What Is Sugar Soap And How Should I Use It?

Written by  Harry Taylor
Last updated: January 17, 2024

Sugar soap is an excellent cleaner for removing stubborn, grimy and greasy stains. It is very effective, mild and cost-efficient. It also doesn’t leave a residue. Therefore, sugar soap could be the perfect cleaning agent for your household needs or even professional ones.

In this article, we are going to show you how to use sugar soap. The process is simple in itself. Plus, most products come with manufacturer instructions. However, there are some details that you won’t find on labels. After all, manufacturers can only fit so much information on such tiny pieces of paper.

So, keep reading if you want to know about sugar soap and how to use it.

What Is Sugar Soap?

Sugar soap is a cleaning agent made from sodium carbonate, sodium phosphate, and sodium silicate. Every brand has its recipe. So, there will be other ingredients in the mix. However, those three are the main ones.

The product itself can be in liquid or powder form. The liquid version of sugar soap is more popular, but the powder version is more affordable. The latter is also where the name “sugar soap” comes from. Powder sugar soap is made up of small white particles that look like actual sugar (the sweetening product). 

Hopefully, this answers your question of, “What is sugar soap?” Do note that some beauty products have the same name on their label but aren’t sugar soap. Watch out for those. So you don’t pick up the wrong item. The sugar soap we are discussing (in this article) is a mild and efficient, water-soluble cleaning agent.

What Is Sugar Soap Used For?

The main reason to consider sugar soap is that a general-purpose cleaner isn’t always the right choice. For example, there are some stubborn stains and grime buildups that a general cleaner can’t handle. Other times, a general cleaner might be too harsh for the surface you want to clean. Finally, a general cleaner may also leave residues on the surface.

Sugar soap doesn’t have any of these shortcomings. Sugar soap can remove most stubborn stains and grime from most sensitive surfaces without causing damage or leaving residues. Here are some examples of what sugar soap can be used to clean.

Walls You Want to Paint

Walls collect dust, grease and grime over time. These buildups won’t allow the new paint job to adhere properly. They may also affect the finish. So, painters use sugar soap to clean the walls they want to paint. It works for both plaster and woodwork, even wallpapers.

You can also use sugar soap on paintwork you don’t intend to renew. Remember what we discussed in the last sentence of the section, “What is sugar soap?” Because it is a mild cleaning agent, sugar soap can clean a painted wall without causing damage. You can use it on water- and oil-based paint alike. However, gloss paint will start to lose its sheen after multiple applications of sugar soap.

Bathrooms and Toilets

You can use sugar soap to clean your bathrooms’ tiles, tubs, wash basins, water closets and other surfaces.

Domestic Surfaces and Furniture

These include all sorts of surfaces in every part of your home, including kitchens, loving rooms, bedrooms and outdoors. Examples of such surfaces are tiles, countertops, benchtops, chairs, etc. 

How Do I Use Sugar Soap?

We have mentioned three examples of what sugar soap can be used for. Now, here is how to use it for those three examples.

How to Use Sugar Soap to Clean a Wall

  • Step 1: Mix 1/4 cup liquid sugar soap into a bucket containing 5 litres of water.
  • Step 2: Dip a sponge into the solution.
  • Step 3: Start cleaning: Work from the top to the bottom to avoid pushing the dirt upwards.

How to Use Sugar Soap to Clean a Bathroom

  • Step 1: Sprinkle or pour some sugar soap onto the dirty surface. This could be the surface of a sink, tub, water closet and shower. The process is the same.
  • Step 2: Apply a bit of sugar soap to a damp cloth.
  • Step 3: Wipe down the dirty surface with the fabric.
  • Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with a good amount of water.

When you apply sugar soap to the toilet, let it sit for an hour before flushing the toilet.

How to Use Sugar Soap to Clean Domestic Surfaces and Furniture

  • Step 1: Mix 1/8 cup of liquid sugar soap into 2 litres of water in a bucket.
  • Step 2: Fill a window cleaner container with the sugar soap mix.
  • Step 3: Spray the mix onto the dirty area
  • Step 4: Wait a few minutes. Then, wipe the area thoroughly
  • Step 5: Rinse thoroughly

In a garage, use enough sugar soap to cover the stains. Drizzle with water if you are using powdered sugar soap. Then, wait for half an hour before scrubbing. 

Safety Guide for Using Sugar Soap

Remember to stay safe. Sugar soap is not a particularly dangerous cleaner, but it does contain chemicals. So, you should always wear gloves when using the solution. Also, avoid touching your face or rubbing your eyes during this task.

After Using Sugar Soap, How Soon Can I Paint?

It depends on the surface you want to clean. With a wallpapered or painted wall, you should be able to paint in one hour. With woodwork, you can paint in half that time (30 minutes).

Ultimately, how soon you can paint depends on how long it takes for the surface to dry. You can try to speed up drying by wiping the surface with a clean cloth, turning on a fan or opening the windows.


Sugar soap is a great cleaner for stubborn stains and sensitive surfaces. It’s a great product to have around. You will appreciate it in situations where general-purpose cleaners are inadequate. A great example of this is when prepping a wall for a new paint job.

Just ensure you get the right product instead of a random beauty product that also has sugar soap on its label. This should be easy because sugar soap is a popular product in the United Kingdom. It’s not as common in other parts of the world.


Can I Make My Own Sugar Soap?

Yes, you can make sugar soap. We have discussed what sugar soap is made of. So, you already know the main ingredients. They are present in soda crystals (or washing soda in the US).

Get soda crystals (or the US equivalent) from your local supermarket. Then mix a few cups with a few litres of warm water. Remember to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin.

Must You Use Sugar Soap Before New Paint or Wallpaper?

You don’t need to use sugar soap before applying a new paint job or wallpaper. However, if the area is dirty (maybe due to dust or residues of old wallpaper), you should use sugar soap. The paint or wallpaper will adhere better because of this.

Why Should I Use Sugar Soap Instead of a General Cleaner?

Here is a cool response for when someone asks- “what is sugar soap?” Say, “Sugar soap is a higher sophisticated alternative to general cleaners.” Therefore, you should use sugar soap when you need a more sophisticated cleaning agent. Use sugar soap when you need a cleaning agent:

  • To clean very stubborn stains
  • For sensitive surfaces
  • That won’t leave residue

The best part is that powdered sugar soap is only slightly more expensive than general cleaners. The cost will be even lower if you make the sugar soap yourself.

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