Greener Alternatives for the Kitchen


Abrasive scouring powders:

  • Dip damp cloth in baking soda and rub over stains. You can also make a paste with water and apply it to especially stained surfaces. Allow to set before rubbing clean and rinsing.
  • Toothpaste for light stains.
  • Sprinkle borax or salt on a damp sponge, scour and rinse.

Air Freshener or deodorizers:

  • To clean garbage disposals, grind used lemons in the disposal or pour in baking soda.
  • Leave opened box of baking soda in room or refrigerator. For a more expensive touch, a small saucer of pure vanilla will mask odors. To prevent spillage, pour it on a cotton ball. It's also good for removing odors from cars and ice chests.
  • Wrap cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boil in water; or leave herbal bouquets standing in open dishes for a fragrant smell.
  • 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.
  • Light a scented candle. (May be a problem for hypersensitive persons).
  • Cover the bottom of your cat's litter box with baking soda before adding litter. It eliminates odor for days.
  • For trashcans, sprinkle Borax in the bottom.
  • Set out a dish of vinegar to get rid of smoke smells and other odors.
  • Ventilate!

All purpose cleaners:

  • Mix vinegar with salt and water for a good surface cleaner.
  • Dissolve baking soda in water for a good cleaner.
  • Wash painted wood with 1 teaspoon of washing soda in a gallon of hot water. Rinse with clear water.
  • For finger marks and smears on shiny refrigerators and other appliances: use a solution of about half vinegar and half water on an old piece of terry towel.
  • Clean dish drainboards with full-strength vinegar.
  • Put about a half of a cup of vinegar in your hand dishwashing water to keep grease from clinging to things.
  • For crayon stains on washable painted walls: put baking soda on a wet sponge, apply and scrub gently.
  • Vinegar will get rid of that slick feeling you have on your hands after using household bleach products. Wash your hands with soap and water, then rinse with vinegar.

Appliance cleaners:

  • Dry baking soda. It even removes burned-on bread wrappers on toasters.

Automatic dishwashing detergent:

  • The safest ones are White Magic, Electro-Sol, Neo Life and Amway.Sodium hexametaphosphate, a mild mineral powder, is safer, but it won't remove dried-on food. It doesn't leave water spots on the glasses.

Drain openers/cleaners:

  • Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes. Flush drain thoroughly with boiling water.
  • Pour 1⁄4 cup of salt in drain, then boiling water.
  • Use 1⁄2 cup salt and 1⁄2 cup baking soda and follow with 6 cups of boiling water. Let sit overnight and then flush with water.
  • Unclog drains with metal snake or plunger.
  • Recipe for prevention: 1⁄2 cup washing soda followed by 2 cups of boiling water.
  • Pour boiling water down your drain once weekly as preventative.

Fire extinguishers:

  • Baking soda can extinguish flames started when grease splatters on the stove burner.

Oven cleaners:

  • Use oven liners (trays) to catch spills.
  • Clean oven after use with baking soda or washing soda: mix 3 tablespoons of soda with warm water. If necessary, scrub with less harmful scouring agent like Bon Ami.
  • For a fresh spill, wet and sprinkle baking soda, scrub with a soft nylon/scrubber.
  • Use a combination of slat, baking soda, water (and elbow grease).
  • Put 1⁄4 cup of ammonia in a non-aluminum shallow dish and fill with water. Set this bowl in the middle of the oven overnight. In the morning, stains can be removed with a damp rag. (Caution: moist ammonia gas may cause corrosion of copper; avoid contact with thermostats and other parts made of copper.)

Pot and pan cleaners:

  • Borax with hot water.
  • For burnt pans, after removing as much substance as possible, fill with cold water. Add a generous amount of salt and slice of onion. Set overnight, or for 12 hours. Then bring to a boil for five minutes, cool, and clean.
  • Sprinkle a burned saucepan liberally with baking soda: add enough water to moisten and let stand for several hours. The burned portion should come right out.

Sink cleaners:

  • Salt is an excellent scouring agent while also possessing disinfecting qualities.
  • Use Borax or baking soda to clean.