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Recipes for House cleaners

(Non-toxic Alternatives)



Below you will find a whole range of household cleaners, deodorizes, treatments, pest deterrents etc. for an environmentally conscious home. Most work as good as, if not better than their chemical counterparts, and are cheaper as well!

Click here to go to Cooking.



NOTE: Ingredient sodium carbonate is used in many of the below recipes, it is commonly known as baking soda, washing soda, or bicarbonate of soda.



Household Cleaner

Mix together:
1 tsp. liquid soap (castile, peppermint)
1 tsp. borax
Squeeze of lemon
1 litre. warm water


1/4 cup. baking soda
1/2 cup. borax
1/2 cup. vinegar
3.5 litres. water

For surfaces that need scouring, try moist salt or baking soda and a green scouring pad.

Window Cleaner


Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don't wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.

Mix together:
2 tsp. vinegar
1 litre. warm water


2 tbsp. borax
3 cups. water

Rub dry with newspaper to avoid streaking.



Mix together:
1/4 cup. borax
2 litres. hot water


Kitchen & Bathroom

Oven Cleaner

Mix together:

1/4 cup. baking soda
2 tbsp. salt
Hot water, as needed to make a paste.
Let paste sit for 5 minutes. Caution: Keep off wires/heating elements.


2 tbsp. liquid soap (castile, peppermint)
2 tsp. borax
1 litre. warm water
Spray on oven and wait 20 minutes, then clean. For tough stains, scrub with very fine steel wool and baking soda.

Kitchen Utensils & Cookware


       Bottle cleaner
         To clean bottles or Thermos bottles put 2 tsp. baking soda and some hot water in it. Cap and shake. Let sit overnight to clean. Rinse well next morning.


       Cast Iron Skillet cleaner (Rust)
         Sprinkle lemon juice and salt in the rusty iron skillet. Wipe out the rust. Re-season skillet with a lot of oil. Place in a 100 degree celcius oven for one   

         hour. Wash the skillet. Dry it thoroughly. Re-season it with more oil. Wipe off excess oil.

         NEVER let a cast iron skillet air dry or it will rust!


         Cup cleaner

         If your cups are stained from tea or coffee, rub baking soda into the cup with a cloth and water to remove the stains. Rinse with water.


Drain Cleaner

Pour together:

1/2 cup. borax in drain followed by
2 cup. boiling water


1/4 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by
1/2 cup. vinegar
Cover drain and let sit for 15 minutes. Follow with 2 litres. boiling water.


Use a plumber's "snake" and boiling water.

Toilet Bowls

Pour: 1/4 cup. baking soda into bowl and drizzle with vinegar.
Let sit for 1/2 hour. Scrub and flush. Add borax for stains.




Pour 2 cups white vinegar in toilet bowl and let it sit overnight to remove waterline marks.


Air Fresheners

Commercial fresheners work by masking smells, coating nasal passages and deadening nerves to diminish sense of smell. Instead:

  • Find source of odors and eliminate them;

  • Keep house and closets clean and well-ventilated;

  • Grow lots of house plants;

Simmer: Cinnamon sticks
Orange peel, cloves

To absorb odors, place 2 to 4 tbsp. baking soda or vinegar in small bowls in refrigerator and around the house and pour 1/2 cup baking soda or kitty litter in the bottom of garbage cans.

Ceramic Tiles

Mix together:

1/4 cup. vinegar
3.5 litres. warm water




Pour equal amounts of epsom salts and liquid dish detergent to form a paste to clean ceramic tiles.

In a spray bottle put 1 qt. warm water. Add 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup white ammonia, and 1/8 cup white vinegar. Vinegar and baking soda mixed causes a chemical reaction so mix this over a sink as it can be very messy.


Use equal parts cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide mixed together to clean rust stains on tiles or chrome.

Basin, Tub, and Tile

Mix together:

1/2 cup. baking soda
2-3 tbsp. liquid soap (castile, peppermint)




Mix equal parts epsom salts and liquid dish detergent and scrub down the bath tub, sink, or shower area with it.  




Calcium or lime deposits
Equal parts of vinegar and baking soda will cut calcium and lime deposits.


Garbage Disposal Freshener

Grind ice and lemon or orange juice in the disposal.

Mould/Mildew Remover

Dissolve together:

1/2 cup, vinegar
1/2 cup. borax in warm water.
Apply with sponge or spray bottle.


Dishwashing Liquid

1/4 cup soap flakes
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup glycerine
1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil

1) In bowl combine soap flakes and water and stir until the soap is dissolved. Cool to luke warm.
2) Stir in the glycerine and the essential oil, leave to cool. As it cools it will form a loose gel. Stir with a fork and break up the gel and then pour into a narrow-necked bottle. An old shampoo bottle makes an excellent container.
3) To use, squirt 3 teaspoonfuls into hot running water.


Homemade Bleach Recipe

Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
White or Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions: Spray one ingredient, wipe off, then spray the other. (Just don't mix together and wipe area at the same time). That is it!





Rug and Upholstery Cleaner

Sprinkle corn meal, baking soda or cornstarch on dry rugs and vacuum. Use club soda or soap-based rug shampoo.

WINE STAINS - If you or someone else spills red wine on something, pour some white wine over it or else use club soda over it. Blot up the stain, NEVER rub it. Use a clean white cloth to blot up the stain until it is gone.



Carpet Cleaning Foam

Mix together:

1/4 cup. 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:

1/2 cup. white vinegar
3.5 litres 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 500ml 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.

  • Mix 1 tsp. lemon oil to 1/2 cup mineral oil and keep in a capped bottle. Mix well before using and use a soft cloth.

  • Use 1 part fresh lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil to make a good furniture polish. Will keep in an airtight container for 6 months.

  • Mix 3/4 cup olive oil, 20 drops lemon oil, (or lime oil or orange oil) and 1/2 cup vinegar. Store in a capped bottle and use as needed to polish your furniture or your cabinets.

  • Mix 10 drops lemon oil, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Keep in a capped bottle and use to dust with. Use a soft clean cloth.

Watermarks on funiture
Use butter or real mayonnaise to get rid of the watermarks on furniture. Rub with the grain using a soft cloth.

Use plain white toothpaste rubbed into the spot using a soft, clean cloth. 




Metal Polishes

Brass or copper cleaner
          Make a paste out of white corn meal and white vinegar. Coat the tarnished brass with this paste and leave on for five minutes. Wipe off with a soft 

          clean cloth and tarnish will be gone. Buff with a soft clean cloth.

          Slice a lemon in half and sprinkle some table salt on it generously. Rub your brass pot with this to clean it. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth. This will

          work on copper items just as well.




Silver Polish


1 litre. warm water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
small piece of aluminum foil


Rub toothpaste on silver, let it dry and rinse off.

Copper Cleaner

Rub lightly with fine table salt wetted with vinegar and lemon juice.


Rubbing alcohol, or a small amount of ammonia with hot water. Also try white flour in a damp rag.


Equal parts salt and flour, with a little vinegar.




When making the initial switch from a detergent to a soap laundry cleaner, wash items once with washing soda only. This will eliminate detergent residues that might otherwise react with soap to cause a yellowing of fabrics.

Laundry Soap

  • Add 1/3 cup baking soda to water as machine is filling.

  • Add clothes.

  • Add 1 1/2 cups of soap.

  • If the water is hard, add another 1/4 cup soda or 1/4 cup vinegar during the first rinse.


  • Add 1/3 cup washing soda to water before placing clothes in machine and substitute soap flakes or powder for detergent.

  • Add 1/2 cup borax for additional cleaning power.



Soapwort Fabric Treatment


1. Make a batch of soapwort shampoo.


2. Place the cooled shampoo in a container large enough to hold the delicate fabric that needs cleansing (soapwort is especially effective for treating wools, silks, or old and fragile embroideries and doilies).


3. Add enough water to cover the item.


4. Let the item soak in the soapwort.


5. Gently hand-wash the item and rinse it in cool water.


6. Dry the item lying flat on a clean towel.




Soak heavily soiled items in warm water with 1/2 cup washing soda for 30 minutes. Rub soiled areas with liquid soap.

Fabric Softener

Add 1 cup vinegar or 1/4 cup baking soda during final rinse.




Save an old fabric softener or detergent bottled (rinsed well). Using a funnel, carefully pour the following into the bottle:

2 cups vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups hot water

Be careful when adding the baking soda, do so very slowly as it will foam up. Cap and shake gently from side to side, opening the cap to allow air to escape (you may need to do this several times). Add about 20 drops of essential oil. I love lavender but you can use cedarwood, rose, eucalyptus, whatever you love.

Shake side to side before each use as the baking soda will settle.


To reduce static cling in tumble-dried synthetics, dampen hands when folding or line dry instead.

Spray Starch / Ironing spray

Dissolve 2 Tbsp. cornstarch in 1/2 litre cold water in a spray bottle. Shake before each use. For delicate fabrics, dissolve 1 package unflavored gelatin to 2 cups of hot water. Dip a corner of the fabric into the solution to test; if fabric becomes sticky when dry, add more water.

Dry Cleaning

Buy items you can wash or clean on your own. Most dry cleaning solvents, such as perchloroethylene are toxic. If you must dry clean, air clothing out thoroughly before bringing indoors. Many garments whose labels specify "dry clean only" can be safely hand-washed using mild soap.


Spot Removers


Here are alternatives to enzyme pre-soaks and bleach for tough stains. Test each of the following remedies on a corner of your fabric first.

Wash after application.


Heavy Soils

Rub with solution of 2 tbsp. baking soda in 1 cup warm water.

Fruit and Wine

Immediately pour salt or hot water on the stain and soak in milk before washing.



If you or someone else spills red wine on something, pour some white wine over it or else use club soda over it. Blot up the stain, NEVER rub it. Use a clean white cloth to blot up the stain until it is gone.


Soak in milk or remove with hydrogen peroxide.


Mix egg yolk with luke-warm water and rub on stain.


Rub with cold cream or shortening and wash with baking soda.


Pour strong soap and salt on the spots and place in sunlight. Keep the spots moist, and repeat as often as necessary.


Pour boiling water on stains and follow with dry baking soda. Also try ammonia and water.


Soak in cold water or remove with hydrogen peroxide. For a more stubborn stain, mix cornstarch, talcum powder or cornmeal with water and apply to stain. Allow to dry and brush away.

Chewing Gum

Rub with ice. Gum will flake off.


Saturate with sour milk (or lemon juice) and rub with salt. Place in direct sunlight until dry, then wash.


Boil scorched article in 1 cup soap and 2 litres. milk.





Removing candlewax
You can remove candlewax from candlesticks and clothing by freezing the items. The wax will flake off easily.

If candlewax gets on carpet, use a warm iron placed on double-thick paper towels and iron it off. The paper towels will absorb the melted wax. Keep repeating until the wax is gone.


Super Glue Remover (NOTE: These recipe is "Do it yourself", but  not chemical free or organic)

Use acetone nail polish remover on a cotton ball and let it saturate the super glue to remove it.


Remove stickers (NOTE: These recipe is "Do it yourself", but  not chemical free or organic)
For stickers on glass use vegetable oil. Soak the item in oil for a couple minutes to remove the sticker easily.

For plastic use WD-40 and let it soak on the item for a couple minutes to remove easily.

For metal use nail polish remover on a cotton ball and let soak in for a couple minutes to remove sticker easily.

For wood use vegetable oil and let it soak in for thirty minutes. Scrape off sticker with a Teflon scraper.




Adapted from:- https://www.ecocycle.org/ecocycleguidex/effective-planet-friendly-cleaning-recipes




Home Made Arts and Crafts Paint

cup cornstarch
2 cups cold water
Food colouring









Revive old marker pens (NOTE: These recipe is "Do it yourself", but  not chemical free or organic)
Acetone nail polish remover will revive an old marker pen when it gets dried up. Just dip the tip part in the acetone. Recap. Can use it again to write, draw, or colour within a couple hours.


Mix 3 pkgs. unflavored gelatin with 1 Tbsp. cold water and 3 Tbsp. boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Add 1/2 tsp. peppermint oil. Store it in a small covered tub. It will congeal, so to use it, microwave for 10 seconds on high.


Ant deterrent
If you have a problem with ants coming in your door take a piece of white chalk and draw a line. The ants will not cross the line!


Ants don't like cayenne pepper sprinkled around their anthills, or cucumber peelings.


Ant killer
Buy a pack of unflavored instant grits (also known as "Polenta") and sprinkle them lightly around wherever the ants have built their colonies. They will flock to the grits immediately, eat them, and the grits will make the ants implode and destroy them.

(Note: Grits are made from the milling of corn kernels. The first step in the process is to clean the kernels; then, the grains are steamed for a short time to loosen the tough outer hull. The grain kernel is split, which removes the hull and germ, leaving the broken endosperm. Heavy steel rollers break up the endosperm into granules, which are separated by a screening process. The large-size granules are the grits; the smaller ones become cornmeal and corn flour).


Insect / Bug Killer
Mix 1 tsp. sugar with 1 cup baking soda and spread it around where bugs might crawl. The sugar will attract them to eat, but the baking soda will kill them as they cannot digest it.

This recipe is not harmful to humans or animals.


Mix 1 part boric acid powder to 1 part sugar and sprinkle around area where bugs or ants crawl to get rid of them.


Insect / Bug repellent
* Lay pieces of Peppermint "extra" chewing gum still in wrappers inside your cabinets to repel bugs.

* Flies hate the smell of basil. Grow this herb around doors or in pots around doors to repel them.

* Bay leaves or wrapped peppermint gum will keep bugs out of your sugar and flour.

* Pine needles or pine odours will keep bugs away from your pet's bed. Lavender works just as well. Bugs hate the smell.

* You can keep bugs off you with lavender rubbed on yourself.

Coffee filter uses

* Make your own herbal teabags - Put your loose tea in the middle and bring up sides & secure with a small rubber band at the top.

* Make your own herbal bath bags by filling the coffee filter with your favorite herbs and stapling or taping it closed. Drop into a bathtub full of warm water and relax in the tub for about 15 minutes. Lavender is especially nice to use to relax.

Cooking odours
Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice to vegetables that stink when you are cooking them. Also works when frying fish. Just add the lemon juice to the pan or pot. I use this helpful hint and love it. My house never smells bad from cooking odors. I use 2 Tbsp. lemon juice when frying salmon patties and the smell is gone as soon as I am done frying . I just mix it in with my oil in the skillet.

Esky odours
If your esky or picnic cooler has a nasty smell to it, but it is clean, just wipe it out and place a bowl of vinegar in it. Close the lid and let it stand overnight. Next day, the odor should be gone.

Cord holders
Use empty paper towel tubes to hold your electric cords or Christmas tree lights. Use one tube per cord or strand. On the outside of the paper tube write the size of the cord or what kind of lights are inside it. Store in a drawer so you can find them easily when you need them and no more tangled up tree lights next year.

Damp & Musty Odours
Fill a knee high stocking with some activated charcoal (the kind that goes in an aquarium), and hang it wherever there is a musty smell.

You can hang a knee high full of mothballs underneath your house to keep it from smelling musty. It also keeps mice and bugs away. Mice hate the smell of peppermint, so you can use some cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in the knee high if you hate the smell of mothballs as I do. I have tried this and the peppermint really does work!

Keep some chalk in the area where it is damp or musty to absorb the odours.

You can keep a low voltage light on if the smell is in a closet to dry out the dampness. Just make sure nothing is touching the light bulb.

Toast a pan of regular long grain rice and put it inside a file cabinet or confined area that has any odor to remove odor.

Freshly ground coffee will absorb odors if left in an area for a day or so.

Musty suitcases can be freshened by balling up some newspapers and placing inside the suitcase for a few days or until you use it again.

One tsp. mustard will take any odors out of jars. Fill jar with water and add the mustard. Cap. Shake up. Let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse well. The smell should be gone.

Musty hampers will smell better if you sprinkle some baking soda over the bottom of the hamper to absorb the odors. Or you can keep an open box of baking soda setting in the bottom of the hamper.

Keep an open box of baking soda inside your refrigerator and your freezer to absorb any odors. Replace the baking soda every 3 months.

Toilets can get some nasty odors. Pour in some bleach and swish the bowl with your toilet brush to keep it odor free once or twice a week.

Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and let it stand overnight. Next day just vacuum it up and it will smell fresher.

In stinky shoes like sneakers place in each shoe a fabric softener sheet that has baking soda in it to absorb the odors.


Jar opener
Put on rubber gloves and it is easy to open jars.

Put a wide rubber band around the lid of the jar and you can open it easily. You can cut off the wrist area of a rubber glove and use it for a wide rubber band.


Jewelry polish
Use white toothpaste to polish silver jewelry. Use a soft brush. Rinse and dry.

Vinegar and salt will clean off the green patina that gets on jewelry.

In a baking pan cover the bottom of it with aluminum foil. Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp. baking soda and pour boiling water over this. Mix. Lay your silver in the pan and it cleans almost magically right before your eyes.


Hand and breath odours

For garlic or onion breath you can chew on a coffee bean. Or eat some fresh parsley sprigs.

Wash hands with baking soda to remove odors, or rub hands with a freshly sliced lemon half. Squirt some of the lemon juice on the hands and rub it in, then wash hands as you normally would to remove odors.

Wash odors off hands by holding any piece of stainless steel in your hands at same time as you wash hands underneath running water. Works every time! I often just rub my hands around the stainless steel sink.


Cockroach repellent
Catnip repels roaches as effectively as DEET, the ingredient in most bug sprays. It is more environmentally friendly, too. Catnip will not kill roaches; it only repels them.


Scraper and scrubber
Use old plastic credit cards as a scraper for removing burned on foods or to get stuck things off.

Use empty onion bags as scrubbers for Teflon pots and pans.


Scuff marks
Mayonnaise will remove scuff marks.


Shoe cleaner and deodorizer
Mix 5 drops tea tree oil and 5 drops lavender oil with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch or baking soda. Sprinkle some in shoes to deodorize them.

Shoes can be shined with a banana peel. You have to clean off the mess with a cloth.

To remove shoe polish on white shoes just use plain rubbing alcohol. On colored areas mix 1 part rubbing alcohol to 2 parts water and put in a spray bottle.


Work or paint smock
Use a large garbage bag as strong as you can find. Cut out a place in the middle for your head and one place on each side for your arms to go through. Slip it on and you have a smock to paint in or work in without messing up your clothes.


Sock heating pad
Here is a use for those single socks we all have around. Fill one with long grain rice or dried beans and tie a knot in the end of the sock or sew it up on end. Microwave for 2 min. whenever you need a heating pad for a sore neck, back, etc.


Wrinkle remover for clothes
Take a spray bottle full of water with a fine mist.

Hang your clothes up as soon as the dryer stops. If your clothes are wrinkled, spritz them with the fine mist of water and let them hang on a hanger until dry. Wrinkles usually fall out when dry.

You can spritz on equal parts white vinegar and water if the wrinkles are very bad.



Flies or bees bothering you? Spray them with hairspray and they will take a quick dive.

Crayon marks on walls? This worked wonderfully! A damp rag, dipped in baking soda. Comes off with little effort (elbow grease that is!).

Permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like store receipt BLUE!) Use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.

Candles will last a lot longer if placed in the freezer for at least 3 hours prior to burning.

To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the flowers. Shake vigorously as the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt and leave your artificial flowers looking like new! Works like a charm!


Adapted from:- http://www.angelfire.com/ga4/joydoctor/Househints.html



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