Make Your Own Gardener’s Hand Scrub

Gardeners Hand Scrub

WELCOME to “Save My Sanity Saturday” at One Good Thing By Jillee….where I attempt to avoid having a nervous breakdown by actually giving myself a day off from blogging once a week!

So pull up a chair and sit back and enjoy an “oldie but goodie” from the One Good Thing By Jillee archives.


–Originally posted March 16, 2012–

I love a great idea that is both useful for my home AND something that would make a great GIFT!

This “Gardener’s Hand Scrub” fits the bill PERFECTLY!

Kate at The Gaines Gang made these as end of the year Teacher Gifts…but this would make a wonderful gift for just about ANYONE who does any gardening at all!


Gardeners Hand Scrub

I used two different sizes of Ball jars, the 8 oz. and the 12 oz., and filled them 3/4 full of sugar.


Gardeners Hand Scrub

I then added Dawn dish soap (the pink kind with with Olay Beauty Hand Renewal in it) until it reached just below the bottom of the mouth of the jar.


Gardeners Hand Scrub

Stir the sugar and soap together….adding sugar a little at a time until it’s a paste-like consistency. You don’t want it to be too runny!

It smells SO good and the light pink color it makes when mixed with the white sugar is SO pretty.


Gardeners Hand Scrub

I also decided to add 4 to 5 drops of Lemon essential oil for its’ antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Plus, it made it smell even better. :-)


Gardeners Hand Scrub

For gift-giving you can add a label to the lid and attach a tag with the following instructions:  To wash the dirt off your hands, use a small amount and rub. The sugar works like an abrasive to remove the dirt, and the soap washes it all away.


Gardeners Hand Scrub

Since I have been potting (a LOT) of flowers this week….I have used a LOT of this scrub! I LOVE IT! It is great at getting my hands CLEAN and it makes them feel so soft!

If you do much gardening (or really ANY greasy/grimy activity)….I highly recommend whipping up a batch! You won’t be sorry! :-)


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  1. Michelle says

    Hi Jill,I work in a factory, and come home with ground in dirt(oil, mineral spirits) on my arms (from rubbing them against my filthy shirt while working)that is hard to get off. I made a batch of this tonight and scrubbed my arms. OMG! It worked wonderful, smelled wonderful, and my arms feel soft and smooth. I wear gloves, so my hands are not an issue, but my hands feel good too. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I also recently made your homemade laundry soap (the dry version) and I love it too. Thank you again.

  2. Jill Nystul says

    Anony….March 18….see today's post. :-)

    Paula…great idea! Then you wouldn't have to put your dirty hands in it!

    Michelle…that is wonderful! Tonight I was handling blueberries and realized my hands were stained blue. Got out the scrub…worked like a charm. :-) LOVE that stuff!

  3. says

    Hi Jill,
    It’s my first time visiting your blog and this hand scrub is easy to make and great for party favors. Plus it looks really, really good. By the way, how about the effect of the soap, does it dry the skin?
    Annabella Merlin
    Creative Photo Albums

    • kathryn says

      The soap has lotion in it already to help the drying, but by putting a little lotion on right after you blot your hands dry, it will keep them very soft. Love this idea… Kathryn

  4. Sharon Murphy says

    Gonna have to make up some of this for my husband for when he come in from working on the car and his hands are covered in grease and oil (perhaps in a different colour for him though). Love your blog so many brilliant ideas.

    • Lynn says

      My Dad was a mechanic and used the blue Dawn to cut thru the grease and oil on his hands. Didn’t “burn” in cuts like some of the marketed mechanic hand cleaners. Hope that helps.

  5. Chrissie says

    I just made this for a friend’s birthday and I did the smallest jar and added about 4-5 drops of peppermint essential oil and it scrubbed so well AND gave it a little peppermint tingle when it was done. Smells SO good.
    I wonder if you could add a little honey. I’ll try that next time. Thank you

  6. dlom says

    A much healthier & better way as to not support the 10 corp giants that are controlling everything we do is to use lemon juice, honey, your favorite oil like olive, almond or coconut, sugar & even a homemade glycerin soap, Dr Bonners, Woods, etc. They work great, no chemicals in us or our water and it is much more hydrating.

  7. marijka says

    About 25 years ago a nail tech used sugar and Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint soap to scrub my feet and legs during a pedicure. I’ve been using it as a body scrub ever since, but be sure to avoid the decolletage and face – too rough.

  8. Matrina Parker says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! My mother-in-law gave me something similar at Christmas and I have been looking for a way to make some more. My hands will get so dry and scruffy sometimes that when I’m folding laundry the fabric would “stick” to the rough patches on my hands! Sugar scrub makes them nice and soft again and gets all the stains out of my handprints…AWESOME!

  9. Patricia says

    This made a great end of the school year teacher’s gift! It was simple enough that my 7 yr old son mixed it himself, he was so proud :) His teacher also commented that her and her husband liked it! I gave her the recipe but was almost embarrassed by how super easy it is to make! lol Thanks for this little project and this whole entire site, I’m enjoying all your posts!

  10. Ann says

    This looks like a great idea – I use a different scrub tho. I pour a handful of salt into my palm then top it up with olive oil (or any other handy cooking oil). Once I’ve given my hands the big scrub, they easily wash up with a little normal hand soap – it also leaves them feeling soft and very smooooth!

  11. Claudia says

    I just whipped up a batch of some similar stuff….I used the sugar, but only had Palmolive brand antibacterial orange smelling stuff, and I also added some fresh thyme…..My hands are very soft after washing with this and I plan on making some more for gifts, but I would like to try other scents! I will take this to work tomorrow, to see how my co-workers like it.

      • Diane H. says

        I found some 12 oz clear containers with screw on lids at Staples today in the Dollar Bins (they were $2 ea). The cool thing is that they stack and you twist the container so it locks to the one above it. No worries of broken glass jars for recipes like this and the salt/sugar scrubs for shower & feet. Perfect size. I made 2 – 1 to keep at the kitchen sink and 1 to keep by the waterhose.

  12. Natasha says

    I just made this hand scrub and it is amazing! I actually substituted the dawn dish soap for Great Value Hand Rejuvenation Dishwashing Liquid in the pomegranate scent. It was only $3.97 for 60oz @ Walmart ..much cheaper then the Dawn :)
    Thanks so much for all the great ideas!

    • Lila says

      That is what I used and it separates with foam on top, pink in the middle and sugar on the bottom and I have to stir it every time I use it. That does not make me happy. Mine does not look a pretty solid color like hers so wondering what i did wrong?? Is it because I used the Walmart stuff – did yours separate?

        • Heidi says

          I used the Wal-mart brand and had it separate also…I was wondering if the off brand was wondering if the off brand was a thinner liquid then dawn. I’m going to add more sugar to mine and see if that helps.

          • Natalie says

            I also used the great value brand and mine separated overnight. I added more sugar and it still separated. It must be something in the off brand. I don’t mine it for me, I just stir it before I use it. I plan on making this for Christmas gifts, and I will use the brand name for that so it doesn’t separate for them.

            • Lucy says

              Mine separated, too. I put mine in the microwave for a minute to dissolve the sugar just a tad. It seems to hold together now. The only issue is that I have a thicker crusty layer on top this morning. I will put all of this through a mesh strainer and I think it will be fine. At least is all stayed together now.

              • Leigh Ann says

                I tried the Palmoliv soft touch with Aloe. I did 1/3 cup of soap to 2/3 cup of sugar. I was thinking it was suppose to be running but reading now it should be more like a paste. My also has separated but I will try adding more sugar. If I can find the Dawn I will test it too. I am hoping to make some of these for Christmas gifts.

                Jill I have just started visiting your site and I love it.

                • debby stigall says

                  mine separated too. I used the Walmart brand. BUT, i was putting too much of the liquid soap in it. added more sugar and made a thick paste. works fine now. no separation after a week or so now. :-)

                  • Marjorie says

                    I used Sunlight Hand Replenisher with Soy in a delicious Pomegranate scent and mine is separating as well. So it’s not just the Walmart brand. I’ll try adding more sugar. Some have separated and some haven’t.
                    I bought 3 packs of jars at the dollar store so I’ve made 9 for gifts and filled a baby food jar with some for me.
                    When I mixed it, the colour diluted to a pale pink, but I liked the almost melon colour of the soap, so I mixed pink and yellow food colouring and got it close to the soap colour.
                    This is wonderful – it removed marker and even spray paint from my hands and it smells so good I keep wanting to taste it!

    • JenS says

      Sugar is a natural cleaner/degreaser

      There are lots of cleaning products called “sugar soap” that people use to cut grease, oil, grime and dirt from anything. Also used to prep for things like painting as it scores the wall as you clean.
      And lots of mechanics use this stuff called “gojo soap” to get grease and oil off their hands… and now that i think of it, it feels like soap that has sugar in it. It was my favorite soap cause it scrubbed everything off, and when i was little i would go out to my dad’s shop just to use it.

      I will totally be making and using this!!
      Cheap and Easy, just how I like it!!! ;)

    • Loring says

      You can get the little wooden scoops at Michaels has fragrances for soaps and such. A little essential oil (cooking grade) would be great. Almond or pepperment would be my choice. I would add a little something for softness…

    • Renee says

      I found the little wood spoons at Michael’s and right next to them there was a little pocket drill kit perfect for hand drilling a hole just the right size to thread ribbon or string to tie around the jar.

    • Karen says

      I suppose you could put the scrub into an old *Soft Scrub bottle, or even a squeeze mayo container or something similar to keep by the sink. That way you wouldn’t have to get it dirty by scooping out with your hands or have to use a spoon.

  13. KathleenSews says

    More than a decade ago there was an expensive “Magic Hand Treatment” sold in Europe that somebody figured out was kosher salt and olive oil with a few drops perfume. I’ve used that for over 10 years for exfoliating and moisturizing my hands after scrubbing them. I’ve got to try this. Thank you.

  14. Kayleigh says

    So going to make this for my boyfriend, who actually is eager to try all my homemade stuff. He works in a parts store and always comes home with greasy hands and arms. Dawn is a wonderful grease cutter so I bet this will work as well, if not better, than the orange gojo with pumice that he buys that is getting expensive. Thanks so much for another amazing post. I’m busy filing a notebook with all your wonderful ideas so I can have a quick reference.

  15. Carol says

    OMG, I ADORE you!! This is the best. Followed it up with my favorite hand lotion and it feels like i just walked out of a manicure. All my girlfriends are getting a pampering basket for Christmas and this will definately be in it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :)

  16. Judy says

    To all who are asking if this needs to be refrigerated – the answer is no. There is nothing in it that needs refrigeration to begin with, so mixing the sugar and the soap would not necessitate further refrigeration. If anything, it would make the mixture thicker and harder to use.

  17. Anna says

    Just wanted to let you know that I went to the store today to get the Dawn for this and there were 4 other flavors of the Dawn with Olay. Aloe Vera (Green)/ Cool Springs (Blue)/ Tropical Shea Butter (White) (The one I got!!!) / Lavender Silk (Purple).

    This is awesome!!!!


  18. Jo says

    I think this will be great for artists working in acrylics, maybe even oils, especially with the olive oil added. If anyone is working on a horse farm, this is something to look forward to when coming in from the barn.
    Found this on Pinterist.

  19. says

    Just made a batch to try and LOVE it! My hands feel great and I’m thinking of using this on my feet too. While I was at it, I made 6 more jars to give to my friends. Thank you!!!! Oh, and I will look for the other colors thanks for the tip!

  20. Rayleene says

    I love this!! I’ve actually tried the Mary Kay satin hand scrub and loved it and I think this does wok just as well and you can make sooo much I actually put some coconut oil in mine to make my hands more softer n it’s awesome :) I use it on my feet as well and make it for gifts the dollar store has a bunch of jars or containers for this for gifts..

  21. Teresa says

    Made this today to give as a gift to my bestie and my mother in law, both avid gardeners. I LOVE the scrub! It smells good and made my hands so soft! I know they’re going to love it too! Just so you know, I saw this on Pinterest…I’ve got you bookmarked now!

  22. Johanna says

    I stumbled across this same recipe. Sugar and dawn dish (used the blue kind) soap about 10 years ago. My father used to have a hand wash that was really gritty, he would use it after he worked with oil or anything really and it worked wonders. I never could seem to find where he got it, I tried using sugar one day and it worked just like a charm. I told me father about it, he laughed, but I showed him, how well it worked. I dipped my hands in glue, oil from a car, and other sticky very messing things. He switched over to the sugar dawn mix and never looked back. I’ve never thought about using the dawn with Olay in it, great idea.

  23. kemeschmu says

    Thought I’d share what I tried.. I use Palmolive for dry skin with aloe, and I have a nautical theme in my bathroom, and it looks great. I little blue, and I glued seashells on it and it blends right in. Great idea, thank you.

  24. Kathi says

    I just made a large batch of the hand scrub for my husband who is an automechanic. As you can imagine his hands get very dirty. I made it with green Dawn so he wouldn’t have to use the pink lol. I used it myself and my hands feel very soft. I have found that you really have to take your time rinsing it off or it seems to leave a flim on them. Oh well still love it.


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