DIY Herbal Scouring Powder for a Naturally Clean Home

bowls of ground herbs and flowers mixed with baking soda

I’ve decided that I’ve reached my tolerance level for the winter grunge that has accumulated in my house and hereby designate this coming week as Spring Cleaning Time! I plan to declutter and/or scrub everything in my path with a vengeance.

Of course, shortly after I made that plan, I heard that we’re possibly going to get a snow storm in the middle of the week, so in all actuality, I might end up sitting by the fire and reading a book while munching on cookies instead. My intentions are good though!

Anyway, with spring cleaning on the mind, I thought I’d share this easy alternative to the traditional chemical-laden scrubbing powders you buy in the store.

For a long time, I just used baking soda and a scrubby sponge to clean my sinks, showers and bathtubs. Then, a few years ago, I bought a fabulous book called: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier, which introduced me to the idea of jazzing up that plain baking soda with herbs and essential oils.

glass bowls of ground herbs and flowers

To make this, you will only need baking soda, dried herbs & flowers and/or pure essential oil. (I buy many dried herbs, flowers and essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.)

Be sure to pulverize your herbs very finely; you want to avoid any big chunks that could clog your drains. I have a coffee grinder that I use for herbs, flowers and seeds. It’s a little Black & Decker that I bought at Walmart at least ten years ago and it’s still going strong!

Finely ground, the herbs lend a bit of scouring action plus they look so pretty!

If you have a tough area that needs whitening, try adding a tablespoon or two of borax to the mix.

The master recipe is as follows, then I put a few of my favorite variations underneath it, to help you see the almost infinite number of possible combinations.

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dried rosemary in coffee grinder

Homemade Herbal Scouring Powder

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground herbs (see suggestions below)
  • 3 to 8 drops essential oil (adjust to your smell preference)

Mix all ingredients well and store in a covered jar or recycled shaker container.

To use: Sprinkle a small bit in your sink or tub and scrub with a sponge or old rag. Rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue. Remember, if you need a tougher version, you can always add a tablespoon or two of borax to the mix. If you’ve never used a scrubbing product on your sink/tub before, be sure to do a tiny test patch first!

Lemon Scouring Powder

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon ground calendula petals (optional, for color)
  • few drops of lemon essential oil (for added scent)

Lavender Scouring Powder

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground lavender flowers
  • few drops of lavender essential oil (optional, for added scent)

Rose Scouring Powder

Rosemary Scouring Powder

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground rosemary
  • few drops rosemary essential oil (optional, you can also use different scents such as orange or pine)

Some suggested herbs: Basil, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Mint, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, Roses, Calendula Petals. You can even use bits of dried flowers like Bachelor Buttons to add beautiful flecks of blue. Any type of citrus zest can be used: Lemon, Orange, Lime & Grapefruit.

Some suggested essential oils: Tea Tree, Rosemary & Eucalyptus are great for killing germs; Peppermint & Spearmint invigorates the senses; citrus scents like Lemon, Orange & Lime smell great, as do floral scents like Rose, Lavender, Jasmine, Geranium (Rose), etc.

Truthfully, using pretty and nice smelling homemade scouring powders won’t make bathroom cleaning much more fun than it already isn’t; however, it’s a really great feeling knowing that I can effectively clean without exposing my family to icky chemicals.

DIY Herbal Scouring Powder for a Naturally Clean Home - How to make herbal scouring powder from simple and all natural ingredients.
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  1. I love this! I think I’m going to try the lemon one! And maybe adapt it to orange as well, I love lemon and orange! Thanks for adding the printable PDFs, so helpful.

    1. The lemon is probably my all-time favorite (though maybe tied with peppermint) – Orange will work great as well. So glad you found the PDF helpful! :)

  2. These recipes come perfectly timed to my urge to scrub things this morning…bright blue sky morning with snow still on the ground from an overnight moisture blessing. I love those one to two inch late night snowfalls that melt in the warming sun, watering the gardens by mid day. The black-capped chickadees are happily flitting around in this morning’s landscape…lovely. Now to head to the herb store for some supplies…and to continue with the scrubbing tasks to get spring cleaning accomplished.
    I love reading your blog!

    1. Now that sounds like a lovely morning you have going on there! We have beautiful sunshine here as well, so are enjoying it before the rain/snow settles in for a few days! Thanks for the kind words! :)

  3. Yet another winner, Jan! We’ve been using baking soda mixed with vinegar for quite awhile…but have recently discovered the cleaning powers of Hydrogen Peroxide (excellent for cleaning toothbrushes and retainers, in particular). Your concoctions look to be a lot more fun to use, however. Thanks so much…FD.

    1. Thanks Farmer Doug! I was recently reading about using a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide on a (presumably old) toothbrush for scrubbing the hard to get areas around sink faucets & thought I’d have to try that out soon. Good to know someone who can vouch for its effectiveness! :)

      1. Well, I can say with certainty that it’s effective on toothbrushes, Jan…but the jury is still out on the use of this newly cleaned toothbrush to make the wash basins sparkle! Best of luck…FD. :)

  4. What a wonderful idea!! I just happened to buy this huge, and I do mean huge bag of baking soda. I was not sure if I was going to find enough ways to use it. This is perfect for that very thing.

  5. Great post – amazing how timely things can be. Will be trying these soon!
    Or maybe eating a cookie by the fire with a book if the storm comes midweek here.
    Both are good options! :)

    1. I hope you weather the storm safely (and warmly!) I’ve got cookies in the freezer, a nice pile of firewood and a stack of good books – we’re ready for that snow! :) (Though I won’t be sad if it misses us – I’m trying to avoid looking at my dusty baseboards right now… this house NEEDS spring cleaning!!)

  6. Would love to have you share this and/or any other healthy posts at my Healthy Tuesday hop. :)

  7. Okay— Now I have yet another task to do. I started using vinegar and baking soda several years ago and make lavender vinegar (you can see my post on natural cleaning products linked up to A Humble Bumble Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop this week!). This sounds amazing as I love things that smell good! Thank you so much for the idea.
    Thanks for linking up to our blog hop too- hope to see you again soon!

  8. Pingback: Do It Yourself: Homemade Herbal Scouring Powder | Money Saving Mom®
  9. These are great – thanks for sharing. I’m going to try some with my Citrus Fresh oil – I’m sure it will smell WONDERFUL!

  10. I must admit something odd is going on with my PDF Reader, once I click it one time it continues to put it on my computer over and over again. The only way to stop it is to turn off the computer, so for that reason I did not use your PDF I went to the File button and down to Print Preview and printed just the recipes you posted. Thanks! I have been collecting and printing all of the recipes from the mentioned book that I can, and there are a lot of good and useful ones!

    1. I’m glad to hear it printed well in spite of the software acting up on your computer! It’s definitely a great book that I’ve gotten a lot of use from! :)

  11. I came across a similar recipe for cleaning and refreshing your mattress. Just sprinkle, let sit and vacuum with the small brush attachment and voila! I like the idea of adding herbs.

    1. I bet that would be a great mattress freshener! I am definitely going to try that out. Thanks for sharing that idea with us! :)

  12. This is an awesome idea I am going to try. I usually clean with Vineager and plain Baking soda. and my house smells like a pickle jar as my kids say. so thanks for these great smelling alteritives.

    1. I use a lot of vinegar at times too and always get those complaints! :) The lemon version of this scouring powder leaves an especially pleasant smell that I just love!

  13. Dear ones, I like this to and I will do it. Will only point out that essential oils from citrusfruits and also lemongrass etc contains limonene, a substance that are very toxic for water organisms, so please us essential oils that are not :-)

  14. Great post Jan. I love this idea for cleaning my kitchen sink and for gift giving! It would make a great housewarming gift. I use one that has some cinnamon in it during the holidays and it really cleans well and smells great! Oh yeah, another great way to clean the shower and bathtub is to use a vinegar/soap mix in a cleaning wand. I did a video of it on my site… you should check it out.

    1. Oh yes, I love cleaning with cinnamon around the holidays too! :) I’ll have to check your video out. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Dawn! That’s something I have on my list of things I’d like to experiment with. I was recently at a makeup party and tried a scrub that I loved! I just didn’t love all of the chemicals in it. So, I’d like to try to make one – I just haven’t gotten to that part of my list yet. If you find a recipe you like, you could try adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to help make it cooling.

  15. Wow! How easily this was to share on my kindle. Love the recipes and thank you for sharing them!
    I especially enjoyed the dandelion recipes! My aunt and uncle used to make dandelion wine. Remember that from my youth!

  16. I think I’ll give this a go. Mostly because I think it will make me more likely to do the work more often if it smells good. I’m thinking lemon balm with bergamot/mint and frankincense. I know that seems an odd combo. But frankincense is good for your lungs and it mellows you out and I’m thinking that getting down and dirty near the cleaning could potentially help me in the process by inhaling the oils and the bergamot is citrus so it should have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal properties and I know bugs don’t like mint. The lemon balm cuz it’s citrusy too and calming too (and because I have some lol). Before I try it though I would be interested in your thoughts on it. I do have other oils and herbs to work with if you have a better suggestion for one of the above ingredients. Question? Have you noticed at all that when mixing with baking soda that the oils rapidly lose their smell? It does seem to make sense since baking soda is a deoderizer. See I made some carpet freshener to sprinkle about and when I opened it later it’s smell seemed to have gone down quite a bit – but maybe I just got slightly sensitized – it was afterall all over the house.

    1. I think that sounds like a wonderful and well thought out combination! Some of the scents will fade faster than the others, but the ground herbs themselves seem to hold their smell a lot better than if you use just essential oils mixed with baking soda. Happy cleaning! (Well, as much as cleaning can be happy!) :)

  17. LOVE this idea. The other day I made homemade baking soda “arm and hammer fresh air filters” (just scooped baking soda into a large paper fresh tea bag, stapled shut, stands up on its own) to put near my cat’s litter box. It would be even better if I added the herbs and essential oil to it like you did with the scouring powder. I’m probably going to make both!

  18. I had a thought and was wondering what you thought about it? What if instead of using lemon zest you dehydrated the lemon, orange, or grapefruit peel and made a powder of it to add to the recipe? Wouldn’t the powder be a good disinfectant and have a good scent.

  19. Pingback: 10 Ways to Use Oregano | Homespun Seasonal Living

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