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Non-Toxic Alternatives

Many household products that contain toxic or hazardous materials have alternatives that are safer for both you and the environment and they may even save you money. Please try the following alternatives.

  • Cleaning Formulas
    Air Freshener
    Combine 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. lemon juice and 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake and spray in the air.
    All Purpose Cleaner
    Combine 1 tsp. borax, 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 2 tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. vegetable-oil-based liquid soap, and 2 cups of very hot tap water in a spray bottle. Shake, spray and wipe off.
    Carpet Cleaner & Disinfectant
    Combine 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup borax, and 1/2 cup baking soda. Sprinkle on carpet, rub with a cloth, let set for a few hours and vacuum.
    Floor Cleaner
    Combine 1/8 cup vegetable-oil-based liquid soap, 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 gallons of warm water in a bucket.
    Glass Cleaner
    Combine 1/2 tsp. vegetable-oil-based liquid soap, 3 tbsp. vinegar, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Shake, spray and wipe with a rag.
    Oven Cleaner
    Sprinkle water on the bottom of the oven, cover with baking soda and sprinkle with more water. Let stand overnight. Wash top and sides with a small amount of vegetable-oil-based liquid soap.
    Scouring Powder
    Use baking soda or borax and a damp sponge.
    Toilet Bowl Cleaner
    Pour 1 cup borax in the bowl and let set overnight. Brush.
    Tub & Tile Cleaner
    Combine 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 1 tsp. borax, 1/2 tsp. vegetable-oil-based liquid soap, 3 tbsp. vinegar and 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake, spray and rinse or wipe.
  • Wood Polish Formula
    Wood Furniture Polish
    Combine 1/2 cup food-grade linseed oil, 1/8 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Rub into wood with a soft cloth.
  • Garden Product Formulas
    Spray plant with mild soapy water. Introduce beneficial insects.
    Fill shallow containers with beer or border the area with a copper strip.
    Border garden with bone meal, tangle foot pyrethrum, silica gel or boric acid.
  • Pet Product Formulas
    Cat Litter Box Odor
    Add a layer of baking soda to the box before adding litter.
    Keep pets and pet sleeping area clean. Place eucalyptus leaves near bedding. Feed pets small amounts of brewer's yeast, garlic or vitamin B.
  • Indoor Pest Formulas
    Apply boric acid powder or baking soda mixed with powdered sugar, bay leaves, or silica gel around points of entry.
    Apply red chili powder, cream of tartar powder or boric acid near path. Soak cotton balls in a thick syrup of sugar, borax and water and place near path.
    Put clothes/blankets in a plastic bag. Use cedar balls or strips. Make sachets of dried lemon peels, dried lavendar, bay leaves or cloves. Keep flours and pastas in sealed containers.

If you do have to use household products that contain toxic or hazardous materials, please remember the following:

  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Never mix toxics. Never mix ammonia products with chlorine products.
  • Buy only what you need and use it up.
  • Keep products in a cool dry place and out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Share extra products with friends and neighbors or properly dispose of them at the Yuba-Sutter Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Call (530) 743-6933 for facility information.