Breathe Easier

Breathe Easier with Non-toxic Housecleaning Products 

Commercial housecleaning products may contain chemical ingredients that have never been texted for toxicity or properties that cause diseases in humans.

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner: Mix 2 Tblsp vinegar with 1 tsp Borax and pour into clean 16-oz trigger spray bottle. Fill with very hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved. Add ¼ cup liquid soap. To scent, add 10 to 15 drops of an essential oil. (from Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan)

Baking Soda and Water

  • Use to clean any surface you would clean with a powdered abrasive, including porcelain, tile, kitchen counters, stainless steel sinks, cutting boards and appliances. If you need a tougher abrasive add kosher salt, and scrub with a wet cloth or sponge.
  • For pet stains, make a paste, smooth over surface and allow to sit. After a few hours or overnight, vacuum or wipe up and allow to dry.
  • Laundry: Add baking soda to clothes washing cycle to brighten whites without bleach.
  • Clogged drains: pour a cup down the drain with ½ cup hot water, let stand overnight, Next morning, pour a pot of how water down the drain. For stubborn stains, add cornstarch to soda and repeat process.
  • For tarnished sterling, line sink or other container with aluminum drop in silver, pour in boiling water, a cup of baking soda and a dash of salt. Let sit for a few minutes, allowing tarnish to transfer from silver to the foil.
  • To clean oven, make paste of water and baking soda. Coat inside of oven, leave overnight. Don gloves and scour off the grime.

Bathtub Scrub

  • Mix 1-2/3 cups baking soda, ½ c liquid soap (e.g., Dr. Bronner’s) and ½ c water. Then add 2 Tblsp vinegar. Stir to remove lumps. Add to empty shampoo or other flip top bottle. If too thick, dilute with more water.  Squeeze and scrub.

Boiling Water

  • Use instead of harmful herbicides and pesticides to kill pests, including ant hills. Pour over dandelions and other weeds.
  • Sterilize dishes by pouring boiling water over them after washing.
  • Drop antique linens into boiling water, let steep until stains are lifted.


  • Ring house or garden with it to ward off ants.


  • Rub copper pots, pans and accents with catsup to brighten and shine.

Club Soda

  • Use on fabric in place of stain removing sprays. Allow soda to soak before blotting. Do not rub.


  • Cover spill, wait 5 to 15 minutes, vacuum.


  • To deodorize carpet, sprinkle with cornstarch, using about 1 cup per mid-size room. Wait 30 minutes, then vacuum.

Lemon Juice

  • Use to clean hard water stains, rust stains and soap buildup. Also works well to cut grease.
  • For mildew, douse with lemon juice (or vinegar), let stand, then scrub with stiff brush.
  • Add to baking soda for dish cleaning solution
  • Mix with olive oil to use in place of furniture polish


  • Pour on spilled wine, run in and let stand. Repeat as necessary. Vacuum up surplus.
  • Mix with lime juice to remove rust and possibly blood stains.

Window Cleaner

  • Mix 2 Tblsp white vinegar with a gallon of water. Pour into spray bottle. Squirt on window, scrub with newspaper.

For more eco-friendly cleaning recipes, see the Ecology Center’s “Alternative Cleaning Recipes” and fact sheet.

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