Cleaning is, unfortunately, one of those tasks you can’t escape in life, unless you are well-off and can pay someone to do it for you all the time.  Since most of us don’t have that option, we are stuck doing the dirty work (quite literally). I don’t know about you, but the price and fumes from the store bought cleaners really bothers me.  When I would use store bought cleaners, I often felt like my nose and throat were on fire after cleaning. Plus, my hands would be raw and red. Then, there was the price (unless you are a mad couponer). 


A lot of times the ‘natural’ and ‘green’ cleaners weren’t much better, and of course they cost significantly more than the regular cleaners. I had read that you can make your own cleaners for pennies versus spending dollars at the store. However, finding a DIY natural soft scrub cleaner was a struggle. I tried several different concoctions, until I was able to come up with my own. To spare you the pain of trial and error, check out what I tried. If you want to skip right to my recipe, it’s towards the end of this post.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Everyone swears by this.  Okay, not everyone, but so many green cleaning enthusiast’s insist you can clean ANYTHING effortlessly with just baking soda and vinegar.  Spoiler alert: THAT IS A LIE!  For starters, the combination of baking and vinegar is really rough on your skin, as you scrub and scrub, due to the chemical interaction of the two elements. What’s the point of a green cleaner if you have to don elbow high gloves to survive the cleaning process? I hate wearing gloves, so this is a no-go for me. In addition, it’s really hard to get the baking soda residue cleaned away, which caused extreme frustration for me due to the longer time spent cleaning.  At least that was my experience. It also seemed like I had to scrub more than usual to get dirt and grime off. It does earn some brownie points in that it is the cheapest cleaning option for sure. But, unless you’re dirt poor and that’s all you can afford, I would suggest trying something else.

Baking Soda and Castile soap

This definitely worked a lot better than the baking soda and vinegar mess.  Just like the baking soda and vinegar, it was another highly recommended green cleaning solution by many sources I came across on the World Wide Web.  I don’t remember what exact amounts of each I used, but I tried a lot of different combinations of varying amounts of castile soap and baking soda.  It always ended up too thick so I had to add water to it to water it down.  Yes, it’s a little bit more pricey than straight up baking soda and vinegar BUT if you buy the castile soap in bulk gallon containers it’s quite reasonable price-wise. Thankfully, it didn’t bother my skin and required less elbow grease to scrub away.  Sometimes there was a little residue, but it was WAY better than baking soda and vinegar. I still wasn’t that impressed so I began experimenting to make my own soft scrub cleaning recipe.


1/2 cup Castile soap

1/2 cup baking soda

2 TB Hydrogen Peroxide

10 drops OnGuard essential oil (check out MyDoterra)

Pour the above ingredients in the order listed into a squirt bottle or an old liquid dish soap container (that’s what I did).  Shake until well combined.  Before using you may need to shake a bit to recombine.  I have found this works great on light and dark surfaces alike.  I mainly just use this cleaner in the bathroom, but I’m sure it could be used for other surfaces too that are similar to the bathroom that are gunked and grimed up. 

Why did I choose the ingredients I did?  Castile soap and baking soda work great to scrub away dirt and grime, but are gentle on your skin and lungs.  Hydrogen peroxide is awesome at killing germs and also adds some extra fizz to the mixture which aids in cleaning power.  The OnGuard causes the mixture to have a pleasant aroma plus it boosts the germ killing potential of the DIY soft scrub as well.  Of course, if you really want you can make it without essential oils too, or use lemon essential oil or tea tree/melaleuca essential oil instead.  However, if you make it without essential oils, just know it won’t really smell like anything.   

Note: If you are a Young Living essential oil user, you can use Thieves instead of OnGuard. 

Amazon link:  This is the castile soap I use in my cleaning recipe: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap – Baby Unscented 32oz.

Want to know more about why making your own cleaners and using eco-friendly/green cleaners is not only great for your wallet, but great for your own health and the environment?  Check out these great posts on the subject:

Any questions I didn’t address?  Have you tried making your own soft scrub before?  How did it turn out?  What did you use?  If you haven’t made your own soft scrub yet, are you going to give mine a try?  Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from my readers.

Written by Rebekah
I'm a vegan homeschooling mom of 4, DIY addict, & natural health advocate.