Non-Toxic Home Cleaning

These 30 natural cleaning recipes work well, are easy and inexpensive. They’re better for the earth and for your body, mind, and emotions. Eliminate the brand-name cleaners in your home that contain poisons (which the label may not be required to show).

The ingredients in commercial cleaning products often contain chemicals that are poisonous to humans as well as to the environment. They’ve been shown to increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, asthma, allergies, sexual dysfunction, and other modern day, chronic diseases. Children are especially vulnerable.

The Environmental Working Group website tells which store-bought cleaning products are safe. 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since World War II. They are never tested for acute or long-term effects.


Nearly all commercial laundry products use dangerous additives (such as Ajax, Fab, and Dynamo) that cause cancer, asthma, allergies, and sexual dysfunction. Natural cleaning with green ingredients is especially important here. Ingredients that are safe for people will also be safe for the environment.

Fabric Softener
You never need to buy fabric softener. A half cup of inexpensive, white vinegar per load (all types of machines) will soften fabrics just as well.

Each commercial fabric softener usually contains about 20 poisons which cause asthma, neurological disease, cancer, and serious confusion in your body’s sex hormones. This is nasty stuff, especially for anyone under twenty years old, or the old, or the sick, or anyone under stress. See fabric softener ratings by their risk to your health and safety.

Removing toxic residue from new clothes

  • Always wash new clothes with vinegar before using them. Toxic chemicals may have been sprayed onto new clothing to make them look, smell, or feel different, or absorbed by the clothes during manufacture or transport. A vinegar wash will also help dissolve and wash away these toxins.
  • Add an entire cup of vinegar into the fabric softener cup of the washer. If the cup cannot hold so much, just pour the rest into the washer tub.

Laundry Detergents and Bleach
Choose laundry detergents that have fewer poisonous chemicals in them. See laundry detergent ratings from the EWG, ranked according to the risk to your health and safety. Of about 1040 products evaluated, 165 received an “A”.

Wine stains

Spots caused by wine can be removed from certain fabrics: 100% cotton, cotton polyester blends and permanent press fabrics, but it must be done within 24 hours. Sponge white distilled vinegar directly onto the stain and rub away the spots. Then clean according to the directions on the manufacturer’s care label.

Dingy clothes

The dingy, yellow or grey look that old cloths get is due to soap that does not rinse out before the dryer burns the soap that is left into the fabric. You can prevent this and eliminate more of the soap (which can cause skin rashes and allergic reactions) by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the load, depending on the size of the load.

Renewing fluffy blankets
Cotton and wool blankets become soft, fluffy and free of soap odor once again if you add 2 cups of white distilled vinegar before washing.

Preventing colors from bleeding in the wash
By soaking a garment in vinegar before washing, you can prevent or greatly reduce the running of colors that would occur otherwise.

Natural leather cleaning
Use a mixture of white distilled vinegar and linseed oil. Rub the mixture into the leather and then polish with a soft cloth.

Cleaning shower curtains
Launder the shower curtain in the washing machine with 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water (which is when the fabric softener is added). Do NOT spin dry or wash out. Simply hang it to dry immediately after the machine is done.

Kitchen Cleaners

Cleaning a microwave oven
WARNING: Avoid using a microwave at all. They place toxins in your food. Especially, never use a plastic container to microwave a food containing oil. It will draw extremely toxic, carcinogenic chemicals out of the plastic and into the food.

Place in the microwave a solution of ¼ cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup water. Turn on the microwave and let the solution boil. It will loosen hard spattered food and deodorize at the same time.

Natural oven cleaning

1. Baking soda is very effective on ovens.

  • The first step is to spray down the inside surface of the oven with water.
  • Then coat a thick layer of the baking soda where needed. Make sure the bottom is a good ¼ inch layer of damp mud. If any of the soda looks dry, mist it with the spray bottle until it looks damp.
  • Walk away for a few hours. Do NOT turn on the oven.
  • Wipe off the oven grime with a cloth. You will be amazed. Badly burned ovens may require a second coat.

2. Commercial product called Branch Basics–a natural, non-toxic pure soap gentle enough to use as a bathroom soap or shampoo.

Deodorize the kitchen drain
Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let it stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.

Clean the refrigerator
Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

Remove refrigerator smells
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in the refrigerator. Within 2 days any smell will be gone, but it helps to clean the fridge as well.

Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.

Cleaning stainless steel appliances
Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Try in an inconspicuous area first. Sometimes a specialty finish or coating could be affected by the vinegar.

Dishwasher: less soap, cleaner dishes

  • Adding vinegar with dishwasher soap can give you cleaner, less spotted dishes. It softens water, reduces the amount of soap or detergent needed, and makes water run off the dishes without leaving spots.
  • Pour 1 1/2 to 2 cups of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Then add your normal amount of soap.
  • Test by reducing the amount of soap you use to find what works well and saves on soap.

Bathroom Cleaners

Bathtub film
For natural bathtub cleaning, remove the after-bath film by wiping the tub down with white distilled vinegar, then washing with baking soda. Rinse clean with water.

Natural toilet bowl cleaner
Natural cleaning in a green way is especially important here. Some of the most toxic products to people and the environment are toilet cleaners. Especially avoid 2000 Flushes, X-14, and Lysol brand Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner.

  • Stubborn stains can be removed from a toilet bowl by spraying them with white distilled vinegar and then brushing vigorously.
  • The bowl can be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white distilled vinegar, allowing it to sit for 30 minutes, then flushing.

Keep flowers fresh longer

Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar to 1 quart of water in a vase. Trim stems and change the water every 5 days.

Floor Cleaning

Avoid Spic ‘n Span which is highly toxic and now banned in California. Non-waxed floors: Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to a half gallon of warm water.

Carpet stain removal

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water. This will remove non-oil stains from carpets.
  • Apply to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently.
  • Rinse with a towel and blot dry.
  • Repeat this until stain is gone, then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer.

Do this as soon as the stain is discovered. Stains that set over time can become part of the fabric.

Cleaning Windows and Walls

Streak-free windows
Simply wash with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. This solution makes windows shine without the usual film or streaks.

Washing woodwork
With this solution, dirt and grime come off easily, and it does not leave streaks or dull the painted finish.

Marks on wood from water or alcohol
Stubborn rings resulting from wet glasses let on wood furniture can be removed by rubbing the stain with a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for best results.


Air fresheners
Avoid commercial air fresheners. Glade, Airwick, and Spot Shot all show the warning “inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.” Really. On an aerosol air freshener.

Instead, use essential oils (which have health benefits) in an air diffuser. You can also burn a candle, but with a clean burning wax, which means beeswax or palm wax. Most candles are made with paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum and releases harmful compounds and soot while it burns. The scented candles are the worst.

Remove bumper stickers
Repeatedly wipe the sticker with white distilled vinegar until it is soaked. A few minutes later the sticker should peel off easily.

Soften an old paintbrush
Soak the paintbrush in hot, white distilled vinegar. Then wash out with warm, sudsy water.

Frost-free car windows on cold mornings
The night before the frost comes, wipe the car windows with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar. Frost will not settle on the window.

Natural furniture polish

  • Mix olive oil and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Spray on the furniture and rub with a soft cloth.
  • Try on an inconspicuous area first, since it is possible for an old finish to be discolored.

Remove salt marks from leather shoes

  • Use of one part water to one part white vinegar.
  • Dip a cloth into the solution and dab it sparingly on the shoes.
  • You may need to repeat this several times before all the salt is gone. Test first on a small area to ensure no discoloration.

Remove lime stains from car

  • Pour a small amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth. Gently rub the area of the lime stain with the cloth until the stain is gone.
  • Test a small area first to ensure no discoloration. See the report of the Environmental Working Group on natural cleaning with green products.

Here is another website for other ways you can do natural cleaning in a green way and live green in other areas of your life (which by definition means less toxic).