What Is Sugar Soap? Here’s an Easy Way to Know

By Marsha Harrison

what is sugar soap

Sugar soap may have “sugar” in its name, but that’s not an indication of its ingredients! The main reason is its uncanny resemblance to sugar granules when in the powdered form.

But what is sugar soap? This cleaner is often formulated from sodium silicate, sodium phosphate, sodium carbonate, and other ingredients, depending on the patented formula of each manufacturer. Sugar soap is usually applied to the wall as a cleaning agent before painting or decorating.

Knowing its purpose helps you decide whether you need it or not. And if it isn’t for you, there are homemade alternatives you can choose from.

Everything About Sugar Soap

Despite sounding sweet, sugar soap is nothing edible. The “sugar” in its name must not be taken literally because it is actually a heavy-duty cleaning agent.

A sugar soap cleaner is available in two variants, either in liquid form or powdered form.

A liquid sugar soap cleaner is usually packaged in plastic or spray bottles. It is generally easier to use but is pricier than a powdered sugar soap.

Meanwhile, a powdered sugar soap cleaner is packaged in boxes, plastic tubs, or sachet packs. It is a dry solution mixed with water before being applied to a surface. This is best for cleaning large surfaces as it is cheaper and more practical.

What Are They Used for?

Sugar soap is used for preparing walls before they’re repainted or embellished with wallpapers.


Cleaning walls with sugar soap is essential as it removes dirt on wall surfaces to make paint and decorations adhere better. Professional painters typically use this to clean walls. Thus, it can also be called a painters soap.

Apart from preparing walls, it can also clean dirty surfaces around the house. It is good for cleaning bathroom sinks, dirty appliances, floor tiles, and even garage grease!

Sugar soaps are popular in the UK, Australia, and France but uncommon in the USA. However, a closely related product to sugar soap is Trisodium Phosphate. If you want to find a similar product, know that it’s called in the USA as TSP.

How to Use a Sugar Soap Cleaner

If you wish to use sugar soap as a cleaning agent, just follow these three simple steps! But first, you must prepare these:


  • A basin
  • A sponge or brush
  • Clean water
  • A pair of gloves and a face mask

Step 1: Wear your protective gear

Make sure you put on a pair of rubber gloves and a face mask when using sugar soap to protect your skin from the abrasive cleaner.

Step 2: Prepare warm water and put it in the basin.

The amount is up to you to estimate, depending on the surface you’d be cleaning. Warm water is best used to dilute the solution faster.

Step 3: Pour the intended amount of sugar soap cleaner into the water and mix it well!


Step 4: Soak a cleaning brush or sponge in the sugar soap cleaner solution and scrub it against the surface you want to clean.

Meanwhile, if you want to use it to clean small appliances and surfaces, placing it in a spray bottle would make it easier.

After diluting the sugar soap cleaner, put it in a spray bottle, and it’s ready to use! This allows easy and controlled application of the product.

Remember to read the packaging labels carefully before using the product to avoid misuse and accidents.

Step 5: Wash your hands carefully after using the soap to rinse off any chemicals that have been in contact with your skin.

Alternatives to Sugar Soap Cleaner

​​If you find sugar soap unsafe to use around your kids, you can opt to use natural sugar soap alternatives which can be found at home or can be bought in local grocery stores.

  • Vinegar – One recipe for a natural sugar soap is to mix equal amounts of water and vinegar.

White vinegar is good for removing grease as it contains acetic acid. Also, it is more natural and eco-friendly. However, not everyone likes the odor of white vinegar since it may be highly unpleasant.

  • Baking soda – Another alternative is a baker’s best friend, baking soda. It is a mild option but still works wonders. This is an excellent substitute, especially when living with children and pets.
  • Washing soda – This cleaning agent is a great alternative to sugar soap. However, you should also be cautious when handling it due to its potent cleaning chemicals. However, it is more natural and eco-friendly than a sugar soap cleaner.
  • Other options for a sugar soap cleaner include soap flakes, liquid dish soap, and even mayonnaise, all of which provide good results.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Sugar Soap Toxic and Corrosive?

Sugar soap is toxic if ingested in a large amount.

Although generally non-corrosive, they may still contain ingredients that can cause irritations and allergic reactions in their users. Thus, the use of protective equipment is encouraged when you clean.

However, a sugar soap cleaner is toxic to the environment as it contains harmful chemicals such as sodium carbonate, phosphate, and silicate.

2. Why should I use sugar soap when there are detergent soaps?

Powdered and liquid detergents are not specialized in cleaning tough greases and paint residues. And most of the time, when these products are used, they would most likely leave some soap residues, which could affect the quality of work.

On the other hand, a sugar soap cleaner is formulated for this job. It is potent enough to effectively remove everything that causes hindrance in the adhesion of paints and decorations.

3. After scrubbing my walls with sugar soap, how long should I wait before painting or redecorating?

After applying a sugar soap cleaner to a wall, wait for it to dry out completely. After it dries out, you can already start painting or redecorating the wall. Walls usually dry out 1 to 2 hours after cleaning with sugar soap.


“Sugar soap”… Hearing it, you might wonder, what is sugar soap? Is there any sugar in its ingredients? Is it edible?

Well, sugar soap isn’t any of that! It is primarily used to prepare walls for repainting and redecorating. Still, it can also be a multi-purpose cleaner around the house.

Using this clever on walls is helpful because it does its job well. However, it contains chemicals that threaten the environment, so you must be careful to avoid untoward incidents. Otherwise, you can also opt for eco-friendly homemade alternatives for sugar soap.

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