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Most of us use household chemicals for cleaning or pest control. These products are often hazardous, especially when used improperly, stored too long, or put in the trash. Fortunately, there are non-toxic substitutes form many of these materials.

In addition to being better for the environment, the substitutes often cost less.

This list is intended to provide you with some non-toxic substitutes for some commonly used household products that are hazardous to humans, or the environment.

Product Safe Substitute
  • Adhesive and Glue: Use white or yellow wood glue instead of solvent-suspended glues.
  • Ammonia Based Cleaners: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge. When cleaning windows, put 2 Tbs. of white vinegar for each QT. of water.
  • Ant Poison: Sprinkle chili powder, talcum powder or powdered chalk along the places the ants enter you home or apartment.
  • Bleach (Laundry): Use borax for all colors. To brighten dark clothing use one half cup of white vinegar to brighten.
  • Carpet/Upholstery Cleaners: Sprinkle dry cornstarch or baking soda and them vacuum. For tough stains blot with white vinegar in soapy water.
  • Cockroach Poisons: Use a mixture of baking soda and powdered sugar or a light dusting of Borax and sprinkle around refrigerator, stove and ducts. Use cockroach traps.
  • Disinfectants: Use Borax adding one half cup for each gallon of water.
  • Drain Cleaners: Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, then one half cup of white vinegar. wait a minute then flush with hot water.
  • Drain Openers: Use a plunger or a snake. To prevent clogs use the cleaning formula above weekly.
  • Flea Repellents: Use a herbal collar or citrus oil spray. Also, add brewers yeast to your pets food.
  • Fly Sprays: Use a fly swatter of non toxic fly paper. You can also squirt flies with a mixture of dish soap and water.
  • Floor and Furniture Polish: To clean use oil soap and warm water then dry. To polish use on part lemon juice and 2 parts beeswax, lemon oil or mineral oil.
  • Fungicides: Don't over water. Keep areas prone to fungus clean and dry.
  • Furniture Stripper: Use an electric sander, sandpaper or heat gun.
  • Herbicides/Weed Killers: Cut weeds by hand with a clipper or hoe. Use a dandelion digger to remove weed with long roots.
  • Insecticides: Spray soapy water on aphids and other garden pests and on indoor plants. Use insect predators such as lady bugs or preying mantises. Drown slugs and snails by setting out a pan of white vinegar.
  • Moth Repellents: Use cedar chips, cedar balls, or lavender flowers.
  • Mercury Thermometers: Use a digital thermometer.
  • Metal Cleaners: Scrub brass and copper with half a lemon dipped in salt. Use a scouring pad and soapy water on stainless steel or clean stainless steel sinks with baking soda and salt. Use toothpaste and a soft wet cloth to clean silver.
  • Oven Cleaners: Sprinkle salt on drips and then scrub. Use baking soda and a scouring pad on older spills.
  • Pool Chemicals: Use and ultraviolet light or ozone light system.
  • Rodent Poison: Build screening around gardens by digging a trench and sticking fencing 2 inches below the surface. Use traps. You can prevent rodents by eliminating their food source and sealing entry holes.
  • Scouring Powders: Use baking soda or Bon Ami.
  • Stains: Use latex paint or natural pigment finishes.
  • Thinners, Turpentine: No recommended substitute. Use water based paint that can be cleaned up with water.
  • Toilet Cleaners: Sprinkle on baking soda then scrub with a toilet brush.