Recipes for Alternative Cleaning Solutions

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All-Purpose Household Cleaner

1-quart warm water

1 teaspoon liquid soap

1 teaspoon borax

Squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar

This solution can be used for a multitude of cleaning jobs including countertops, floors, walls, rugs, and upholstery.

Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Air Freshener

Leave open boxes of baking soda in refrigerators, closets, and bathrooms

Open doors and windows for good ventilation

Use stove fan when cooking

Use flowers, herbs, and spices to add subtle fragrances to indoor air

Drain Opener

1/2 cup baking soda

1 cup vinegar

boiling water

Dissolve baking soda and vinegar in boiling water, and pour down the drain. Continue to flush with hot tap water until the clog breaks.

Degreaser (engine and tool)
Use a water-based cleaner in place of kerosene, turpentine, and commercial engine degreaser.

Degreaser (kitchen)
Use a non-chlorinated scouring powder with an abrasive scouring pad or fine steel wool.

Use 1/2 cup borax in 1 gallon of hot water. To inhibit mold and mildew, do not rinse off borax solution.

Bottle of Club Soda

Floor Cleaner

Vinyl floors: 1/2 cup vinegar or 1/4 cup borax with 1-gallon water. Polish with club soda.

Wood floors: damp mop with mild vegetable oil soap.

Glass Cleaner
1/4 cup vinegar in 1-quart warm water. (Do not use this as a windshield wiper solution as it may damage the pump; use plain water for this purpose.)

Box of 20 Mule Team Borax

Mildew Cleaner
Scrub with baking soda or borax; for extended mold inhibition, do not rinse off.

Oven Cleaner

Scrub with two tablespoons or more of baking soda or borax in 1-gallon water, using very fine steel wool (0000). Wear gloves. For baked-on spots, try scrubbing with pumice.

As a last resort, use a pump oven cleaner that says "No Caustic Fumes" and "No Lye."

Rug and Upholstery Cleaner
Use the All-Purpose Household Cleaner recipe.

Scouring Powder
Use baking soda or a non-chlorinated commercial scouring powder.

Spot Removers

All-purpose: 1/4 cup borax in 2 cups cold water; soak the stain prior to washing as usual.

Blood: Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide solution directly on the stain; rinse with water and wash as usual.

Ink: Apply a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar; allow to dry, then wash as usual.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Scrub with baking soda or mild detergent.

Tub/Tile Cleaner
Use scouring powder or baking soda.


Furniture Polish
1-pint mineral oil with a few drops of lemon juice.