GIY Soft Scrub with Dr. Bronner’s

soft scrub

This GIY trick is the magic of chemistry right before your eyes!

Soft scrub is a great aid to clearing away soap scum, ring around the tub, mold, stubborn water spots on glass. It’s a great way to shine up your kitchen sink. You’ll probably find that you keep this bottle just as handy as your Dr. Bronner’s All Purpose Spray.

This soft scrub will remain blended in your cabinet, so you don’t need to remake it every day. Unless of course, you use it up. Which you will. Because you’ll love it, too.

Here’s the recipe from the video all written out:


1 c. (240 mL)  Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap OR ¼ c. (60 mL) Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
3⅓ c. (800 g) baking soda
1 c. (240 mL) water
¼ c. (60 mL) white vinegar

In a big bowl, combine the baking soda with the Castile Soap OR the Sal Suds. Mix it with a fork until well blended and no lumps remain. Add in the water and mix thoroughly again. Add in the vinegar and keep stirring until no lumps remain. (If you’re wondering about the vinegar with the soap, check out the video for an explanation!) Add additional water if needed until mixture is a pourable consistency. Pour the solution into an empty quart bottle, using a funnel.

To use this, squirt it over the surface and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. Rinse with a wet cloth.

(And remember: since these ingredients are totally safe and non-toxic, kids can use them, too! Hand this bottle over to them and let them scrub away!)

Further reading

Sal Suds cleaner shows >60% biodegradation after 28 days per ISO 14593

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Lili says:

Hi Lisa, can I use this soft scrub for cleaning / disinfecting toilet bowls? Just had enough of using bleach. Can’t think of any nin toxic substitute for it. Thanks x

diane says:

I recently heard the baking soda and vinegar cancel each other out, best to use separately.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Diane- The reaction that occurs between baking soda and vinegar results in water, carbon dioxide (a gas) and sodium acetate (a salt). Not an effective cleaner as you point out, although the reaction is the basis of many great school science experiments! In the case of the GIY Soft Scrub, the baking soda acts as a buffer between the vinegar and the Castile Soap. Baking soda is a faster reactant with the vinegar, distracting it in a sense before the vinegar can impact the soap, which would cause it to unsaponify (revert back to oils). The baking soda/vinegar reaction gives this solution its structure and ability to cling to vertical and slippery surfaces. In this instance, you are not getting any chemical cleaning from either the vinegar or baking soda, but they are acting more as mechanical cleaners. The soap is doing the work.

Valerie F Wood says:

Baking soda vinegar clean Shaw bathroom sink inside the drain keeps it flowing good

Valerie F Wood says:

Baking soda, clean stains on the floor

Sarah says:

Hi! Is it possible to use soap cream in this recipe? I only have access to bar soap at the present.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sarah- Yes! I’m glad you are familiar with the soap cream. Usually you need twice as much soap cream as liquid Castile, which in this recipe would be 2 cups of soap cream.

Megan says:

How should I easily apply this to a shower surface to clean? Should I scrub and then let it set there before wiping it off?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Megan- I would not recommend putting the Soft Scrub in a sprayer as the baking soda grit would clog the device. Instead, try squirt it onto your damp cloth and wiping it on the surface. If you want to let it sit for a bit, it will cling and then you can come back and scrub it down.

Sofia Rocha says:

Hi! Just wondering about the recipe. You mentioned baking soda in ml, but its not liquid. Is this measure correct? Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sofia- Thanks for that catch! It should be 800 grams.

Noah says:

I had the same issue as Floriana. Not with the mixture becoming warm (I don’t know how that would happen), but with it congealing when not in use. It works great right after I make it and then I can’t get it out of the bottle a few days later. Do I just add additional water to fix this?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Noah – Either add a little water to it to see if that reliquifies it, but I’m wondering if that is excess baking soda, in which case a little more vinegar would react with it and reliquify it.

Emma says:


Can I make this soft scrub using Bon Ami instead of traditional baking soda?


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Emma – I looked up the ingredients in Bon Ami, and it has a surfactant I am not familiar with: C10-C16 Alkylbenzene Sulfonic Acid (Surfactant). I honestly don’t know if there would be an interaction between this and the vinegar.

Shanie says:


Thank you for the information on cleaning, I have enjoyed Dr. Bronner’s products since moving out on my own in 1989 🙂
I need a recipe for dishwasher detergent that is just as natural as Dr. Bronner’s. Any suggestions?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Shanie – I apologize for my delayed response. And I further need to apologize because I do not have a suggestion for you. It sounds like you know that Dr. Bronner’s products do not work effectively in dishwashers. They foam too much. I am still looking for a recommendable option. Let me know if you find one.

Steven says:

This smells and cleans great but I need help with the residue it leaves. My black ceramic stovetop has a white haze despite wiping it down twice with damp microfiber cloth .
It’s left a white residue in the bathroom as well.
Any advice?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Steven- If you’re making the GIY Soft Scrub with the Castile, it’s possible you’re seeing a reaction with hard water leaving minerals behind. Another possibility is that there’s leftover baking soda on the stovetop. Either way the remedy is the same – take your GIY Glass Cleaner, which is 1:1 white vinegar to water, and give it a spray and wipe.

Floriana says:


I tried making this scrub but a few days (maybe a week) after transferring it in a bottle it became rock hard!! I had to throw it away. I tried putting the bottle in warm water, adding warm water, even adding vinegar. Nothing helped. When I mixed Sal Suds and the baking soda the mixture became quite warm, I don’t know if this helps the investigation! Has this happened to anyone?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Floriana – I’ve been discussing this with our R&D folks, and we have not figured it out. It is that last clue that has particularly stumped us. we can’t figure out why mixing the Sal Suds and baking soda would produce heat. Heat is produced when two substances react with each in an exothermic reaction, but baking soda and Sal Suds don’t react with each other. There are other mixtures that would produce react and heat, such as when you add the vinegar and it reacts with the baking soda. This is a weird question, but is there a possibility that the baking soda is something else?

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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