Sugar soap is a powerful cleaner made with a sodium carbonate and sodium phosphate base that can be used for cleaning surfaces in preparation for a paint job, for cleaning concrete or masonry or for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Sugar soap comes as concentrated granulated powder or in liquid form and typically requires dilution. Wear latex gloves and long sleeves to keep the soap from coming into contact with your skin and wear safety goggles to prevent the soap from getting in your eyes.

Applying joint finishing compound to drywall
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Ensure a long-lasting paint job by first preparing the surface with sugar soap.

Preparation for Painting

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Preparation for Painting

Sugar soap can be used to clean dirt, stains, and grime from any wall surface, including pre-painted surfaces, to ensure adequate adhesion of a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper. Apply sugar soap generously using a sponge. A mop or even a garden sprayer can be used for large outdoor projects. Tough stains can be scrubbed with a scrub brush. Allow the sugar soap to sit on the surface for a few minutes while it works, then wipe it away with a sponge and fresh water. For outdoor projects sugar soap can be rinsed away with a garden hose.

Concrete or Masonry

Texture of concrete
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Concrete or Masonry

Use sugar soap to lift oil and grease from concrete driveways or floors or to clean salt stains from masonry. Scrub oil and grease spots thoroughly with a scrub brush. A scrub brush or a scouring pad can also be used for loosening mildew and salt stains. Apply sugar soap generously with a mop or garden sprayer, allow it to sit for a few minutes and rinse with fresh water. Avoid getting the soap on surrounding wood structures, as sugar soap can discolor wood.

Bathrooms and Kitchens

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Bathrooms and Kitchens

Sugar soap works well on rejuvenating tubs, showers and tile work. It can also be used as toilet bowl cleaner, a stove top cleaner and to clean laminate surfaces. Add one-part bleach to four-parts of soap solution to help remove mildew from tile grout. Create a diluted solution in a bucket and use a sponge or a scouring pad to apply it to surfaces. Sugar soap can damage some types of metal. Either mask of metal parts and fixtures or have a damp sponge available to quickly wipe away any sugar soap that gets onto metal parts. Carpets and rugs should also be avoided or protected. Rinse sugar soap after cleaning or wipe it away with a sponge and fresh water.