Greener Alternatives to House Hold Items and Hobbies


Art Supplies:

  • Use adequate ventilation and exercise caution. Never put brushes in mouth.
  • Soften hard paint brushes in hot vinegar.
  • To clean hands of paint or grease, massage with a few drops of baby oil, margarine or butter. Wipe dry and wash with soap and water.

Fertilizers (Organic):

  • Chemical fertilizers are fast-acting, short-term boosters which eventually deplete the soil's growing capacity with extended use.
  • Peat moss, compost, blood and fish meal (Bio-Fertilizers are available), steer manure.
  • Chop 3 oz. Garlic bulbs and soak them in 2 tsp. mineral oil for 24 hours slowly add 1 pint of water in which 2 oz. Of oil-based natural soap has been dissolved, stir well. Squeeze this liquid through gauze and store in a tightly sealed jar. Dilute 1 part garlic mixture to 20 parts water in a sprayer.
  • To clean and shine the leaves of large houseplants: wipe them gently with a soft cloth that has been dipped in a solution of one-fourth to one-half cup of white vinegar per gallon of cool water.
  • To make soil more alkaline: add crushed eggshells or fireplace ashes to the soil.


  • Loosen a rusted bolt or nut by applying a cloth soaked in vinegar or any carbonated beverage.

Old Decals:

  • Paint with several coats of white vinegar. Let the vinegar soak in several minutes and wash off decals.

Poison Oak or Ivy Relief:

  • Place a hot (the hotter, the better) compress sprinkled with salt over the area covered with poison oak. When cool, remove and let the salt stick to the poison oak or ivy and dry.

Paints and Stains:

  • Use latex and water based paints.

Paint Removers:

  • Ventilate!
  • Use sparingly and keep tight lids on containers.

Paint Solvents and Thinners:

  • Hold used turpentine or brush cleaner in a closed jar until paint particles settle out. Then pour off the clear liquid and reuse.
  • Hold paint sludge in a closed container until a household hazardous waste collection is available.

Paint Stripers:

  • Use sandpaper, heat gun, water-based strippers.