Floor Cleaners

  • To clean vinyl tile and linoleum, use 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup of washing soda, in 1 gallon warm water.
  • Remove scuff marks on linoleum with toothpaste.
  • To clean wood floors, damp mop with a mild vegetable oil soap and dry immediately.
  • For painted or varnished wood floors, mix 1 teaspoon washing soda and 1 gallon hot water; rinse with clear water. Dry immediately.
  • To clean polyurethane-sealed wood floors, use 1/4 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon water. Dry immediately.

Shoe Polish

  • For leather shoes, apply olive oil, walnut oil, or beeswax to shoes then buff with a chamois cloth.
  • To clean leather, rub equal parts of white vinegar and linseed oil into leather; buff with soft cloth.
  • To shine and protect patent leather shoes, rub with a dab of petroleum jelly.
  • To clean dirt marks from suede, rub with an art-gum eraser and buff lightly with sandpaper, an emery board or a wire suede brush.
  • Avoid products containing trichloroethylene (TCE), trichloroethane (TCA), methylene chloride, nitrobenzene. If you use conventional shoe polish, use in well-ventilated area.

Furniture Polish

  • Polish unvarnished wood with almond, walnut, or olive oil. Work it in well and wipe off excess. Oily surfaces attract dirt.
  • To clean and polish varnished wood, use a mild vegetable oil soap.
  • Use linseed oil to revitalize old furniture.
  • Wash painted wood with a mix of 1 teaspoon washing soda in a gallon of hot water; rinse with clear water.
  • To remove watermarks from wood furniture, rub toothpaste on spot and polish with a soft cloth.

Metal Polishes

  • Brass: Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup white vinegar with enough flour to make a paste. Apply thickly. Let sit for 15 minutes - 1/2 hour. Rinse thoroughly with water to avoid corrosion.
  • Copper: Polish with a paste of lemon juice and salt.
  • Silver:
    • Boil silver 3 minutes in a quart of water containing:
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and a piece of aluminum foil.
    • Or, rub silver with a baking soda/water paste and a soft cloth; rinse and polish dry.
    • Or, rub with toothpaste.
    • Use a toothbrush to clean raised surfaces. Be careful not to scratch surfaces. Be gentle and use a light hand.
  • Chrome:
    • Wipe with vinegar, rinse with water, then dry. (Good for removing hard water deposits.)
    • Or, shine chrome fixtures with baby oil and a soft cloth. Good for removing soap scum off faucets.
  • Stainless steel: Clean and polish with a baking soda/water paste or a cleanser like Bon Ami.

Dry Cleaning

  • Remove the plastic bags from fresh dry cleaning and air the clothing out before hanging in your closet. This will limit your exposure to perchloroethylene, the solvent used in dry cleaning.
  • Hand wash, where possible. Ask questions about cleaning options when you buy the clothes.
  • Buy clothes that don't require dry cleaning (e.g. washable rayon or silk).

Fabric Softener

  • To freshen and soften natural-fiber clothing, add 1 cup vinegar or 1/4 cup baking soda during final rinse.
  • To reduce "static cling" in synthetics, line dry clothes. Or remove clothes from the dryer while they are still slightly damp.


  • Soak heavily-soiled items in warm water with 1/2 cup washing soda for 30 minutes.


  • Use your regular laundry detergent as a Remover booster. Make a paste from a powder detergent or pour a liquid detergent directly on a stain. Rub into stain with toothbrush. Then launder as usual.