Creamy Coconut Hand Scrub

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.

Crystals of different sizes: fine canning salt, coarse sea salt, and table salt.
Crystals of different sizes: fine canning salt, coarse sea salt, and table salt.

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.

A creamy scrub.
A creamy scrub.

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.

An assortment of ingredients for a creamy hand scrub: olive oil, hand soap, coconut oil, salts, essential oils, and jojoba oil.
An assortment of ingredients for a creamy hand scrub: olive oil, hand soap, coconut oil, salts, essential oils, and jojoba oil.

This creamy scrub is getting some heavy use in our house! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.