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. Melody Avatar

    THANK YOU for this recipe! I moved into my home two years ago, two months before my first child was born. Since then I’ve been fantasizing about deep-cleaning my bathroom tile floor, but life hasn’t given me the time to do so (though I have cleaned it regularly with store-bought “natural” bathroom cleaners). Three months out from having my second baby, I’m in high nesting mode again, so it was time to make it happen. I found your scour powder recipe last night and attacked the floor tonight. So much mud came up, and the white tile is now all white again. I’m ridiculously excited and cannot WAIT to clean my tub tomorrow. Amazing. Thank you.

  2. Dana Avatar

    This works like magic! I used this All-Natural Homemade Scouring Powder and my tub is now sparkling white! It cut through all the yucky grime with little effort on my part. Thank you!

  3. Carolina Avatar

    Hello, a favor, can you tell me your receipe using borax? Can I replace borax instead of salt? Thanks!

  4. Patti Avatar

    I was wondering why I couldn’t use cheap iodized salt for the scouring powder recipe? Will it be harmful to surfaces?

  5. Karen Avatar

    Please explain why non-ionized salt for cleaning purposes?……

  6. Shivi Avatar

    Made this today and it works! Used on some tile stains as well as a big rust stain on our laminate kitchen counter from leaving a wet pan too long. My mum had already tried some strong chemical cleaner and it didn’t make a dent in it but one round with this scouring scrub and you can barely see it. I will do one more round to finish it off. Tile stains went completely. So glad I found this, now it’s like a little game to see what I can try it on next!

  7. Andy Arenson Avatar
    Andy Arenson

    Thank you very much! I’ve been searching for 16 years to find a way to clean the bottom of shower. Hard water, soap scum, dippled floor led to brush after brush, sponge after sponge filling up with intractable goop. This scouring powder, even if it required a lot of hard scrubbing, worked!

  8. kara Avatar

    this worked so well!! i used vinegar instead of water. cleaned well, smells great, and now my tub is nice and shiny. thank you!

  9. Rachel Avatar

    Is the salt necessary? I just don’t usually have anything but Himalayan salt on hand…

  10. Tara Jean Avatar
    Tara Jean

    Hey there luv! This weekend my mom & I are making a few of my fave natural recipes I have saved. BUT…Instead of the salt &/or lemon E.O. What do you think of subbing in citric acid crystals? They’re supposed to be AMAZING for bathrooms. Any experience in this area? Just bought a big bag and dying to find different ways to use it- although, toilet bombs, bath bombs & dishwashing detergent seem to be all the recipes I can find on this AMAZING natural powder. TIA! (P.S. I am the one on Twitter (tarajean512) who made your recipe to clean my sister’s bath tubs incase she had to have her son in there & thank God she has NOT yet.) SO blessed to have found you. THANK YOU!

  11. Samantha Stark Avatar
    Samantha Stark

    I use the recipe I found online but I use the whole box to make mine. I use one box of borax, washing soda, baking soda, zote soap flakes, oxiclean revive for whites, 2 bottles of Purex crystals and a box of gain or tide for extra cleaning power. My towels come out looking like hotel towels nice and fluffy, and the smell is just a faint smell of freshness. This stuff cleans very well I’m glad I tried making this now I want to make more cleaning products because of the harsh smell and chemicals in store bought cleaners.

  12. Samantha Stark Avatar
    Samantha Stark

    I started making my own laundry detergent and I love it, never had a problem with fading or anything. I have added a box of gain to give it more power but I love making this stuff. I make batches at a time and just dump the whole box or carton in a 5 gallon bucket. My laundry detergent is so great i use it for a multipurpose cleaner for my stainless steel kitchen sink. By the way I use ZOTE SOAP FLAKES, I never grate any soap I buy everything at walmart

  13. Adriane Avatar

    Hi Katie! Why do recommend non-iodized salt in this recipe? I have a ton of it I no longer want to use for cooking and would love to repurpose for cleaning! I have another question about salt too. My husband works in a salt mine and brought home a case of salt with the aluminum added to it. This was before I was aware of the dangers of ingesting aluminum. Now I’m wondering what the heck to do with it! Is it safe to use in cleaning solutions or is it harmful to even breathe in the fumes? I’m not sure about any effects it could potentially have on the environment. If you or any readers have a solution for what I can do with a large amount of this stuff I’d really like to hear them! Thanks again for all you do Katie!

  14. Jessica Avatar

    What scrub brush would you recommend :)?

    I can’t wait to try this! I’ve been looking for a diy natural scouring powder, yours was the first one I came across… And I’m sold!


    1. Samia Avatar

      @Jessica. Hi. I don’t know who you were addressing your question to, about a scrub brush, but the only one I use any more for anything, is a high quality Japanese-made tawashi.

      If you live in the USA or Japan, they are easier to find than in other countries. In Chinatowns everywhere you can find low-quality tawashi-type scrub brushes, ,but the strands fall out and pretty soon they are all worn out.

      Tawashis are made of coconut fiber and used for scrubbing vegetables such as carrots, etc., and are great for all cleaning jobs in the bathroom and kitchen and especially pots. Because of their shape, they get into the corners. The authentic ones – the only ones worth buying, and they are cheap, too – come in a yellow & red paper wrapping.

      I use my tawashi for washing all dishes, all the time. Nothing better.

        1. MaryS Avatar

          Thank you, both on the tawashi info! Can’t wait to try it. Have you ever found one with a handle? Just curious.

  15. linda Avatar

    i used this today (i had made it without the salt so as not to scratch) on some bad tub scum and wow it works great! thanks katie.

  16. Nancy Avatar

    This even worked great on my refrigerator door where the bottled sauces etc. left marks. I was afraid it would scratch but my refrigerator is old so I tried it and was very pleased. Everything was sparkling clean. Love it for the tub too especially because my handcrafted soap leaves a bit more residue than the commercial stuff.

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