I have personally tried all the natural alternatives in this article, and I have replaced the costly chemical products with these alternatives.  Not only are these alternatives much cheaper, they are also much safer to use and work as well, if not better than the expensive chemical products.

Automotive Care

Natural Engine Degreaser:  Dissolve one-quarter cup of washing soda into one gallon of warm water, pour on engine areas that need degreasing.  Rinse thoroughly.  Excess should not be stored – discard all leftovers.

Battery Cleaner (Removes built-up acid):  Sprinkle baking soda on the battery terminals.  Spritz with water to dampen.  Let sit for about one hour.  Sponge off with water.  Air dry.

Winter Windshield Solution:  When you leave your car outside in winter, mix three parts vinegar to one part water and coat your windshield with the solution.  This will keep your windshield free of frost and ice.


Bathroom Mirrors:  Clean mirrors with rubbing alcohol to prevent fogging.

Bathtub Stains:  Scrub with a paste made from cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide.

Drain Cleaner:  For slow drains, use this cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.  One-half cup of baking soda, one cup of white vinegar, with one gallon of boiling water.  Pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by the vinegar.  Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.

Plumbing Fixtures:  To clean chrome, stainless steel, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain, or enamel fixtures, dissolve two tablespoons of baking soda in one quart of water.  Wipe on fixtures, then rinse.

Remove hard lime deposits around faucets by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked paper towels.  Leave the paper towels on for approximately one hour before cleaning.  Leaves chrome shiny and clean.

Scouring Bathroom Cleaner:   One-half cup liquid Castile soap, one teaspoon of Borax, two teaspoons of baking soda, one and three-quarters cup of very hot water, and four drops of essential oil of your choice.  Pour the water into a stainless steel mixing bowl and add the liquid soap.  Stir well, then add the dry ingredients.  Add the four drops of essential oil.  Stir until well blended.  Store in a squeeze bottle (old ketchup bottle works well) and stir or shake before using.  Store the cleaner in a cool, dry place.  Shelf life is three to four months.  If you have a stubborn stain on fiberglass or plastic surface, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the mixture for extra stain-fighting power.

Shower Heads:

Metal – To remove mineral deposits that may be clogging your metal shower head, combine one-half cup of white vinegar with one quart of water.  Then completely submerge the shower head and boil fifteen minutes.

Plastic – Combine one pint white vinegar with one pint of hot water.  Completely submerge the shower head for one hour.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:  (CAUTION!  If you do use bleach to clean your toilet bowl, never mix bleach with vinegar, toilet bowl cleaner, or ammonia.  The combination of bleach with any of these substances produces a toxic gas.)

Baking soda and vinegar – Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush.  This combination both cleans and deodorizes.

Borax and Lemon Juice – For removing a stubborn stain, like toilet bowl ring, mix enough Borax and lemon juice into a paste cover the ring.  Flush toilet to wet the sides, then rub on paste.  Let sit for 2 hours and scrub thoroughly.  For less stubborn toilet bowl rings, sprinkle baking soda around the rim and scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub And Tile Cleaners:

Baking soda – Sprinkle baking soda like you would scouring powder.  Rub with a damp sponge.  Rinse thoroughly.

Vinegar and baking soda – To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe.  Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder.  Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Porcelain Cleaner:  To clean porcelain surfaces, rub with cream of tartar, sprinkled on a damp cloth.

Kitchen Cleaners

Baking Dishes:  Enamel, Ceramic or Glass – Soak in hot soapy water, then scour with salt or baking soda and rinse thoroughly.

Basic Kitchen Cleaner:  Keep a bottle of vinegar within easy reach.  When your stove, countertops, walls, or anything else becomes spattered with grease, spray and wipe clean with a dry rag.  Vinegar cuts the grease and leaves a nice shine, and has antibacterial properties.

Coffee/Tea Stains:  To remove coffee stains from cups or counters, rub with baking soda paste.


Use liquid or powdered soap instead of detergents, which are petroleum-based.  In dishwashers, use equal parts Borax and washing soda.

Use baking soda and liquid soap.

Drinking Glasses:

Occasionally soak drinking glasses in a solution of vinegar and water to really get them clean.  Makes them sparkle!

When a quick dip for crystal glassware is needed, prepare a solution of baking soda in tepid-cool water (one level teaspoon to one quart) and brush with a soft toothbrush.  Very good for glass coffee makers and thermos jugs too.

Dishwasher Detergent:  Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with two tablespoons of Borax, put the mixture in the dishwasher.

Dishwashing Liquid:  This inexpensive soap does not suds-up very much, but it cleans so well!  Use with hot water.  Do not use it in automatic dishwashers.  One-fourth cup of soap flakes, two cups of hot water, one-fourth cup of glycerin, and one-half teaspoon of lemon essential oil.  In a bowl, combine soap flakes and water and stir until the soap is dissolved.  Cool to luke-warm.  Stir in the glycerin and the essential oil, leave to cool.  As it cools, it will form a loose gel.  Stir with a fork and break up the gel and then pour into a narrow-necked bottle.  An old shampoo bottle makes an excellent container. To use, squirt three teaspoonfuls into hot running water.

Oven Cleaners:

The first step is prevention.  Put a sheet of aluminum foil on the floor of the oven, underneath but not touching the heating element.

Clean up the spill as soon as it occurs.

While the oven is still warm, sprinkle salt or baking soda on the spill.  If the spill is completely dry, wet the spill lightly before sprinkling on salt.  When the oven cools, scrape away the spill and wash the area clean.

Baking soda, water; salt; vegetable oil-based liquid soap.  Sprinkle water on oven bottom.  Cover with baking soda.  Let sit overnight.  Wipe off and apply liquid soap with scouring pad.  Rinse.

Retard grease buildup in your oven by dampening your cleaning rag in vinegar and water before wiping out your oven.

Sprinkle/spray water followed by a layer of baking soda.  Rub gently with a very fine steel wool pad for tough spots.  Wipe off scum with dry paper towels or sponge.  Rinse well and wipe dry

Two tablespoons vegetable oil-based liquid soap, two tablespoons Borax: mix the soap and Borax in a spray bottle.  Fill the bottle with hot water and shake well.  Spray on oven and leave for twenty minutes.  Scrub off.


To clean exterior and interior walls, dissolve two tablespoons of baking soda in one quart of warm water and wipe all surfaces.  For stubborn spots, rub with baking soda paste.  Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth. This works well on other enamel-finished appliances as well.

To clean interior fixtures, such as vegetable bins and shelves, wash in hot soapy water, rinse well and dry.

Spot-free Dishwasher Rinse:  Add one cup of white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your automatic dishwasher.   Wash dishes as usual

When cleaning stainless steel countertops, ranges or sinks, use club soda.  You can buy a small bottle of generic or store-brand club soda.  It cleans like a charm and dries to a gleam without streaks or spots.  Don’t throw away flat club soda; even flat, it still works to clean stainless steel or spots spilled on the carpet.

Laundry Cleaners

All-purpose Laundry Soap:  One-half cup of baking soda, one-half cup of powered Castile soap, one-fourth cup of washing soda (sodium carbonate), one-fourth cup of Borax, and four drops essential oil of choice.  Mix all the dry ingredients together.  If you are going to add an essential oil, divide the dry soap mixture into four equal parts.  Add one drop essential oil to one part soap, and put through a hand sifter to mix.  Repeat with each of the four parts.  Mix the parts back together and put the entire mixture through the sifter one or two more times.  Store in a tightly closed container and let sit for a few days before using so the essential oils can permeate the mixture.  Add about one-half cup of this soap to a load of laundry as you would with any commercial detergent. (Shelf life: twelve months.) Note: To remove extra-heavy odors from clothes and soften them as well, add one-half cup baking soda to the rinse water.

Bleach Alternative:  Add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to the wash cycle after washing machine has filled with water.

Fabric Softener:  Use vinegar as a natural fabric softener.  This can be especially helpful for families who have sensitive skin. Add one-half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of commercial fabric softener.  Vinegar has the added benefit of breaking down laundry detergent more effectively (a plus when you have a family member whose skin detects every trace of detergent).

Hard-water Gel Fabric Soap:  Two cups soap flakes, one and one-half cups of Borax, one-half cup of glycerin, and two teaspoons essential oil, either lavender, lemon, or eucalyptus.  In a medium saucepan, stir together the soap flakes, Borax, and water.  Heat slowly and stir until the mixture is clear.  Add the glycerin and set aside to cool.  When cool, add the essential oil and stir thoroughly.  Pour into a mason jar or other container and cover until needed.  To use, add one cup of gel per load of clothes, making sure the soap is dissolved well before adding clothes to the water.  This gel works best with warm water, or dissolve it in a quart of warm water before adding it to the wash water.

Oil Stains:   To remove oil stains from clothing, rub white chalk over the oil stain before washing.

Whitener:  Hard water minerals can turn your clothes grey and dull.  If you have hard water, add one-half cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle.

Miscellaneous Products

Air Freshener:  Vinegar and baking soda are great room fresheners.  Vinegar deodorizes, while baking soda absorbs odors.  A simple recipe of one teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon vinegar (or lemon juice) and two cups hot water in a spray bottle can be spritzed in the air to remove odors.

Candles/Wax:  Sponge with a piece of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Carpet Cleaner:  Sprinkle carpet with two parts cornmeal and one part Borax, leave on one hour, then vacuum thoroughly.  For small spills, clean with white vinegar and soapy water.

Decals/Gummed Labels/Price Tag Remover:  Use vinegar.  To remove non-slip appliqués and strips from bathtubs, saturate a cloth or sponge and squeeze hot vinegar over decals.  Vinegar also removes stick-on hooks from painted walls.  Saturate a cloth or sponge with vinegar and squeeze the liquid behind the hook so that the vinegar comes in contact with the adhesive.  In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price labels and other decals from glass, wood, and china.  Paint the label or decal with several coats of white vinegar.  Give the vinegar time to soak in and after several minutes the decal can be rubbed off (NOTE: Use these methods only on washable surfaces and washable paint).

Eyeglass Cleaner:  Mix eight ounces of ammonia with 32 ounces of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.  Spray eyeglasses and rub clean with a soft cloth

Furniture Polish:  Mix one part white vinegar together with three parts olive oil in a bottle.  Shake well before using.  The vinegar will pull the dirt out of the wood, and the oil will lubricate the wood, preventing from drying out.

Glue:  Never run out of glue again, make your own by combining three tablespoons of cornstarch with four tablespoons of cold water and make a smooth paste.  Stir paste into two cups of boiling water, continue to stir until mixture becomes translucent.  Use when cold.

Grease Cutters: Use lemon juice, vinegar, or sprinkle with Borax and scrub with a scrub brush.

One-half teaspoon of washing soda, one-half teaspoon of vegetable oil-based liquid soap, three tablespoons of vinegar, and two cups hot water.  Mix in spray bottle, spray and scrub, wipe clean.

Ink Stains:  Use a non-aerosol hairspray to remove ink stains.

Jewelry Cleaner:  Baking soda is safe and effective when it comes to cleaning jewelry.  Use a paste of baking soda and peroxide to clean build-up and dirt off or your jewelry.  It gets rid of dirt, grime and body oils to leave your jewelry shining and looking new.

Metal Cleaner:  Clean copper, brass, pewter, or bronze easily with a simple mixture.  Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of vinegar, add enough flour to make a paste.  Apply the paste to the metal and allow it to sit for fifteen minutes to one hour.  Rinse with warm water and polish dry.

Paintbrushes:  Soften hard paintbrushes in hot vinegar for a few minutes.  Then wash paintbrush in soap and warm water and let air-dry.

Polished Wood Furniture:  To remove a watermark mix a few flicks of ash with olive oil, rub it in and leave for thirty minutes, then buff with a soft cloth; a mixture of salt and vegetable oil, left on for an hour, then removed and rubbed with a soft cloth, also helps remove marks.  Remove sticky marks with a little vinegar and water, then apply some beeswax or linseed oil.

Rust Remover:  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

Silver Cleaner:  Aluminum pan, boiling water, one tablespoon of baking soda, and one tablespoon of salt.  Bring this mixture to boil in the pan.  Drop your flatware into it as it boils, doing only a few pieces at a time.  Let them boil for three minutes, then take them out and let them drain on a soft cloth, drying them to a shine with a second cloth.  Do not overcrowd the pot–it can be confusing to remember which pieces have already done their three minutes and which ones still have time to go; also, it can lower the temperature of the liquid, thereby lowering its efficiency.  Intricately patterned or pieces that are glued should probably be cleaned with a commercial cleaner.  A minute layer of the silver is removed each time you use this method, however, the conventional method of polishing silver rubs off the same small layer.

Silver Polish:  If you have a small job, the best silver polish is white toothpaste.  Dab some on your finger, and rub into the tarnish.  For bigger pieces, use baking soda and a clean, damp sponge.  Make a paste of baking soda and water.  Scoop the paste onto the sponge, and rub the paste into the silver.  Rinse with hot water and polish dry with a soft, clean cloth.  For badly tarnished silver, leave the baking soda paste on the silver for an hour or so, before cleaning off with the help of the sponge and hot water.

Concrete Grease Spot Remover:  To remove grease from concrete flooring sprinkle dry cement over grease. Allow it to absorb the grease, then sweep up.

Streak-free Glass Cleaner:  Combine one-quarter cup vinegar, one tablespoon cornstarch, one quart warm water.  Mix the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle and spray on.  Wipe dry with crumpled newspaper, buff to a shine.

Tar Remover:  Food grade linseed oil.  Wet rag with linseed oil and rub hard.

Vinegar:  Paint adheres better to galvanized metal that has been wiped with vinegar.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves:  Place a small handful each of dried lavender, rosemary, sage, rue, and mint in a large jar, and cover completely with organic apple cider vinegar.  Cover tightly and let sit for six weeks.  Strain into a spray bottle.  Whereas no home can be made to be sterile, spray the powerfully antiseptic Vinegar of Four Thieves recipe in areas of concern, such as on cutting boards and door knobs, always making sure to avoid your eyes.

Vinyl Cleaner:  One teaspoon to one-fourth cup of washing soda, and one cup boiling water.  Dissolve the washing soda in the boiling water.  Apply with sponge, wipe off with a damp cloth.



  1. Fantastic suggestions. I consider myself a well-read natural alternative buff but many of these ideas were new to me. Thank you! I look forward to having some troublesome spots/stains to tackle!

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