Recipes for Healthy Homes

Use these recipes to create natural, low-cost cleaning products. Natural cleaning solutions help keep our homes, yards and watershed healthy by avoiding toxic chemicals.

While the following recipes have been tested, the association of Vermont Recyclers assumes no responsibility for the effectiveness of these suggestions.  Caution is urged in the use of any cleaning solution.  Keep them out of the reach of children.

Air Fresheners
Simmer cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in a small pan of water on top of stove.

Drain Cleaners
Pour 1/2 of cup baking soda, followed by 1/2 of cup vinegar down the drain.  Let stand for 15 minutes, then pour teakettle full of hot water down the drain.  For this to be truly effective, you need to clean the drain every couple of weeks

Furniture Polish (Wood surfaces)
Mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice.  After rubbing the mixture in, let stand for several hours and then polish with soft dry cloth.

General Household Cleaners
  • Mix together one tsp. of liquid soap (castile peppermint), one tsp. of borax, a squeeze of lemon juice and one qt. of warm water.
  • Mix together 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of borax, 1/2 cup of vinegar and one gallon of water.
  • For surfaces that need scouring, try moist salt or baking soda and a scouring pad.

Laundry Detergent
Whenever possible, use soap rather than detergents.

Silver Polish
Put a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of a pot; add water, one tsp. of baking soda, one tsp. of salt.  Boil the silver for three minutes or soak for ten minutes.

Floor Cleaner
Mix together 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water.  Polishing with skim milk after floor is dry will make the floor glow!

Mildew Remover
Mix together equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and lots of elbow grease!  Apply borax directly to the mildewed area.  This task requires cleaning once a week to keep mildew under control.  Always spread your shower curtain out after showering.

Oven Cleaner
Mix together two Tbsp. of castile soap, two tsp. of borax and two cups of water.  Apply the mixture and let it sit for 20 minutes and scrub.  This task requires maintenance cleaning.  Add salt to heavy spills and clean immediately to prevent build up.

Rug/Carpet Cleaner
Mix two parts cornmeal with one part borax.  Sprinkle liberally on carpet, leave on for one hour and vacuum.  For stains, blot with vinegar and soapy water.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
For stains: make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda, let sit for 20 minutes, and scrub with brush.  General: Mix 1/2 cup of borax in one gallon of warm water.

Window Cleaner
Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water in a pump spray bottle, and rub dry with newspaper (to avoid streaking).