Safer Alternatives to Household Products

Alternatives to household products containing toxins are easy to find (as are their ingredients). Discover options via a web search for "non-toxic" or "green" household products. For your convenience we have provided a partial list of safer substitutes for common household products containing toxic ingredients.

Ant Control
Sprinkle cream of tartar in front of the ant's path. (Ants will not cross over it).

Bug Spray
  • Place screens on windows and doors for prevention.
  • Brewer's yeast tablets taken daily give the skin a scent that mosquitoes seem to avoid.
Chemical Fertilizers
Use organic compost instead.

Copper Cleaner
Pour vinegar and salt over copper and rub.

Deodorizers & Air Fresheners
  • Open windows or use exhaust fans as a natural air freshener.
  • Place vinegar or vanilla in a dish for an hour.
  • Baking soda placed in the refrigerator reduces odors.
  • Simmer 1 teaspoon of pine oil, cloves, cinnamon, or vanilla in I cup water.
  • Fresh cut flowers or dried flower petals and spices can add a nice scent to a room.
Detergents, laundry & Dish Washing
Replace detergents with soaps that are relatively non-toxic and biodegradable. To remove detergent residue, prewash items in washing soda (crystalline sodium carbonate).

Drain Openers
  • Prevent clogs by using a strainer and keep air, lint, food, and coffee grounds out of the drain.
  • Pour 2 to 4 quarts of boiling water down the drain weekly.
  • Put 1-half cup baking soda and 1-half cup vinegar down the drain, wait 15 minutes and flush with boiling water.
  • Use a plunger or a plumber's snake.
Flea & Tick Products
  • Put brewer’s yeast or garlic in your pet’s food.
  • Sprinkle fennel, rue, rosemary, or eucalyptus seeds and leaves around the area where animal sleeps.
Floor Cleaners
  • Tile: Put 1-quarter cup of vinegar in 1 quart of water. Add lemon juice for scent.
  • Wood: Mix 1-eighth cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap and 1 gallon of water.
  • No-wax floors: Mix 1-quarter cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 1-quarter cup lemon juice and 2 gallons hot water.
  • Use washing soda (crystalline sodium carbonate) and water.
Furniture Polish, Wood
  • Mix 3-quarter cup of olive oil and 1-quarter cup vinegar. Rub into wood with soft cloth.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of mineral or vegetable oil. Rub into wood with soft cloth.
General / All-Purpose Cleaners
  • Mix 3 tablespoons washing soda in 1 quart of warm water.
  • Use equal parts baking soda and warm water to make a paste.
  • Mix 1-quarter cup white vinegar and 1 quart of warm water, adding lemon juice for scent.
Glass & Window Cleaners
  • Use cornstarch and water.
  • Mix 1-quarter cup of vinegar and 1 quart warm water; wipe with newspapers.
  • Mix 2 teaspoons borax or washing soda in 3 cups water; wipe with newspapers.
  • Use lemon juice and dry with a soft cloth.
Grout Cleaner
Use a toothbrush with either:
  • Undiluted vinegar
  • Three parts baking soda and 1 part water
  • Toothpaste
  • Denture cream
Laundry / Stain Remover
  • Use a baking soda paste on stains or add dry baking soda.
  • Rub chalk on grease stains, let set, wash.
  • Rub affected area with crustless, soft white bread to absorb the stain
  • Use a brush and an abrasive soap.
  • For perspiration stains, apply a salt water solution, a baking soda paste, or a vinegar solution (1-quarter cup vinegar to 1 quart warm water).
Moth Balls
  • Use cloves, lavender flowers, rosemary, tansy, wormwood, mint, whole peppercorns, or bags of cedar shavings.
  • Store clean clothes in tightly sealed containers or cedar chests.
Oven Cleaners
  • Prevention: Wipe up spills as soon as possible.
  • Prevention: Place liners in oven to catch drips during baking.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of washing soda with 1 quart of warm water.
  • Sprinkle salt or baking soda on spills while the spill is warm and then scrub.
  • Clean spills using steel wool and baking soda.
Plant marigolds around/throughout the affected area.

Rat Poison
  • Put a screen over drains.
  • Use mechanical snap mouse and rat traps.
Rug Deodorizer
Deodorize dry carpets by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum. Repeat if necessary.

Scouring Powder
  • Dip a damp cloth or nylon pad in baking soda and rub.
  • Use steel wool.
Silver Polish
  • Boil 2 to 3 inches of water in a shallow pan with a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for 2 to 3 more minutes. Wipe away tarnish. Repeat if necessary. (Do not use this method on antique silver knives).
  • Use nonabrasive toothpaste.
  • Rub with baking soda paste or dry kitchen flour.
Snail & Slug Bait
  • Place a shallow pan with beer in the infested area.
  • Overturn clay pots; snails take shelter in them during sunny days and thus can be collected and removed.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Use a baking soda or borax and vinegar paste. Let sit 2 hours, then scrub.
  • Pour flat cola into bowl, let sit for 30 - 60 minutes and scrub.