Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More
Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department

Make Your Own Green Cleansers

With basic ingredients—baking soda, vinegar, Murphy’s Oil soap, and salt—you can make non-toxic alternatives to more hazardous chemicals that are traditionally used at home.

Safety first!

  • Please do not mix the Green Cleaning recipes with other cleaning products.
  • Keep these basic cleaning products out of the reach of children.
  • To properly dispose of hazardous household products you no longer want or need, call the Hazards Line at (206) 296-4692.

Follow these simple recipes to make your own cleaners

Translation is available in five languages (pdf):
English | Cambodian | Chinese | Spanish | Vietnamese

Tub and sink cleaner

  1. Use baking soda in place of scouring powder.
  2. Sprinkle it on porcelain fixtures and rub with a wet rag.
  3. Add Castile Soap or Murphy's Oil Soap to the rag for more cleaning power.
  4. Rinse well to avoid leaving a hazy film.

Window and mirror cleaner

  1. Put ¼ cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and fill to top with water.
  2. Spray on surface.
  3. Rub with a cloth diaper, other lint-free rag, or sheets of newspaper.

Outdoor window cleaner

  1. Use a sponge and wash with warm water mixed with a few drops of liquid soap.
  2. Rinse well.
  3. Squeegee dry.

Toilet bowl cleaner

  1. Sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl.
  2. Squeeze in several drops of soap.
  3. Scrub with a toilet bowl brush and finish outside surfaces with a rag sprinkled with baking soda.
  4. Rinse.

Linoleum floor cleaner

  1. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar in a bucket of warm water.
  2. Mop as usual.
  3. The vinegar odor will go away shortly after the floor dries.

All-purpose cleaner

For spots on linoleum, tile, and woodwork.

  1. Add a drop of Murphy's Oil Soap on a wet washcloth.
  2. Rub briskly.

A washcloth will last longer and create less waste than a sponge.

Copper cleaner (Do not use this cleaner on lacquered finishes)

  1. Mix equal parts vinegar and salt (a tablespoon of each should do).
  2. Apply to surface with a rag.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with water to prevent corrosion.
  4. For a shiny appearance, apply a little vegetable oil with a cloth and rub.

Drain cleaner

This recipe will free minor clogs and help prevent future clogs.

  1. Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain.
  2. Pour ½ cup vinegar down the drain.
  3. Let it fizz for a few minutes.
  4. Pour a teakettle full of boiling water down the drain to clear it.
  5. Repeat if needed.

If the clog is stubborn, use a plunger. If very stubborn, use a plumber's snake

Oven cleaner (Do not use this cleaner on self-cleaning ovens)

  1. Mix 1 cup baking soda with enough water to make a paste.
  2. Apply to oven surfaces.
  3. Let stand for several minutes.
  4. Scrub with a scouring pad for most surfaces.
  5. Use a spatula or bread knife to get under large food deposits.

Try spot cleaning your oven regularly; dirty ovens are less energy-efficient.

Links to other sites

Washington Toxics Coalition
Local Hazardous Waste Program