Some Non-Toxic Alternatives to Common Household Chemicals

Believe it or not, you can attack almost any cleaning problem without resorting to highly toxic chemicals! While there are many good books on this subject ("Non-Toxic, Natural, and Earthwise" by Debra Lynn Dadd is a good one), here are a few tips to get you started. You may have to re-evaluate what your definition of "clean" is, but if you are like me, I am willing to sacrifice a pristine appearance in exchange for being able to breathe.

Orange Glo International
PO Box 3998
Littleton, CO 80161
I use a lot of the products from this company, but I will warn you that most of them are made from orange oil and leave a strong orange smell for a while. Their Oxyclean laundry detergent products have no smell and the stain remover is as good as bleach. I can't live without these products, but strong natural smells don't bother me. I'd recommend at least getting the catalog and see if there is anything of interest to you.

Air Freshener
Simmer cinnamon and cloves in a pot OR use a natural citrus spray
Aluminum spot remover
2 tablespoons cream of tartar + 1 quart hot water
Ants (in house)
Red chili powder at entry point(s)
Brass polish
Worchestershire sauce
Car battery corrosion
Baking soda + water (make a paste)
Chrome polish
Apple cider vinegar OR Coke/Pepsi
Cleaners: General household
Baking soda and/or white vinegar and/or grapefruit seed extract
Coffee cup stain removerr>
Moist salt
Coffee pot stains
White vinegar
Copper cleaner
Lemon juice + salt
Decal remover
Soak in white vinegar OR vodka
Dish detergent: grease remover
1/2 cup baking soda + usual amount of liquid detergent
Drain cleaner
Plunger + 1/2 cup baking soda + 1/2 cup white vinegar + 2 quarts of boiling water
Fertilizer for your plants/yard
Compost your own or buy "Zoo Doo" (available at yard care stores--it's more potent than cow manure). Note: I use my iguana's poop on my houseplants, and it really makes a big difference! Don't knock it until you've tried it!
Fleas on pets
Gradually add brewer's yeast to your pet's diet
Well-watered pot of basil
Furniture polish
1 teaspoon lemon oil in 1 pint of mineral oil OR mayonnaise
Garbage disposal deodorizer
Used lemon grounds in disposal OR white vinegar
Grease fire (small)
Douse with baking soda

Grease removal
Borax on damp cloth

Hand cleaner (grease/paint)
Baby oil

Ink spot cleaner
Cold water + 1 tablespoon cream of tartar + 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Insects on plants
Soapy water on leaves, then rinse

Laundry detergent
Castile soap OR scent-free commercial brand (i.e. Arm & Hammer, All Free or Tide). However, some people can't tolerate even these products, so I recommend contacting NEEDS for alternatives.
NEEDS Catalog

Linoleum floor cleaner
1 cup vinegar + 2 gallons water

Milder remover
Equal parts vinegar and salt

Mosquito repellent
Burn citronella candles or oil OR rub exposed skin w/ white vinegar

Moth repellent
Cedar chips in cotton sachets

Oil removal
White chalk rubbed into stain before washing

Oven cleaner
2 tablespoons liquid soap + 2 tablespoons Borax + warm water or vinegar + baking soda

Paint: oil-based stain or spray paint
Use water-based, low VOC, non-aerosol paints


The URL for this page is

To break out of frames, click here .
To go to the main page, click MCS For Beginners.