Dr. Bronner's Products

Sal Suds on My Carpet Has Left Me Speechless

Normally my speechlessness stems from the underlying thought, “What in the name of all that is pure and spotless is that?” In fact, that is exactly how this situation started.

It had been a while since my sons’ floor had seen the light of day. There are times where days pass and as long as the mess is confined to their room, I let it pass. But then a wave of awareness passes over me and I realize that such chaos is bound to sink into their very souls. And so the tragic-for-them day came when I required them to “clean up their room,” which somehow gets translated into “clean up their floor.” Not quite the same thing.

Nonetheless, here’s what emerged underneath:

Cleaning Carpet Stains

Now read the words from the first line. Add in a few “How did that happen?!” “Who did that?!” and, “What IS that?!” To all of which, my children pointed the finger at the usual culprit who lives deep in the recesses of my house and emerges when my back is turned: “I Dunno.”  Someday I’d like to meet him. He’s very busy.

I ruled out the horribly obvious first possibility because firstly, my sons are very well potty-trained. (I just felt my 11 year old cringe that I even said that. And he’s at school.) Secondly, I think the dog would have found it much more interesting if it were THAT. And thirdly, I would probably have started to smell it, too.

My second thought was chocolate, and while I’m not entirely certain that it wasn’t, I still think the dog would have been interested in it. Which he wasn’t.

My last two thoughts were rust or dye. Both involve something wet – Swimsuit? Bath towel? Afternoon snack? Makeshift pool for LEGO boats? – being dropped on something metal or dyed and then left there for hours. Or days. Maybe weeks.

Out came my carpet cleaner and my Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray. I’ve waxed poetical before on how well this works, but not knowing how long these stains had been there, much less what they were, I was in serious doubt that it would work this time. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

carpet cleaning boys room

I promise it’s the same room. And I promise I have no idea how to edit photos to this extent.

I hadn’t realized the depths to which I had despaired, and how new carpet had already made its way on to my subconscious and ever-growing home improvement list. But then the hope was reborn within me and soared free over this beautifully unsullied carpet.

What I did:

  1. Sprayed each spot with the Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray (1 Tbsp Sal Suds in a quart of water, or 15 mL and 1 liter in metric) and worked the solution into the stain with my fingers.
  2. Filled the carpet cleaner’s cleaning solution tank with hot water and ONE DROP of Sal Suds. Filled the carpet cleaner’s rinse tank with hot water.*
  3. Ran it over the stains, first using the solution, and then just the rinse water, and then just the dryer mode.

And right before my unbelieving eyes, the stains lifted.

Sal Suds. Get some.

*Keep in mind keep in mind that by not using the carpet cleaner’s brand of cleaner, you might void the warranty. I’m okay with that, though. And, because carpet materials and dyes vary so widely, spot test this on an inconspicuous area first.

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Julie says:

Thanks so much for this information. We rented a carpet cleaner to clean a large area rug and used the Sal Suds. It worked great and I feel so much better using Sal Suds than the cleaner they try to strong arm you into buying. I’ve gotten to the place where I cannot stand the fragrance that is put in cleaning products these days. I use Sal Suds for almost all my cleaning.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Julie- It’s great to hear Sal Suds worked so well for you! Thanks for sharing!

Melissa says:

I was thinking about using Sal suds on my socks to get them white again can I use Sal suds by itself or do I need baking soda or vinegar included? Plus did I hear right you said Sal suds is slightly disinfecting?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Melissa- I just as often use Sal Suds alone for laundry as I do with vinegar and baking soda. However, both of those laundry boosters do bring extra whitening and brightening power into the mix. Soaps or detergents, including Sal Suds and Castile Soap, clean by removing. They latch on to germs, dirt, oils, and other debris and remove them from all manner of surfaces. Disinfectants work by killing germs. They are biocides. Disinfecting should be reserved for times when there is sickness present, or of course in medical facilities. For my deep dive into how soap works and why it’s all you need, read my blog post,

Carmen says:

Hi Lisa,
I’d like to try the sal sud for cleaning my carpet. Is SS safe for pet? My puppy loves putting foods on carpet.
Can I use SS with my steam vacuum machine?

Thank you

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Carmen- Sal Suds is exceedingly is gentle and exceedingly clean-rinsing when it comes to cleaning around pets. My carpet cleaner has three compartments: one for the solution, one for the clean water, one for the dirty water that comes out of the carpet. The solution and the clean water are mixed as they are applied to the carpet. For this model, fill the solution chamber with hot water and add 1 drop of Sal Suds. If yours only has one compartment into which you put both the solution and the water, then use the 1 drop there.

Carmen says:

Thanks Lisa for your prompt reply. My steam vacuum machine has only one compartment which recommended to use distilled water. Can I just fill up the tank with one drop of Sal Suds?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Carmen- If the manufacturer recommends adding a cleaning solution to the distilled water, then yes. Add one drop the water – and not the other way around, unless you want a bubble party! You wouldn’t want to use Sal Suds undiluted.

Carmen says:

Thank you! Can’t wait to use the sal suds for cleaning my carpet and hardwood floors (^_^)

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Patti- To clean up spots and spills, wet the area with a wet cloth (if dry), then spray with the Sal Suds All-Purpose spray of 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a quart of water – enough to get it wet, but don’t saturate the spot. Scrub the carpet with the wet cloth. Use a second wet cloth and scrub the carpet some more to remove all the Sal Suds. Sal Suds works great in the carpet cleaner as well. My carpet cleaner has three compartments: one for the solution, one for the clean water, one for the dirty water that comes out of the carpet. The solution and the clean water are mixed as they are applied to the carpet. My dilution is based on this model. If yours only has one compartment into which you put both the solution and the water, then use the 1 drop there.

Sal Suds Dilution Cheat Sheet | Going Green with a Bronner Mom says:

[…] Sal Suds on my Carpet Has Left Me Speechless […]

Homemade Carpet Cleaner Solution and Spray for Tough Stains says:

[…] even simpler homemade carpet cleaner to try in your machine is this one from which uses just 2 ingredients:  water and Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds! I haven’t had a […]

Pri says:

Hi Lisa, how can I use Sal suds to clean entire hard carpet without carpet cleaner. I do not own one and not in a position to rent one. My child has dust allergies. Despite vacuuming, I still feel carpet is unclean. Pls help.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there – I am very sorry for my delay in responding. I have been stumped on a solution for you to clean a whole carpet without a carpet cleaner. Your vacuum is definitely your next best bet, making sure that filters are clean and the collection bag/container is empty so that the vacuum has the maximum suction. Also make sure the rollers are free from hair and string so that they can spin freely. Another option that may freshen your carpet is to sprinkle baking soda over it. Use a broom to brush it in. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so and then vacuum it out thoroughly.

Otherwise, as far as cleaning the carpet, a spray bottle with 1/2 Tbsp. of Sal Suds in a quart of water will do a great job for spot cleaning.

Sam says:

HI Lisa – When washing carpets, with 1 drop of Sal Suds, how much water was diluted in the clean water tank? I have a rug doctor and I think it holds a gallon of clean water.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sam – My carpet cleaner has separate compartments for the cleaning solution and for the rinse water. The cleaning solution compartment holds about 2 cups. That’s where I add the 1 drop of Sal Suds and fill the rest with water. In the rinse water compartment, which holds about a gallon, I fill it with hot water and 1 cup of vinegar. Does the Rug Doctor have both compartments?

Sam says:

Hi Lisa – The Rug Doctor has 1 clean water/soap compartment. This compartment gets filled with hot water and in that compartment is a cup where soap is supposed to be poured in and that’s where I added the drop of Sal Sud’s – Measuring one drop of Sal Sud is not precise as I just squeezed the bottle to squirt it.

I also added between 5-10 drops of organic tea tree oil.

I believe it was about a gallon of hot water. I washed carpets a few rounds in many directions (horizontal/vertical) & then I rinsed any leftover soap using hot water to make sure no soap was leftover.

I wish I knew that I could have added vinegar. I thought you only used Sal Sud’s. I thought vinegar doesn’t react well with Sal Sud’s. What is/was the purpose of using the vinegar with the Sal Sud’s?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sam – It sounds like you did well. Vinegar does not have a bad reaction with Sal Suds. You might have read that vinegar reacts poorly with castile soap. With the Sal Suds, it helps with rinsing and softening the carpet. Not crucial, though.

M. says:

Wondering what brand carpet cleaner you have? I have considered purchasing one, but don’t
know anyone who owns one.
I only have a small house, and no pets.

Love the Bronner products 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there – It’s a Bissell. It’s still going strong after 8 years or so.

DIY Super Effective Green Cleaning Products - A Piece Of Rainbow says:

[…] at Going Green with a Bronner Mom was shocked to see the carpet in her son’s room. Here’s the […]

Kathryn says:

Hi! 3 questions re: carpet cleaning!

First–for those who use the castile soap, how much do you use? Still just a drop? I actually can’t use Sal because, believe it or not, my hubby is allergic to one of the ingredients (the glucoside–crazy I know! )

Second, it sounds from comments on other threads that I may need a vinegar rinse after doing the castile soap, but not to put that in my carpet cleaner. Would you just spray it with vinegar after doing the hot water rinse?

Third, if I were to just spot clean by hand, what is the actual process to rinse it? When I’ve tried this before I’ve ended up with too much water and a soaked carpet, but not sure how to do it “right”. Would you still use vinegar afterward?


Amy says:

My son came down with the stomach flu in the middle of the night. He was half asleep and didn’t manage (or even try) to get to the bathroom. He just hung his head over the side of the bed over the very light carpet.

Dinner that night was nomnompaleo’s Mexican braised beef – on a side note you MUST try this! – anyway, it left a huge chili-red stain.

I shampooed and rinsed and couldn’t get it out. Finally, I poured diluted Dr Bronners lavender castile soap over it and it came out! I was amazed – thought I’d have to recarpet the room!

Helen says:

I use sal suds to wash dishes, mop floors, clean surfaces and wash laundry. I love it.

Inge Scott says:

Do you think it will work with vinegar? I use vinegar to clean my carpets instead of carpet soap.

Lee says:

I have been using Branch Basics on my carpets. It works amazingly well but it’s SO expensive. I’ve been on a search for a green cleaner that can match Branch Basics. I was so excited to see your post about Sal’s Suds! Can’t wait for the next disaster to give this a try!

Mickie says:

I don’t have carpet but I love my Sal Suds and all the other Dr. Bronner soaps. It is all I use.


Lisa Bronner

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