**PLEASE READ THE SAFETY UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST**
This recipe was a complete and total accident.
As much as I would like to say that I came up with the concept and then flawlessly executed it, that is simply not the case.
Regardless– it just might be one of the coolest things I’ve ever posted on this blog. So, read on. 😉
I was trying to mix up a quick batch of DIY scouring paste to clean my filthy bath tub. (You know the drill- a little bit of baking soda, some dish soap, and a LOT of elbow grease.)
I’ve tried lots of different recipes in the past, and I actually rather liked the one that is floating around Pinterest that calls for hot vinegar and Dawn® dish soap. Although that choice is somewhat better than some of the commercial cleaners, Dawn really isn’t the most natural ingredient… So the search continued.
I was shooting for a runny paste, so I was totally bummed when my little mixture suddenly hardened. Apparently, there was some sort of unforeseen chemical reaction happening between the ingredients.
And I had just wasted a bunch of expensive soap… Not happy.
frugal, er, stubborn, er, thrifty nature forced me to try to use my newly crunchified mixture before I tossed it in the trash.. And whatdoyaknow– it actually did a better job of cleaning my tub than than what I was intending to make in the first place!
Not only is this an entirely original recipe (I have never EVER seen it anywhere else!), but it dang sure works– and better than any other tub cleaner I’ve ever used…
I hereby dub it the…
DIY Scum Buster Bar
(some of these are affiliate links- just FYI)
- 1/4 cup BAKING soda
- 1/4 cup WASHING soda (Get it in the laundry aisle of your grocery store or from Amazon)
- 1/4 cup plain liquid castile soap (do NOT substitute regular dish soap- it won’t work.)
- 10 drops Lemon essential oil
- 10 drops Lime essential oil
- A small container for a mold (or buy a mold)
In a medium bowl, combine the baking soda and washing soda.
Then drip in the essential oils and mix these dry ingredients together.
Add in the castile soap and get to mixing right away. The soap will begin to harden as it mixes with the washing soda, so you have a small window of time where it will remain workable.
As it begins to harden, knead it with your hands and encourage it to form a ball.
Press it into the mold right away– use something that is flexible (like plastic) so it’s not a major pain to pop the bar out once it’s ready to go.
Allow your bar to harden, then remove it from the mold.
To use the bar:
Spray down your bathtub with water, then use your bar to scrub away soap scum and hard water. It doesn’t scratch, and it removes crazy build-up with hardly ANY elbow grease! Seriously– now that I’ve used this, I never want to go back to regular DIY scouring pastes– they are waaaay too much work!
If the edges of the bar start to crumble, no worries. Use a rag to scrub the surface with the crumbs.
To store it: Allow the bar to dry out between uses- too much moisture will make it crumble.
What is the chemical reaction? Is it safe?
I called Church & Dwight Co., which is the company who produces the washing soda. They said that it is safe to mix with other components including liquid soaps, and the chemical reaction that is taking place is not harmful.
**IMPORTANT UPDATE** I had originally called Dr. Bronners as well to inquire about the chemical reaction. However, they didn’t seen to be aware of any problems. However, they called me back today (literally just hours after I had published this… *sigh*) and said it is not a good idea to breathe the fumes that may be emitted from this chemical reaction. (I never thought about the fumes– as there was never any smell when I made my bars)
SO. I’m pretty bummed out. 🙁 I can’t help but wonder if mixing the ingredients under a stove hood or other fan would suffice, similiar to how you should handle lye when using it to make soap. (That’s a chemical reaction as well). However, due to liability reasons, I am not recommending that you do this, as I am not a chemist. Sorry guys. 🙁 )
Does it scratch?
So far, I’ve used my little bar on my stainless steel bathtub fixtures and my stovetop with no scratches. However, I recommend that you test a small area first, just to be safe.
What are the essential oils for?
Citrus essential oils are splendid for cutting through grease and grime. And they make your tub-scrubbing experience quite aromatically pleasing as well. 😉 Not sure what essential oils to buy? I’m in love with these.
Can I use other essential oils?
Sure! Feel free to omit them or play around with other combos.
- In medium bowl, combine baking soda and washing soda
- Drip in the essential oils and mix dry ingredients together
- Add castile soap and mix right away (the soap will harden as it mixes with the washing soda, and it only remains workable a short time)
- As it hardens, knead with your hands to encourage it to form a ball
- Press into mold right away (flexible plastic molds are much easier to pop the bar out of when done)
- Allow bar to harden, and remove from the mold
- To use bar: Spray down bathtub with water, and use bar to scrub away soap scum and hard water. It doesn’t scratch, and removes crazy build-up with hardly ANY elbow grease! If the edges of the bar start to crumble, just use a rag to scrub with the crumbs.
- To store: allow bar to dry out between uses