Tips for Using Fewer Household Chemicals
You’re probably not excited about using chemicals in your home or garden. These alternatives are less toxic and will achieve the same results. Reducing chemicals in your home is beneficial for your personal health and the environment.
Carpets: Mix one part borax to two parts cornmeal; sprinkle liberally on carpet and vacuum after one hour.
Garbage Cans: Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of can.
Garbage Disposal: Grind used lemons or peels in the disposal or pour baking soda into the drain.
Litter Box: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the litter pan before adding litter.
- Leave open boxes of baking soda in refrigerator, freezer, closets and bathrooms.
- Saturate a cotton ball with vanilla and place in an open container in a room or in an auto.
- Set out an open container of white vinegar to destroy odors.
- Simmer cinnamon and cloves or potpourri.
- Burn scented candles.
- Fill your favorite vase with fresh-cut flowers.
Carpet, Rug & Upholstery
- Use a non-aerosol, soap-based cleaner.
- Clean spills immediately with club soda.
- Mix a quart of water, a teaspoon of mild liquid soap, a teaspoon of borax and a squeeze of lemon juice or splash of vinegar; apply with a damp cloth or sponge and rub gently; wipe with a clean cloth and allow to dry.
- To clean a red wine spill, rub a thick layer of salt on the spill. Sponge up after spill has been absorbed.
Coffee Pots: Clean out coffee pots with white vinegar solution.
- By Hand: Use 1/2 cup of baking soda with a mild dish washing liquid to help cut grease and food.
- Automatic Dishwashers: Choose a detergent with the lowest phosphate content listed on the package.
General Cleaner: Combine a quart of water with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or 1-2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.
Grout: Combine 3 cups baking soda and 1 cup warm water; scrub into grout. Rinse well.
Kitchen Degreaser: Use a non-chlorinated powder with a nylon scouring pad or fine steel wool.
Mildew Cleaners: Scrub mildew spots with baking soda or borax, or sponge with white vinegar, or use a paste of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt.
Oven Cleaners: Use an oven cleaner that does not contain lye, or scrub spots with baking soda, salt and water paste.
Painted Wood: Wash with 1 teaspoon of washing soda in a gallon of hot water.
Surface Cleaner: Mix vinegar with salt and water.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Scrub with a solution of 1/2 cup borax in a gallon of water for cleaning and disinfecting; clean frequently with a baking soda solution around the rim.
Scouring Powder: Use baking soda or salt, or a non-chlorinated commercial scouring powder.
To unclog a drain: Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain, follow by 1/2 cup vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes, then pour a pan of boiling water down the drain to flush.
To help prevent drains from getting blocked: Once a week, pour 1/4 cup of slat down the drain, followed by boiling water.
Vinyl Floors: Combine 1/4 cup TSP (trisodium phosphate), 1/4 cup borax, or 1/2 cup white vinegar with a gallon of warm water.
Wood Floors: Use damp mop with a mild vegetable oil soap; dry immediately.
Painted or Finished Wood: Combine a teaspoon of washing soda and a gallon of hot water; dry floor immediately.
Wood Floors (sealed with polyurethane): Clean with 1/4 cup white vinegar and a gallon of water; dry immediately.
Finished Wood: Use a mild vegetable oil soap, or combine one part lemon juice with two parts vegetable or olive oil and polish with a clean, soft cloth.
Painted Wood: Mix one teaspoon of washing soda in a gallon of hot water.
Unfinished Wood: Polish with mineral oil.
Bee Stings: Apply a thick paste of baking soda and water or rub with an onion cut in half.
Chiggers: Rub area with a moist aspirin tablet.
General insect bites: To relieve itching, rub area with apple cider vinegar or baking soda paste.
Mosquitoes: Soak bites in salt water, then apply cold cream.
To Whiten Clothes: Use a washing soda or non-chlorine bleach.
To Remove Spots and Brighten Colors: Use 1/2 cup of borax in each load.
Detergents: Use synthetic detergent without adding fabric softeners or bleach. Or use products which include washing soda. Washing soda brightens fabrics and costs less than bleach.
To Freshen and Soften Clothes: Add a cup of vinegar or 1/4 cup of baking soda during final rinse.
To Reduce Static Cling: Dampen hands when folding clothes.
Presoaking: Soak heavily soiled items in warm water with 1/2 cup of washing soda for 30 minutes, or rub soiled areas with a mild liquid soap.
Spray Starch for Regular Fabrics: Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch and a pint of cold water in a spray bottle.
Spray Starch for Delicate Fabrics: Mix a package of unflavored gelatin with 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Test solution on corner of fabric before using. If fabric becomes sticky when dry, add more water.
Brass and Copper: Use a paste of lemon juice and salt.
Silver: Rub with toothpaste or baking soda and a soft cloth; rinse and polish with dry clean cloth.
Chrome: Wipe with apple cider vinegar and rinse, or shine chrome fixture with baby oil and soft cloth.