Homemade Mechanic’s Tough Hand Cleaner Recipe

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Mechanics Tough Hand Cleaner Recipe

This mechanic’s tough hand cleaner recipe makes a hand cleaner that can help the greasiest mechanic at a fraction of the cost of the store bought cleaner!

Mechanic’s Tough Hand Cleaner Recipe

1/4 cup Fels Naptha*, grated
2 Tbsp. fine sand or pumice
1 cup water
2 cup plastic container (16 oz. cottage cheese container works great)

Place soap and water in a saucepan. Place over low heat; stir until soap is melted. After mixture cools, add mason’s sand or pumice. Store in a cottage cheese container or margarine tub. Dip fingers into soap mixture and lather hands. Rinse well.

*Any grated bar of soap will work but Fels Naptha removes the stains better.

Tip: Buy 1 gallon of bubble bath and use instead of liquid hand soap. It is much cheaper and smells better than regular hand soap.


This recipe is from the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. For more easy recipes like this, check out Dining On A Dime here!



  1. Lynda says

    You made me cry when I read about sending my kids to their room to cleasn it when their father and I dont clean up after themselves. Its true, how many times Ive made my son angry with me for doing this!

  2. says

    I am excited about the bubble bath idea. It will smell nice too. I do buy cheap dish soap for my kitchen hand soap dispenser, but I do like a nice smell hand cleaner for the bath room.

  3. says

    Thath’s a great recipe. I wonder if it would work with sugar, too? I have more access to sugar than sand :) :)

    Fels Naptha is fabulous. I’ve used that in my homemade laundry powder recipes, too :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :)

    • says

      Try it with the sugar Heather I don’t think it would hurt. The thing with the sand is it is a little more abrasive where with the sugar you would have a less harsh scrub. You can find sand in the craft section of places like wal mart, a garden center and often if you just look around your yard you might find some sand there. When I started writng this I started chuckling because you signed your post “ocean shores” you could grab a handful if you go to the beach one day. I know what you mean though I like to use just what I have on hand and not have to make a trip somewhere to get what I need so I’m just teasing. : )

  4. Mary Jane says

    I save all my bar soap “scraps’–the ones that get two
    small and mooshy to handle and I soak them with water in a closed tub to make my own “soft soap” to keep in the kitchen in a used pump bottle from the same.

  5. Marcia says

    I would think washing soda might be a bit tough on your skin. I’d check the box to see what that says about skin exposure. Borax might work…I seem to remember a powdered hand cleaner at school called Boraxo or some such thing and I think that had borax in it.

    • says

      The washing soda is probably better in this case because this is not a hand cleaner for babies or women who have delicate soft hands. This is a tough hand cleaner for men or women who have worked on a car or something like that and have thick grease on their hands and in their pores. The washing soda’s main job is cutting tough grease and has been used for years for that purpose. It is kind of like the difference of using a feather duster to clean a garage floor or a nice stiff scrub brush. Different hand cleaners have different purposes and this one is for the rough and tough.

  6. Maleena says

    I’m excited! My kids and I are going to see if we can whip some of this up for my Father-in-Law for Father’s Day. He does a ton of work on cars and is constantly building or doing some type of project. I think he’s really going to love it. :)

  7. Deborann says

    Use to work at a childcare business. Only soap they used was the bubble bath-dispensed by the pump soap dispensers.
    Much Cheaper and hands were just as clean.

  8. Barbara says

    I’m confused. How do the ingredients in the recipe equal 4 cups of product, enough to fill 2 16 oz cottage cheese containers. And, how does the 1 gal of bubble bath fit into the recipe? Do you disregard the regard the recipe & just use the bubble bath? Help?

    • says

      Barbara it doesn’t make 4 cups of product we were just suggesting recycling an old cottage cheese container and mentioned a 16 oz. one because it would be plenty big for this purpose. The bubble bath tip was just a second tip or idea for you to use if you didn’t want to make your own but needed something cheaper.

        • says

          That’s what we are here for. Don’t feel bad there are some days I will look at something and for the life of me can’t figure it out and my grandkids will say “Nan this is what it means” how dumb do I feel when it is my 5 year old grandson telling me this. :)

  9. harold says

    Do you have anymore Natural Hand Cleaner Formula’s? Something that will take off grease and oil but is gentle to the skin. Thanks, Harold Rader.

  10. mary says

    To add to your hand soap tip. The “body wash” products you can get on sale regularly make great bubble bath for a jetted tub. Around here usually the nice bubble bathes are more expensive than the body wash products.

  11. astrid ferreira says

    I am looking at making a real tough handcleaner to sell to garages to mechanics. Any suggestions?

    • says

      I don’t know if you have tried this recipe in this article or not but it is pretty strong with the pumice and this was made for mechanics and those with extra hard to clean hands.

  12. marisa says

    all the sand sunk to the bottom of the pan of the soap and water mixture for the “mechanics hand cleaner recipe” What to do?

  13. yasha says

    I would use Zote instead ” Home Depot has it for a great price .98″ because I like the smell and look of Zote A lot more….

  14. yasha says

    For those looking for a more mild hand wash …. Try dawn hand renewal with sugar and a few drops of mint ” or what you like” essential oil if you desire……

  15. Susan says

    My brother owned and ran a garage for 43 years–he “washed” his hands with used coffee grounds and then washed the dinner dishes for my sister in law. Cleaned his hands like magic every time! (Most mechanics use examination gloves, today).

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