What is sugar soap?

Updated April 17, 2017

Sugar soap is a generic name used to describe a popular chemical cleanser and paint priming solution, available in powder and liquid forms. Homemade versions are common, and are a popular alternative to commercial preparations.


Sugar soap is used to clean and prepare walls for painting or wallpapering, and is very useful in cleaning nicotine stains, grease, pet odours, germs and bacteria, and sanitising interior walls and floorboards.


In the U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand, sugar soap describes a cleanser composed of sodium carbonate, sodium phosphate and at times sodium silicate as an abrasive, but homemade versions may differ in composition. In the United States, the comparable product is TSP, but because of environmental concerns about pollution of natural water systems, the triphosphate composition is not used.

Home Preparations

One homemade version of sugar soap uses a combination of washing soda and yellow soap, and is used in the same manner as commercial sugar soaps.


The name "sugar soap" is often confused in the United States for skin care and beauty products, with ingredients used in sugar-glow skin treatments.


Sugar soap should not be used on the skin, and precautions should be taken to keep the skin and eyes protected from contact with the chemicals.

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About the Author

Christi Jordan has been a freelance writer since 2001 and has previously written for AOL and Weblogs Inc. In addition to writing for Demand Studios, Jordan currently provides content for several promotional business blogs, herbal and alternative health guides, and is a certified Childhood Obesity Specialist, Core Training Specialist, Personal Trainer and Aerobics Instructor.