Alternatives to HHW Products

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Alternatives to HHW Products

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, ethanol

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