The following are some examples of less toxic alternatives to common household products. Using these homemade substitutes will save you money and help make your home a safer place.
Ant Poisons – Sprinkle cream of tartar (a substance used in baking) in front of the ants’ path. Ants will not cross over.
All-Purpose Cleaners – Mix 3 tablespoons washing soda in one quart of warm water, or use baking soda and a small amount of water.
Aerosol Sprays – Aerosol sprays (such as hair spray and room deodorizers) release harmful substances into the air. Use pump-type sprays whenever possible. Use fresh flowers or potpourri instead of room sprays.
Chemical Fertilizers – Use organic materials such as compost, peat moss, and fish meal.
Copper Cleaners – Pour vinegar and salt over copper; rub and rinse.
Drain Cleaner – Clear clogged pipes with a snake (plumber’s tool) or plunger. Pour boiling water down the drain. Do this every week for preventative maintenance.
Furniture Polish – Make a non-toxic polish by melting 1 tablespoon Carnauba Wax into 2 cups mineral oil. For lemon polish, dissolve 1 part lemon juice into 2 parts vegetable or mineral oil.
Glass and Window Cleaners – Use cornstarch and water, or mix 1/2 cup vinegar with one quart of warm water.
Oven Cleaners – Scrub with baking soda and water. Place liners in your oven to catch any drips during baking. Sprinkle salt on spills when they are warm and then scrub.
Paints – Water-based paints are less toxic than oil based, and no solvent is necessary for clean up.
Roach Spray – Sprinkle boric acid (sold as a powder). A 50:50 mix of boric acid and brown sugar may be effective. Be sure to keep these materials away from children and pets.
Rodent Poisons – Put a screen over drains. Use mechanical snap-traps.
Rug and Upholstery Cleaner – Clean immediately with soda water and baking soda paste; then vacuum.
Silver Cleaner – Soak in 1 quart warm water with 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and a small piece of aluminum foil.
Spot Remover – Immediately soak in cold water, lemon juice, club soda, or corn meal and water.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Use toilet brush and baking soda, mild detergent, or 1/2 cup bleach.
Tub and Tile Cleaner – Rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax or baking soda. Rinse and let dry.