From time to time, I hear from readers who have sensitivities or allergies to our beloved Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid: "Is there something else we can use that will not trigger these reactions but still work well?" There is, and it is Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap.
While olive oil-based castile soap has been around for centuries, Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, dating back to 1858, is making a big, glorious, all-natural comeback.
Available in several versions including one that is unscented, this organic castile soap is available online as well as in grocery stores, health food stores and discount department stores.
ALL-PURPOSE CLEANING SPRAY. Add 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap to 1 quart warm water and mix gently. Pour into a 32-ounce spray bottle, and use as you would any spray cleaner around the house. It's safe on granite and quartz counters, and laminate surfaces. Optional: A few drops of lemon or orange essential oil will give this cleaner a fresh, pleasant fragrance.
DEGREASER CLEANING SPRAY. Add 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap to a 32-ounce spray bottle, and then fill it with warm water. Fill a second 32-ounce spray bottle with 1 cup white vinegar and warm water to fill. Spray greasy kitchen surfaces with the soap-water solution, and clean them well with a soft cloth. Then spray the same surfaces with the vinegar-water solution to rinse, followed by another round with the soft cloth. Caution: Rinse granite or other natural stone surfaces with clear water, as vinegar may dull and damage the stone sealant over time.
ALL-NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENT. Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is especially useful in the laundry for those who are sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. Pour 1 cup into a 1-gallon container. Add 3/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup sea salt. Fill the container to the top with warm water. Mix well. To use: Add 1/4 cup to a typical-sized load of laundry.
TUB AND SHOWER SOAP SCUM REMOVER. To make a stronger cleaner that will melt soap scum off the walls, doors and floor of tubs and showers, fill a 32-ounce spray bottle 1/3 of the way with Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, and then fill it with warm water. Spray down the areas, and allow it to sit for a few hours. Rinse well with water. For really tough spots with signs of mold and mildew, sprinkle with baking soda and then spray with white vinegar to activate the baking soda.
You may need to scrub some areas a bit before rinsing them thoroughly. You'll be amazed to see all the gunk and scum flow down the drain and leave beautifully clean, sparkling surfaces.
AUTOMATIC DISHWASHER DETERGENT. Combine 1 cup Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. This recipe multiplies well. To use: Add 1 tablespoon detergent to your dishwasher-detergent dispenser and 1 cup white vinegar to the rinse-aid dispenser. If you have especially hard water or notice watermarks remaining on glass items, you may need to increase the amount of white vinegar.
CARPET SPOT CLEANER. Create a 50-50 mix of Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap and hydrogen peroxide, and pour it into a spray bottle. Treat carpet spots as soon as possible after they happen. You may need to scrub with a clean white cloth or brush before blotting up the stain, and use as much moisture as possible. Because hydrogen peroxide degrades quickly once exposed to air and light, make up this spot cleaner as needed.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.