Better Living Through LESS Chemistry: 8 Natural Alternatives to Toxic Cleaners

8 Tips to Reduce Toxins in Your Home

by Using Natural Cleaners

Ridding your life of these toxins can reduce your risk of several cancers, immune dysfunction, and even such mundane annoyances as rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma.

All those toxins.  I vividly recall, as a kid, using various spray cleaners and spray pesticides around the house.

With our recent understanding of those neuro-toxins, now we know why I am just a simple boogor doctor instead of a rocket scientist.

Back to the toxins in our cleaners.

What to do about it?

In addition to keeping your water pure, and reducing chemicals in your food, stop using nasty chemical cleaners.

In your home, in your garage, at your office.  Everywhere.

NOTE:  always perform a test for allergies or sensitivity before using new ingredients or essential oils.  Simply dab a spot of the item on the underside of your wrist and watch for inflammation.  Also check the cleaner in some out-of-sight place before using it on furniture.

Natural Cleaning Alternatives Include:

  1. Vinegar:  Mix 1:1 with water for a natural all-purpose cleaner.  If concerned about its effect on the surface, test in an inconspicuous area first.  Vinegar nicely cuts grease, removes mildew.  Great for cleaning windows of those little tiny hand-prints.
    CAUTION:  DO NOT USE ON MARBLE.  AND: It may dissolve tile grout.
    ALSO:  for those of you who do their cleaning in a full French maid outfit, wearing pearls (who doesn’t?), note that vinegar WILL DISSOLVE PEARLS.
  2. Use straight vinegar for toilet cleaning.
  3. Use vinegar as natural fabric softener. Add ½ cup vinegar to rinse cycle in place of commercial softener.  Good for those with sensitive skin (and who doesn’t have that?).
  4. Lemon Juice: excellent at dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits.  Good to clean and shine brass and copper.  Mix with vinegar and baking soda to make a great cleaning paste.
    NOTE: the tooth fairy uses this to shine coins that she swaps for teeth.  I know this for a fact.
  5. Sprinkle baking soda on cut half of a lemon: use this to scrub surfaces, stains, dishes.
    Wow.  Nice effect.
  6. Baking Soda: you’ve heard it before … put an open box in your ‘fridge, use it to deodorize your sink’s garbage disposal, sprinkle it in your carpet before vacuuming to deodorize.  They’re all true!  It is also great at cutting grease, getting wax or lipstick out of clothing: make a paste with a little water and gently rub it in before loading into the washer.
  7. cheap 16-oz spray bottle for make-your-own spray cleaner

    Essential oils: lavender, clove, and tea tree oils all have strong antiseptic properties and are natural fungicides.  Add 1 or 2 drops to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle for antiseptic spray around the home.

  8. Grapefruit seed extract makes a similar effective antiseptic:  add 20 drops to 1 quart of water for antiseptic spray around home.


You have just eliminated about 80 or 90% of the volatile organic compounds in your world of cleaning.  Keep VOC’s and plastics in mind.  You will gradually be able to eliminate even more of them from your life, and improve your health and your children’s health.


My generation looked forward to the promise of chemistry.  Recall the one-word line from the movie, The Graduate, “… plastics“.  Well, plastics and pesticides and cleaners and all the other conveniences in our lives came with unexpected and invisible costs attached.

Time to Rethink

As results from the scientific studies roll in we are beginning to see the long-term effects of these conveniences.  Altered immune systems, exponentially-increasing respiratory diseases like asthma and sinusitis, and crazy cancers in folks who don’t smoke, don’t drink, otherwise live good clean lives.

A Beach in Hawaii

The Environment

For this post I have focused only on our health, and that of our children.  I have not really talked about what all these plastics, pesticides, and other toxins are doing to our environment, to distant previously-pristine beaches, and to animals around the globe.

Yes, it all seems doom and gloom, but there is good news!  It’s time to clean up our lives.

You can make a difference.  It’s easier than you thought!

Follow the tips in this series, and you will be eliminatng 80-95% of the toxic chemicals from your life.  Wow.  It’s worth it.

Let’s ALL reduce our use of plastics and oil.  Let’s leave a decent planet for our children.

Also check out the links below in Resources for some truly excellent resources.



Thanks for visiting, and see you here again.  I appreciate your comments and questions.  Keep ‘em coming.  Please, “be excellent to one another.”

If you are interested in these topics, please click here to subscribe to this blog (it’s FREE).  Be sure to type in your best email address (the one that you actually use).  You will then receive an email with a “confirmation link” – click on that link to get weekly updates from this blog in your email.

It’s free, it’s convenient, it’s an easy way to stay up-t0-date on information to keep you and your family healthy. You can un-subscribe any time.

Stay Informed. Stay Healthy.

Stay Informed.

Stay Healthy.

Best of health and success to you and your families.

Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor :~D)


This is the 4th in a 4-part series; here are the previous 3:

Better Living Through LESS Chemistry, on this blog.

Better Living Through LESS Chemistry: Food and Water, on this blog.

Better Living Through LESS Chemistry: Our Food, on this blog.

STOP BREATHING: Your Air Is Killing You (and what to do about it), on this blog.

Use Plants to Purify and Detoxify Your Air, on this blog.

Leave only footprints: Pacific ocean plastic pollution – warning: disturbing images of plastic on otherwise pristine beaches, etc.

Toxins in plastics contribute to allergies, asthma, many studies including this one, 2004:

Exhaled toxins in breath able to distinguish children with asthma from those without. Study reported 2009. Scary stuff:

Natural Cleaning:


  1. Hi Dr. Russ, we talked about the success I have had in eliminating my son’s coughing from his cough variant asthma.

    I do now suspect that reflux has played a large part in his issues (since birth) and here’s what I have been having success with:

    enzymes; we are using Digest and I plan to switch to Digest Gold with probiotics when his current probiotics run out (we currently use pearls).

    The quercetin I use with him is Jarrow Formulas Quercetin 500.

    and the natural reflux treatment I have been using is a powdered apple cider vinegar.

    I have had wonderful success with these. Oh, and don’t forget the decongestants :) that’s very important with my son whenever he starts to show signs of runny nose or congestion. I haven’t found any non-drug ones, so I give him sudafed and mucinex.

    Thank you again! Your wonderful tip about reflux seems to have completely solved this puzzle for us.

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      His Lisa,
      Thanks so much for contributing to our community!! Greatly appreciated.
      I am so relieved to hear that you have found something of value here, and glad to hear about your success with your son. Thanks for the specifics on what you are using – everyone will appreciate knowing what brands are working for you. I have not tried the Jarrow Formulas Quercetin, but will look for it, thanks!
      I agree with you about the deconestants. I am not a fan of sudafed for children, but I do like mucinex and all the other forms of guaifenescin for thinning secretions. This is just the opposite effect from anti-histamines. Anti-histamines dry things up, thickening the secretions. That makes it more difficult for secretions (snot) to get our of the little nooks and crannies of the sinus openings, increasing the risk of sinusitis. Guaifenescin helps to thin the secretions, making them easier to clear.
      Thanks again for your comments, and please keep ’em coming. It is folks like you that bring greater value to our little community of boogor heads.

  2. niche website says:

    My brother recommended I might like this web site.
    He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I
    had spent for this information! Thanks!

  3. Thank you very much for your informative website, I have found it very useful
    About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with allergic sinusitis and placed on a 6 week course of antibiotics. After completing the course I was no better and my GP refused to treat me any further as she believed I had not taken the medication otherwise quote “you should be cured by now”. I had, I swallowed every single pill, 3x daily as directed
    After this I followed the advice on your website and managed to feel about 60% better by using the saline rinses with UMF certified honey. However my ears have never fully recovered, they feel full and make popping/crackling sounds all day. My nose feels dry and I have a persistent cough
    About the same time I noticed that I could not walk through the cleaning aisle at the supermarket without my eyes running and having a coughing fit. I also get bad coughs if I smell perfume or air freshener sprays. So I started making my own unscented cleaning products at home. The best of these I have found is 100% coconut oil liquid soap. It is an intensive cleaner, will clean an oven to a high shine but gentle enough for fabrics, granite or any other household surface
    I found that by using this to clean the house my sinusitis also improved to maybe 75%, so maybe my sinusitis is caused by a chemical irritation possibly from fragrances or at least worsened by it
    As you cannot buy this cleaner off the shelf you would have to ask a local soapmaker to make it for you. You would ask for 100% liquid coconut oil soap with 0% superfat. It only has three ingredients, coconut oil, water and potassium hydroxide and should cost about $15 quart
    I hope this helps

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:


      Thanks so much for that information. I normally delete comments containing what I interpret as self-serving back-links, but I love your comment, and love your website. I hope that other readers here find it useful, and that the link helps your SEO. I think that your artisanal hand-crafted products will resonate with the readership here.

      Thanks again, and best success!

Speak Your Mind