All-Natural Homemade Scouring Powder

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homemade scouring powder recipe with natural ingredients
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There is something nostalgic about using a product that your parents and grandparents used, and I believe that we can often find a lot of modern wisdom from the way things used to be done. One of the products I remember seeing in both of my grandparents houses growing up (and my mom using when I was little) was a scouring powder like Bon Ami.

A Natural Cleaner?

When I first had multiple toddlers crawling around, I started to become aware of potentially harmful substances in cleaning and household products. I began researching (and often getting rid of) favorite products if they weren’t safe to use around my kids. Bon Ami is one cleaner that stumped me for a while and that I still don’t think is a terrible option. Here’s why…

It works with a physical action to scour away dirt and other stuck on substances. Rather than relying on a chemical reaction, this scouring powder actually scrubs the dirt and grime away with just a sponge or brush. Unlike most cleaners, it doesn’t contain chlorine, dyes or artificial fragrances and it earns an “A” rating from the Environmental Working Group. It also works really, really well. Our grandparents were on to something. I used Bon Ami for years and would still consider it at the natural end of the spectrum for store-bought cleaners.

At the same time, there are a few sources that claim that Bon Ami may cause respiratory irritation and at one point, I ran out of the bottle I had and was looking for another option. Since I already keep bulk ingredients on hand for making beauty and cleaning products, I experimented with ingredients I already had to see if any of them would work in a similar way. I eventually settled on a three-ingredient version that I absolutely love and now use this when scouring powder is needed.

Homemade Bon Ami Alternative Scouring Powder

Note: This recipe has been updated to remove borax. As I explained in this post, borax is a controversial ingredient and it gets very mixed reviews on safety with most recent reports claiming it may be harmful. While all of the actual research I’ve seen shows that its cousin, boric acid, and not actually borax powder (sodium borate) is the problem, I’m erring on the side of caution until more research emerges. Additionally, Bon Ami powder is still a really budget-friendly green option that does not contain borax (and which has a higher safety rating than Borax on EWG) so if it doubt, I’d stick to that over borax for now.

I use this easy recipe for homemade scouring powder because it cleans everything from stuck on floor messes to tile goo. I feel safe letting my kids use it to help clean and it takes about a minute to make.

It is inexpensive to make and cleans better than store brands without the vague smell of chemical warfare. I use this all the time to clean our bathroom, and especially our kids bathroom which tends to be covered in dirt and stuck on soap/grime after just a few baths. In fact, this was my testing ground when I was experimenting with homemade versions.

homemade scouring powder recipeI knew that this stuff worked well, but to put it to the test, I restrained myself from cleaning the bathroom for two whole weeks (meaning I was incredibly busy and didn’t get time to clean it for two weeks). It was bad… really bad. I also knew that my kids would be soaking in said freshly cleaned tub that night and didn’t want them to lose any skin pigment from the cleaners I used so I turned to this natural homemade powder.

Did it work?

Oh yeah… I  cleaned the tub one half at a time so I could see the difference. Even with my less than exceptional camera, you can probably tell which side got cleaned first. (Top side, if you can’t tell with my camera)

All natural homemade tub cleaning scouring powder

So, how do you make it? The recipe is very easy and very inexpensive:

Scouring Powder Ingredients

Scouring Powder Instructions

  1. Pour ingredients into jar or bowl.
  2. Mix or stir until well mixed.
  3. If you want to make a shaker, put in a pint or quart mason jar and poke some holes in the top (carefully) with a sharp serrated knife or use the top of a parmesan cheese container!


  1. Lightly wet surface with water or undiluted white vinegar (for really bad messes)
  2. Sprinkle powder on and let sit 5 minutes
  3. Scrub with sturdy brush until clean
  4. Rinse with water or vinegar (for really bad messes)

Is your tub clean? Have a way to get it cleaner naturally? Please tell me about it below!

Scouring powder is great to use on tubs, sinks, and other hard to clean areas of your home. This recipe is easy to make, and non-toxic.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


133 responses to “All-Natural Homemade Scouring Powder”

      1. Barbara Hughes Avatar
        Barbara Hughes

        Thank you for all you do to help us be the healthiest we can be!! You are very special. May God bless you always!

  1. Ana Avatar

    Fantastic site!!!! Thank you so much for all the information provided.
    I just wanted to leave a quick feedback regarding this scouring powder. I just finished making a batch (which took 2 minutes) and tried on my sink. It worked extremely well, and now I’m sitting here, enjoying the lovely fragrance (I used organic lemongrass essence)!
    Word of advice: if using essence, do stick with the recipe. 5 drops is plenty for the batch.

    thanks again!!!

  2. Lori Nova Endres Avatar
    Lori Nova Endres

    We love using Thyme essential oil for cleaning products. Great properties, smells fantastic (especially in the kitchen)!

  3. Laura Avatar

    I just cleaned my acrylic tub & surround with a natural mixture I made.
    My husband works in a metal industry & so showers twice a day, & a hot soak every day for sore muscles, so you understand what I mean by grungy! Especially when I don’t get to it as soon as I should.
    We also make our own soap & get build up.
    I have a set of 5 books I got through Indigo called Grandmother’s Household Secrets that give you hints on what you can do with: Honey; Lemon; Salt; Bicarbonate of Soda; & Vinegar.
    So I sprayed pure white vinegar on the worst spots first & let it sit for a half hour. I closed the door because it’s quite strong. Then I mixed 2 good squirts of dish soap with vinegar in a small spray bottle & sprayed the rest of the area.
    I then used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser & it came sparkling clean!

  4. Nancy Somers Avatar
    Nancy Somers


    I have a special sink that is a composite and Barkeeper’s Friend is the only recommended cleaner. Would this work safely on the sink?

    1. Jean Avatar

      I totally agree with you about salt being more abrasive. When you have a porcelain tub and tile the salt won’t mind BUT anything else I would stick with omitting the salt. I proved to myself that baking soda (which as you know is cheaper than Bon Ami) does not scratch anything. I proved this by using a paste of baking soda and water on a sponge and cleaned a grease build up on my stainless steel toaster. The grease came off very easy and the shine was clear and NO scratches. Can never go wrong with baking soda.It cuts grease.

  5. Karen Avatar

    I used just baking soda with lemon juice and let it sit for awhile before scrubbing. I think salt is more abrasive and may scratch fiberglass tubs after awhile. Of course, Bon Ami is easier.

    1. Jean Avatar

      I totally agree with you about salt being more abrasive. When you have a porcelain tub and tile the salt won’t mind BUT anything else I would stick with omitting the salt. I proved to myself that baking soda (which as you know is cheaper than Bon Ami) does not scratch anything. I proved this by using a paste of baking soda and water on a sponge and cleanewd a grease build up on my stainless steel toaster. The grease came off very easy and the shine was clear and NO scratches. Can never go wrong with baking soda.It cuts grease.

  6. valerie huibers Avatar
    valerie huibers

    This is not about the cleaning powder,but rather a question concerning the dryer sheets. I have gone with the recipe but I find that when the clothes are dry I do not smell the lavender that I mixed with the vinegar & I really want the scent?

  7. Maria Avatar

    Ahhh the magic of Bicarbonate of Soda.. Another use is to mix equal volumes of soda and white vinegar ply the paste onto any burnt pot/saucepan leave for 15/30 minutes … Away comes the burnt residue. Polish.

  8. MaryJane Avatar

    I remember during Home Economics class here in Nigeria, we were taught to make scouring powder using dried egg shells that have been ground mixed with detergent.

  9. Jill Shipman Avatar
    Jill Shipman

    I live in a home with really hard water. This worked like a charm to get rid of the soap scum and mineral residue. Thanks so much!

  10. Okoli Joachim Avatar
    Okoli Joachim

    Hi Kate, I want to know if there is any other chemical I can use to replace borax. Thank you

    1. Natalia Avatar

      For you and anyone else who doesn’t have or doesn’t want to use borax for any reason, I just cleaned my bathtub with 1 part baking soda and 1 part salt, and it worked beautifully. I imagine it may have gone a little easier with borax, but it DOES work without it. I have hard water as well as a very annoyingly textured bathtub, and I thought I’d never get it clean. I had to scrub a lot because of the texture, but salt and baking soda did the trick. I’ve never gotten it that clean with store bought cleaners before. It’s completely white now!

      1. Jean Avatar

        awesomeness! thank you! Is your tub porcelain or the new kind of plastic which is a one piece unit? cannot think of what they call it because I have one tub surround that I don’t want to scratch thank you

        1. Karen Avatar

          I think one piece surround bathtubs and showers are fiberglass. I wouldn’t use salt on it.

  11. Jean Avatar

    To make shakers, I use a drill and put a number of holes in the lid. It’s easiest to do it while the lid on the jar. The size of the holes (i.e., the size of the drill bit) and the number of holes depends on what I’m planning on shaking. I do this with canning jars and their lids for all sorts of things, not just cleaning.

  12. Mari Avatar

    This scouring powder us the best! And using the vinegar made it that much mire effective. Thank you, for all your work and sharing with the rest of us! 😀

  13. Verenice Avatar

    Hi katie, im Verenice from Nigeria. I love what you are doing, GOD will increase you in wisdom. Please what is borax and what department of the store can i get it from? And is it the normal bakeing powder? Thanks.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’m not sure about the stores here… baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and should be on the baking aisle. The borax should be on the laundry aisle if they have it

      1. Myra Avatar

        I am living in Botswana. I looked all over the cleaning aisle for Borax, but didn’t find it. One day I found a tiny container of it in the baking section, right next to the baking soda. I don’t know what they use it for here, but if in Africa, look in the baking section too. Hope this helps someone.

  14. Melanie Rogacki Avatar
    Melanie Rogacki

    Thank you so much for all of the great recipes! I have so much fun whipping up lotions and such for friends and family. Noticed today that my tub was especially gross. Did a quick search, found this recipe, mixed it up, applied, let it sit about 5 minutes, added a little water to make a paste, scrubbed and viola! Tub looks fantastic…no more soap scum! Thank you!!

  15. Debbie Avatar

    Can you suggest a great remedy for removing ground in soap scum off of shower recess glass? Thank you!

    1. Mary Avatar

      use triple OOO steel wool pads (extra fine found at hardware store) – scrub with this. Doesn’t hurt the glass and comes off very easily. No cleaning solution needed. You could use a cleaner afterwards to wipe down. Little pieces of steel wool will fall – just vacuum up.

  16. Suzy Avatar

    The scouring powder worked very well on a tub and surrounding tile. Thank you! It’s wonderful to feel refreshed after using scouring powder… not blown away by chemicals. Using vinegar as a rinse on tough areas worked!

    Thank you to all the helpful commenters above too.

  17. Penny Avatar

    Our daughter in law just had their baby and she is looking for a good natural nipple cream for nursing. Thought you might have one . Love your stuff, Thanks Penny

      1. Anne Avatar

        My solution is simple & proven after 48 months of experience & trying commercial products. Wipe away any saliva from nipples & dry, Next express a few drops of breastmilk & rub all over nipples & areola (sp?) & allow to air dry. Nature knows best.

        1. Jenn Avatar

          Yes! This is exactly what I did. Only needed relief the first month or so, but the breast milk seemed to help. Make sure to let it dry so nipple pads, bra, shirt, etc. don’t stick. That hurts! 32 months breastfeeding-whoa I just figured that up! Best thing I did for my son but glad to be done?.

  18. Anne Hendrick Avatar
    Anne Hendrick

    Sweet Wellness Mama, I’ve spent so much time reading all your blogs that I feel like we are friends. I thank you for all your hard work in researching info & sharing your great wealth of information! I have one comment/suggestion though. Sometimes I jump from one subject to another & often get “lost” & can’t retrieve the site I wanted to return to :(. I think it would be most beneficial if you had a way to type in what one may be looking for & be able to go back to it that way!! I’ve been seeking an accompanying recipe all afternoon & still haven’t been able to locate it. Have greatly enjoyed your blogs & am thankful for all I have learned! How does someone so young & busy as you become so wise? Anne

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