Safer Alternatives...


Before buying or using a potentially hazardous household chemical, check to see if there is a safer alternative.  This could also be less expensive and better for the environment.


For this:

Try this:

Air freshener

Simmer cinnamon and cloves; leave opened box of baking soda in room; or set out a dish of vinegar.

All purpose cleaner

Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a cleaning solution or use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge.

Aluminum spot remover

To remove stains and discoloration from aluminum cookware, fill cookware with hot water, add 2 tablespoons cream of tartar to each quart of water, bring solution to a boil and simmer ten minutes, and wash as usual and dry.


Sprinkle red chili powder or cream of tartar at point of entry.

Boric acid will also kill ants when spread liberally around the points of entry. Boric acid has some toxicity and should not be applied to areas where small children and animals are likely to contact it.


Substitute Borax.

Blood stains

Rinse or sponge blood stains immediately with club soda, repeat as necessary, and wash as usual.

Brass polish

Clean and polish unlacquered brass with a soft cloth dampened with Worcestershire sauce.

Car battery corrosion

Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply to corrosion, and rinse off.

Chocolate stains

Rinse or sponge chocolate stains immediately with club soda, repeat as necessary, and wash as usual.

Chrome polish

Apply apple cider vinegar and then polish with baby oil

Cleaners (general household)

Clean with a mixture of 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/3 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda in one gallon of warm water.

Coffee stains

Rub coffee stains gently with moist salt.

Coffee pot stain

To remove stains in coffee, soak it in vinegar.

Copper cleaner

Clean copper by rubbing gently with lemon juice and salt.

Decal remover

To remove a decal, soak it in white vinegar.

Drain cleaner

Put 1/2 cup baking soda, then 1/2 cup white vinegar down your drain, cover the drain, let set for a few minutes, and then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it.


Use compost and vermin-compost instead of fertilizers.

Fiberglass stain remover

To remove stains from fiberglass, rub it with baking soda paste.

Flea & tick repellent

To repel ticks and fleas, scatter pine needles, fennel, rye or rosemary on pet's bed.

Floor cleaner

Clean with a mixture of 1 cup vinegar mixed with 2 gallons of water.

Furniture polish

To polish furniture, mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice, apply to the furniture, and polish with a soft cloth.

Garbage disposal deodorizers

Grind citrus rind or ice cubes to remove odors from garbage disposal.

Gold & Silver polish

To clean tarnish off gold and silver (not silver plate), apply toothpaste with a soft toothbrush or cloth, rinse with clean warm water, and polish dry.

Grease fire

To put out a grease fire, douse with baking soda.

Grease removal

Use Borax on damp cloth to remove grease.

Hand cleaner for paint/grease

To remove paint or grease from hands, rub with baby oil.

Ink spot remover

To remove an ink spot, put cream of tartar on the stain, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over it, rub it in for a minute, brush off the powder, and sponge with warm water or launder.

Insects on plants

Apply soapy water on leaves and then rinse.

Lime and mineral deposit remover


Hard lime deposits around faucets can be softened for easy removal by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked rags or paper towels. Leave rags or paper towels on for about 1 hour before cleaning.

To remove deposits that may be clogging metal shower heads, combine 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1 quart water, completely submerge the shower head and boil for 15 minutes. If you have a plastic shower head, combine 1 pint white vinegar with 1 pint hot water, completely submerge the shower head, and soak for about 1 hour.

Mildew remover

Clean mildew with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and salt.

Mosquito repellent

Burn citronella candles to keep mosquitoes away.

Moth repellent

Use cedar chips or dried lavender enclosed in cotton sachets in closets or storage trunks to keep moths out.

Nematode (parasitic worm) repellent

Plant marigolds in garden to repel nematodes.

Oil stain remover

To remove oil stains, rub white chalk into stain before laundering.

Oven cleaner

Clean ovens with mixture of 2 tablespoons liquid soap, 2 teaspoons borax, and warm water

Paint brush softener

Soften paint brushes by soaking them in hot vinegar.

Perspiration spot remover

Remove perspiration spots by rubbing with baking soda.

Refrigerator deodorizer

An open box of baking soda will get rid of odors in the refrigerator.

Roach repellent

Sprinkle entry points with chopped bay leaves and cucumber skins. Boric acid will also kill ants when spread liberally around the points of entry. Boric acid has some toxicity and should not be applied to areas where small children and animals are likely to contact it.

Rust removal (clothing)

Rub rust spot with a mixture of lemon juice and salt and then place in sunlight.

Rust removal (bolt/nut)

Soak bolts or nuts in carbonated beverage to remove rust.

Slug and snail repellent

Plant onions and marigolds in garden to repel slugs and snails.

Stainless steel polish

Polish stainless steel by rubbing with mineral oil.

Toilet bowl cleaner

Clean toilet bowl by rubbing with a paste of borax and lemon juice.

Tub and tile cleaner

Clean tub and tile by rubbing with a mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and warm water

Upholstery spot removal

Remove spots on upholstery by rubbing with club soda.

Wine stain removal

Remove wine stains by rubbing with salt.

Window cleaner

Clean windows with a mixture of 1/2 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of warm water.

Wood polish

Polish interior unvarnished wood by rubbing with a mixture of 3 parts olive oil and 1 part white vinegar.