Ingredients for Green Cleaning

Page - April 8, 2005
Industry is by far the largest source of hazardous and toxic chemical pollution. But many of us also contribute to pollution through the cleaning products we choose, the gardening chemicals we use and the energy we consume.

Support the Environment.

Protecting and preserving the environment starts right in your own home. Here are some items that will not only save you money, but are also safer for you, those you care about and for the environment.

Basic Ingredients

Each of the ingredients listed below can be found in grocery or health food stores.

Pure Soap

For generations, people washed their clothes, their homes and themselves with pure soap. Today, it is the key ingredient of many alternative cleaning recipes. Soap biodegrades safely and completely, and is non-toxic. Make sure that you use soap without synthetic scents, colors or other additives. Even phosphate-free biodegradable laundry detergent contributes to water pollution.

Vinegar (five percent acetic acid)

Vinegar is a mild disinfectant which cuts grease, cleans glass, deodorizes and removes calcium deposits, stains and wax build-up.


Cornstarch is an odorless powder which is great for carpet cleaning and greasy stains.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a good disinfectant and deodorizer. It gets rid of some stains, like ink and grease, kills and repels some insects and even attacks rust.

Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate)

A key ingredient for washing clothes, washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, disinfects and softens water. Washing soda should not be used on aluminum.

Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)

Baking soda works well as an abrasive in alternative recipes. Baking soda also deodorizes, removes stains, polishes and softens fabrics.


There are some people who feel that ammonia and borax are other key ingredients in alternative cleaners. It is true that they are both very effective at cleaning, deodorizing and disinfecting. It is also true that they are both quite harsh chemicals which can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin, and can cause headaches, nausea and chest pain.

Additionally, when ammonia mixes with certain other cleaning products, namely those which contain chlorine, poisonous gas can be created. For these reasons, we have left ammonia and borax off our list of core ingredients and out of the recipes.