of vinegar in a quart of water and spray it on the scummy surfaces. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, but not long enough for it to dry, and then rinse it away with very hot water. A GIY (Green-It-Yourself) Soft Scrub with baking soda, vinegar, and either Sal Suds or Castile Soap scours soap scum away. Here’s the recipe: https://www.lisabronner.com/giy-soft-scrub-with-dr-bronners/
Can you use Sal Suds on Marble countertops?
Hi Dorothy- The concern with marble is acidic cleaners. Sal Suds is alkaline and completely safe on stone of all types. For a deeper dive, ready my blog post on cleaning stone, https://www.lisabronner.com/cleaning-stone-with-castile-soap-sal-suds/
Can you mix sal suds with vinegar in a bottle? I read that you can’t mix vinegar and Castille soap because the mix of acid and base will unsaponifies the castille soap (reverses the soap making process).
Hi Lena- While vinegar does not break down Sal Suds as it does the soap, it does decrease the cleaning power of Sal Suds. There is no benefit to combining them.
Wondering if Sal Suds is safe to use to wash down jackets or sleeping bags with verses a specific down wash detergent. Thanks!
Hi Ashley- If the care instructions of the items say to use a “mild detergent,” then yes, Sal Suds will get the job done. Check out my blog post on cleaning down and down alternatives, https://www.lisabronner.com/how-to-wash-down-down-alternatives/.
Hi Lisa. I am having trouble with my dilutions.
I am using sal suds for an all purpose spray and feel like my dilutions are off for this. I broke it down from your dilutions above for a 16oz bottle but I think I still have it wrong. Should I being using distilled water with this?
Also, I use castile soap for hand wash but there are always little films floating within. I always mix this with distilled water, as I know castile soap reacts with hard water. Am I adding too much castile soap? I am using a 16oz bottle for this as well.
What are your suggestions for dilutions for both of these in 16oz. bottles? What is the shelf life for both once mixed also?
Thanks for your time. Love your products 🙂
Hi Lisa- It’s great to hear our products work well for you! A 16oz bottle of Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray would use 1/2 Tbsp (or 1.5 tsp.) Sal Suds. Regular tap water is just fine with Sal Suds as it doesn’t react with the minerals present in hard water in the same way Castile Soap does. I’ve never had a bottle of this solution go bad, but generally use within two or three months.
The dilution for a foaming hand soap dispenser with Castile Soap is 1 part soap to 3 parts water – or roughly 5oz soap and 10oz water in a 16oz dispenser. If this seems too concentrated, dilute further to 4oz soap and 12oz water. Many customers prefer to use distilled water because it makes for a clearer solution with the Castile Soap. When using water with any hardness, you will see the cloudy, though harmless, precipitate in the solution. For shelf life, follow your nose – if it is smelling off, then dump and remake. If you find you don’t go through it fast enough, mix-up a smaller batch.
Can I use Sal Suds for dishwashers?
Hi Frances- The Sal Suds is not designed for automatic dishwashers, and I have not had success in my personal experiments with it as such. In general, it foams too much for the way the machines work. With my hard water, I also found a film on my glassware. However, I also know that many of my readers have used it successfully as such.
I love Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and sal suds! I have used castile soap for years and make our foaming hand soap with it. I discovered Sal Suds through Grove Collaborative and have decreased the amount of cleaning solutions I use around the house. I know that once diluted Sal Suds all-purpose spray is good for a couple of months. What is the shelf-life of the undiluted Sal Suds once I open the bottle?
Hi Tania- It’s great to hear our products are working so well for you! Sal Suds has a guaranteed shelf life of 24 months once opened. There’s actually a symbol on our labels, and others’ on the market, that looks like an open jar with a number in it. This indicates the product’s shelf life once the product is opened. (I have to admit, it wasn’t that long ago that I learned this little nugget!)
I have another question, since vinegar can be combined with sal suds is it possible to use citric acid instead?
Hi Yameirae– I haven’t tried doing this, but thinking theoretically, you should be able to swap citric acid for vinegar. I looked this up in the book Putting Food By. To get the 5% dilution common to most household vinegar, you would need to dissolve 2 Tbsp. fine citric acid in 2 cups of water. Then follow the dilutions for vinegar.