Household Alternatives - In The Living Room

Image of table, living room furniture and boy

Product Non-Toxic Alternatives
Air Fresheners

Find the source of the odor and deal with it instead of just covering it up. Open a window or use an exhaust fan to ventilate. If you want to scent the air, use herbal or floral bouquets and potpourri, essential oil (scent of your choice) on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves. Set out vinegar in an open dish. Use baking soda on rugs (vacuum afterwards).

Related info in the P2 View Newsletter:

Furniture Polish

Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar, and 20 drops of pure essential lemon oil in a 16 ounce spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with water and shake well. Spray onto furniture and wipe dry immediately with a soft cloth.

Leather Goods and Furniture

Combine 2 parts olive oil to 1 part white vinegar in a squirt bottle. Shake well, apply sparingly, and rub in to clean and condition your leather couches, purses, car seats, jackets and boots. Buff dry with a soft cloth. Do not use this on suede!

All Purpose Cleaner

Pour 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon borax, and 2 cups of water into a spray bottle. Shake to dissolve. Then add 1 teaspoon liquid soap (or dishwashing liquid) to the bottle and shake it again. Spray on surface and then wipe clean. For tough dirt, leave cleaner on for a few minutes and then wipe off.

Carpet and Rugs


Mix a mild liquid soap with 1 pint of boiling water; let cool. Whip paste into stiff foam using an electric mixer. Apply to the carpet with a damp sponge. Rub gently. Work in 4x4 foot sections. Wipe off suds with a clean cloth. To rinse, add 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water. Rinse each section and wipe carpet dry as you go. Change rinse solution frequently. Clean on a dry, sunny day with window open to speed drying. Don’t soak carpet or it may mildew. Test first on an inconspicuous area to prevent discoloration.


Sprinkle with baking soda. Wait about 15 minutes and then vacuum.

Related info in the P2 View Newsletter:

Pet Care

Comb animals frequently with a flea comb. Add brewer’s yeast and garlic to pet’s food to repel fleas. To help eliminate litter box odor, liberally add baking soda to the bottom of the litter box. More info on greening pet care.

Related info in the P2 View Newsletter:

Additional Resources
  • Care2 has many ideas for cleaning without toxic products, including additional recipes for furniture polish.
  • If you don't want to make your own non-toxic cleaning products, purchase ones that are healthier for you and the environment. Look for ones that are certified by Green Seal or Design for the Environment (DfE).

Disclaimer: The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) maintains the content on this web page to enhance public access to information and facilitate understanding of environmental issues. The CT DEEP is not recommending these resources over any others and recognizes these represent only a partial listing of resources on this subject.

Content Last Updated October 2019

Household Alternatives