DIY Natural "Softscrub" and Exfoliating Scrub

I've been involved in our campus Earth Day celebrations for more than a decade*.  We've planted many trees, picked up litter, organized e-waste recycling drives, hosted film screenings and lectures, partnered with local conservation groups on their projects, hosted upcycled art contests, set up infobooths, had a ribbon cutting for a small solar panel array, and so on.  

About eight years ago the primary organizer asked me to come up with something where the focus was on the little everyday things we can do to reduce our environmental impact**.  Reusable jars.  Mending.  Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda.  Producing your own food.  That sort of thing.  I opted to emphasize all-natural cleaning products--an exfoliating scrub for face and body and a gentle scrub cleanser for around the house (or dorm).  

Though the students seem to really like it, I don't use the body scrub myself.  I'm a classic bar-soap-and-wash-cloth sort of gal.  We use the knock-off Soft Scrub quite a bit in our kitchen and bathroom though.  It works like magic for making the bathtub sparkly white again and scrubbing the kitchen floor.

These cleaners have fewer chemicals and result in less plastic waste.  In addition I love that they can be customized to the user's preferences.  Have dry skin?  Use more olive oil in your body scrub.  Need more scrubbing power?  Add more baking soda to your Soft Scrub.  Sensitive to smells?  Skip all the essential oils!  In a one-size-fits-most world I truly appreciate this level of personalization.
Homemade Soft Scrub (for kitchen, bathroom, and more)
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup castile soap
1 Tbsp water
10-15 drops of essential oil (I recommend tea tree or citrus)

Combine the baking soda and castile soap.
Add the water and essential oil and combine well.
Stir until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Add a little more baking soda if necessary.
Transfer to your container of choice and start cleaning!
Use within three months.  If it dries out just add enough water to return it to paste consistency.
Exfoliating Face and Body Scrub
1/2 cup fine ground salt
1/8 cup olive oil
5 drops of essential oil

Combine salt, olive oil and essential oil.
Mix until the salt is evenly distributed and lightly moistened with the oil. If the mixture seems too moist, add more sea salt. 
Put your sea salt scrub mixture in a glass jar with a screw-top lid for later use.
Use within two months.

With both scrubs I'd recommend testing a small area before really going for it.  They're both extremely gentle, but...just in case.  I'd hate for it to rub your skin (or bathroom tiles) the wrong way.
Spring flowers (at home and on campus) in 2021.
*Though we didn't really have much in the way of a campus celebration in 2020 or 2021 because of pandemic restrictions/concerns.

**I feel obligated to mention that one of the most impactful things that individuals can do is demand greater sustainability from corporations and industries.  The small things we do add up, but the things they do really, really add up.  It is all about scale.


  1. Thanks Beth,
    ...these both sound just perfect...and I'll bet they'd make a nice gift too...maybe I can find a pretty jar at the thrift store...
    ~Have a lovely day!

  2. Very clever! I wrote about eco cleaning today, also! And did not know about the scrub - I have been buying Bon Ami, but I will use your recipe instead.

    1. I hope it works well for you, Margo. I really enjoyed your post, too! (We lost our local place for re-filling soaps. Sigh. I should check again though. Maybe one of the places with bulk options has expanded their offering since I last looked. Things are always changing!)


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