Safer Chemical Alternatives

Friendly Reminder:  Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when working with chemicals or cleaners.

Minimum protection for cleaning tasks is gloves and eye protection.

For This...

Try This...

Air Freshener

Use herbal bouquets, pure vanilla on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves

Ants (in house)

Red chili powder at entrance

Car Battery Corrosion Removal

Baking soda and water

Chrome polish

Apple cider vinegar

Copper cleaner

Rub with a lemon, then rinse and dry

Dish detergent

1/2 Cup of baking soda + usual amount of liquid detergent

Drain Cleaner

Plunger followed by 1/2 cup baking soda + 1/2 cup vinegar; wait a few minutes, then follow with 2 quarts boiling water. Repeat if needed. If this fails, rent or buy a drain snake


Compost yard clippings or use organic fertilizers

Fleas (on pet)

Gradually add brewers yeast to pet's diet (consult your veterinarian first)


Well watered bowl of basil

Ink Spot Remover

Cold water + 1 tablespoon cream of tartar + 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Insects on plants

Soapy water on leaves, then rinse

Linoleum cleaner

1 Cup white vinegar plus 2 gallons water

Linoleum floor polish

Skim milk (it doesn't smell, really!)

Mildew remover

Equal parts of vinegar and salt. Scrub hard.

Mosquito repellant

Burn citronella candles; citronella oil

Moth repellant

Cedar chips enclosed in cotton sachets

Oil stain remover

White chalk rubbed into stain before laundering

Oven cleaner

2 Tablespoons liquid soap + 2 teaspoons borax + warm water. As a preventive measure, cover bottom with a sheet of aluminum foil. Clean up spills promptly.

Perspiration stain remover

White vinegar + water

Pet odor removal

Cider vinegar

Roach repellant

Chopped bay leaves and cucumber skins

Rug/carpet cleaner

Baking soda

Rusty bolt/nut removal

Carbonated beverage

Silver polish

1 Quart warm water + 1 tablespoon baking soda + piece of aluminum foil + 1 tablespoon salt

Slugs and snails

Onion and marigold plants.

Stain removal

Club soda, lemon juice, or salt

Toilet bowl cleaner

Baking soda and castile soap

Tub and tile cleaner

1/4 Cup baking soda + 1/2 cup white vinegar + warm water

Water softener

1/4 Cup vinegar

Window cleaner

2 Tablespoons vinegar in 1 quart warm water