Alternatives to Hazardous Chemicals

There are many household chemicals, that when used in proximity to a lake, can be harmful for the ecology of that lake.  Regular cleaners can contain phosphates or hazardous chemicals that can leach from septic tanks and into lakes. Consider these safe alternative to hazardous chemicals, many of which are more effective than commercial cleaners.  View the PDF here.

Instead of:


Air Freshener

Simmer Cinnamon and Cloves

Aluminum Spot Remover

2 Tbs Cream of Tartar + 1 Quart Hot Water


Red Chili Powder at Entry



Brass Polish

Worcestershire Sauce

Car Battery Corrosion

Baking Soda + Water

Chrome Polish

Apple Cider Vinegar ; then polish w/ baby oil

Cleaners (general household)

Baking Soda

Coffee Cup Stain Remover

Moist Salt

Coffee Pot Stain


Copper Cleaner

Lemon Juice + Salt

Decal Remover

Soak in White Vinegar

Dish Detergent – Grease Cutter

½ Cup Baking Soda + Liquid Soap Detergent

Drain Cleaner

Plunger Followed by ½ Cup Baking Soda + ½ Cup Vinegar + 2 Quarts Boiling Water



Fiberglass Stain Remover

Baking Soda Paste

Fleas (on pet)

Pine Needles, Fennel, Rye or Rosemary On or Near Pet’s Bed

Flies (insects)

Well Watered Basil Plant

Floor Cleaner

1 Cup Vinegar + 2 Gallons Water

Furniture Polish

1 Tbs Lemon Oil in 1 Pint Mineral Oil

Garbage Disposal Deodorizer

Used Lemons

Grease Fire

Douse w/ Baking Soda

Grease Removal

Borax on Damp Cloth

Hand Cleaner for Paint/Grease

Baby Oil

Ink Spot Remover

Cold Water + 1 Tbs Cream of Tartar + 1 Tbs Lemon Juice

Insects on Plants

Soapy Water on Leaves then Rinse

Laundry Detergent

Basic Soap

Laundry Pre-Soak

Apply Paste of Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate) and Water

Linoleum Floor Cleaner

1 Cup White Vinegar + 2 Gallons Water

Mildew Remover

Equal Parts Vinegar and Salt

Mosquito Repellent

Burn Citronella Candles

Nematode (worm) Repellent

Plant Marigolds

Oil Stain Remover

White Chalk Rubbed into Stain Before Washing

Oven Cleaner

2 Tbs Liquid Soap + 2 tsp Borax + Warm Water

Paint Brush Softener

Hot Vinegar

Paint; Oil Based/Stain/Spray

Water-based, Non-aerosol Paints

Perspiration Spot Remover

Baking Soda

Pet Odor Remover

Cider Vinegar

Porcelain Cleaner

Apply Paste of Baking Soda & Water, Let Set, Run Clean, Rinse

Roach Repellent

Chopped Bay Leaves & Cucumber Skins

Rug/Carpet Cleaner

Club Soda

Rust Removal (clothing)

Lemon Juice + Salt + Sunlight

Rust Bolt/Nut Removal

Carbonated Beverage

Scorch Mark Removal

Grated Onion

Scouring Powder

Baking Soda

Shaving Cream

Brush & Shaving Soap

Shoe Polish

Banana Peel

Silver Polish

1 Quart Boiling Water + 1 Tbs Baking Soda + Piece of Aluminum Foil + 1 Tbs Salt

Slug & Snail Repellent

Onion & Marigold Plant

Spot Remover

Club Soda

Stainless Steel Polish

Mineral Oil

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Paste of Borax + Lemon Juice

Tub and Tile Cleaner

¼ Cup Baking Soda + ½ Cup White Vinegar + Warm Water

Upholstery Spot Remover

Club Soda

Water Mark Removal


Water Softener

¼ Cup Vinegar

Window Cleaner

½ Cup Vinegar in 1 Gallon Warm Water

Wine Stain Removal


Wood Polish

3 Parts Olive Oil + 1 Part White Vinegar; Almond or Olive Oil (interior unvarnished wood only)