It’s that time of year when gardening hands become permanently begrimed, even through gloves, unless serious action is taken. Around this time of year, I usually mix up my first batch of simple olive oil-and-salt scrub that I keep on the kitchen sink for post-gardening clean-up. This past year, though, I’ve been less satisfied with that basic remedy, and this spring I began experimenting with a better mixture that would be creamier, more moisturizing, and easier to rinse off. I’m happy to say that I finally hit on just the right combination!
This dirt-busting scrub incorporates coconut oil and liquid hand soap, and it really is just about perfect. I use it on my hands as well as Niko’s and Sofie’s. It’s gentle enough to use on little ones, but tough enough to scour off even our iron-rich, clay-based soil. It’s also excellent for cleaning off engine grease and tree sap, and scrubbing off leftover sticky labels from jars! On my own hands, I like to use a bit extra for massaging my cuticles before rinsing it off, because the coconut and olive oils are great for giving dry cuticles a moisture boost.
The recipe I’ve given here makes a small batch. I recommend starting small until you see how fast you use the scrub, especially if you’re making it during warm summer months. It doesn’t happen often, but I have had a similar mixture turn rancid after a couple of months in a hot kitchen without air conditioning. I recently made a batch about three times this one, because our family uses it pretty fast.
I like blending salt and sugar because the crystals are different shapes and sizes, so they pack an extra punch as they get into all the crevices of hard-working hands and feet. You could experiment with other crystal sizes, like fine canning salt and coarser sea salt. Be prepared to adjust the amounts of oil needed. It will fill in the spaces between larger and smaller crystals differently: the finer the crystals are, the more oil you’ll need.
To make this easy hand scrub, start by blending one tablespoon of coconut oil with 1/2 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of sugar. Blend till there are no lumps of coconut oil left, and then add 1 tablespoon of liquid hand soap and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend thoroughly. It should look smooth and creamy, with maybe a little olive oil pooling around the edges if you stop stirring. The pooling is just fine — if you use less oil, it will settle below the surface, making the scrub harder to scoop.
Before storing the scrub in a bowl or jar with a firmly-fitting lid, you could add a few drops of essential oils for scent or for extra cleaning or healing power. My go-to oil mix is a few drops of lemon, which is a good cleanser and has a fresh, cheerful scent, and a couple of drops (not too much!) of lavender, which will soothe dry or irritated skin. With my most recent batch, I used DoTerra’s OnGuard blend, an orange-cinnamon blend that’s supposed to boost your immune system’s efficiency. The orange oil, like lemon oil, is an excellent cleaner, and the warm cinnamon smell makes it perfect for a kitchen scrub. In addition to the essential oil, if you have jojoba oil on hand, a drizzle of that will be even more moisturizing and healing for chapped skin.
This creamy scrub is getting some heavy use in our house! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.