One of the alternatives to recycling is to use safe, consumable products to make your own cleaners, polishers, repellents, and more.

Safe cleaning materials

  • Baking Soda: cleans, deodorizes, softens water, and acts as a scouring powder
  • Washing Soda: works as a germ remover and laundry soap booster
  • Vinegar: cuts grease and deodorizes
  • Lemon Juice: cuts stains and freshens smells
  • Vegetable oil-based liquid soap: cleans almost any surface and acts as a laundry booster

Sustainable sprays and mixtures

  • Air Freshener: Simmer Cinnamon and cloves, lemon or orange peels
  • Car Battery Corrosion Remover: Baking soda and water
  • Glass Cleaner: 3T vinegar or more and warm water
  • Hand Cleaner: Baby oil or margarine
  • Scouring Powder: 1C Baking soda + 1/4C vinegar: apply with steel wool or a soft brush
  • Bon Ami
  • 4T baking soda mixed with 1qt. warm water
  • 1t. vegetable-oil based soap + a squeeze of lemon + 1qt. warm water
  • 1/8 C washing soda + 1T vegetable oil-based soap + 1/4C vinegar + 2 gallons hot water
  • 1T washing soda + 1 qt. warm water

Laundry cleaners

  • Bleach: 1/4 C lemon juice and Borax and 1/2 C vinegar
  • Detergent: Soap flakes and 1/3 C washing soda: wash in pure washing soda before switching to remove residues
  • Fabric Softener: 1 C vinegar or 1/4 C baking soda in final rinse
  • Soap: any non-phosphate soap
  • Starch: 1 T cornstarch + 1 pt cold water: mix in spray bottle, shake to dissolve cornstarch and apply
  • Whitening: Borax or baking soda

Furniture cleaners


  • 1/8C linseed oil + 1/4C lemon juice: mix and apply with soft cloth
  • 1/4C olive oil or mineral oil + 1/8C lemon juice: mix and apply with cloth


  • 1/4C olive oil and a few drops of lemon oil: mix and apply with cloth


  • 1/4C vinegar + 1/4t vegetable oil based soap + water: mix and apply

Bathroom cleaners

Drain Cleaner:

  • 3T salt + 1/2C vinegar + 1/4C baking soda: Pour soda down drain followed by salt, then vinegar. Let sit 10-15 minutes and flush with boiling water.

Mildew Remover:

  • Equal amounts of vinegar and salt
  • Bon Ami

Toilet Cleaner:

  • 1/4C baking soda + warm water with equal amounts of baking soda and washing soda + warm water
  • 2T Borax + 1qt warm water
  • Pumice block for stubborn stains

Lime Deposits:

  • Soak paper towel in vinegar and leave on deposits for one hour
  • Soak showerheads in vinegar

Tub & Tile Cleaner:

  • 1/2t washing soda + 1/4 to 1/2t vegetable oil based soap + 3T vinegar + 2C hot water: mix ingredients together then apply
  • 1/4C baking soda + warn water
  • Baking soda + vinegar: sprinkle baking soda on sponge then add vinegar, apply and rinse

Carpet and floor cleaners


  • Baking soda or dry cornstarch: sprinkle over carpet and let sit overnight then vacuum
  • 1C white vinegar + 2 Gal. waterStain

Stain Remover:

  • Lemon juice
  • 1/4C vinegar + 1/4t water

Metal cleaners and polishers


  • 2T cream of tarter + vinegar (enough to make a paste): scrub and rinse

Brass & Copper:

  • Half a lemon dipped in salt * Flour (enough to make a paste) + 1/2t salt + 1/2C vinegar
  • 2T lemon juice + 1T vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce


  • 1qt. warm water + 1T baking soda + 1 piece of aluminum foil + 1T salt: make sure silver is completely covered with water and heat
  • Baking soda + warm water to form paste
  • Toothpaste

Stainless Steel

  • Baking soda + water
  • Vinegar
  • Olive Oil

Kitchen cleaners

Grease cutter (in dish detergent):

  • 1/2C baking soda + usual amount of dish soap

Grease cutter (all purpose):

  • 1/2t washing soda + 1/4 to 1/2t vegetable oil based soap + 3T vinegar + 2C hot water: mix and spray bottle, spray, scrub and wipe clean
  • Borax on a damp clothGarbage Disposal


  • Cut up oranges, lemons, limes etc., or baking soda: put in disposal, turn on and rinse

Oven Cleaner:

  • Small box of baking soda + water + vegetable oil based soap + a mild abrasive pad: sprinkle water over bottom of oven, cover with baking soda, let sit overnight, wipe with pad, after bottom is clean, put soap on sponge and wash sides and top

Porcelain Stain Remover:

  • Rub area with moist salt or baking soda and rinse

Coffee Pot Cleaner:

  • Brew full capacity of white vinegar followed by 2 cycles of full capacity of water. Pour hot vinegar down drains to clean them

Natural pet repellents


  • Squirt with 1t dishwashing soap
  • Place chili powder, talc, chalk, Borax, chili pepper seeds, dried bay leaves, or lemon peels at point of entry
  • Lemon juice in holes


  • Sprinkle non-iodized salt on carpets
  • Brewer’s yeast or garlic tables to pets diet
  • Vacuum often seal and dispose of bag


  • Well watered pot of basil
  • Flypaper
  • Squirt flies with water then prompt trash removal

Mice & Rats:

  • Instant mashed potatoes + dish of water: place instant mashed potatoes in strategic places with a dish of water
  • Mouse traps

Mosquito Repellent:

  • Burn citronella candles
  • Plant basil or mosquito plants around the house


  • Set out Boric acid in small containers (KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN’S REACH)
  • Equal parts of powered sugar and baking soda in small containers
  • Traps

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