Alternatives to HHW Products

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Alternatives to HHW Products

Check out September 2013 Recycling Tidbits, a publication by Dunn County's Recycling Specialist, for household cleaner recipes.  Want to learn how and make alternative cleaners?  Contact the Recycling Coordinator if you'd like to have a class taught to a group.  Must have 5 or more attendees.

Key for Hazard Class - F = Flammable, T = Toxic, C = Corrosive or Caustic

Product Hazard Class Some Chemicals Found in Products Alternative

Paint Related

Oil paint


Ethylene pigments, mineral spirits

Latex paint; avoid using aerosol sprays

Thinner & turpentine

F, T

N-butyl alcohol, acetone, ketone, petroleum distillates

Use water with water-based paints

Furniture stripper

F, T

Methylene chloride, acetone, ketone, xylene, toluene

Sandpaper, steel wool

Stains & finishes

F, T

Mineral spirits, glycol ethers, ketones, naptha

Latex paint, water-based finishes, natural earth pigment finishes

Pesticides, Herbicides



Captan, folpet, malathion, anilazine

Do not overwater; keep area clean and dry

House plant insecticide


Methoprene, malathion, trichloroethane

Spray mixture of bar soap and water or old dishwater, then rinse



Lead or calcium arsenate

Live trap; remove food supply

Garden insecticide


Pyrethrins, rotenone, nicotine, temik, aldrin, carbaryl(sevin-r-), aldicarb, DDT, lindane, malathion, chlordane, others

Insecticidal soap; import predators such as ladybugs, ground beetles, praying mantis; keep garden clear of weed and wood debris; rotate crops; roto-till late in fall after hard frost

Flea collar & spray


Carbamate; pyrethrins, organophosphates

Pennyroyal ointment; herbal collar; brewers yeast in pet's diet

Roach & ant killer


Carbamate; organophosphates

Roaches: traps, mixture of baking powder with powdered sugar; Ants: red chili pepper to discourage entry



Lead arsenate; coumarin (warfarin), strychnine

Live trap; cats; chopped bay leaves and cucumber skins; remove food supply



Triethylamine salt, prometon

Strong hosing or hand weeding; keep grass short

Insect repellant


N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET)

Screens; protective clothing, creams and lotions


Silver Polish

C, T

Acidified thiourea, sulfuric acid

Soak in boiling water; baking soda, salt and aluminum foil

Oven Cleaner

C, T

Potassium or sodium hydroxide; ammonia

Baking soda and water; salt; 1/4 cup of ammonia overnight

Toilet Cleaner


Muriatic or oxalic acid; paradichlorobenzene; calcium hypochlorite

Toilet brush and baking soda; mild detergent


C, T

Diethylene or methylene glycol; sodium hypochlorite; phenols

1/2 cup borax in 1 gallon water

Drain cleaner

C, T

Potassium or sodium hydroxide; sodium hypochlorite; hydrocholoric acid; petroleum distillates

Plunger; metal snake; flush with 1/4 cup baking soda and boiling water; 2 ounces vinegar

Rug cleaners

C, T

Diethylene glycol; oxalic acid; napthalene; perchlo- roethylene

Dry cornstarch sprinkled on rug and vacuumed

Floor polishes

F, T

Diethylene glycol; petroleum distillates; nitrobenzene

One part lemon juice two two parts olive oil; mineral oil with lemon oil or Carnauba wax

Bleach cleaners


Sodium or potassium hydroxide; hydrogen peroxide; sodium or calcium hypochlorite

Use powdered, not liquid, bleach



Napthalenes, paradichloro- benzene

Cedar chips; lavender flowers

Ammonia based cleaners

C, T

Ammonia, ethanot

Vinegar, salt and water for surfaces; baking soda and water for bathrooms

Powder or abrasive cleaners

C, T

Trisodiumphosphate; ammonia, ethanol

Rub area with lemon half dipped in borax, then rinse; baking soda and mild detergent

Spot removers

F, T


Club soda; corn meal and water soak; lemon juice

Window Cleaners



Rub window with newspaper; vinegar and water