De-Tox Your Home: Replace Toxic Cleaners With These Easy Alternatives
(Conservation Currents, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District)
- Replace with products in pump bottle or wipe on liquids.
- For an all purpose cleaner: Mix one cup of baking soda in one gallon hot water or;
- Mix ¼ cup borax and one tablespoon liquid soap in one gallon of hot water.
- Eliminate food and water sources such as crumbs and leaky faucets.
- Caulk openings around windows, floors, and pipes.
- Use nontoxic traps. Boric acid is a good, less toxic powder to apply along cracks and baseboards.
- Baking soda is a good all purpose deodorizer.
- Sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda on rugs, then vacuum.
- Zeolite is a nontoxic mineral that absorbs odors, bacteria, and mold. It is available as a powder or in “breather bags.”
- Plain soap and hot water kill some bacteria.
- Citrus-based products have anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial properties and act as solvents.
- Mix ¼ cup borax with ¼ cup white vinegar in hot water for all purpose disinfectant.
- Use ¼ cup baking soda followed by ½ cup vinegar, and cover until fizzing stops. Then flush with boiling water.
- A weekly dose of boiling water poured down the drain will help prevent clogging.
- Use a plunger or drain snake on major clogs.
- Mix vinegar and water, 50/50, in a pump bottle, spray surfaces, then clean and dry with crumpled newspaper.
- Use solar power, wind-up watches, rechargeable batteries, or AC adapter.
- Use soap flakes and borax or washing soda and borax instead of detergent.
- Use borax instead of bleach.
- Treat stains immediately when possible.
- Blood Stains: Soak in cold water, club soda, or hydrogen peroxide.
- Perspiration stains: Dab with a sponge soaked in a weak solution of water with vinegar or lemon juice.
- Ink Stains: Apply a paste of cream of tarter and lemon juice.
- Chocolate stains: Soak in club soda.
- Brass—Rub with olive oil to retard tarnish.
- Chrome—Polish with baby oil.
- Silver—Soak in boiling water with baking soda, salt and aluminum foil.
- Copper—Use a paste of lemon juice and cream of tarter, leave on for 5 minutes, wash in warm water, rub with a dry, soft cloth.
- Substitute cedar blocks or chips for moth balls.
- Vacuum often and clean closets, baseboards, and cracks in the floors.
- Store clean clothes in a sealed box or in a cedar box or chest.
- Cover the soiled oven surface with a baking soda paste, let stand from one hour to overnight, then scrub with a sponge or abrasive pad.
- Use baking soda paste.
- Try a pumice stick on porcelain surfaces.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
- Leave borax to soak in the toilet, then scrub.
- Pumice stone will remove stains.
- For rings, mix borax and lemon juice into a paste, let sit for two hours, then scrub with a good brush.
Tub and Tile Cleaner
- Use ½ cup of borax in hot water.
- Wipe bath tubs with vinegar. Then sprinkle with baking soda, scrub with a damp sponge, and rinse.
Source: Chesapeake Bay Foundation