The Non-Toxic Eco-Friendly Cleaner Everyone Needs: Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner is my favorite cleaning product – period. Not only is it eco-friendly and non-toxic, it is also extremely versatile, certified cruelty free and vegan. As I am striving to reduce clutter in my home, having fewer cleaning products is a dream come true. Sal Suds is safe to use on any surface that can get wet! Below are the ways I personally use Sal Suds.
Find where to buy it here
Dishwashing Liquid (handwashing): Sal Suds replaced Blue Dawn Dish Soap in our house. I spent months looking for a safer product that could compete to the wonderous Blue Dawn and finally found it. Sal Suds is also highly concentrated so a little goes a long way, even in hard water. Sal Suds was rated “A” and Blue Dawn was rated “D” on an A-F scale by the Environmental Working Group for ingredient toxicity (click on links to see their ratings). To use: add 1 to 2 tsp to a full sink of hot water, or 1-2 drops per pot if not filling sink (more add more as needed for greasy cookware)
Multi-Purpose & Glass Cleaner: 1 TBSP Sal Suds 2 TBSP 70% Rubbing Alcohol ~2 Cups Water (distilled or boiled water, cooled)
Most multi-purpose sprays are made up of water, a surfactant (like a detergent or soap) and then have scents and preservatives added. I make my own using Sal Suds and feel safe using this anywhere in the house, without concern about toxic chemicals on my kitchen counters or near my toddler. The rubbing alcohol increases the evaporation rate making it excellent on glass. To use: Spray and wipe surfaces down, then quickly follow with a clean DRY cloth for a streak free finish. Safe on all hard surfaces including natural stone and unsealed grout.
Daily Sink Scrub: Multi-Purpose Spray (recipe above) Generous Sprinkle of Baking Soda Combine to make a workable paste and scrub your sink with a cleaning brush or steel wool pad and rinse clean. Easy! You can do this daily if you wish!
½ TBSP Sal Suds 3 Gallons (12 L) of Hot Water
Why use harmful chemicals - especially if you have young children or pets near the floor?! There are no special instructions, use this recipe to mop your house as normal (safe on natural stone and unsealed grout). Sal Suds concentrate comes with a light pine smell (from pure essential oil), and this leaves a very subtle yet clean smell.
Tip: this solution can be used to wash your car’s exterior as well!
Laundry Detergent: Yes, Sal Suds does a great job as a laundry detergent when used along with natural laundry boosters. Sal Suds works well in hard water (many detergents do not as the minerals in hard water interfere with the detergents ability to clean). I have spent months reading up on laundry detergents and found that they repeat so many of the same ingredients, especially in “natural” detergents, and this has inspired my own formula (very similar to ones you will find available for purchase):
Laundry Detergent Recipe: 1 to 1.5 TBSP Sal Suds (2-3 TBSP for non-HE washers) ¼ Cup Washing Soda* 2 TBSP Sodium Percarbonate** (Oxygen Bleach or OxiClean***)
Add Sal Suds to your washer like you would a regular liquid laundry detergent. Sprinkle the powdered washing soda and sodium percarbonate into the drum before adding clothing. Note that sodium percarbonate (oxygen bleach / OxiClean powder needs hot water to dissolve, if you wash with cold water then either omit this or first dissolve it in a small container of hot water before adding to the drum). *Can sub for Baking Soda if you prefer. Washing Soda is more effective (it has a PH of 11) than Baking Soda (PH of 8), but baking soda is always on hand and is more gentle on clothing-- ideal for delicates. **Use ¼ or ½ cup of Sodium Percarbonate for very stained of soiled loads.
***Look for “Free & Clear” OxiClean if you can’t find affordable pure Sodium Percarbonate or natural oxygen bleach as this variety doesn’t come with unnecessary toxic dyes and perfumes.
-Two Step Bathroom Cleaner:
First Spray Bottle: ¼ Cup Sal Suds ~1 ¾ Cup Water (distilled or boiled water, cooled) Second Spray Bottle: Standard vinegar
I make an extra concentrated version of the multi-purpose spray to be used in the bathroom (the multi-purpose dilution also works!); spray down the sink/tub/surface and follow with a spray of straight vinegar, scrub and then rinse and wipe up with a DRY cloth. Vinegar is too acidic for natural stone and unsealed grout, for those surfaces just omit vinegar (or sprinkle on baking soda to make a paste to scrub in needed).
Why can’t I mix Sal Suds and Vinegar in the same bottle? Truth is you CAN, its safe to do so, but Sal Suds is a base (alkaline) and vinegar is acidic; if they are combined in the same bottle this will make them less effective. *If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, consider making a Citrus Infused Vinegar: Collect a large jar of citrus peels and soak them in vinegar for 2 weeks, then strain the peels and use the much better smelling vinegar solution!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Two Step Bathroom Cleaner Spray (recipe above) Sprinkle of Baking Soda (directly into the bowl) Spray and sprinkle the above ingredients, and then use like you would a regular toilet bowl cleaner, ensuring you scrub thoroughly with a brush. It is unnecessary to disinfect the inside of your toilet bowl (someone is going to poop in it asap!) and with adequate scrubbing, germs will become suspended in the soap water and then flushed down. I use straight 70% rubbing alcohol to disinfect the toilet handle, taps etc.
There you have it! These are all the ways I have personally used Sal Suds and you can check out Lisa Bronner’s website to see how the Bronner family uses Sal Suds!! Some of the recipes and photos above are directly from her site, or they guided me on dilution ratios.
Sal Suds is available in bulk as well making this the perfect solution to have on hand to minimize and simplify your cleaning products! As they say in sales, “Don’t trust me, test me”, put Sal Suds to the test and let me know your thoughts!
General Note: Any product containing water as an ingredient needs a broad spectrum preservative added in order to prevent bacteria mold and yeast from growing over time. For that reason I recommend you store the DIY water based solutions in a cool dark area and use them up within a few weeks to a month. Feel free to make a smaller batch as well.
Please do not confuse Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. Sal Suds contains ingredients that are not designed to be used in personal, cosmetic or body care.