Dishes

Detergent

  • Phosphates contribute arsenic to surface and ground water. Choose a detergent with low phosphate content. Unless your water is very hard, you should get good results using half the recommended amount in your dishwasher.
  • Sprinkle a handful of baking soda over the dishes instead of filling the open dispenser with detergent.

Camping


  • Never wash with soap directly in a lake or stream. The chemicals in soap are toxic to fish and other marine life. Wash in buckets or pots and use soap that biodegrades quickly. Drain wash water onto the ground, well away from the water's edge.

Disinfectants


  • Soap and hot water is sufficient for most of your household cleaning needs.
  • For the occasional disinfecting job (e.g. to kill germs on your meat cutting board; to wash down shower stall floor to prevent spread of athletes foot fungus; to prevent mold growth in damp areas), mix 1/4 cup liquid chlorine bleach in a gallon of water.
  • Any container holding a bleach solution should be child-proof and well-labeled.
  • Hydrogen peroxide (sold in a 3% solution) is effective against viruses.
  • Keep surfaces dry. Bacteria, viruses, mildew, and mold generally cannot live without dampness.
  • Borax has been shown to have disinfecting qualities. Mix 1/2 cup in 1 gallon water. (Note: Borax has not been through EPA's stringent testing that qualifies a material as a disinfectant.)
  • Note: Disinfecting your toilet may be an exercise in futility. Any household cleaner can clean the toilet, even baking soda.