Jump to:  Household Cleaners  |   Pest Control   |   Garden Management

NOTE: Information and products are compiled from available literature. Special thanks to www.StopWaste.Org for the information.

No products listed have been tested and listing in this guide should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement.

Household Cleaners


All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon borax, and 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar and store in a spray bottle.

Use for cleaning countertops, floors, walls, carpets and upholstery.

Alternative Air Freshener

Pour vanilla extract on a cotton ball in a saucer. Use in your car, home or refrigerator.


Set out a dish of vinegar, or boil 1 tablespoon white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors.


Wrap cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boil in water; or, leave herbal bouquets standing in open dishes for a fragrant smell.

Cat Litter Odor Solution

Cover the bottom of your cat’s litter box with baking soda before adding litter. It eliminates odors for days.


Use 1/2 cup of borax in one gallon of hot water.

To prevent mold or mildew from forming, don’t rinse off the borax solution.

Drain Opener / Cleaner

Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 2 ounces of vinegar. Cover the drain and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with 2 quarts of boiling water.

Use this treatment regularly to prevent clogged drains and keep them smelling fresh. Also, pour boiling water down drains on a weekly basis to prevent grime buildup.

Garbage Disposal Freshener

To clean garbage disposals, grind used lemons in the disposal or pour in baking soda.

Glass Cleaner

Mix 1 quart warm water and 1/4 cup white vinegar (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice) and store in a spray bottle.

Paint / Paint Stripper

Use latex water-based paints and apply with a brush or roller whenever possible.

Use a scraper, rasp or abrasive block, heat gun or sandpaper to remove paint without chemicals or use water or alkali-based paint strippers rather than solvent-based products.

Moth Ball Alternative

Store clean woolens in sealed plastic bags or air-tight containers. Place garments in the freezer for several days to kill adult moths and larvae.

Oven Cleaner

Mix 1 quart warm water, 2 teaspoons borax, 2 tablespoons liquid soap. Spray on solutions, wait 20 minutes, then clean. You can also pour salt on spills as they occur and wipe while your oven is warm.

Dip a wet sponge in baking soda to clean a glass oven door.


  • Silver: Rub object gently with toothpaste on a soft cloth to avoid scratching. Rinse well with water.
  • Copper: Pour vinegar and salt over copper and rub.
  • Brass: Polish with Worcestershire sauce; or pour on ketchup, let sit, then wipe dry.
  • Chrome: Shine wet chrome fixtures by rubbing with newspaper or rub with baby oil and a soft cloth. Test first on an inconspicuous area.

Wood Preservation Solution

Try borax-based wood preservatives for indoor applications..

Onion Odor Solution

Add a few drops of vinegar to soapy water to remove onion odors from utensils, chopping blocks, or hands. Rubbing hands with the cut end of a celery stalk will also remove odor.

Stain Remover

Mix 1 part glycerin, 1 part liquid dish washing detergent, and 8 parts water together. Test on unexposed area of fabric. Apply to stain as soon as possible and blot with cloth. Store in a plastic squeeze bottle. Shake well before each use.


Use Elmer’s-type white glue or yellow carpenter’s glues for wood, china, paper and other porous materials. Use a glue stick or paste rather than rubber cement.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Put 1/4 cup borax in toilet bowl and let set overnight.

Next day, scrub – or scrub with a solution of 1/2 cup borax to 1 gallon of water.

Tub & Tile Cleaner

Scrub surfaces with baking soda slightly moistened with water.

Vinyl Floor Cleaner

Mix 1 gallon warm water and 1/2 cup white vinegar, or 1/4 cup borax.

Wood Floor Cleaner

For unvarnished floors, damp mop with mild vegetable oil soap.

For no-wax floors (such as polyurethane or Swedish finishes), clean with 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water.

Pest Control


Pesticides are potentially harmful to your family, pets, and garden ecosystem, and those chemicals have been found to contribute to toxicity in our water environment. RecycleMore is asking for your help in reducing the risks of water pollution associated with pesticide use in our community. Residential areas of our community have been identified as major contributors of pesticide pollution in both local creeks and wastewater.

In addition to DIY nontoxic solutions, we have included some helpful fact sheets provided by Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) that offer less-toxic solutions to common pest problems.


Controlling Ants in Your Home  |  En Español

Aphids & Mites

Controlling Aphids in Your Garden  |  En Español

Mix 1 tablespoon pure soap with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in 1 gallon of water. Spray on aphid- or mite-infested plant parts. Store unused portion in labeled container. Use pure soap only. Detergent can burn plants.


Introduce friendly insects such as ladybugs (natural enemies of aphids), ground beetles and praying mantises, to rid your garden of uninvited pests. Check with a nursery for plants that attract these insects.


Controlling Cockroaches in Your Home  |  En Español


Keeping Fleas Off Your Pets and Out of Your Yard  |  En Español

Mice & Rats

Keep Rats and Mice Out of Your Home  |  En Español


Controlling Mosquitoes in Your Home  |  En Español

Snails and Slugs

English  |  En Español


English  |  En Español

Silverfish Repellent

Make traps with a mixture of 1 part molasses to 2 parts vinegar. Place near cracks or holes where pests live. Repel silverfish by applying a mixture of borax and sugar or honey to baseboards and cupboards.


Controlling Yellowjackets Around Your Home  |  En Español

Finding a Pest Prevention Company

English  |  En Español

Managing Pests Naturally

English  |  En Español

Pesticide Use & Disposal

English  |  En Español

Pesticides and Water Pollution

English  |  En Español

Garden Management Solutions


Black Spot & Powdery Mildew Spray

Mix 3 tablespoons baking soda with 2 teaspoons insecticidal soap or ultra-fine horticultural oil in 1 gallon of water. Spray on affected plant parts.


Mix 4 parts seedmeal or fishmeal,1 part agricultural lime or dolomite,1 part rock phosphate or 1/2 part bonemeal, and 1/2 part kelpmeal. Measure ingredients and place in a large container. Mix well. Use in garden or on lawn, as well as beneath seeds or as a side dressing for vegetables.

Planting a Healthy Garden


Maintenance Tips for Pools, Spas, and Fountains


Rose Growing Tips

English  |  En Español

Slug Trap / “Beer Garden”

Remove the lid and pour in 1/2-inch of beer, or whip up a yeast mixture (2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baker’s yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 cups warm water). Replace the lid.

Slugs will be attracted to the trap, fall in and drown. Empty the container every few days and refill.

Tips for a Beautiful, Healthy Lawn

English  |  En Español

Weed Killer

How to Control Weeds  |  En Español

To control weeds, hand-pick them and apply mulch from wood chips or grass clippings. This mulch also acts as a natural fertilizer. You can also pour boiling water on dandelions. Repeat over several days.