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One of my favorite cleaners from my childhood is soft scrub. I always remember cleaning the kitchen for my mom and using it. It had the best scrubbing texture with a nice scent.
Today’s chemistry hacks post is a fun homemade soft scrub recipe you can make for just a few cents. I shared a sneak peek on instagram and snapchat (add with username alexisroch) last week, everyone was excited to see this!
It is really great for the kitchen! You can also use it for bathrooms and any other place that needs a good scrub.
As usual with a chemistry hacks post, I will share the chemistry behind why this cleaner works so well plus what chemicals you are avoiding by making your own 🙂
Pin This: Easy Homemade Soft Scrub Recipe
1 tablespoon lemon infused rubbing alcohol**
1 tablespoon blue Dawn dishwashing liquid
3 tablespoons baking soda
pinch of lemon powder (optional)
For more detailed information on infused alcohol, read our homemade bug spray post. Infusing rubbing alcohol with lemon makes a better cleaning agent. You not only get the acidity from the lemon peel, but also the oils from the lemon. You CAN use lemon oil with the alcohol, but I prefer to use lemon infused alcohol for the acidity.
**To make infused alcohol, just fill a jar with lemon peels, fill to top with rubbing alcohol. Allow to steep for 2 weeks or up to a few months.
Add the ingredients to a bowl and mix.
Texture will be thick, but will still pour (almost like a pancake batter) like in the picture below.
This is best to use within a few days. It works better when ingredients are fresh. If you have any leftover after making a batch, add to a jar with a lid. It will stay good for a few days until alcohol starts to evaporate. You can double the batch if you have a big surface to clean, but don’t make a big batch to store for a long period of time.
If solution gets dry, add a few drops of alcohol to get it back to original consistency.
I love this for almost anything.
For cleaning bathtubs or showers: add a teaspoon of this mixture to a wet sponge or scrub brush (I like it best with a scrub brush). Start working circularly around the area. By adding water to this mixture, you will get really good suds and foam. Continue to add additional teaspoons if needed and rub in circular motion. Rinse well.
For counter tops: use a soft sponge that is damp and rub in a circular motion. This will also foam using a damp sponge, so make sure to wipe off with a towel.
For glass surfaces or shiny surfaces, use the method below:
1. Add drops of soft scrub to the glass surface.
2. With a DRY towel, rub the scrub around in a circular motion. The scrub with stay intact, so just keep rubbing around to get all the grim up. Once you have everything removed, just discard the used scrub. It will be dirty, so I just wipe it off with the towel and throw away.
3. To get it shiny, wet a microfiber cloth and rub all over the surface.
4. Allow to dry, it will be shiny!
Chemist Tips for Homemade Soft Scrub
First, let’s check out the ingredients from store-bought all-purpose soft scrub:
- Calcium Carbonate – mineral with a chalky texture, also found in tums.
- Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate – surfactant for cleaning like in dish soap.
- Alcohol Ethoxylate – alcohol surfactant
- Sodium Chloride – table salt
- Sodium Hydroxide – also known as lye, very basic (pH wise) salt
- Sodium Bicarbonate – baking soda
- D-Limonene – found in cirtus oils
- Linalool – natural alcohol found in plants
As you can see, it is a long list of ingredients. Many of them are for texture and to preserve it while it is in the bottle.
I tested out DOZENS of combinations, and the one I am sharing today is the best combination that works good!
Chemistry Cachet’s Ingredients:
Just like the store-bought version, baking soda is the prime ingredient. It is the best household item for scrubbing power, disinfecting, and getting up all kinds of dirty textures.
I did a full post on why alcohol is such a great multi-purpose cleaner. I love rubbing alcohol because you can use it on anything. Vinegar is usually everyone’s go to, but it can be damaging to so many surfaces which doesn’t make a good multi-purpose cleaner. It is better for bathrooms, like our awesome bathroom cleaner from the book.
It also creates the perfect texture for this cleaner. Using lemon infused alcohol creates a little more acidity, but not too much. So, it is still safe for any surface.
In the store-bought, you can see they use a surfactant. The best home version is dish washing liquid. Blue Dawn works better than any other brand I’ve tested, and you will find it all through our book too.
This is the best way to remove textures from all types of surfaces (hence the name surfactant 🙂 )
This is a special addition for added scrubbing power, lemon oils, and scent. Since the solution works without lemon powder, this step is optional. I just prefer to add this for an even better cleaning solution.