Natural Cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Homemade Scouring Powder Recipe

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citrus scouring powder

Want to make a natural and homemade scouring powder? Check out my best recipe below.

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My love of green cleaning is widely known.  But it might surprise you to hear I am not a lover of cleaning or housework.  I like having a clean and tidy house, but the actual cleaning and tidying part?  There’s no love lost.  My household cleaning philosophy is it gets cleaned when it’s dirty, and if we have people coming over I will clean and tidy a bit more than normal. Otherwise, I have no cleaning schedule or anything like that apart from hoovering regularly, and tidying things away when it needs it.

My hope is that when my daughters are older they will remember me sitting on the floor building Lego houses with them more than the sparkling clean kitchen sink we always had, or the perfectly clutter-free living room.  That’s what I tell myself anyway…

That being said, the kitchen sink does need cleaning sometimes.  We installed a white ceramic kitchen sink when we refurbished our kitchen and it really does show the dirt.  When it does need a good thorough clean I’ve been turning to this homemade scouring powder that I’ve been making for a little while now.

I’ve adapted the recipe from Crunchy Betty to give it a bit more scouring power, and boy is it a good one!

How to Make Homemade Scouring Powder

homemade scouring powder recipe

This homemade scouring powder consists of only three simple ingredients but packs a strong punch.  The secret is the citrus peel.  Gently dried and ground finely, it’s packed full of its fruit oils, that combined with the abrasiveness of the bicarbonate of soda and salt make light work on dirt and grime.   Beautiful smelling, it’ll leave your sink with a delightful citrus zing.  It’s also a fantastic way of using up citrus peel that might otherwise be binned if you don’t have access to composting facilities.  

It does take a little bit of patience to make but the best things do come to those who wait!


The peel of one grapefruit or large orange; or two large lemons/limes or clementines.  Whatever you have to hand basically!
2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda* (I buy mine in bulk)
3 tablespoons of coarse salt


Take your citrus fruit peel and tear into small pieces – no larger than the size of a ten pence piece.  Sit the peel on a plate and leave somewhere dry and warm.  My preferred location for the plate at present is on top of the fireguard, beside our wood burning stove.  It’s been drying the peel out really quickly and has the added bonus of sweetly scenting our living room.  Alternatively, place your plate on top of a radiator or on a nice sunny window ledge if you’re somewhere sunny right now (you lucky thing!).

Leave the peel to dry out – turning the peel at least once per day – until the peel is hard and dry.  Depending on where you’re drying your peel, it might take a day to four days.

Place the dry peel in a food processor/blender and blitz until you have a soft, fine powder.

Combine the powdered peel with the bicarbonate of soda and salt and place in a clean dry lidded jar.

How to Use Your Homemade Scouring Powder

As with any cleaning product, natural or otherwise, always test on an inconspicuous area first.  Once you’re happy you’re good to go:

Sprinkle your scouring powder liberally on to the surface you want to clean.

With a damp cloth simply scrub the area, adding more scrub as you feel is required.

Once finished rinse down the area that you’ve cleaned.

This homemade scouring powder is ideal on ceramic sinks and toilets, but might be too abrasive for acrylic baths/shower trays or some metal sinks.  If you want something a bit gentler you can either omit the salt, use more finely ground salt, or swap the salt for borax substitute*, like in the Crunchy Betty recipe.  If you do use the borax substitute, do make sure you rinse thoroughly once you’re done scrubbing as borax is notoriously difficult to remove once dried!  


Keep your scrub in a clean dry lidded jar.  If you are using salt or borax in your mixture it should keep for around a month, if not it will probably keep for around 2 weeks.  Use your nose and your discretion.

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Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How To Wash Wool

how to care for wool

how to wash wool

Wool is great at keeping you warm, but it can be tricky to wash.  I’ve put together a guide today on how to wash wool, to help keep you right!

Come this time of year I’m rarely out of a woollen jumper or cardigan, or without a woollen hat or scarf.  There’s nothing quite like a soft woollen to keep you warm.  Finisterre kindly sent me the alpaca wool jumper above, and I have to say it’s now one of my very favourites.  Whether I’m out on a walk or curled up in front of the fire, it’s seeing me right and keeping the chills at bay.  Finisterre has strong ethical values too, so it’s an all-round feel-good wear.

What I love most about wool is that if you look after it, it can last a lifetime.  I’ve got some handy tips today on how to look after your woollen clothing, and how to wash wool.  These will help to keep your garments looking fresh and as good as new, no matter how old they are.  They’ll also lengthen their lifespan, for extra sustainability points.

Let’s talk laundry!

Does your wool need washing?

Wool is naturally breathable, allowing it to dissipate any moisture it might absorb.  That means you can get away with washing it less than you would other types of material.  This is great because washing less helps prolong your garment’s lifespan.  

If your woollen clothes have been lightly worn, and they aren’t stained or sweaty, then they probably don’t need washing.  Instead, just hang your clothes outside for a couple of hours on a dry day.  This will refresh your clothes without having to wash them.

How to hand wash wool

If your clothes are dirty then hand washing is my preferred option for washing wool.  This method gives you a bit more control, rather than being at the whim of your washing machine.  Hand washing wool is pretty straightforward.  And the good thing is, for the most part, you just let the water and the soap do their thing.

Fill your sink with lukewarm water (30ºC or less) and add some gentle laundry detergent specially made for washing wool and other delicates.  I use the Ecover stuff because it’s the easiest to get hold of, pretty inexpensive, and does a good job at looking after my woollens.  Mix it in well before adding your clothes to the water.

Don’t be tempted to use conventional laundry detergents as they tend to be on the more alkaline side.  Alkalinity isn’t good for both the wool itself or the dyes used on wool.  These detergents can make your wool prone to breakage and fade its colour.

If I’m washing a few garments I’ll wash the light colours first.  I’ll then wash the dark colours second, so as to avoid dye transfer.

Pop your clothes into the soapy water, submerging to ensure the whole garment is wet.  Then allow the clothes to soak for at least 10 minutes.  This allows the water and soap to penetrate the fibres, ensuring a nice thorough clean.  I like to use this 10 minutes or so to have a nice cup of tea.  Got to make the chores bearable!

After 10 minutes, give your garment a gentle swirl and give any areas that need particular attention a gentle rub with your hands.  Avoid rubbing the fabric together, like you might do when you hand wash other fabrics.  Then remove your garment from the soapy water, and rinse twice with clean water to ensure all the soapy suds are out.

Now, this is the bit where you need to take the most care.  The last thing you want to do is wring your garment out. Doing so will cause stretching and loss of shape.  Instead, press the water out of your garment gently, and then lay your garment on a clean dry towel.  Then roll your garment up, like you would roll a swiss roll, in order to squeeze out the excess water.

Next, unfurl your garment, reshape your garment if need be, and let your garment dry flat.

how to care for wool

How to machine wash wool

I tend to use my washing machine for washing wool if I’ve got quite a few woollens that need laundering in one go.

If you’re using your washing machine, again wash darks and lights separately.  Add the laundry detergent to the dispensing drawer rather than to the drum, and run the wool programme, if your machine has one.  If not, run a 30ºC or less cycle, with the lowest spin cycle your machine has.

Once removed from the machine, as before, reshape your garment whilst damp and dry flat.

How to dry wool

For both methods, I’ve emphasised the need to dry your woollens flat.  Hanging wet woollens vertically, either on a washing line, clothes horse or radiator can stretch the wool fibres, making your clothes lose their shape and fit.  I’d therefore always dry your woollens flat on a drying rack, away from direct heat.  And avoid the tumble drier at all costs.  This is sage advice at the best of times, but all the more pertinent when dealing with wool.

How to remove stains from wool

I’ve found that eucalyptus oil makes for a good natural stain remover.  I use a couple of drops of eucalyptus essential oil and leave for 10 minutes before washing, and then wash as normal.  As always, do test the oil out on an inconspicuous area before using it for the first time on any fabric or garment.

How to store wool

I fold my woollens and keep them in my drawer, rather than hanging them up in the wardrobe (Martha Stewart agrees with me!).  This helps them retain their shape but also protects them from any errant hangers that might snag the wool.

When it comes to storing your woollens away for the summer, it’s always best to give your woollens a wash before packing away, because moths and other wool loving insects are especially attracted to dirt.  I like to store my woollens in an airtight vacuum bag, with a sachet of lavender added for good measure.  As well as repelling the wool munching critters, this method has the added advantage is that your clothes take up very little storage space (a boon for small space dwellers like myself.)  Try eBay or Wilkinsons to pick up the bags cheaply.

Other tips

I tend to give jewellery a miss when wearing wool, especially when I’m wearing a looser knit, to avoid the risk of snagging.

And there you go, with this advice on how to wash wool, and how to look after your woollen clothes, hopefully, you can prolong the length of your woollens.

ps: I also have a ton of other laundry tips that you might find useful.  Firstly, how to make your own fabric conditioner. Secondly, this is a good one to legitimise laziness – how often should you wash your clothes.  I also have guides on how to dry clean at home, and how to wash striped clothing.  And lastly, my guide to natural stain removal.  I’m all about the laundry!