Alternatives to Hazardous Materials

Many commercial products are made with less hazardous ingredients and get the job done. These products are much less harmful to the environment and to people. Other options include creating homemade products and using less hazardous ingredients per application.

To make alternatives, place the following items on your shopping list: soap flakes, liquid soap, lemon juice, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and trisodium phosphate (TSP).

Cleaning Products Alternatives

  • All purpose household cleaner: mix 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon of TSP and 1 quart of warm water
  • Chlorine Bleach: use bleach with a hydrogen peroxide or peroxygen base
  • Kitchen Degreaser: mix 2 tablespoons of TSP; or liquid soap and 1 gallon water; and use non chlorinated scouring powder, or a scouring pad
  • Disinfectant: mix 1 ounce of hydrogen peroxide based or chlorine based bleach and 1 gallon water
  • Floor Cleaner: for vinyl, mix 1 cup vinegar and 1 gallon water; for wood; mix 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap and 1 gallon water
  • Furniture Polish: use plain mineral oil. It adds moisture and seals out water without the added perfumes and solvents of some polishes
  • Glass Cleaner: mix 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups water. Use in a pump spray bottle.
  • Mildew Cleaner: for mild cases, scrub with a paste made from baking soda and water; for severe cases, use TSP, and rinse only in food areas.
  • Scouring Powder: use baking soda or a non-chlorinated commercial scouring powder.

Bug Killer Alternatives 

  • Roaches, Silverfish, Food bugs: put boric acid in non-food areas (boric acid is toxic by mouth; keep away from children).
  • Ants: mop up ants and drown them; use boric acid; put down sticky barriers; dust ant trails with baby powder.
  • Flies: use a fly swatter, fly paper, or adhesive pest strips.
  • Termites: consult professionals about using eletrogun or cold treatments.
  • Clothes moths: store clothes with sachets of cedar chips.
  • Fleas: for indoor pets, use d-limonene or pyrethrins in powder or spray form; consult veterinarian or pet store experts; for outdoor pets, use insecticidal soap products.

Gardening Alternatives

  • Weeds: remove by hoeing or handpicking.
  • Fungi: apply fungicides such as sulfur dust or sulfur solution.
  • Annuals: before they appear, cover with mulch and ground cover such as ice plant to minimize; apply a "pre-emergent" herbicide.
  • Annuals, perennials, stumps, ice plant weeds: after they appear, apply herbicides such as soap solutions, ammonium sulfamate or magnesium chloride on the affected areas.

Arts and Crafts Alternatives

  • Painting: use water-based coatings and inks.
  • Ceramics: choose glazes without heavy metals.
  • Woodworking: use water-based stains and cleaners.