Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency



Basic supplies: Baking soda • Bon Ami cleanser • Borax • Lemon or lime juice • Liquid dish soap • Vegetable oil • Washing soda • White vinegar • Non-scratch scrubber sponge

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp Borax
  • 3½ cups hot water
  • 20 drops essential oil (optional)
  • ¼ cup liquid dish soap

In a 32 oz spray bottle, mix the vinegar, borax, and water thoroughly. Add essential oil if desired. Add dish soap last.

Floor cleaner

  • ⅛ cup liquid soap
  • ¼ to ½ cup white vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ cup herbal tea (peppermint has antibacterial properties)

Combine ingredients in pail with 3 gallons of warm water. Swirl until it is sudsy. Rinse with 1 cup of vinegar in 3 gallons of cool water.

Wood Floor Cleaner

  • Use ½ cup vinegar per gallon of water. Wipe dry.

Wood Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp liquid soap
  • A few drops olive oil

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, saturate a sponge with the mixture, squeeze excess, and wash surfaces. The smell of vinegar will dissipate in a few hours.

Furniture Polish

  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces.

Carpet Spot Remover

Blot immediately. Sprinkle with baking soda, cornstarch, or Borax and let dry. Wash with club soda and vacuum.

Window Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
  • 2 cups water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake to blend.

Oven Cleaner

  • 1 cup or more baking soda
  • one or two squirts of liquid soap

Sprinkle water generously over bottom of oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda so surface is totally white. Sprinkle more water over top and let it sit overnight. Wipe up the grease the next morning. With a bit of liquid soap on a damp sponge, wash remaining residue from the oven.

Soft Scrubber for Basin, Tub and Tile

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • Enough liquid soap or detergent to make frosting-like consistency
  • 5 to 10 drops antibacterial essential oil, such as lavender (optional)

Place baking soda in bowl; slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring continually. Add essential oil. Scoop mixture onto sponge, wash surface, and rinse. (Bon Ami is another option.)

Rust Remover for Sinks and Tubs

Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is nicely soaked in lime juice. Leave the mixture on for two or three hours. Use the leftover rind as a handy scrubber. Rust is gone.

Unclog and Deodorize Drains

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda in and around the drain opening. Follow with a cup of white vinegar. Repeat if needed, and finally flush with very hot water.

Bacteria, Mold and Germs

A straight 5% solution of vinegar—such as you buy in the supermarket—is effective for eliminating harmful bacteria, mold and germs. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar in your kitchen and in your bathroom.

Borax, Non-Chlorine Bleach, and Washing Soda

These products can be used by themselves as household cleaners and laundry products in accordance with label directions. They can also be mixed with certain other products for certain uses. All of these products are harmful if swallowed. Washing soda is not the same as baking soda and should not be used in place of baking soda.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Use Bon Ami cleanser with a non-scratching scrubber sponge.


Borax Unsafe? Possible Alternatives

By Julia Earl

Preventing Harm Minnesota


Remember that, for most cleaning around the house, all we really need are cleaners, not disinfectants. Borax acts as a disinfectant. Until more scientific evidence is available, this author is comfortable using Borax in moderation as an ingredient for disinfecting really germy areas like toilets, doorknobs, potty chairs, and sinks. If you are making large quantities of non-toxic cleaner with children, community groups, etc. simply omit the Borax to avoid skin or respiratory contact and possible irritation.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

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