DIY Gardening Hand Scrub Recipe

Years ago, a friend gave me a jar of homemade hand scrub as a Christmas gift. In the shuffle of holiday busyness, the jar was shoved into a cupboard and forgotten.

The following spring, I came inside after a long day of working in the garden. My hands were filthy, dirt caked in every crease, fingernails blackened. I stood at the sink, scrubbing for at least 5 minutes, but my hands were still stained... and now rough and dried out from using harsh soap and a nail brush.


I suddenly remembered the hand scrub stuffed in the cupboard. Might as well give it a shot, I thought.

It was amazing! Not only did the scrub remove the dirt and stains, it also soothed my damaged skin, leaving them clean and smooth. 

I love this hand scrub so much, I just had to share it with you!

Make a batch for yourself and another to share with a friend (I've included the recipe to make 3 different batch sizes). I promise they will appreciate it!

This hand scrub also makes a fantastic gift for the gardeners you love.

Even if you are not the DIY type, I encourage you to give it a try. The recipe is simple and easy. It takes less than 5 minutes to make a batch.

A couple of notes:

  • You can use zested citrus or citrus essential oils. I prefer the zested citrus, but the essential oils version will have a longer shelf life.

  • The hand scrub should last a few months. Do your best to keep water out of the jar. You could use a spoon to scoop the scrub out of the jar, so the contents stay clean and water-free.

  • Want to add fresh herbs? Go for it! Finely chopped Rosemary, Thyme, Basil and Mint are lovely choices. Feel free to play around with different combinations of citrus zest/oil and herbs. I can't wait to try lemon/mint!

  • Coconut oil turns to liquid above 76 degrees. Depending on where you live and time of year, you may want to store the hand scrub in the fridge.


Ingredients to yield 3 cups of hand scrub:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup mild soap (like Dr. Bronner's or mild dish soap)

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 20 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)

  • 4 drops tea tree oil (optional)

  • Lemon Zest or 10 drops Lemon essential oil (optional)


Ingredients to yield 1 ½ cups of hand scrub:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup mild soap (like Dr. Bronner's or mild dish soap)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)

  • 2 drops tea tree oil (optional)

  • Lemon Zest or 5 drops Lemon essential oil (optional)


Ingredients to yield ¾ cup of hand scrub:

  • 1/8 cup coconut oil

  • 1/8 cup mild soap (like Dr. Bronner's or mild dish soap)

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)

  • 1 drops tea tree oil (optional)

  • Lemon Zest or 3 drops Lemon essential oil (optional)




  1. Soften or melt the coconut oil in a measuring cup or bowl. Mix with soap.

  2. Add sugar and stir vigorously to “whip” it.

  3. Add essential oils, if desired.

  4. Add zest of lemon, if desired.


To Use:

  1. Scoop dollop into hands using fingers or a spoon.

  2. Scrub away!

Happy planting and I hope you enjoy the hand scrub! 

What are you planting in YOUR garden right now?