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Whether you want to be environmentally friendly, save money, or eliminate toxic chemicals in the home, you can rest assured that there's an alternative for all your cleaning needs. In fact, all you need are a few simple ingredients, and you are on your way to a safer, nontoxic home.

Here are the basics and their general uses:

White Vinegar: Mix with water, and you have a great window and glass cleaner. Vinegar can be used on porcelain, countertops, and tile. Add vinegar to the final rinse in your washing machine to eliminate residues. (Never mix vinegar and bleach!)

Washing Soda: Removes germs. Mix with water and use as an all-purpose cleaner. Add it to your laundry as well.

Baking Soda: This can also be used as an all-purpose cleaner. Just mix with water. Use especially for scouring sinks and tubs. Sprinkle over carpet as a deodorizer.

Salt: Use for deodorizing drains and garbage disposals. Salt can also be used as an abrasive in cleaning pots and pans.

Lemon Juice: Use as a bleach in laundry and on kitchen surfaces. It adds a fresh clean smell to cleaners.

Cornstarch: Sprinkle on carpet as a deodorizer. Mix with water and use a spray bottle for laundry starch.

Olive or linseed oil: Mix with vinegar for use as a furniture polish.


Any of the above ingredients can be safely mixed together. Experiment to find out what works best for your cleaning needs. Store mixtures in spray bottles, and remember to clearly label them for future use.