General Household Cleaners

Hazardous Ingredients:
Ammonia, dichloro (or trichloro) isocyanurate, glycol ethers, oxalic acid, phenols, sodium carbonate, sodium hypochlorite, sodium metasilicate, tripolyphosphate, trisodium phosphate

Potential Hazards:
Mildly to extremely irritating to skin, eyes, nose and throat; corrosive if swallowed.

Use and storage: DO NOT MIX AMMONIA-BASED CLEANERS WITH BLEACH-BASED CLEANERS. HAZARDOUS FUMES WILL RESULT. Wear gloves and use with adequate ventilation. Keep container lid tightly closed when cleaner is not in use. Store in secure area.


  • Best: Use up or give away. Dispose of empty container in the garbage.
  • Second Best: If your home is connected to a city sewer system and you are unable to use or give away leftover bleach, flush small amounts down an inside drain (toilet in preferable) with lots of water. If you are on a septic system, flush very small quantities over several days. Place small amounts of powdered or solid cleaner in a heavey-duty plastic bag and dispose of in the garbage.
  • Third Best: Hold for a household hazardous waste collection. In Oregon, call 1-800-732-9253 to find out if there is a hazardous waste collection event scheduled in your community, or call your garbage hauler, local government solid waste department or the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality at (503) 229-5913 or toll-free at 1-800-452-4011.

Alternatives for general cleaning

  • Mix vinegar and salt together for a good surface cleaner. Will remove grease if vinegar is at full strength.
  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water.
  • For an abrasive cleaner, use baking soda or a nonchlorinated scouring powder.
  • Use a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup to 1 quart or warm water.
  • A pumice stick, available at many hardware stores, contains no harsh detergents or other chemicals. It effectively cleans ovens, racks, barbecues and grills; removes rust from garden tools and iron stains from toilet bowls; and handles many other tough cleaning jobs.
  • Use soap and water, baking soda and lemon juice.

For aluminum
To remove stains and discoloration from aluminum cookware, fill cookware with hot water and add 2 tablespoons cream of tartar to each quart of water. Bring solution to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Wash as usual and dry.

To clean an aluminum coffee pot and remove lime deposits, boil equal parts of water and white vinegar. Boiling time depends upon how heavy deposits are.

For automatic-drip coffee makers
To remove mineral deposits and unclog coffee makers, pour in 1 cup vinegar and run through as you would water, then run through two pots of water to remove vinegar taste. To keep odor down, use under your kitchen exhaust fan.

For floors

  • Damp mop linoleum using a mild detergent and water for day to day cleaning.
  • For a vinyl floor, use ½ cup white vinegar with 1 gallon water.
  • For a wood floor, damp mop with mild vegetable oil soap.
  • To remove black heel marks, rub with a paste of baking soda and water.
  • To remove crayon marks, rub with toothpaste and a damp cloth (will not work well on wallpaper or porous surfaces).

For stains
To remove coffee and other stains on dishware, scrub with baking soda.

For toilets
Scrub regularly with a toilet brush and non-chlorinated scouring powder.

For windows
Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a quart of warm water in a spray bottle. Use as you would any window cleaner.

For LOADS of green cleaning suggestions, we recommend:
"The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning" by Karyn Siegel-Maier

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