Make Your Own Household Cleaners

Buy, Use, and Dispose of Household Products  Wisely to Help Protect Our Water

The products you use for cleaning contain ingredients that may harm you, your family and the environment. Using  household products incorrectly can allow dangerous chemicals to enter Oregon’s streams and rivers.

Follow these three steps for wise use of household chemicals. Save money by making your own effective household cleaners.

1.   BUY  Read and think before you buy

  • Save money by making your own effective household cleaners
  • Read the label-Check the label for warnings: Danger, Warning Toxic, Corrosive, Flammable, or Poison. These labels mean the product may be harmful to your and the environment.
  • Buy household cleaners only in the amount you expect to use.

2.   USE  Use only what you need

  • Try alternative products, especially for everyday tasks that don't require harsh chemicals.
  • Apply chemical products only as directed. More is not better.
  • Keep products in their originall containers and store them away from children and pets.

3.  DISPOSE  Not down the drain

  • Don't dump leftover products down the drain, storm drain, or on your property - that harms water quality.
  • Share leftover products with a neighbor or friend.
  • Bring products to a Metro hazardous waste collection event. For an event near you, call Metro at 503-234-3000 or visit
  • Bring products to a Metro hazardous waste facility:
    6161 NW 61st Ave, Portland OR
    2001 Washington St., Oregon City OR


  • All-Purpose Cleaner:  Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon of water.

  • Bathroom Mold and Mildew: Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water. Spray on areas with mold. Wait one hour before rinsing.

  • Drain Cleaner:  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue.

  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner:  Pour 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar into basin. Wait a few minutes, then scrub with brush and rinse.

  • Laundry Detergent:  Mix 1 cup Ivory or Fels Naptha soap, 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Add fragrance if desired. Use 1 to 2 tbsp per load.