I love having a homemade all-purpose cleaner readily available, but sometimes you need something with more oomph, you know what I mean?
The house we’re renting has white laminate counter tops. They’re so porous that if a slice of beet falls off your cutting board, you must stop you’re doing right that moment and clean it up, otherwise you’ll have an unsightly red mark on the counter forever.
Oddly enough, we had this same type of counters in our rented townhouse in California too. That’s actually how I learned the hard way about cleaning up beets ASAP (carrots too, and pretty much anything else that isn’t white).
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I used to rely on a very popular “scrub” to get me out of those stained-counter jams.
This was pre-real food days of course, back when our kitchen was filled with boxed cake mixes and “just add this” for an instant dinner. Not only did I not know about the dangerous ingredients in many common household cleansers, but I hadn’t developed a bleach alternative recipe OR my heavy duty citrus infused vinegar cleanser either.
However, despite the fact that I have both of these homemade cleaners on hand (and the ingredients to easily make more if I need to), I still tend to think of over-the-counter cleaning products first.
The good news though, is that it’s getting easier to think twice and consider whether or not what I’ve already made will work, OR if it’s possible to make a new cleaner that will get the job done just as good, if not better, than the chemical-filled store-bought cleaners.
I made carrot cake this past weekend and got shredded carrot all over the counters in the process. I knew that when it came time to clean up my mess, I didn’t have anything in my cleaning arsenal that would be strong enough to get rid of the orange tint.
I knew my old trusty scrub would work, but I didn’t want to use it again. The last time I used it in California I accidentally got some on my skin and it burned! It also has an incredibly strong smell and I didn’t like how it made the whole kitchen smell sterile, instead of just smelling clean.
Then I remembered that Marilee from Bend Soap Company shared her homemade Bend Soap Milk Scrub recipe with me. She said it was just like the store-bought stuff, but that it was so much gentler on their skin (since it’s made from their own in-house goat milk soap).
She also said it was really easy to make and worked on a variety of surfaces – toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers… even stainless steel pots, sinks and stoves!
Taking a look at the ingredients in her recipe, I can see why it works so well:
- Baking soda is known to be a natural whitening agent.
- Vinegar helps to eliminate germs.
- Goat milk soap itself is truly an excellent cleaner.
I use their soap to help heal my adult acne, to wash my hair AND to wash my clothes, so I know it’s very gentle and wouldn’t cause my skin to burn like the over-the-counter stuff did.
My daughter helped me make a batch of this homemade bathroom scrub and we got to scrubbing. Within seconds, the orange tint was gone! I took the homemade bathroom scrub to our master shower and scrubbed the grout. Then I went to the bathroom sink and scrubbed it too!
Aside from the fact that this homemade bathroom scrub works amazingly well, I love that it doesn’t have a harsh smell, which would have made cleaning the small stand-up master shower unbearable.
I also love that while the baking soda helps whiten surfaces, it won’t stain your clothes!
I wore a black t-shirt and my jeans when I was cleaning and it didn’t bleach my shirt at all. I know for a fact the hem of my jeans got the cleaner on them (even “short” jeans are a bit long on me) and there’s no stains from the cleaner whatsoever!
I can’t say this about the typical bathroom scrub – I would purposely put on an old t-shirt and pants that I didn’t care whether or not they got stained, because even the slightest lean on the counter meant a ruined shirt!
Thank you Marilee for this awesome recipe – you bet it’s a keeper!
Bend Soap Milk Scrub (homemade bathroom scrub)
- 1 cup shredded goat milk soap from Bend Soap Company (Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Tangerine Spice and Lavender all have antibacterial properties which are good for cleaning)
- 1 quart glass mason jar
- 1 quart water (distilled, if your tap water is not suitable)
- medium saucepan
- 2 cups baking soda (I buy mine in bulk)
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar OR lemon juice
- glass bowl OR large re-sealable container
- squeeze bottle (optional)
Step 1: Make liquid goat milk soap concentrate.
Boil 1 quart of water. Add 1 cup shredded goat milk soap to a quart mason jar. Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water into the jar and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly, but not completely.
Step 2: Make bathroom scrub.
Add baking soda to a re-sealable container or a bowl. Add liquid goat milk soap concentrate and stir well. Add vinegar and stir until thoroughly mixed. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Either keep in the re-sealable container OR pour back into the quart mason jar for storage.
Allow to cool completely overnight for a thicker cleaner OR add additional water to thin and fill a squeeze bottle. Just be sure the spout opening of the bottle is large so that it doesn’t get clogged.
Note: If the mixture separates as it cools, use an immersion blender to mix it back together. You could probably use a regular blender instead, but I haven’t tried that method myself.
Spoon out (or squeeze) and use a sponge or a hard bristle brush (depending on what surface you’re cleaning) and scrub. Rinse with the sponge and wipe dry with a towel.
I’d like to know how long this mixture will last before it would get icky or something and no longer useable? I imagine it’s not like you can keep it for years…. thank you!
Kyare - Team Crumbs
About two months. If you are questioning it do a smell test and if it is separating re-blend it.
I’ll have a go at this, thanks. Btw any cheap veg oil shifts veg stains.
Love this bathroom scrub. I was having a hard time with my fibreglass tub coming clean but this was a breeze! Thank you!
You’re very welcome!
I just made this as I has soap pieces around. I had to try it out immediately and I was amazed how well it cleaned! It will be a bit longer on the shower floor but you can see the difference. This is a keeper. I put in lemon juice into mine.
PS. I also have made your homemade deodorant and have never looked back again! I don’t smell, I sweat less and no stains. I hardly sweat but when I do, there are no underarm stains on clothing. Thanks for sharing them both.
So glad you liked this tutorial Susan!!
Hi Tiffany! I’m just curious why we need a quart of water to a boil when the recipe only calls for 1.5 cups to make the concentrated soap 🙂 Does the rest of the water end up elsewhere or am I missing a step?? Thanks so much!
Dang! I only realized from your comment that I misread the instructions when I made mine! I would have only boiled 1 1/2 (plus some) in the first place.
Adding the vinegar to this recipe is pointless, especially with all that baking soda. I’m amazed at how many sites still promote the baking soda/vinegar combo as they are opposites on the pH scale and therefore cancel each other out. Basically you are just wasting money using the vinegar in this recipe.
Hi Katie – This recipe was created by Bend Soap Company and it works really well. I don’t know the exact purpose of the vinegar in it, but vinegar is pretty cheap so I’m sure 2 Tbsp won’t break the bank. 🙂
If you have the mixture in a mason jar, do you think you could just occasionally shake it vigorously as it cools to keep it from separating?
You might be able to Karena, but it took mine an hour or two to cool until it was typical scrub consistency. That’s a lot of shaking! 😉
I dont have acces to goat milk soap. Is there an alternative?
I think you can do this Karena. I’ve talked to Marilee and she’s only had it separate once, and never again, so she wasn’t sure why it would happen (although mine separated just slightly when I made it too). I used the immersion blender b/c I was curious if it would work – and it did – but shaking it now and then, or even stirring it up again, will work too.
I bet that does smell delicious! If you ever need some and don’t have time to mix that all up, try dish soap (whichever brand you like) plus baking soda. It also works as well as I remember typical scrubs working (but doesn’t smell as nice as yours, probably!)
Thanks for the tip Diana!
Usually, I just dump a little baking soda on a smooth surface and scrub for five or ten seconds. It works really well. For my cutting boards, after squeezing a lemon or lime for juice in a recipe, I run the inside of the rind over the board, then rinse. Keeps them fresh and clean. Now and then I wish I had something like a bathroom scrub around. I imagine Dr. Bronner’s castile bars, which I have readily available, would work as well as your goat milk soap in this. I’ll give your recipe a try with one of them and see how it goes.