Natural Ingredient Choices
Supermarket: vinegar, salt, washing soda, abrasive green pad
Mail Order: washing soda
Hardware: powdered graphite
Pharmacy: zinc oxide
Natural Cleaning Recipes
From Clean & Green: The Complete Guide to Nontoxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping by Annie Berthold-Bond
The Green-Pad-and-Vinegar Solution
1/4 cup vinegar, green pad
- Scrub the vinegar onto the brick or stone with a mildly abrasive supermarket green pad. Rinse.
1/4 cup washing soda, enough hot water to make a paste
- Dissolve the ingredients in a bowl, scoop onto a mild abrasive supermarket green pad, and scrub the affected area. Rinse. If there is a heavy odor, leave the washing soda on until it dries before rinsing. This recipe requires a lot of rinsing. For less rinsing mix the washing soda with up to 2 gallons of water.
Smoke Residue Remover
1/8 cup salt, a few squirts of zinc oxide, enough water to make a paste
- Blend salt, zinc oxide, and water into a paste and rub onto the spot. Rinse well with water.
Cast Iron Woodstove Touch-up
- Rub the graphite onto the area needing a touch-up.
General Purpose Cleaners
From “Eco-friendly Household Products,” The Steep Hill News (June 1995, Steep Hill Co-op, Saskatchewan, Canada
a quick and easy tip: set out a container of baking soda, cedar chips, cinnamon, and cloves in your room.
Apply a little elbow grease and use a plunger followed by 50 ml of baking soda and 125 ml of vinegar. Let sit 15 minutes, then rinse with boiling water. A plumber’s snake can also be used. The best alternative is prevention-insert a screen into the drain and avoid flushing hair down the toilet.
Combine 50 ml white vinegar and 1 liter of water. Apply with a soft cloth.
Combine 30 ml vinegar and 1 liter of water.
Carpet Spot Cleaner
Apply club soda immediately, blot dry, and repeat. Sprinkle with cornmeal and vacuum after 30 minutes.
Automatic Dish Washing Detergent
Combine 250 ml borax with 125 ml baking soda. Works reasonably well and is phosphate free.
Brass & Copper Polish
Make a paste with lemon juice and baking soda. Rub on with a soft cloth, then rinse well and dry.
To Remove Burned-on Food
Dampen spot slightly and sprinkle well with baking soda. Leave overnight and scrub clean with a plastic scrubber.
Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner
Sprinkle surfaces with baking soda or borax. Scrub with a dampened sponge.
Grout, Mold & Mildew Cleaner
Wipe surface with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and scrub tile grout with an old toothbrush to remove old growth and prevent new infestation.
In a spray bottle combine one part vinegar to one part water. Spray on glass or mirrors and wipe dry with a rag or crumpled newspaper.
Use soap flakes or non-phosphate detergent. If clothes are heavily soiled, add 125 ml borax to the soap.
Scrub with a paste made from soap flakes and warm water before washing.
Add 50 ml white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
Sprinkle cornstarch on dry carpet (it absorbs dirt and grease). Wait five minutes then vacuum thoroughly.
Combine 500 ml cornmeal with 250 ml borax and sprinkle on the carpet. Leave for 15 minutes or longer, then vacuum.
For wood that is stained, varnished, or painted: wipe with olive oil and dry with a clean cloth. For varnished wood: combine 30 ml olive oil with 15 ml white vinegar and 1 liter water in a spray bottle. Spray wood lightly then dry with a clean cloth.