This recipe is for a "soft scrub" which not only cleans wonderfully will also help soften your hands. Personally I used Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap so I did not add the essential oil. Besides smelling great (and being calming) lavender has natural antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. If you do not like the scent of lavender, lemon, tea tree (oil), and thyme also are natural antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterials as well, so they make good alternatives. I found this recipe in Naturally Clean Home by Karen Siegel-Maier.