DIY Cleaners : Soft Cleaning Paste

Soft Cleaning Paste - the perfect scrub - Clean Mama

I’ve been sharing my favorite DIY Cleaners for spring cleaning this week and I just LOVE this soft cleaning paste.  It is perfect for bathrooms, tubs, tile, faucets….anywhere you need a little paste to get rid of soap scum, water spots, and just plain old dirt.

PLEASE NOTE : If you want to store this recipe (that’s what I do) make sure that you are mixing it up a little on the drier/ not liquid-y side.  If it’s too runny, it will expand inside the container when it’s drying.

Soft Cleaning Paste -ingredients - Clean Mama


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid (preservative)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons castile soap or dish soap
  • 10- 20 drops essential oils ( I use lemon and peppermint)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup white vinegar (depending on desired consistency – do not go over 3/4 cup)

Soft Cleaning Paste - mix into a paste - Clean Mama

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add soap and essential oils and carefully add 1/2 cup of white vinegar (it will bubble a bit).  Mix thoroughly and add up to 1/4 cup more vinegar if you want more of a sauce than a paste.  Store in a sealed container – it should last at least a month in a cool dark place.  Scoop out a tablespoon or two and apply with a sponge or a scrub brush and scrub away.  Rinse thoroughly.

Soft Cleaning Paste - Clean Mama

If you’d rather purchase this recipe already on an adorable label with or without a mason jar to store it in – look no further than Clean Mama Home:

Mason Jar + Labels - Clean Mama

More posts in this series – just click on the image to go to the post:

All-Purpose Spray - Clean Just About Anywhere Spary - Clean Mama

The Perfect DIY Glass Cleaner - Clean Mama

Essential Tools for Spring Cleaning - Clean Mama

Come Spring Clean Challenge - main Clean Mama

DIY Cleaners Ingredient Storage - Clean Mama


  1. I live in Canada and love your book! Unfortunately l’m having a hard time finding Arm & Hammer washing soda. Any suggestions where can find some here?

  2. I’m familiar with Arm & Hammer baking soda. But what is washing soda?

  3. I made the soft cleaning paste and tried it on the top of my oven but found that it left white streaks. What should I do?

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Becky, I just found your site and love your ideas (and all the aqua!). I plan to make several of your cleaning recipes.
    Can you tell me if the soft cleansing paste is safe on a fiberglass garden tub? Thank you.

  5. Please let people know citric acid is not just lemons anymore. It is made from corn and molasses mold, solvents etc..
    and some people do not do well with it. I am concerned for those who may have asthma/allergies and do not know this.

  6. Brittany says:

    Is there any substitution for washing soda? I live overseas and can’t get that…

      • Angelique says:

        Hi Becky,
        I’ve been e-mailing everywhere to find washing soda and just about now I found this post with the “how to…” Here in Sweden it’s hard finding any Arms & Hammer products but I did find baking soda, so now I can make washing soda too. So happy!!! Thank you Becky for you lovely website. It’s abit hard finding a few of the products you recommend, but I try to find substitutes that are “legal” here in Sweden.

  7. Hi Becky,
    I’ve been working on using safer/greener cleaning products which led me to your webpage. I love it and can’t wait to receive your books. The one place where I have trouble is the bathroom, especially the tub. I’ve used so many harsh chemicals that about suffocate me and still, I couldn’t get it clean. Until today anyway. I just made your recipe for soft cleaning paste and it worked so well with little effort. Thank you so much. Next is disinfecting spray. I’ve never been so excited to clean before. Thanks again!

  8. I used this today and it’s great!
    Is it normal for the mixture to be warm in the jar however? I don’t want to put the lid on it because of that factor.

  9. This mixture is no longer warm which is good but when I went to use it today, it had gone hard in the jar…..definitely not a paste anymore. I used 1/2 cup vinegar when making it, Should I add more?

  10. I recently read that vinegar should not be combined with castile soap, as it breaks the castile soap down into it’s original form and makes it oily. Have you ever noticed this being an issue? Or does it add to the intended effectiveness? What exactly is the purpose of the castile soap if it does breakdown? Perhaps just to contribute to the paste-y texture?

    (Not trying to poke holes or anything! I’ve made some, although I haven’t used it yet. Based on your trust in it, I’m sure it *works*, the little factoid I read got my curiosity peaked, that’s all!)

  11. What is citric acid (preservatives)???

  12. Terri upshaw says:

    Is this citric acid put into recipe from oranges,lemons our grape fruit??? Just wondering because I never heard of that before.

  13. So I can use the juice from oranges,lemons,grapefruit as citric acid to mix in the recipe???

  14. Oh my goodness! This is changing my life right now!! Thank you!!

  15. I have a question on mixing & storing baking soda and vinegar. Wouldn’t this just turn into a slightly salty water since they neutralize each other? Or do the other ingredients affect the chemistry of this? I can see mixing this together when using right away but something about storing the mixture just seems like it would be not as effective over a few days. Maybe I’m just overthinking this. Thanks 🙂

    • In this recipe it works and doesn’t neutralize each other out. You can also sub out the vinegar for water or rubbing alcohol.

  16. Paige Looney says:

    Hello, Love your site!! Question – can I use pink Himalayan salt for the Kosher salt? That’s all I have in the house, or I can pick up Kosher at the store. Thank you!! 🙂

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