Alternatives to Chemical
If you follow these suggestions
you may not need to use hazardous chemical cleaning products:
Doing the Laundry
Drains: Pour boiling
water down drains once a week and use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar
to help keep drains unclogged. Pour fat/grease in a metal container, not
down the drain; discard the container in the trash when cooled.
Oven: Wipe up spills
as soon as the oven is cool; cleaning will be easier and may not require
a heavy-duty oven cleaner.
Carpets and floors: Vacuum
frequently to remove dirt, dust, and indoor particulates. Wipe up spills
quickly with regular soap to avoid stains.
Pets: Regularly brush
pets to reduce hair, dander, and fleas.
Look for plant-based and
phosphate-free detergents. Washing soda and borax are effective and low-priced
alternatives to commercial detergent boosters. Chlorine bleach is responsible
for more poison center reports than any other chemical in homes. Try non-chlorine
bleach for whitening. Clothes that are dry-cleaned emit a highly toxic
chemical called perchloroethylene. Ask your dry cleaner if they offer “wet
cleaning” as an alternative.
Avoid using chemical pesticides,
including no-pest strips, in your home. These are very dangerous and especially
toxic to children and pets. You can discourage indoor pests by making it
harder for them to enter your home and by keeping food inaccessible to
Personal Hygiene Products
Block pest entrances to your
home with screens and door sweeps. Use caulking to cover holes in walls
Wipe counters and wash dishes
Store food in airtight containers.
To avoid fruit flies in warmer
weather, don’t leave tomato or fruit peels in kitchen compost pails overnight.
Protect woolens with cedar instead
Boric acid is a less toxic ant
and roach killer.
Personal care products:
for products made from natural ingredients, such as plant derivatives.
Soaps and disinfectants:
hand washing with regular soap is typically adequate to remove germs. Cleaners
and soaps with antibacterial agents contribute to the growing problem of
drug-resistant bacteria. Use disinfectants with caution; they can contain
toxic chemicals such as phenols and cresol, which could be absorbed or
inhaled into your body.
Head lice: Commercial
head lice treatments can be very toxic. Less toxic products containing
neem seed extract or citronella, or enzyme-based treatments, can provide
effective solutions. See www.headlice.org for more information.
Safe and Simple Cleaners
By making your own household
cleaners, you can promote a healthy environment and a safer home, save
money, and easily prepare the right amount of cleaner to do the job.
Baking soda is a good cleaner
for sinks, tubs, and toilets. Mix ¼ cup baking soda with 2-3 tablespoons
vegetable oil-based soap or detergent for a creamy soft scrub. Store in
a sealed container.
For furniture polish, use one
teaspoon lemon oil or almond oil dissolved in one pint mineral oil.
Vinegar and water effectively
cleans windows and mirrors. Vinegar also works to cut grease. For a green
cleaner and window cleanser, mix a quarter- to a half-teaspoon vegetable oil-based
soap or detergent with 3 tablespoons white vinegar in 2 cups water. Pour
mixture into a spray bottle. Shake briefly before using. Works well on
glass and appliances.
The Solid Waste District has
additional “recipe” cards for homemade cleaners. Homemade household cleaner
ideas can also be found on the Internet.
Franklin County Solid Waste Management
50 Miles Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Tel: (413) 772-2438
MA Relay for the hearing impaired:
711 or 1-800-439-2370 (TTY/TDD)
Fax: (413) 772-3786
Staff email addresses
This website is made possible through
a grant from the
USDA Rural Utilities Service.
FCSWMD is an equal opportunity provider.
Opportunity Disclosure Statement.