Non-Toxic Alternatives to Household Cleaners

Many household cleaners and pest control products are extremely toxic and have serious impacts on both environmental and human health. Fortunately, there are many easy and inexpensive alternatives to traditional household cleaners that you can make in your own home.

All-Purpose Cleaner
(For spots on linoleum, tile, and woodwork)
  • Liquid Castile Soap/Murphy’s Soap
  • Squeeze a drop of soap on a wet washcloth and rub briskly. A washcloth will last longer and create less waste than a sponge.
Tub & Sink Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Liquid Castile Soap/Murphy’s Soap
You can use baking soda in place of your scouring powder. Sprinkle it on Porcelain fixtures and rub with a wet rag. Add a little soap to the rag for more cleaning power. Rinse well to avoid leaving a hazy film.

Window & Mirror Cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Water
Just put ¼ cup vinegar in the spray bottle and fill to top with water. Spray on surface. Rub with a diaper, other lint-free rag, or sheets of newspaper. For outdoor windows use a sponge and wash with warm water with a few drops of liquid Castile soap in it. Rinse well and squeegee dry.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Liquid Castile Soap/Murphy’s Soap
Sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl as you would any scouring powder. Squeeze a couple of drops of soap in also. Scrub with a toilet bowl brush and finish outside surfaces with a rag sprinkled with baking soda.

Drain Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Boiling Water
  • Vinegar
This recipe will free minor clogs and helps to prevent future clogs. Pour 1/2 cup of the baking soda down the drain first, then 1/2 cup vinegar. Let it fizz for a few minutes. Then pour down a teakettle full of boiling water. Repeat if needed. If the clog is stubborn, use a plunger. If very stubborn, use a mechanical snake.

Oven Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
Mix 1 cup of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Apply to oven surfaces and let stand a little while. Use the scouring pad for scrubbing most surfaces. A spatula or bread knife is effective to get under large food deposits. This recipe will require “elbow grease”, but it is not toxic to you or your child. Try spot cleaning your oven regularly; dirty ovens are less energy-efficient. Do not use this cleaner on self cleaning ovens.

Used by permission from the Washington Department of Ecology, for more great sustainability resources check out the Department of Ecology’s website.