Kicking commercial chemical cleaners to the curb: Going homemade and non-toxic around the house

“Non-toxic homemade cleaning products aren’t just better for us; they can also help save us money and protect the environment,” according to

Have you ever considered alternatives to household chemicals? Here are some ways you can go chemical-free around the house.

What’s wrong with chemicals?
For one thing, even products marked “non-toxic” can contain chemicals harmful to the body or irritating to the eyes. These harmful chemical fumes and liquids can get into your system through your skin, [eyes, etc.].

“The cost of these commercial, chemical-based products can be high — long term health concerns for the family, and environmental pollution caused by their manufacture and disposal,” according to Eartheasy.

Time Healthland indicated that exposure to household chemicals is responsible for many accidental child poisonings.

According to Experience Life magazine, ammonia can cause lung problems with constant use, and when mixed with bleach, it can create a poisonous gas. Chlorine, found in many bathroom cleaners, can disrupt the thyroid and cause respiratory problems.

Fragrances often carry endocrine-disrupting toxins, according to Experience Life. One can avoid this by purchasing fragrance-free products. Another option is to use natural, often single-ingredient, cleaning products like vinegar, lemon, and baking soda.

“I’m always looking to see if there are products out there… that work for bleaching your bathroom without the harmful chemicals and noxious fumes,” Sara Olson, a St. Kate’s student, said. “It definitely saves you a lot of money”

The Round-up: Vinegar, lemon, baking soda.

Vinegar is an excellent odor-remover. If a pet or child vomits on a carpet or piece of furniture, soaking the affected area in vinegar after cleaning up the mess will cut the odor. The vomit scent will fade, and so will the vinegar. Vinegar can act as a stain remover as well, as with coffee or tea stains in mugs. Olson adds that vinegar can work as a fabric softener as well.

“Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar with water in a bucket or spray bottle and use it to clean everything from windows and mirrors to toilets and floors,” SF Gate’s Home Guides states.

Remember that white vinegar is the cleaning agent you are looking for, not cider vinegar, which has other uses.

“Rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar helps with dandruff, which can happen when you are stressed,” said Olson.

Grind lemon to control odor in your garbage disposal. Lemon rind can clean the scales off your sink or the inside of your electric kettle. Lemon slices can also be used to clean the sink or remove stains from cutting boards. Lemon also works as a clean-smelling addition to other cleaners, like vinegar or olive oil, according to SF Gate’s Home Guides.

Olive oil also lifts dirt and can be used to rehydrate dry ends of your hair by running a little into the tips an hour before shampooing.

Baking soda
Baking soda is an effective cleaner, and can even be used in place of toothpaste. Adding salt to baking soda works well for tougher grease on counters or inside your oven. Baking soda is a deodorizer and can be kept in the refrigerator, in cupboards, or sprinkled on the carpet before vacuuming for this purpose.

“Vinegar and baking soda is like the go-to for cleaning out a drain, and with five chicks sharing a house… well, three people’s hair ends up clogging up the drain,” said Olson.


There are many alternatives to using potentially toxic, commercial chemical cleaners around the house. The suggestions are easy ways to get started, but there is much more you can do. Something as simple as nonstick pans or a few drops of cooking oil in your pans allows you to avoid using aerosols to spray pans. Vinegar, lemon, and baking soda are cheap, available, and non-toxic options for cleaning around the house.

One thought on “Kicking commercial chemical cleaners to the curb: Going homemade and non-toxic around the house

  1. These ingredients are also very helpful, when you are sick. Mix some fresh lemon juice with water and a spoon of honey, leave it for a while, because the honey has to be dissolved, then add a pinch of baking soda and drink it. You can do it several times a day and you will see that you don’t need almost any medicines. It is very refreshing, it saves a lot of money and last, but not least – it is organic.