That Squeaky Clean Feeling

February 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm 13 comments

I am spending the majority of my day cleaning tomorrow.  Ick.  However, apparently I am not the only one because I have been receiving a few calls this week where residents want to know how to dispose of leftover cleaning products.  

How do I dispose of cleaning products?

How do I dispose of cleaning products?


Disposing of typical cleaning products (cleaners with ammonia, cleaners with bleach, or typical disinfectants) can easily occur by pouring them down your drain.  Never mix products containing ammonia with those containing bleach.  A toxic gas can form! The bottles are usually recyclable, so make sure to check if the bottles have a #1 or a #2 on the bottom!  Looking to make less of an environmental impact?  See if a neighbor, family member, or other organization could use the left-overs.  Best option? consider making your own for maximum environmental, health, and economic benefits.

Drain, oven, and toilet cleaners should be placed in the trash.  

Metal cleaners, Floor wax strippers, and polish or spot removers with solvents (which would have words such as ‘flammable’, ‘comubstible’, or ‘contains petroleum distillates’) need to be brought to a county Household Hazardous Waste Collection Site.

To learn more about making your own household cleaners, schedule a Green Cleaning Party.  Discover what toxins we clean with every day while learning to make various easy, inexpensive non-toxic alternatives.  “Make & Take” two of your own favorite nontoxic cleaning products.

All Purpose Spray Cleaner

1 tsp castile soap

1 tsp borax

2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

Water to fill a 16 oz spray bottle

This mix contains borax so it is best not to use this spray in the kitchen or where food is prepared.  Hot water increases the working power of the vinegar.  

Total cost: 11¢ per bottle (compared to $1.65 for the same amount of 409 if you purchase the refill bulk bottle!)

Window & Kitchen Spray Cleaner

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp castile soap

Water to fill a 16 oz spray bottle

Hot water increases the working power of the vinegar.  

Total cost: 10¢ per bottle

Soft Scrub

2 cups baking soda

1/2 cup castile soap

4 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)

The glycerin acts as a preservative to keep everything moist and is one of the more expensive items in this mix.  Avoid using the glycerin by mixing as you go.  This non-abrasive cleaner is a great deodorizer and is safe pretty much anywhere.  I have had AMAZING luck using it in my oven.

Total cost: $3.88 (with glycerin) $2.56 (w/o)

Wood Floor Mopping Cleaner

1/4 c castile soap

1/8 to 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice

1/4 cup herb tea

1 gallon of water

Total cost: $1.04

So, that is that.   Looking for more recipes?  Check out  Interested in hosting a Green Cleaning Party of your own?  We were inspired by Women’s Voices for the Earth to add a cleaning party to our other party presentations (Green Garden Parties and Green Living Parties can also be scheduled through our office!)  Check out their website for info on holding your own Green Cleaning Party.  Also, as I have only been doing this for the past year and a half, I would love to hear from those DIY veterans out there!  What are your favorite non-toxic cleaners?


*UPDATE* Leah over at Suddenly Frugal just made her first batch of DIY laundry soap.  Check out the recipe and how it went at her blog.

GreenAR by the Day also came up with powdered dish soap.  Check out the super-easy directions here.


Entry filed under: Hazardous Waste, Little Action, Recycling, Sustainability. Tags: , , .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wendy Gabriel  |  February 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Thank you for the great green cleaning recipes!

  • 2. leahingram  |  February 19, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for posting an update about my DIY laundry detergent experiment. I’m going to post a link to this post about other ways to make your own cleaning products.

  • 3. Other DIY Cleaners « Suddenly Frugal Blog  |  February 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

    […] Jump to Comments For more ideas on making your own household cleaners, check out this post called “That Squeaky Clean Feeling” over at the Recycle Raccoon. There are a number of DIY cleaners you can try in this post, including […]

  • […] Analiese of Recycle Raccon discusses how to reduce and recycle toxic substances, and offers recipes for tried-and-true cleaners. Also, a presentation on how to share non-toxic cleaning with friends! […]

  • 5. Pat McCabe  |  March 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    If you don’t know this one:
    To get stains out of clothes, (even if they’ve been through a dryer*) wet the stain with white vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes and then shake some baking soda over the vinegar. It will fizz out the stain.
    If this doesn’t work use a bit of soap, then the vinegar; let it sit for a few minutes, then shake some baking soda over it as before..

    This has worked for me just about every time.
    * I know, I know — but I live in an assisted living building which doesn’t have solar powered clothes lines.

  • 6. Diane MacEachern  |  March 11, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for including some DIY recipes! It’s great to know the “how” as well as the “what.”

  • 7. Jeanne of Ecolabel Fundraising  |  March 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Love the idea of scheduling a green cleaning party so that people will take the initiative they may have just been putting off to green up their cleaning. Great tip!

  • 8. mother earth aka karen hanrahan  |  March 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    when whites yellow, like under the arms – i wonder if the vinegar – baking soda trick works?

    we always suggest donating mainstream cleaning products to organizations like BEDS or abuse shelters

    If green and cost is important I have a sheet I can share that shows products that clean for just pennies!

  • 9. Lisa  |  March 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Can the Soft Scrub, which you had amazing luck with in your oven, be used in a self-cleaning oven?

  • 10. Recycle Raccoon  |  March 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Pat — great tip! Karen — I too hope this works with the yellowing issue 🙂
    Lisa — I do not have a self-cleaning oven so I’m not sure. The problem with self cleaning ovens is that you don’t want to scratch them. The mixture is quite smooth and is supposed to be non-abrasive, but without first-paw experience I don’t want to vouch for it.

  • 11. Mary Hunt  |  March 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    I wonder if Arm and Hammer is reading all these blogs promoting their products. I have used baking soda for years. It works as well as Comet and other toxic cleaners.

  • 12. How to clean an oven  |  March 10, 2012 at 12:45 am

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  • 13. Mauricio  |  March 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!
    ! I absolutely loved every little bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

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