Homemade All-Purpose Scrub

Why use expensive chemicals to clean? 


We began replacing harsh chemical cleaners with natural ones a few years ago. I was always put off from the harsh burning smell of cleaning chemicals and cover perfumes, and I can remember trying to hold my breath as much as possible while cleaning even as a teenager.

Store-bought natural cleaners were an improvement but expensive, and something about using them still bothered me. Enter homemade recipes from the Internet.

This is what I was looking for! I’ve been hooked ever since. Here’s another part of the ‘wisdom of the grandmothers’ that I am sad to have missed out on.

What did my great-great grandmothers use to clean and care for their homes? Not Comet or Scrubbing Bubbles, that’s for sure. What tips and tricks did they use to make their clothes cleaner, hair softer, and keep their wood furniture shining?

This scrub is based on a great-looking recipe from Family Naturally.

Deciding to go my usual route, I modified the recipe. I seem to make adjustments to every recipe I come across to meet our needs…and because I can’t follow rules.

I’ll probably end up whipping up a batch of Family Naturally’s amazingly powerful cleaner to keep around for heavy-duty cleaning jobs (like the stubborn dingy spot on my white vinyl floor that drives me crazy).

All Purpose Scrub


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (I ground coarse Celtic sea salt in my mortar and pestle for a finer consistency)
  • 2-3 drops essential oil – rosemary, lavender, citrus, tea tree, etc. (where to buy)


Add all ingredients to a container with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Scoop, pour, or shake out as needed.

Tip —

I like to add a drop of liquid castile soap to the scrub. It’s great for cutting grease and getting rid of those pesky rings left by dishes on Formica counter tops. Those drive me batty.

Family Naturally’s author mentioned that a shaker-top Parmesan cheese container is perfect for shaking these cleaners out. I love that idea!

We don’t use products like that at my house, so I will probably use the next spice container that comes up empty. The little glass jars will be perfect for holding smaller amounts that I can tuck in cabinets around the house.

But does it work?

I cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom last weekend – including behind and under the stove and fridge – to test the scrub’s effectiveness, and it held up to every job I tackled.

Katie chose rosemary for our essential oil, and it was nicely reminiscent of Pine Sol. This surely is not the super miracle cleaner that will let you throw out all other cleaners, but it works pretty darn good.

The only thing that it wasn’t effective on is the ground in dirt on vinyl flooring I mentioned earlier. There is a heavy traffic spot that only scrubs clean with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. We no longer use them, so I live with a dingy spot that drives me crazy.

If you have a tip for that one, I’m all ears!

Here’s a couple of examples of the scrub’s muscle (shown by some poorly taken pictures):

long-standing reminder of a black streak after several attempts to scrub it off (yes it really was that orange after I scrubbed the black off)
one application of all-purpose scrub: GONE

paint splatters from painting the laundry room about a year ago

one application of all-purpose scrub: GONE (along with some other scuff marks that I didn’t realize were there until I was nose deep in the floor)

I hope this gives you confidence that natural cleaners are the way to go for a clean and safe home!

This post is part of Traditional Tuesdays, Fresh Bites Fridays.

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