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Tub Scrub

Body+Soul, July/August 2006

Here's a nontoxic but effective way to clean your tub: Add one teaspoon of liquid soap and several drops of an antibacterial essential oil (such as tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint) to one cup of baking soda. Add just enough water to form a paste, and use it with a sponge or brush to scour bathtub surfaces.

Comments (90)

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  • 26 Jul, 2013

    I have used this method, and it works awesome!! and NO toxic fumes :))

  • 8 May, 2013

    Matwali

  • 8 May, 2013

    well good idea behind this product , its usefull product for all.
    keep it up.

  • 25 Apr, 2013

    This is a good way to clean a bath, but liquid in its self could be toxic and the use of peppermint or lemon would break down some plastic through monoterpene contained in the oils. however thanking the oils internally is safe, if you look on the USA labels they FDA approval as a food supplement. Unfortunately in the UK law says you cant take essential oils internally. I have been taking Youngliving oils with no problem, i know that they are of the highest grade possible, and would use no other

  • 22 Apr, 2013

    To order Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, visit my website @ www.youngliving.org/jenniferbaughma . Thanks Martha for sharing this awesome idea! Never use cleanser to clean your bath...if so, you are inhaling dangerous granules! All-natural cleaning products work just as effectively. I make my own dishwasher soap: Borax, baking soda, and Young Living Lemon EO. Instead of Toxic Jet Dry: white vinegar and Purification EO. Thieves oil and the cleaning products in that line are fabulous!

  • 22 Apr, 2013

    This is a great scrub and you do need the pure oils.. At first i thought it would be okay to use an adulterated oil but than i realize that the residue would get into my bloodstream through my feet or when my grandbaby takes her bath. I add Thieves house cleaner to it because it has a 99% kill rate on bacteria and helps my immune system as well. If you need to get some oil, please feel free to check out my web site at www.ylscents.com/helenshaw or at any one of the above mentioned. :) Blessings

  • 22 Apr, 2013

    Martha, pIease read! Educating people on oil QUALITY is essential! Health food stores oils are inferior products that won't have the active contituents/compounds in them that make them anti-bacterial etc. Even if the label says 100% organic, it won't be therapeutic (just free from chemicals. If you are wanting to rid your counter tops of harmful substances like e-coli, black mold etc, get Young Living Essential Oils. The FDA has asked YLEO to set the US standard! lisakullman.youngconnect.com

  • 22 Apr, 2013

    @ crickette1271: It comes down to the QUALITY of the Essential Oils you use. (yes, felines are more sensitive). Look at your label. If it says "external use only" or "do not ingest" then you have an adulterated product (solvent/chemicals added). Stick with therapeutic-grade oils, such as Young Living Essential Oils. They are simply the best! The THIEVES cleaner (based on the antimicrobial THIEVES blend) can be added to baking soda for a scrub. lisakullman.younglivingconnect.com for more info. :)

  • 22 Apr, 2013

    the most purest oils are from young living, who is the world leader in essential oils - check out https://youngliving.com/conniegraden and find all the oils that are nontoxic with no fillers in them.

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  • 5 Feb, 2013

    Please remember that a majority of essential oils are toxic to cats, I wish I could try this, but I have three furbabies....sounds good though!

  • 29 Jan, 2013

    I have been researching this subject for a few days now for a report I am writing. Your post has been very helpful in this regard. Thanks for another great post. edu policies

  • 18 Jan, 2013

    had very stubborn soap scum on my bathtub! tried this an immediately it dissolved. Was very impressed. Need to reapply but got results ASAP:)

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  • 13 Nov, 2012

    I tried this today, and it worked fabulously! I've always been skeptical of using kitchen ingredients for cleaning, thinking they could not possibly do the job, but I was amazed that this seemed to work quite a bit better than my regular harsh scum spray cleaner bought from the store. Less scrubbing required (I didn't need the scrub brush, a simple sponge was sufficient), and no noxious fumes. :D My lungs thank you! I used tea tree oil in the mix.

  • 4 Nov, 2012

    I have tryed everything but I only had Borox on hand so I am trying it right now. I am going to let it soak on there for at least a hour and will let you know the results.

    .

  • 30 Sep, 2012

    I just used this mix on my bathtub and shower and it was great. I usually get sick from the chemicals for bathroom cleaning and need to rest for like an hour after cleaning my bathroom to let my lungs calm down. This mix did not get me sick at all. I used a teaspoon of regular dish soap and more than a few drops of tea tree oil. Next time I will stick to the few drops recommended because the tea tree smell was stronger than I like. Tea tree oil is expensive but worth it and it goes a long way.

  • 11 Sep, 2012

    it says liquid soap wht kind

  • 31 Aug, 2012

    you can buy tea tree oil at a health food store also, this is where i get all my oil, or trader joe's grocery store if you are lucky too live next to one!

  • 30 May, 2012

    is this safe on marble?

  • 3 Apr, 2012

    How long do you leave it on before rinsing off?

  • 16 Oct, 2011

    You can also usually find all kinds of essential oils at health food stores.

  • 16 Oct, 2011

    You can buy tea tree oil at almost any store that has a pharmaceutical area. It will either be with the first aid supplies or near the vitamins. Good luck! I bought mine at Walmart.

  • 4 Oct, 2011

    Sorry for all the errors. Typing and working...not good.

  • 4 Oct, 2011

    Dry baking soda, without water or anything cleans a tub just perfect, not matter what type tub. The oils and dirt from the tub clings onto the baking soda and works find, all by itsself. If you feel that it is not, then try powder laundry detergent, it does the same job as well...excellent! One more thing though, if you have a cast iron tub, fine grade sand paper is excellent as well, yet be careful.

  • 3 Oct, 2011

    Where is a good place to find antibacterial essential oil?

  • 23 Jun, 2009

    Fiber glass tubs cheap dollar store toothpaste and a bristle brush. works great! smells great!

  • 23 Jun, 2009

    For fiberglass tubs and shower stalls, try cheap toothpaste and a scrub brush. Just work it around like you would if you were brushing your teeth or a little harder if it's really bad. The smell is nice too!

  • 30 Mar, 2009

    What can you use to clean fiberglass? My tub is made out of fiberglass and I have such a rough time cleaning it.

  • 19 Mar, 2009

    I wouldn't use essential oils on fiberglass; they are very strong and could marr the surface.

  • 16 Mar, 2009

    I just tried this. it's great. It also cleaned my formica bathroom counter top, formica sinks ((which I never have been able to clean propely). It's also good for wiping finger prints off walls and cleaning ligt switches. I used tee tree oil in the mix and decided to try just the oil on a clean cloth to clean bamboo towel shelves. It made a clean and shiny surface. the natural oil was a good poilsh.

  • 14 Mar, 2009

    Is this safe on a jacuzzi brand tub made of some type of fiberglass ?

  • 14 Mar, 2009

    Where do you buy the Tea tree, rosemary,peppermint oil's?

  • 12 Mar, 2009

    I have tried everything on the market! And I am so tired of the remainder of soapscum! This is the answer. I didn't even have to scrub, just applied with a scrub brush over entire tub and then rinsed off with hot water. It was all gone!!! The faucet fixtures sparkle. Thanks Martha and team!

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    yes its safe! all household items which wouldn't even irritate your skin

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    Is this safe for septic systems?

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    Is this safe for septic systems?

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    Is this safe for septic systems?

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    Thanks Twinkling, I thought that this was a glass cup. I've got new glass measuring cups on my shopping list. This one looked easy to read.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I always sprinkle the whole fiberglass tub-n-shower with baking soda and then spray and pour white vinegar over it. It fizzes and just eats away the greasy dirt and grimy soap scum. I don't really need to scrub too much just a bit with a soft brush in the curves and the bottom where that built-in no-slip texture is that traps all the gunk. Use the same stuff on the chrome with a rag and it will be shining with no water spots.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    To answer the previous comment - the 'antibacterial' refers to the properties of the particular essential oils mentioned; though from my understanding the tea tree oil is the most antibacterial followed by the eucalyptus oil. I regularly use bakings soda and white vinegar on my composite stone bench and don't find it too abrasive, it's quite soft and doesn't scratch.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    You can find essential oils at some drug stores and just about any health food store such as the Vitamin Shoppe.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Where do you find antibacterial essential oil??

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Can this be used on stone too -- I wouldn't think the baking soda isn't too abrasive but you never know?

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I wonder why all the comments are multiplying, plastic measuring cups can be found anywhere, got mine in dollar store

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I wonder why all the comments are multiplying, plastic measuring cups can be found anywhere, got mine in dollar store

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    dearmmau
    i've seen cups just like this. they are clear plastic available in dept. stores and hardware stores

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I use soda plus something most of the time. I wonder if making this mixture is much more effective. I like the idea of the essential oil, not only for a nice smell but that it also is antibacterial.
    I would like to buy the measuring cup that is pictured here. Does anyone have one or know the brand name? The glass looks a bit thin though.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I use soda plus something most of the time. I wonder if making this mixture is much more effective. I like the idea of the essential oil, not only for a nice smell but that it also is antibacterial.
    I would like to buy the measuring cup that is pictured here. Does anyone have one or know the brand name? The glass looks a bit thin though.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I use soda plus something most of the time. I wonder if making this mixture is much more effective. I like the idea of the essential oil, not only for a nice smell but that it also is antibacterial.
    I would like to buy the measuring cup that is pictured here. Does anyone have one or know the brand name? The glass looks a bit thin though.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    This works better than most chemical cleaners for scrubbing mold and mildew, and even mineral stains from faucet water!

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    This works better than most chemical cleaners for scrubbing mold and mildew, and even mineral stains from faucet water!

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    This works better than most chemical cleaners for scrubbing mold and mildew, and even mineral stains from faucet water!

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Sadlesor2 -the idea here is to find a non-toxic solution to cleanining. Tee tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial. Many mass-produced anti-bacterial products use a chemical called Tricolsan that is under scrutiny right now. I would suggest trying it with the tea tree, and use a glycerin soap, like Dr. Bronner's. That, or check out a site called Eco-Me.com, they sell home cleaning kits where you add your own baking soda, water, etc, they provide all the tools and the essential oils.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    You can get tea tree oil at a natural foods type store and at Bath and Body Works. Tea Tree Oil is also an effective agent for cleaning scratches/cuts. You can put on hair, after shampoo and conditioner, then rinse out, as it is good for cleaning your scalp and keeping head lice at bay (if you have elementary-aged children, you know this can be an issue). It can also be used to treat head lice.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Thank you yvonneshula. I like the tip about the plane ride. My son always gets strep when he flies. We will be flying in the next couple of months so I guess I will be heading out for some tea tree oil.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Sounds great ... can it be used on acrylic tubs/walls?

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Ironic tip-of-the-day because I just looked up tub cleaning in Martha's Homekeeping Handbook yesterday. The HB said that one should never use a brush to clean the tub no matter what type of material it is, and instead a soft cloth to avoid scratching it.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Where can you find tea tree oil? Additionally, I use baking soda and vinegar to clean tough greasy spots on my stove top and oven.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I LOVE this tub cleaner recipe. I used tea tree oil and not only does my tub smell amazing, itis also noticeably cleaner than when I use store-bought cleaning solutions. Thanks Martha! Kepp the great tips coming!

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    How about using antibacterial liquid soap and eliminate the essential oil all together? In order not to water down the paste I think I will increase the liquid soap slightly.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I use the "Young Living" essential oil blend called "Thieves" with my homemade cleaners. It has unparalleled anti-bacterial properties. Make sure you use therapeutic grade oils if you want more tha just a good smell.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I'm pretty sure the intent here was to help us clean our bathtubs with ingrediants we already HAVE in our homes (homemade) so you don't have to go buy expensive products. Thank you Martha

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Not a silly question at all marks mom, tea tree oil is actually a very strong anti bacterial agent. I always put a few drops on a kleenex during any airplane flights and keep it near my face, I never catch any bugs that are associated with the dangers of recycled air. However I do agree that using ANY essential oil should be with caution and less is always more if you know what I mean.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    May sound like a silly question but can you just leave out the essential oils? Aren't they just for the scent or do they actually have some sort of cleaning power?

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I recently spoke to a sales person about a new tub - acrylic - she said to be very careful w/essential oils - can damage the acrylic - so I would imagine it would be ok on non-porcelain - just be careful w/ the amount you add... Dr. Bonner's is probably a good/easier alternative.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    I think Dr. Bronners peppermint soap would be a wonderful substitution for regular liquid soap. It is a great cleanser and it already has peppermint oils in it. They also have tea tree, citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, rose and almond and a classic version, and as an added bonus you wouldn't even need to look for essential oils. It is all natural and they have been around for 60 years. I hope this helps you.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Would this work on showers too? Fiberglass?

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    The best place to get essential oils in my opinion in Mountain Rose Herbs (website), along with other cheap bulk ingredients, their products are a good price and high quality.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Isn't adding liquid soap defeating the purpose of making your own solution? Is there anything else you can use?

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    You should be able to get them at any health food store or on the internet. Alot of pharmacies cary them now too with everyones interest in making healthy choices.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Whole Foods (Whole Body department) sells essential oils.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    @alison2: Buy essential oils at your drugstore, at the bio store, or at natural cosmetics stores.

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Where can you get essential oils like tea tree, peppermint or eucalyptus?

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    This works great for either and it really makes your house smell nice. I personally like the peppermint!

  • 9 Mar, 2009

    Is this okay for a fiberglass tub -- or just porcelain???