Homemade Soft Scrub & Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaning Tips

This works so well! Homemade soft scrub recipe and non-toxic bathroom cleaning tips from LiveRenewed.com

Guest Post by Stacy from A Delightful Home:

Most of us know that the cleaners lining the grocery shelves are full of toxins, harmful to our health, and bad for the environment. Chemicals such as chlorine bleach and ammonia may clean well, but they can also damage the nervous and respiratory systems (as noted in Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs, page 46).

We do our best to stay away from these chemicals, but when it comes to killing germs or tough cleaning jobs, it can be tempting to give in and reach for the bleach (or other toxic cleaner). One place this often happens is the bathroom.

Let’s face it; the bathroom is one area that we want to keep as fresh as possible!

How can we clean the bathroom effectively without using chemicals?

Arm yourself with the right tools:

Ingredients such as vinegar, castile soap, baking soda, essential oils, and water will allow you to make all manner of non-toxic cleaners.

Tools such as a scrubby sponge, a decent toilet brush, and a microfiber cloth help get the jobs done when a little extra elbow grease is needed.

Cleaning the toilet

For daily cleaning/sanitizing, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add a few drops of essential oil. I like to use lemon or tea tree; both have anti-bacterial properties and smell great. Use approximately 5 drops of essential oil per cup of vinegar. Spray on toilet seats and wipe.

For an extra thorough toilet cleaning: pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Get the toilet brush ready and add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the bowl. As it fizzes, scrub the toilet.

Because of the reactive nature of this combination, it is not possible to make a big batch to save for future use. But you can pre-measure the baking soda into a container and add the essential oil (10 drops per 1/2 cup) and have that stored in the bathroom. Then you only need to add the vinegar each time.

Cleaning the bath and shower

Prevention is key to keeping the bath and shower clean.

Here are two things you can do a couple of times a week, right after taking a shower:

Spray the shower walls with vinegar to prevent mildew.
Keep a spray bottle filled with scented vinegar right in the shower stall to make this an easy job.

Use a squeegee to wipe down the walls.
You will be amazed at how much this cuts down on cleaning and scrubbing, especially if you have glass doors in the shower. We have a squeegee that suctions to the wall. That way it’s easy to reach (and right in front of my face to remind me!).

While prevention may be key to keeping the bathroom clean, it is still necessary to give the tub a thorough scrubbing once in a while. When that time comes, make your own Soft Scrub!

Photo by Stacy @ A Delightful Home

Homemade Soft Scrub for Bath and Tile

This recipe is adapted from the recipe for Earth Paste in Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan (page243). It is quick and easy to put together and effectively cleans the bath (hooray). Make this in small batches because it can dry out and harden when stored. This recipe makes enough for two to four uses. Keep any remaining mixture in an air tight container.


In a bowl, combine the baking soda and castile soap. Add the water and stir with a fork to make a nice soft, paste-like, consistency.

Scoop out the scrub with a sponge and start cleaning.

This scrub can also be used to clean the toilet.

This is great! Homemade soft scrub recipe and non-toxic bathroom cleaning tips from LiveRenewed.com

The recipes in this post will enable you to clean the bathroom from top to bottom without using chemicals. The vinegar spray will also clean the mirror and door handles. Add soap to the vinegar mix, and it will get the counter top, sink, and walls clean. If you own a microfiber cloth, use it to clean the mirrors with water.

Emily has a recipe for homemade clorox wipes which are nice to have on hand for extra messy moments. You might also enjoy my favorite floor cleaner.

What tips do you have for using non-toxic cleaners in the bathroom?

Stacy is wife to a preacher and mom to three busy children. She is passionate about healthy, natural living and loves to make anything and everything from scratch. Stacy writes about finding peace and joy at home, on her blog: A Delightful Home.

Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living by Emily McClements of LiveRenewed.comAre you tired of using toxic chemical cleaners around your home?  Do you wish you could replace your conventional cleaners with natural and effective cleaners that are truly safe to use around your family? 

My eBook, Green Your Life, will walk you step-by-step through replacing all of the conventional chemicals cleaners in your home with homemade, non-toxic cleaning solutions. You will save money by using inexpensive, natural ingredients to make multipurpose cleaning products that can replace the many different cleaning products you have in your cabinets right now. Begin your green cleaning journey today!

SPECIAL OFFER: Green Your Life is just $5.00! Click here to grab your copy on Kindle, or here to grab the PDF version

Are you wondering what castile soap is and how to use it? Be sure to read about how to use castile soap!
How to use castile soap at LiveRenewed.com

Would you like to learn more about making homemade, green and non-toxic cleaners? Be sure to check out my 31 Days to Green Clean series! 

31 Days to Green Clean


Top photo credit: agrelli at stock.echng

Linked to: WFMW at We Are That Family


  1. says

    I’ve been ‘green cleaning’ my bathroom for the last couple years (yay for baking soda and vinegar!). I especially love the soft scrub recipe in this post. My son’s bathtub needed cleaning badly, but as I’m nine months pregnant, I wasn’t feeling up to my usual scrubbing with baking soda and water. I mixed up this tub scrub and it worked so well — not only did it lift the bathtub ring (ewwwww) like a charm, but it smelled nice, too. Thanks for the tips!

  2. says

    I love to make my own as well. I’ve recently made bar soap and I switched to baking soda for washing my hair and ACV for the rinse.

  3. says

    We have been “green cleaning” for years – even before it was the thing to do. My mom just didn’t like using chemicals and when I started a home, I didn’t either. I have made all kinds of baking soda and vinegar cleaners but never a scrubing paste like this! I can’t wait to try

    • Emily says

      That’s great Marci! Now that I’ve been using green cleaners for several years, I can’t stand the smell of chemical cleaners anymore – they just smell so, well – chemically – you know! It seems like we should realize just from the smell that they are not good for us. I hope you enjoy these ideas for bathroom cleaning (as much as you can enjoy cleaning a bathroom!) :)

  4. shannon says

    I found this from keeperofthehome and tried it today and love it! It smells so much better than the plain vinegar I usually use.

  5. Tonya says

    Okay, I just finished cleaning and my house smells soooo fresh. OMG, I am so happy b/c this really works. Plus, no headache :-)


  6. Vickie says

    I use the baking soda, and vinegar for my toilet as well, but have never thought about making this! Something else of your’s I’m gonna have to add to my list of cleaners to make!…lol

  7. Tracy says

    I love this!!! I just read your site/recipe and went and whipped some up, and i have the cleanest bathroom ever, and no fumes that make me gag!! I’m quite new to making my own cleaners, and I so wish i had started doing it long ago!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  8. says

    I have used this recipe before, and it works wonders on showers, sinks, anywhere there is a build up of residue. Thanks for the article, well written!

  9. Courtney says

    I used the toilet bowl cleaner you mentioned. Ecstatic with it, it worked so well and smelled good even after I flushed it down. I was so excited to clean the toilet ( is that bad to say lol) I have a hard time doing and cleaning with chemical products because of being pregnant the smells immediately making me sick. I was so happy I found your blog and found alternatives.

  10. Akhira says

    Really? Are you guys so sure about this? I mean what about those stains on tiles and even on the toilet? And those stains that a soap and water leaves in the wall? I was just really curious for it’s not really easy to cast your time doing a not so effective remedy.

  11. Rainieha says

    That’s good to hear. Living life with no toxic is much better to really assure of the safety and health of the family.

  12. Dan says

    Excellent soft scrub recipe! We’ve been switching to natural, mostly castile soap-based cleaners, but my wife has been asking for a soft scrub option. She was extremely skeptical about the recipe, but I tested it out on our above the stove, greasy, stubborn microwave and presto! The soft scrub worked great! She is now sold :-)

  13. Barb says

    Love these ideas! I use vinegar as a clothes softener in my wash! It works very well…give it a few washes to get out all that residue left from chemical cleaners and the vinegar will replace it with natural softness!

      • says

        I actually have been making this soft scrub recipe for quite some time now and love it! I use it on sinks, toilets, showers, etc. I do not add the vinegar, but I do add about 1/4-1/2 cup of water. This makes it much more runny initially, but as it quickly thickens, it becomes the perfect consistency to use in a squirt bottle. It’s my favorite cleaner!

  14. says

    I love this mix. I also use the peppermint castile soap, and I some extra drops of peppermint essential oil. I have enough to clean my full shower, tub, bathroom sink, kitchen sinks, and the pans under my stove top burners. That’s a lot of cleaning 😛 My house smells so good afterwards.

  15. Ellie McBride says

    I finally tried the soft scrub today. OH. MY. Easiest bathroom cleaning ever (even though I’ve been on a month long tear at work and it was deadly in there). It got grime out of the floor grout, got the tub sparkling in minutes, the bathroom smells great, there’s no afterwiping to get grit up and I’M NOT AFRAID OF BATHING IN CHEMICALSAFTER CLEANING THE TUB!!!! Thank you!

  16. says

    I do not even know how I stopped up here, however I thought this put up
    used to be great. I do not realize who you are but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger in case you aren’t already. Cheers!

  17. Emily says

    I’m curious as to why you cannot mix castile soap and vinegar. I use these ingredients all the time, so this is very important to me. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      I sigh whenever I see a recipe that mixes soap and vinegar. Likewise anything that mixes Sodium bicarbonate and Vinegar. Both these combinations are cleaning myths! Essentially vinegar is an acid and Sodium bicarbonate and soaps are an alkali/base. Anyone with a bit of high-school chemistry might recall that “Acid + Base = Salt + Water”. Vinegar is acetic acid; combined with sodium bicarbonate we get a thrilling froth of carbon dioxide bubbles, water, and sodium acetate which is a salt similar to sodium chloride; it’s about as effective a cleaning agent as a splash of sea-water.
      Vinegar and soap cancel each other out too, resulting in a curdled gloop far less effective than the ingredients used separately. Using them consecutively is the trick.
      I clean my surfaces using soap and/or bicarb, then finish off later with vinegar which acts as a mild antibacterial before it dissolves the powdery bicarb residue.
      The only possible use for the frothy vinegar/bicarb reaction is as a physical disturbance to unclog drains (I’m not entirely convinced about the effectiveness of this either)

      With the exception of frothing up your drains, ALL the Vinegar + bicarb (or soap) combination recipes are folk/wives tales based on ‘wonder’ that the thrilling bubble reaction must surely be doing something magical. Those recipes will no doubt be far more effective if you take out the vinegar; perhaps to spray it separately as a follow up degreasing disinfectant afterwards.

    • Dana says

      If you omit the water and grate the bar soap you can put it in a shaker. It still works just as well. It’s just more like a Comet or Bon Ami scrub. Just sprinkle and add a bit of water.

  18. Michelle Patterson says

    I am so excited I found these recipes! I am on my way to a chemical free home with essential oils! #oils4everyone

  19. Rachel says

    Do you know if this soft scrub can me made in a large batch and stored? Or does it need to be made fresh each time?

    • says

      Rachel – It cannot be made and stored for very long because it will harden up. You might be able to keep it for about a week or so, but not much longer than that. Hope that helps!

  20. Rocio says

    Hi, Emily!

    This is a really great soft scrub and I just wanted to let you know that it *is* okay to leave the vinegar in there despite the presence of castile soap. You’re right, normally, when you have an acid (vinegar) and a base (castile soap), they react directly with one another and cancel each other out, leaving you with a counterproductive yucky mess. However, vinegar+baking soda react much faster than vinegar+castile soap, so when you add baking soda to the mix, the chemical reaction that first takes place is that of vinegar and baking soda, before the vinegar has any time to react with the castile soap and render it soap-less 😉

  21. Ginny says

    Instead of using castille soap, I use regular dish detergent. That way I don’t have to worry about vinegar/castille soap not working the way I need it to. Sometimes, I will use baking soda and castille. And I always use essential oils.

  22. says

    This soft scrub recipe is a miracle! The bathroom is sparkly clean and the grout is like a new. I had problems with cleaning the stained grout, but the soft scrub cleans it like a charm :) Thank you for the tips and advices. Greets!

  23. says

    I use baking soda and vinegar, too. My mom told me for this useful method. I am so fond of using non-toxic cleaners that I can`t imagine to use bleach again. Thank you for sharing your article. Best regards!


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