Household Hazardous Waste

Ingredients - What You'll Need

BAKING SODA (sodium bicarbonate)
Excellent odor absorbent and mild abrasive. Found in the baking section of the grocery store. It is slightly alkaline and neutralizes odors caused by acids. It's helpful for unclogging drains and neutralizing odors in garbage cans and disposals. Baking soda is slightly abrasive so it can be used for scrubbing sinks, counters, appliances, and bathroom fixtures--a natural replacement for scouring powders.

BORAX (known as 20 Mule Team Borax)
A strong alkaline, eye irritant and toxic if swallowed. Keep all borax-containing cleaners out of the reach of children. Found in the laundry detergent section of the grocery store. Disinfects, deodorizes and inhibits mold growth. For more information on the debated safety of borax see

Mostly used for deodorizing or scenting cleaners. Essential oils, such as mint, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, and tea tree are also used for antiseptic and antifungal properties. These can be found in health food stores or herbal supply shops.

Found in pharmacies or health food stores. An ingredient in stain removing recipes because it helps oil mix with water.

Use the household concentration (3%) typically found in pharmacies. An antiseptic, useful in kitchens and bathrooms.

Vegetable-based soap sometimes referred to as castile soap. Found in most health food stores. Dr. Bonner's and Vermont Soap Organics are popular.  

Detergents are made from synthetic materials that form less soap scum when conbined with minerals in hard water. Many dishwashing liquids and laudry products are detergents although there are now several natural alternatives. Try purchasing vegetable oil-based detergents, which can be less toxic than petroleum-based products. Vegetable oil-based detergents can be found in health food stores if not in regular grocery stores.

Removes soap scum, grease, and mineral deposits and acts as a deodorizer. Use only white distilled vinegar for these recipes. Vinegar will break down "hard water" mineral buildup, dissolve metal tarnish, and kill bacteria, molds, and other microbes, as well as help whiten the laundry. It has a strong smell (like many cleaners), but the odor will dissipate in a couple hours.

WASHING SODA (sodium carbonate)
It is slightly caustic and a great grease cutter. Don't use it on waxed floors (unless you want to remove the wax), fiberglass, or aluminum. Found in the laundry detergent sections, made by Arm & Hammer.  In a pinch washing soda can be made by baking baking soda in the oven or on the stove top.  

*Note: These ingredients may be toxic in their concentrated form. When used in small amounts in these cleaning recipes, they are non-toxic.