The word “scour” evokes hard work, but it doesn’t have to. Unfetter your cleaning routine when you swap more gentle ingredients for harsh chemicals to make your own scouring powder. It takes only a few seconds, and you may already have the ingredients and tools in your pantry.

TIME: Less than 5 minutes
MAKES: One jar of scouring powder
COSTS: Less than $1

Baking soda
or borax
or washing soda

Mason or empty spice jar
Natural sponge or rag
A few drops of water

1. Grab a spice jar with holes at the top, or use a mason jar and poke holes in the lid.
2. Fill your jar with baking soda, and that’s it!
3. Sprinkle the baking soda directly onto your surface in need of cleaning, and rub with a damp sponge or rag.


  • If baking soda is not doing the trick, try using borax in the same way. It has a more abrasive nature and is still safe to use on delicate surfaces like porcelain and fiberglass.
  • Need something more? Mix 1 part washing soda with 1 part baking soda, or straight up washing soda for intense stains, but best to be safe and wear gloves.
  • If you have some grout to clean, or other surfaces that would benefit from a paste rather than a powder, add enough castile soap or mild dish soap to your powder of choice for a safe, soft scrub.

Did you know that cream of tartar can remove stains from porcelain fixtures? Try it.

Reuse an empty spice jar for your shaker and look for bulk baking soda or the kind that comes in cardboard boxes, not plastic bags.