SAHA’s Sustainable Initiatives encourages the use of chemical-free cleaners that can be made with common household ingredients.
Click the links below for information on the effects of chemical cleaners and indoor asthma studies:
See recipes below for non-toxic cleaners
- Baking Soda - Cleans and deodorizes. Softens water to increase suds and cleaning power of soap. Good scouring powder.
- Borax - Cleans and deodorizes. Excellent disinfectant. Softens water. Available in laundry section of grocery store.
- Soap - Biodegrades safely and completely and is non-toxic. Available in grocery stores and health food stores. Sold as liquid, flakes, powder or in bars. Bars can be grated to dissolve more easily in hot water. Insist on soap without synthetic scents, colors or other additives. Detergent has been synthetically formulated for hard water.
- Washing Soda - Cuts grease and removes stains. Disinfects. Softens water. Available in laundry section of grocery store or in pure form from chemical supply houses as "sodium carbonate."
- White Vinegar or Lemon Juice - Cuts grease and freshens.
1 tsp. liquid soap (castile, peppermint)
1 tsp. borax
Squeeze of lemon
1 qt. warm water
¼ c. baking soda
½ c. borax
½ c. vinegar
1 gal. water
For surfaces that need scouring, try moist salt or baking soda and a green scouring pad.
2 tsp. vinegar
1 qt. warm water
1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
Rub dry with newspaper to avoid streaking.
¼ c. borax
½ gal. hot water
Pour together: ½ c. borax in drain followed by
2 c. boiling water
¼ c baking soda down the drain, followed by
½ c. vinegar
Cover drain and let sit for 15 minutes. Follow with 2 qts. boiling water.
Use a plumber's "snake" and boiling water. Only use with metal pipe, the boiling water can melt plastic pipes, if not careful
Pour: ¼ c. baking soda into bowl and drizzle with vinegar.
Let sit for ½ hour. Scrub and flush. Add borax for stains.
Mix together: ¼ c. vinegar
1 gal. warm water
Dissolve together: ½ c, vinegar
½ c. borax in warm water.
Apply with sponge or spray bottle.
Mold Removers and Disinfectants
Lavender Oil or Tea Tree Oil natural fungicides that are antiseptic, one teaspoon of essential oil to every two cups of water. Apply with spray bottle.
Mold and mildew remover
White Vinegar and lemon juice full strength. Apply and rub.
Rug and Upholstery Cleaner
Sprinkle corn meal, baking soda or cornstarch on dry rugs and vacuum. Use club soda or soap-based rug shampoo.
Carpet Cleaning Foam
Mix together: ¼ c. vegetable oil-based liquid soap
3 tbsp. (or more) water
Whip ingredients in bowl with egg beater. Rub foam into problem areas of the rug. Rinse well with water.
Mix together: ½ c. white vinegar
1 gal warm water
Polishing with skim milk after floor is dry will make the floor glow!
Furniture Polish (Wood Surfaces)
- Rub toothpaste on wood furniture to remove water marks.
- Polish wood with 2 tsp. lemon oil and 1 pint mineral oil in spray bottle. Spray, rub in and wipe clean.
- Mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. After rubbing the mixture in, let stand for several hours and then polish with a soft, dry cloth.
- Melt 1 tbsp. carnauba wax into two pints mineral oil. Use sparingly and rub hard.
Marks on Walls and Painted Surfaces
Baking Soda applied to damp sponge. Rub gently, wipe and rinse.