Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Witchy Green Cleaning – Scouring Powder

This is the 4th segment in my Witchy Green Cleaning series. This post is new to the series and I am very excited about it.

If you are like me, cleaning is something that you have to do, not something that you want to do and when you throw in toxic cleaners it becomes something that you hate to do. Well, after last year’s oven cleaning debacle (you can read about it in my original Witchy Green Cleaning post here) I decided that I would be very mindful of every cleaning product I used in my home. Thus, the Witchy Green Cleaning series was born. I researched and tested and researched some more and tested again. I used essential oils and natural ingredients and I am happy to report that after using natural, homemade cleaning products over this past year that cleaning is no longer something that I dread.

My home smells great, is clean and my hands are no longer chapped and dry.

This week I am going to talk about scouring powder. Before I discovered how quick and easy it was to make my own scouring powders I used soft scrub, comet and other similar products.  They definitely got the job done but they are pretty expensive and if I run out it means a trip to the store - ick!

So after a lot of research here is the recipe that I found that works like a charm:

Scouring Powder 
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Borax
  • ½ cup Salt
  • 8-10 drops of Essential Oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Ground Herbs/Flowers/Spices
Easy enough to do and the main ingredients are part of my green cleaning tool kit so I usually have them on hand. Please note that this is a scouring powder and is not for use on granite counter tops or any surface that will scratch easily. Making your own cleaners is fantastic as long as you use them correctly.

I made a large batch of the basic recipe and then used canning jars to store the different batches I made for different areas of the home. To mimic the shaker top I punched holes in the lid using a hammer and nail and then cut circles out of a vinyl table cloth to cover the top when they are not in use. Using canning jars makes covering the holes easy and decorative, all at once! Another idea is to purchase a box of extra lids and use two, one shaker and then one without holes for storage. You can still seal a jar with two internal canning lids. I plan on storing mine with two lids and adding the vinyl top on those I give as gifts.

Before I get into the variations I made, here is the cost comparison for the basic recipe:
  • 1 cup baking soda - .24  
  • ½ cup Borax - .20
  • ½ cup salt - .08 
Total cost for basic recipe is 52 cents for 2 cups of mix. That is less than a dollar for the entire mix and comes out to approximately 3 cents per ounce. If you purchase your baking soda in bulk you can make this for an even better price per ounce! This product compares to Comet scouring powder which is approximately 5 cents per ounce. Not too bad at all and once you have the basics on hand you can mix up a batch in just a couple of minutes. While the cost difference for this product isn't as extreme as others I've made the convenience of making your own is huge!

Another great thing about making your own cleaners is that you can personalize them for your tastes and needs. For instance, in the bathroom that is attached to my bedroom I wanted something soothing, something that would make you feel relaxed and comfortable and also something that was romantic - of course. So for this area I choose to use lavender essential oil and dried lavender flowers. The magical properties of lavender are peace, tranquility, romance and love. Perfect!

For the powder room, one that my youngest son calls his own and is also used by any guests in our home I choose a combination of clovebud for its ability to drive away negativity and its protective qualities along with sweet orange essential oil which has the magical properties of joy and energy.  Not only is clovebud/orange a powerful combination, is smells divine! When combining essential oils you only use 4-5 drops of each, not 8-10 drops of each and always make sure you test the combination before you put it in your cleaners! To test how two scents work together place a drop of each on a cotton ball and place it in a baggie. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then check to see how the two scents work together.

For my kitchen I choose to use peppermint essential oil with rose petals, it smells clean and wonderful and has the magical properties of promoting action and getting rid of procrastination along with the peace and happiness properties of the rose petals! Definitely something I want in the busiest room of our home!

Not only is this cleaner easy to make is works! Here are the before and after pictures of the sink in my kitchen. This weekend my hubby was making both beer and wine and one of the sanitizes used in the beer making process stains the porcelain of the sink. This cleaner made quick work of that issue!

Here are some other ideas for witchy add-ins:
  • Jasmine: use this in the bedroom since its magical properties include love, sexuality and rekindling passion
  • Basil:  this is great for use in the bedroom and promotes intuition and an optimistic outlook
  • Dragon’s Blood (actually a resin) this is great in any room. Its properties are for power and protection
  • Cinnamon: great for the bathroom as it promotes purification of the body, healing and luck
  • Oregano is nice for any room where you want to feel relaxed. Some of its magical properties are tranquility, luck, protection and happiness.
  • Grapefruit's magical properties are energy and purity, this clean smelling scent can be combined with dried ground grapefruit peel to provide an invigorating cleaner for any room in the house.
Essential Oils

Coffee Grinder and Mortar and Pestle

I prefer to use essential oils when I make my own cleaning products. Fragrance oils are less expensive but I have found that I use less essential oil than fragrance oil and I prefer the scents of essential  oils over the same variety of fragrance oil. 

When grinding herbs and spices for use in my projects I use either the Mortar and Pestle or a coffee grinder that I use only for my artsy endeavors.  The one pictures above was purchased at my local Target store for around $18. 

Please keep in mind any allergies you may have as you create your own cleaners and always test your cleaners on a non critical area before using. I am not an herbalist or a physician, just a simple witch who enjoys making wonderful things!

To see some other amazing scouring powder recipes visit: The Nerdy Farmer Wife

A great resource for making home cleaners is the book TheNaturally Clean home by Karyn Siegel-Maier 

Next up: Witchy Green Floor Cleaners for tile, laminate and wood!


  1. I'm trying it! Oh, my Piano Man just said, "Look, you have the same mortar and pestle, I bet the cleaning stuff works." Gotta love how he reached that conclusion, lol!

  2. Hi Magaly, He's such a smart man!! He's obviously correct :)
    Butterfly that before shot was so gross but the scouring powder really does work so I was ok showing it!!

  3. Love this...and this series!!!! I also have that very same Mortar and Pestle. I adore it!

  4. Thank you Dena! I love that Mortar and Pestle too, I had misplaced it for a while and was so glad when I found it again. It gets lots of use :)