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Alternatives to Hazardous Household Products

Information and products described in the list below are compiled from available literature. No products listed here have been tested and listing on this website should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement.

In Your Garden

Homemade alternatives to toxic garden products:

In Your Home - for cleaning, maintaining and repairs

Homemade alternatives to toxic household products:

Aphid and Mite Control 

  • 1 tablespoon soap
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 gallon water

Mix 1 tablespoon pure soap with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in 1 gallon of water. Spray on aphid- or mite-infested plant parts. Store unused portion in labeled container. Use pure soap only as detergent can burn plants. (back to top)

Slug Trap — or "Beer Garden" 

Beer or Yeast Mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baker’s yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 2 cups warm water  

Cut several 1-inch square openings in the sides of a clean covered cottage cheese container or margarine tub.  Sink the container into the soil so the openings are just above the soil surface. Remove the lid and pour in 1/2-inch of beer, or use the yeast mixture above. Slugs will be attracted to the trap, fall in and drown. Empty the container every few days and refill. (back to top)

Weed Control with Sheet Mulch

  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Compost

Sheet mulch weedy areas with layers of cardboard, wood chips, and compost. Learn more about sheet mulching. (back to top)

Black Spot and Powdery Mildew Spray 

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons insecticidal soap or ultra-fine horticultural oil
  • 1 gallon water

Mix 3 tablespoons baking soda with 2 teaspoons insecticidal soap or ultra-fine horticultural oil in 1 gallon of water. Spray on affected plant parts. (back to top)

Attract "Nice Bugs" 
Introduce friendly insects such as ladybugs (natural enemies of aphids), ground beetles and praying mantises, to rid your garden of uninvited pests. Check with a nursery for plants that attract these insects. (back to top)

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1 quart warm water 
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap 
  • 1 teaspoon borax 
  • 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar 

Mix ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Use for cleaning countertops, floors, walls, carpets and upholstery. (back to top)

Glass Cleaner 

  • 1 quart warm water 
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice) 

Mix ingredients and store in a spray bottle. To clean a glass oven door, dip a wet sponge in baking soda. (back to top)

Stain Remover 

  • 1 part glycerin 
  • 1 part liquid dish washing detergent 
  • 8 parts water 

Mix ingredients and store in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before each use.Test on unexposed area of fabric before applying. Apply to stain as soon as possible and blot with cloth. (back to top)

Oven Cleaner 

  • 1 quart warm water 
  • 2 teaspoons borax 
  • 2 tablespoons liquid soap 

Mix ingredients and store in a plastic spray bottle. Spray on stove, wait 20 minutes, then wipe clean. You can also pour salt on spills as they occur and wipe while your oven is warm. (back to top)


  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 ounces of vinegar
  • 2 quarts boiling water

Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 2 ounces of vinegar. Cover the drain and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with 2 quarts of boiling water. Use this treatment regularly to prevent clogged drains and keep them smelling fresh. Also, pour boiling water down drains on a weekly basis to prevent grime buildup. (back to top)

Tub and Tiles 

  • Baking soda

Scrub surfaces with baking soda slightly moistened with water. (back to top)

Toilet Bowls 

  • 1/4 cup borax

Put 1/4 cup borax in toilet bowl and let set overnight. In the morning, scrub clean. (back to top)


  • Silver: Rub object gently with toothpaste on a soft cloth to avoid scratching. Rinse well with water. 
  • Copper: Pour vinegar and salt over copper and rub.
  • Brass: Polish with Worcestershire sauce; or pour on ketchup, let sit,then wipe dry.
  • Chrome: Shine wet chrome fixtures by rubbing with newspaper; or rub with baby oil and a soft cloth. 

Test first on an inconspicuous area. (back to top)


  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1 gallon hot water

Mix ingredients and store in a plastic spray bottle. To prevent mold or mildew from forming, don’t rinse off the borax solution after applying. (back to top)

Vinyl Floors 
  • 1 gallon warm water 
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar or 1/4 cup borax

Mix ingredients in a bucket and clean floors with a mop. (back to top)

Wood Floors 
For unvarnished floors, damp mop with mild vegetable oil soap.   
For no-wax floors (such as polyurethane or Swedish finishes), clean with 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. (back to top)

Preserving Indoor Wood 
Try borax-based wood preservatives for indoor applications. (back to top)

Alternative Air Fresheners 
Pour vanilla extract on a cotton ball in a saucer, use in your car, home or refrigerator. 
Set out a dish of vinegar, or boil 1 tablespoon white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors. (back to top)

Spice Up Your Home 
Wrap cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boil in water; or leave herbal bouquets standing in open dishes for a fragrant smell. (back to top)

Removing Onion Odors 
Add a few drops of vinegar to soapy water to remove onion odors from utensils, chopping blocks, or hands. Rubbing hands with the cut end of a celery stalk will also remove odor. (back to top)

Cat Smells
Cover the bottom of your cat’s litter box with baking soda before adding litter, it eliminates odors for days. (back to top)

Freshen Up Your Garbage Disposal 
To clean garbage disposals, grind used lemons in the disposal or pour in baking soda. (back to top)