Safe Management Methods
Before purchasing a hazardous product, read the label carefully to ensure that it was manufactured to address the specific situation. Once purchased, safe usage, storage and disposal becomes the consumer’s responsibility. Don’t buy large quantities when a small amount is needed. Share with others. Use caution when storing hazardous products to prevent accidental exposure and poisoning. Never mix or store incompatible products together- read the label. Some products can react, form a poisonous gas, ignite or explode. Store items in a cool, dry place. If products are in paper or cardboard containers, they can absorb moisture and tear, causing the product to spill. If a container is torn or leaking, pack it in a larger container. Make sure all containers are properly labeled. Follow instructions provided on the label. Empty plastic containers should be punctured to prevent reuse. All empty containers should be rinsed and drained before being disposed of or recycled. You may also want to try some of the friendlier alternatives mentioned below.
Air Fresheners & Deodorizers
Leave open boxes of baking soda in refrigerator, closets and bathrooms or saturate cotton balls with pure vanilla, place on a saucer in refrigerator or car. Another alternative is to set out white vinegar in open dishes or simmer cinnamon and cloves. For carpets, mix one part Borax to two parts cornmeal and sprinkle liberally on carpet. Vacuum after one hour. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of garbage cans to control odors. To clean garbage disposals, grind used lemons in the disposal or pour in baking soda.
Mix vinegar with soap and water for a good surface cleaner. Dissolve baking soda in water for a general cleanser. Wash painted wood with a mixture of one teaspoon of sodium carbonate or washing soda with a gallon of hot water. Rinse with clean water. Use a non-chlorinated scouring powder with a nylon scouring pad or fine steel wool as a kitchen degreaser. As a disinfectant, use one-half cup Borax in a gallon of hot water. To inhibit mold and mildew, do not rinse off Borax mixture. To clean glass, combine one quart of water with one-half cup of white vinegar, one to two tablespoons of lemon juice or one to two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Spray on surfaces and wipe with clean, lint-free cloth.
Use a non-aerosol oven cleaner that does not contain lye. Sprinkle salt on spills when they are warm, then scrub. Scrub spots with baking soda, salt and water paste. Mix two tablespoons liquid soap, two teaspoons Borax and a quart of warm water. Leave on oven for 20 minutes and then scrub with fine steel wool or a non-chlorinated scouring powder. Dip a wet sponge in baking soda to clean glass oven doors.
Scrub mildewed spots with baking soda or Borax, or sponge with white vinegar. Scrub area with a paste of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt. To clean mildew from a shower curtain, machine wash with one-half cup of soap and one-half cup of baking soda and add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Scrub with a solution of one-half cup of Borax in a gallon of water for cleaning and disinfecting. Clean frequently with a solution of baking soda and water- sprinkle baking soda around rim and scrub with toilet brush.
Tub & Tile Cleaners
To clean grout, combine three cups of baking soda with a cup of warm water and scrub into grout. Rinse well with water. Use one-half cup Borax to a gallon of hot water for cleaning and as a disinfectant.
To unclog a drain, pour one-fourth cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with one-half cup white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes and then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush. Pour one-forth cup of salt down the drain, followed by boiling water to help keep drains unclogged.
To clean vinyl floors, combine one-fourth cup trisodium phosphate, one-fourth cup Borax or one-half cup white vinegar with a gallon of warm water and apply with mop to remove dull greasy film. To clean wood floors, damp mop with mild vegetable oil soap and dry immediately. For painted or finished wood floors, combine one teaspoon of washing soda and a gallon of how water. Wash floors with a rag dampened with mixture and dry immediately.
To polish brass, use Worcestershire sauce or scrub with toothpaste. Or, pour on tomato ketchup, let sit and wipe dry. To polish brass and copper, use lemon juice and salt paste. To polish copper, pour white vinegar and salt over copper and rub. To polish silver, soak silver about five minutes in a quart of warm water containing a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of salt and a piece of aluminum foil.
Lawn Pesticides & Chemicals
Control mosquitoes by eliminating sources of standing water and planting mint in your yard. Use natural oil mosquito repellents such as citronella or pennyroyal. Control fire ants with less toxic products like Logic or Amdro. Don’t use these products near creeks, lakes or storm drains. Control aphids and spider mites with a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap in a quart of water and spray mixture on plants. Spraying every three days over a nine-day period interrupts their egg cycle. Plant natural insect repellents in your yard. Excellent choices are marigolds, mint, pennyroyal, basil, tansy, sage, rosemary and garlic.