Steel Walnut Recipe from Black Squirrel Farms

Make your own Steel Walnut at home! Use cleaners made from low-impact, biodegradable ingredients. Here is our Steel Walnut recipe. Got questions or comments or need additional info?  Let us know


  • 3 oz. Black Squirrel Farms black walnut shell powder
  • 1 oz. soap flakes or shavings (making these is as simple as grating bar of soap with a cheese grater - the more basic the bar soap, the better)*
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp glycerin
  • Stainless steel or glass saucepan (an aluminum pan will end up scratched and we don't know what non-stick saucepan surfaces are made of so we can't guarantee those won't get scratched either)
  • Metal or wooden spoon (the metal won't be scratched and the wooden spoon? who knows, perhaps it will end up clean and gently sanded)
  • An empty Steel Walnut container or other container for your finished Steel Walnut (Steel Walnut will dry out and so is best kept in a sealed container.)
  • Optional: Your favorite essential oil(s) (we like lemongrass)

*Want an idea for what to do with bar soap bits that have become too small to use in the shower?  Make your own soap flakes on an ongoing basis and then use those soap flakes to make Steel Walnut....


  • Grate a bar of soap with the cheese grater. Yes, seriously. (If you have a bunch of little bits of soap, a food processor works too.)
  • Boil the water in the saucepan.
  • Turn off the heat and add the grated soap to the water. Stir until all the soap has melted and the mixture is uniform. At this point the mixture does look a little like used dishwater. Don't worry, there's no problem....
  • Let the mixture cool for several hours or overnight and stir again. It should have the consistency of bubbly mayonnaise. 
  • Add the glycerin and a few drops of essential oil (optional) then add the black walnut shell powder (not optional) and stir until the mixture is uniform. The volume of the mixture will decrease and it should now have a consistency closer to frosting or paste.
  • Safety note: Whether its flour, sawdust or black walnut shell powder, breathing dust isn't a healthy practice. Take care when dumping and mixing in black walnut shell powder as until the powder is wet some may become airborne or, better yet, do it outside. 
  • Fill the empty Steel Walnut containers (or other containers) with the product that you just created and put the lid on the containers so that your Walnut Steel doesn't dry out (note that it will still work even if it dries out, it's just harder to use)

That's it!  You did it! Scour some pans or an oven or a cooktop until they shine....well done.


Got a particularly creative use for Steel Walnut that you want to share? Let us know and we'll publish it, giving you online credit and free black walnut shell powder so that you can make more Steel Walnut at home.  Contact us, we'd love to hear from you.

Want to see some of our other favorite lower-impact home maintenance ideas?  Check them out.


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