Greener Alternatives to House Hold Cleaners


Brass cleaners:

  • Mix equal parts of salt and flour. Add enough vinegar to make a stiff paste. Cover surface and allow drying, then quickly rinsing off.
  • Dissolve one teaspoon of slat in one cup of white vinegar and add enough flour to make a paste. Apply this mixture to the brass and let stand for about 10 minutes. Rinse the object well with warm water and polish dry.
  • Saturate a sponge or cloth with vinegar or lemon juice, sprinkle salt on the sponge, and then lightly rub, rinse, and dry.
  • Polish with Worcestershire sauce; or pour on ketchup, let sit, wipe dry.
  • Use water in which onions have been boiled.

Bronze Cleaners:

  • Mix 1 tsp. Salt, 1 cup white vinegar and flour to make a paste, apply paste and let sit 15 minutes to 1 hour, paste of lemon juice and salt.

Carpet Cleaners:

  • Mix 1⁄2 cup mild liquid dishwashing detergent and 1 pint of boiling water. Let cool until it forms a jelly. Whip into a stiff foam with a beater.Apply with a damp cloth or sponge to a small section of carpet and rub gently.Wipe with clean cloth. Allow to dry.

Carpet Deodorizers:

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the entire carpet. Use approximately 1 cup per medium sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.
  • Mix 2 parts cornmeal with 1 part Borax. Sprinkle liberally, leave 1 hour, then vacuum.

Chrome, Stainless Steel Cleaners:

  • Dip dry cloth into flour and rub on surface of object.
  • Shine chrome fixtures by rubbing with newspaper after fixtures have been wet; or try rubbing with baby oil and a soft cloth. Also try aluminum foil, shiny side out. (Note: If using newspaper, wear rubber gloves to protect the hands from getting newsprint all over them).

Copper Cleaners:

  • Mix equal parts of salt and flour together. Hear an equal amount of vinegar, then add mixture to form a paste.
  • Pour vinegar and slat over copper and rub.
  • Boil tarnished item in pot of water with 1 tbsp. Salt and 1 cup white vinegar for several hours, then wash with soap in hot water.

Floor Wax and Strippers:

  • To remove old wax: pour a small amount of club soda on a section of floor. Scrub well; let soak, then wipe clean.
  • Mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar, 1⁄2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup linseed oil. Shake well before each application.
  • To polish linoleum and vinyl floor with our commercial wax: mix 1 part thick boiled starch with 1 part soap suds. Rub the mixture on the floor, and polish dry with a clean, soft cloth.
  • For linoleum: mop with one cup white vinegar mixed with 2 gallons of water to remove dull/greasy film. Polish with club soda. Adding sour milk or skim milk to rinse water will shine the floor without polishing.

Furniture and Floor Polishing:

  • Combine 1⁄2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water.
  • To remove fingerprints, quickly rub a slice of potato over surface.
  • Scratches on wood surfaces can be removed by rubbing the meat of nuts over the scratched area. Pecans and walnuts both work, though it is best to match the nut with the wood.
  • Mix 1 tsp. lemon oil with 1 pint mineral oil in a pump spray bottle.
  • Use light, soapy water to clean and soft cloth to shine.
  • Rub toothpaste on wood furniture to remove water marks.
  • Mix 1 tsp. olive oil with juice form one lemon and 1 tsp. water.
  • Use small amount of mayonnaise and soft cloth.
  • Rub crushedraw nuts on the wood for an oily polish.
  • Use olive oil, 100 % lemon oil, beeswax or beeswax and olive oil.
  • Melt 1 tbsp. of carnuba wax into 2 cups of mineral oil.
  • For unsealed wood, use almond oil, raw linseed oil or mineral oil.
  • One part lemon juice, two parts vegetable oil.

General Purpose Cleaners:

  • Natural biodegradable cleaners such as "Lifeline" can be purchased in most health stores.
  • Mix 1⁄2 cup Borax with 1 gallon warm water; shake well. Mix 1⁄2 cup ammonia and 1/3 cup of washing soda in a gallon of warm water. Use as needed and store remainder in a large jug.
  • Dissolve 4 tsp. of baking soda in warm water.
  • For a good surface cleaner, mix vinegar with salt.
  • Mix baking soda with a small amount of water.
  • For a more abrasive cleaner, rub soiled surface with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse.

Cuts and Burns:

  • Keep an aloe Vera plant handy for cuts and burns.

Glass and Mirror Cleaners:

  • Dilute 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup of white vinegar in a quart of warm water, then rub with newspaper on the glass to dry.
  • Measure 3 tbsp. ammonia, 1 tbsp. white vinegar, and 3⁄4 cup water into a clean spray bottle.
  • Use a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a quart of water.
  • Mix 1⁄2 cup cornstarch, 2 quarts warm water, mix well and apply with a sponge, then wipe windows dry with a soft cloth.
  • Dip a wet sponge in baking soda to clean a glass oven door.
  • Mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar, one pint rubbing alcohol, and one teaspoon dishwashing liquid with enough water to make a gallon of cleaner.
  • Glass and ceramic surfaces can be cleaned with baking soda sprinkled on a sponge, nylon scrubber, or ball-scrubber made from old panty hose.
  • To keep windshields from freezing: 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water overnight on windshield.

Gold Cleaners:

  • Toothpaste and soft toothbrush.

Heavy Duty Cleaners:

  • TSP (trisodium phosphate). Use sparingly. Mix in hot water.

Insect Spray:

  • Blend 6 cloves crushed garlic, 1 minced onion, 1 tbsp. dried hot pepper and 1 tsp. pure soap in 4 liter of hot water. Let sit 1-2 days.Strain before using.
  • Place 1 cigarette in 1 liter of water overnight. Strain and spray.
  • Use geckos for insect control in the home.

Marble Cleaners and Polishes:

  • Cut a fresh lemon in half. Hold within a cloth, dip edge into warm water then Borax. Rub marble surface, then buff with s soft cloth.

Moth Balls:

  • Read directions carefully or use cedar chips, newspaper, dried lavender, peppercorns. Store woolens in zipped plastic bags.

Painted Surface Cleaner:

  • 1 cup ammonia, 1⁄2 cup vinegar, and 1⁄4 cup of baking soda combined with a gallon of warm water. Use as needed and store remainder in large jug.

Rug and Upholstery Cleaners:

  • Rub salt thickly on red wine spills, let sit overnight and vacuum.
  • Sprinkle corn meal or corn starch on rug then vacuum.
  • Use club soda or soap-based, non-aerosol rug shampoos. Vacuum when dry.
  • Mix 1⁄2 cup mild liquid dish-washing detergent with 1 pint boiling water; let cool. Whip the paste into a stiff foam using a hand or electric mixer.Apply it to the carpet with a damp sponge. Rub gently. Work in 4' x 4' sections. Wipe off the suds with a clean cloth. To rinse, add 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Rinse each section and wipe the carpet as you go. Change the rinse solution frequently.
  • Mix 6 tbsp. soap flakes, 2 tbsp. Borax and 1 pint boiling water.

Shoe Polish:

  • Avoid polishes containing trichloroethylene, methyl chloride or nitrobenzene.
  • Polish shoe leather with the inside of a banana peel, then buff.

Silver Polish:

  • Soak silver 5-10 minutes in 1 quart warm water with 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, and a small piece of aluminum foil.
  • Rub article with toothpaste and soft cloth. Rinse with warm water and dry.
  • Rub article with lipstick and soft cloth.
  • Rub with dry baking soda, or make a paste of baking soda and water.
  • For silver rings, soak in solution of 1⁄2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda for 2 hours. Rub with towel to dry.

Stainless Steel:

  • Rub with olive oil to remove streaks; moisten cloth with undiluted vinegar and wipe clean.
  • Remove streaks or heat stains by rubbing with any of the following: olive oil, club soda or white vinegar.


  • Cover thickly with salt. Vacuum.

Wall and Floor Cleaners:

  • Borax with hot water.
  • Vinyl floors: 1⁄2 cup vinegar or 14 Borax or TSP with one gallon water. Polish with club soda.
  • Adding sour milk or skim milk to rinse water will shine the floor without polishing.
  • Wood floors: damp mop with mild vegetable soap, such as Castile soap or Murphy oil soap.