All-Natural Moisturizing Kitchen Hand Scrub

Frugal Recipes, Kitchen Gifts, Kitchen Tips & Tricks | 89 comments

This is a different sort of post. It doesn’t involve a recipe for something you’d eat, but it is made from all natural kitchen products and it’s a great gift for anyone who likes pretty things or pampering, but especially someone who is an avid cook and suffers from chronic dry skin due to all the hand washing in the kitchen.

Keep this gift in mind as an inexpensive option for those end of the school year teacher gifts as well. Something handmade, pretty, and useful always makes a nice gift for those teachers who work so hard with our children. Did I mention that it is inexpensive and easy to make ? It is also a great way to reuse empty jam jars or canning jars you have at home.

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recipe for homemade hand scrub

Olive oil moisturizes, lemon freshens and is especially good for removing onion and garlic odors from the skin, the sugar/salt combo exfoliates dry skin and renews the appearance of your hands. Salt can be drying, so you wouldn’t want to make the scrub entirely of salt, but I added a bit for some coarser pieces. If you’d rather, simply replace the amount designated for the salt with additional sugar.

Moisturizing Kitchen Hand Scrub

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1 1/2 c sugar
1/3 c kosher salt
zest of 1 extra large lemon (or other citrus)
1 c olive oil
1/4 tsp pure lemon extract, optional


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. If you would like a slightly stronger fragrance, add the extract. Spoon into a pretty jar, tighten the lid. Wipe any spills or drips from the outside of the jar. Alternatively, you can use orange or lime zest for a different fresh citrus smell. For an extra touch, tie a pretty bow around the jar if you plan to gift this scrub. This makes enough for a 1 pint canning jar.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Kristen - March 05, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

    I think I may make some of this today. Wonder if I could do with Lime instead?


    • Linda replied: — April 9th, 2012 @ 6:13 AM

      it says any citrus fruit.

  • 2
    Anonymous - March 05, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

    I printed this recipe and I am going to make some as gifts for some fellow teachers and for my family.Thanks for the “recipe” Katie!Blessings, moo


  • 3
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - March 05, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

    Kristen – I think any citrus zest would be great! Let me know how it turns out.


  • 4
    Brooke - March 05, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

    What a great idea and what a cute design for your blog! I love it!


  • 5
    Anonymous - March 05, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    Could you just add some of the lemon juice instead of extract? Or would that break down the salt/sugar too much?


  • 6
    WheatFreeMeatFree - March 05, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

    My hands are definitely in need of a moisturizing scrub. This is such a fun idea. I’ll have to whip up a batch soon.


  • 7
    Amanda Elizabeth - March 05, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

    this is awesome!


  • 8
    kim. - March 05, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    This is a great idea and so easy. I’ve got to make a note to make this ASAP. (And I am SO going to go through your recipes as I’m cooking up a storm in my new kitchen!)


  • 9
    kelli - March 06, 2009 @ 6:53 am

    Any idea what kind of expiration date this has?Also, I’ve made a similar mix of just olive oil and sugar for my lips – works great!


  • 10
    Anonymous - March 06, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

    This scrub is awesome! I used grapefruit zest and all sugar, no salt. I have one jar by the kitchen sink and one in the shower to soften rough feet, knees and elbows. Thanks so much for this recipe!cheft


  • 11
    beth - March 07, 2009 @ 1:17 am

    this is awesome and what a wonderful gift to give. i can see it with a pretty ribbon and a small wooden spoon. looks easy enough for me to make.


  • 12
    Anonymous - March 07, 2009 @ 2:54 am

    Wow, that looks so pretty in the jars, can’t wait to make some. I love the citrus scent, too. Thanks! luvs


  • 13
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - March 07, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

    kelli – I hadn’t even thought about that. If you’re worried about it you could keep it in the fridge to extend the life of it or make a smaller batch at a time. Without the zest I suppose it would probably last for quite some time. I think you’ll find that it gets used up fairly quick though.


  • 14
    Sandy Smith - March 07, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

    This is terrific ~ just what I need. No chemicals fresh-citrus-scented, perfect!! Can’t wait to make some.


  • 15
    pamwest - March 11, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

    This looks absolutely fab, am going to try it out. Think I might try a nut oil or maybe hemp as I heard that it is absorbed into the skin easier.


  • 16
    Anonymous - April 13, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

    watch out adding lime, just a small amount on your skin, add some sunshine and you have an instant rash!


  • 17
    Amanda - April 16, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

    Wonderful! Any idea how long this will last? An do you have to keep it in the fridge?


  • 18
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - April 17, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

    Amanda – I don’t keep mine in the fridge. It’s in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I still have the one I made for this post and it is fine. The lemon zest doesn’t really go bad.


  • 19
    Amanda - April 17, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    Awesome thanks!


  • 20
    Daphne - May 04, 2009 @ 2:08 am

    I love this idea! I just stumbled upon your site and can’t wait to take a look around. :)


  • 21
    Anonymous - May 04, 2009 @ 5:02 am

    is there a shelf life for this item, I know if you process the jar like you would for canning it will seal and be ok, but unsealed how ling will it last? Does it need to be kept in the ‘fridge?


    • Dana replied: — October 11th, 2011 @ 7:33 PM

      could you process it for canning? if so how long would you let it process?

      • Katie Goodman

        Katie replied: — October 12th, 2011 @ 12:34 PM

        I am a very inexperienced canner so I don’t know about that. It will last longer if you use essential oils instead of the zest if that is what your concern is. I like I like doTERRA essential oils.

    • tammy replied: — December 21st, 2011 @ 12:31 PM

      doterra oils are amazing!!!! love mine! what a fab idea!

  • 22
    Angela@spinachtiger - May 07, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

    Love this. I’m wondering if I could make this with orange and vanilla or lemon/thyme vanilla. If I do, I’ll let you know how it comes out.


  • 23
    windylou - May 16, 2009 @ 3:28 am

    I’m going to try it for teacher’s gifts. Thanks for posting the “recipe”


  • 24
    Lowbudget - June 21, 2009 @ 3:50 am

    I tried this with my team at work. It was so much fun making it and trying it out! Thanks for the neat idea!


  • 25
    Cristie - July 06, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

    This would be a great neighbor gift at Christmas time. Thanks for sharing.


  • 26
    Heather Brandt - July 24, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    Does this work for feet? I really need a good scrub for my feet….heatherlbrandt (at) verizon (dot) net


  • 27
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - July 24, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

    Heather – this is great on feet!


  • 28
    Dawn - December 16, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

    oh very interesting…thanks!


  • 29
    Teresa - September 14, 2010 @ 12:42 pm



  • 30
    Lindsay - November 10, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful idea! I just started a blog, and made this today and posted about it. I linked to your website, hope that was ok.
    You have a beautiful blog!


  • 31
    jacqueline - December 16, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

    I just tested this with grapefruit zest and it is wonderful. I would, next time, use a little less olive oil, but otherwise it is sensational! I am going to make a few jars to give to my friends for the holidays. Easy, smells nice, and different than baked goods! Thank you!


  • 32
    Tracy - January 11, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    This is such a great gift idea!


  • 33
    Christine - January 24, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

    I’m wondering if you can add some essential oils in place of the extract. Like – making a peppermint sugar scrub (soothing for the feet) or peppermint and orange (both are useful in restoring moisture).


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — January 24th, 2011 @ 8:39 PM

      Absolutely – just leave the zest out. This is something I’ve been wanting to do as well but haven’t had the chance to pick up any oils.

    • Heather replied: — October 11th, 2011 @ 7:58 PM

      essential oil was exactly what I was thinking!!! You could use what ever fragrance you love.

  • 34
    jodie g - October 09, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    I think it would be *really* cute to do 4 baby food jars with grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime, print out a cute label on each listing the ingredients stack them on top of each other wrap them up with a ribbon in the classic or ‘criss cross’ pattern with a pretty bow on top! Perfect present for in laws, teachers, friends!


    • Heather replied: — October 11th, 2011 @ 7:59 PM

      Absolutely ADORABLE idea!!!!!!

  • 35
    Mona Hickey - October 10, 2011 @ 6:32 am

    I am looking forward to making this. I have a sensitivity to odors and have to be very careful with soaps, detergents, and cleaning products.. Even the so-called unscented hand soaps sometimes bother me. I love the smell of lemons, so this is perfect for me! Thanks!


  • 36
    melissa - October 11, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    Is it ok to us lavender instead of lemon?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 11th, 2011 @ 5:47 PM


  • 37
    Heather - October 12, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Can you tell us where you purchased the cute jars and ribbon?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 12th, 2011 @ 11:05 AM

      The jars are just regular Ball canning jars. They’re available at my grocery store. The ribbon I got at Micheal’s. The one around the lid is sticky on the other side. I think it might have been a Martha Stewart line.

  • 38
    shannon cartwright - October 12, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    How long will this keep? I am starting to make christmas gifts now and would like to store them, but naturally I don’t want it to go rancid. Thanks :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 12th, 2011 @ 12:32 PM

      A few weeks with the zest, but you could use lemon (or other scent) essential oils and it will last as long as the oil keeps. I like doTERRA essential oils.

  • 39
    Lindsay - October 12, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    I love the idea of the zest but I am going to make some for gifts and I don’t want to have to worry about them going bad so I think I am going to do just lemon essential oils (I LOVE LOVE lemon)! So how much should I add if I am just using essential oils?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 12th, 2011 @ 8:50 PM

      I would start with 4-6 drops of the oil and then test it to see if the scent is strong enough. It varies depending on the brand of oil too as some are more pure than others. I really like doTERRA. They are the best on the market, in my opinion.

  • 40
    Michelle - October 16, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    Great idea!


  • 41
    Dana - October 18, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    1/4 tsp pure lemon extract, optional

    is this optional to use in place of the zest..or just to give a stronger fragrance?


  • 42
    Ruth - October 20, 2011 @ 4:13 am

    Would there be an reason NOT to use lavender oil? I’m obsessed with the smell lately, and think it would be a great bathroom addition, along with a kitchen lemon scrub. Thanks for the great teacher-gift ideas.


    • Ruth replied: — October 20th, 2011 @ 4:28 AM

      Also, would you still put the lemon zest in it, or a less fragrant citrus juice? What would that less fragrant zest be?

      • Katie Goodman

        Katie replied: — October 20th, 2011 @ 11:58 AM

        Lemon and lavender go nicely together if you would like to have two complimentary scents.

    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 20th, 2011 @ 11:58 AM

      Lavender is fine. This is easily customizable to personal preferences by substituting essential oils for the lemon zest.

  • 43
    diane - October 29, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

    Hi Katie! I love this, and it’s on my TO DO list for teachers! can you tell me, could I TOTALLY wack this recipe, and leave out the lemon and add pure vanilla extract instead? do you have any idea? Thank you for taking the time to answer comments, too…. I have LOVED reading them!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 30th, 2011 @ 6:26 PM

      Hi Diane – I have no idea on the vanilla extract since I have not tried that. Perhaps try an essential oil instead if you do not like/want the lemon.

  • 44
    Jami - November 02, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

    Could you use coconut oil in place of the olive oil?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 2nd, 2011 @ 3:26 PM

      If it is liquid coconut oil that would work, but I don’t know about the kind that is solid at room temp.

  • 45
    Peggy - November 06, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    I have lurked about but never left a comment. I just want to say thank you for all the great gift ideas!! I have made salt/sugar scrubs for a number of years and have found they have a fairly long shelf life. Sugar and salt are both natural preservatives and the oil typically does not go rancid unless it is exposed to high temperatures. I usually make mine around the beginning of November to give as Christmas presents.

    Keep up the great work!


  • 46
    Heather - November 16, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

    Wow – Thank you for all your inspiration, such great ideas !
    I noticed on the Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub that you have kosher or epsom salt – will epsom salt work with the Natural Moisturizing Kitchen Hand Scrub too?
    Thanks so much :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 16th, 2011 @ 2:33 PM

      I haven’t tried it in that one yet but I’m sure it would be fine.

  • 47
    50+ and on the Run - November 18, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    This looks great, can’t wait to experiment with other scents! Thank you for posting.


  • 48
    Abby - November 21, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    If I wanted to make this a different fragrance, I would leave out the lemon zest and the pure lemon extract, and just use whatever fragrance I wanted, correct?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 21st, 2011 @ 8:02 AM

      Correct. I have used orange instead of lemon and also essential oils.

  • 49
    Shianne - November 30, 2011 @ 3:23 am

    I just went in the kitchen made and tried it out myself. My hands feel heavenly. I’m a nurse and wash my hands in excess at times. They are often dry and sometimes cracked but not now. However I don’t know if I did something wrong but mine smells like olive oil. I even put extra lemon extract in it.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 30th, 2011 @ 10:13 AM

      You could try using a lighter olive oil or canola oil instead, but I like the fresh scent of lemon and olive oil for the kitchen. If you want no scent from oil, try doTERRA’s Fractionated Coconut Oil. It is completely unscented and silky smooth. I didn’t know about this brand back when I made the original scrub recipe, so that is why I had used olive oil.

  • 50
    Irena - December 12, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    Hi! Thanks for this great recepie! I have just tried it and it’s great.


  • 51
    Jamie - December 19, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    I just made this for Teacher gifts for Christmas. I tested a little and it is amazing! I think my husband is going to love it, his hands get terrible delivering mail in the MN winters. I too had trouble getting mine to smell like the Lemon essential oil (Used probably 30-40 drops in my double batch of scrub), smelled more like the olive oil. Works great though, hope the teachers appreciate it!
    Thanks fro the great idea!


  • 52
    Kelly - December 27, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

    I’ve made several batches of this for gifts over the past few days and have tried several variations including, Orange-Clove (using orange zest, clove oil, orange extract & olive oil). I’ve also found that grapeseed oil is a much lighter color and has a very light scent which doesn’t overpower the citrus or essential oils the way the olive oil does. These hand scrub variations might be my new hobby!


  • 53
    Jennifer - January 04, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    I’ve made several batches of this for gifts this holiday season and also several for myself. I tried it with olive oil, but thought that the it over powered the lemon scent. Then I tried both safflower and sunflower oils which are still affordable and easy to find. I liked both of them much better.


  • 54
    Sheena - January 09, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    I recently read a post on a homemade face cleanser (made with oils) they suggested using sunflower oil for the moisturizing part of the cleanser, stating that it is more moisturizing than olive oil. I have yet to try it but thought I’d suggest it since they say that and some have mentioned the olive oil scent is too strong…I’m not sure about the scent of sunflower oil.


    • Sheena replied: — January 9th, 2012 @ 6:14 PM

      Also wanted to say this sounds great and I can’t wait to try it and share it!!

  • 55
    Pam Byington - February 04, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    this would be a great mothers day gift or house warming,or just for myself!


  • 56
    Cheryl - March 06, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    Great idea! Thanks for the idea.


  • 57
    Linda Reynolds - April 04, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    You are so refreshing! This website, your ideas and tips are so helpful to me….I’ve learned so much…and I’m sure I’m more than twice your age!!

    You are a delight and I pray much good things for you and your family….<lbr

    Linda Reynolds
    South Carolina


  • 58
    Marissa - April 17, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    Can you substitute epsom salt for salt? just wondering.. I’m going to try a batch of this!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 17th, 2012 @ 12:41 PM

      I have not personally tried that substitution. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it works.

  • 59
    kirsten - May 17, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    I made this for a graduation present for my friend. I used Orange and a Strawberry extract, smells okay, but could have used way less oil. What should I do to make it less oily?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — May 18th, 2012 @ 10:28 AM

      I’ve never had a problem with it having “too much oil” as you have experienced, but the way I would troubleshoot is to add more sugar and/or salt until you reach whatever consistency it is that you desire.

  • 60
    M - May 21, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    I made it…. and STILL love it!!!!


  • 61
    BarefootMedStudent - July 29, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

    This looks positively wonderful! As a student on a tight budget, I always struggle with nice gifts. I’ll certainly try to make this one for the ladies in my family.


  • 62
    Lucas - November 12, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    It turned out to grainy the sugar didn’t disolve


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 12th, 2012 @ 4:42 PM

      The sugar isn’t meant to dissolve because it is meant to be a scrub to exfoliate, polish, and moisturize dry kitchen hands.

  • 63
    Amy - November 14, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    I love this!! I am going to try it with peppermint though for Christmas gifts!


  • 64
    Bridget Rouser - December 23, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

    Made this as Christmas presents. Even my 13 year old son couldn’t believe how nice it made his hands feel!!!!!


  • 65
    Kayla - December 08, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

    How long would this keep since there is food in it?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie Goodman replied: — December 13th, 2014 @ 2:01 PM

      I don’t really have an answer to that. I use mine up pretty quickly. You can make smaller batches if you are worried, store in the refrigerator, or use essential oils instead of lemon zest for the scent.

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