There is no new water under the sun, explains Julie Massey, a county Extension marine agent with Texas Cooperative Extension.

"We're drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank," she says.

That's why Massey developed the Mix It Yourself Cleaners for the Home program.  By using materials like baking soda, mineral oil and vinegar to make household cleaners, people can help reduce the amount of pollutants going back into their water supplies via sinks, commodes, tubs and lawns.

"Even though that water will be treated, you want the highest quality water going back into the water supply", Massey notes.

Reducing the number of chemicals used in the home has other benefits.

"One of our county agents counted the number of cleaning products she had in her home - more than 50," Massey recalls. "By using these alternative cleaners, you cut down on the number of things you have to buy so it's cheaper, too."

The main ingredients for Mix It Yourself include baking soda, liquid detergent, mineral oil, white vinegar, salt and lemon juice.

"I think these work really well in the home. Especially if you have small children or pets," she adds.

According to Massey, response to Mix it Yourself has been very high in the Galveston area and for a reason she never expected.

"What was amazing to us was that people were having allergic reactions to over-the-counter cleansers."

And Massey says Mix It Yourself cleansers are easy to make.


                                                        Spray Bottle #1 - All purpose cleaner
                                                        Spray Bottle #2 - Glass Cleaner
                                                        Shallow container for mixing pastes
                                                        Shaker for baking soda
                                                        Sponges, Cloths, Net Scrubber


                                    Baking Soda                                                    Liquid Detergent
                                    Mineral Oil                                                        White Vinegar
                                    Salt                                                                    Lemon Juice

Useful Items

                                    Pail                                                                    Measuring Cups
                                    Table Knife                                                       Rubber Gloves
                                    Scrub Brush                                                      Newspapers
                                    Toothbrush                                                        Labels & Pen

Mix It Yourself

Non Toxic
Household Products

All Purpose Cleaner

                        4 Tablespoons Baking Soda
                        1 Quart Warm Water

Dissolve baking soda and pour in pump spray bottle.  Spray, wipe with sponge.  Rinse with clear water.  Use to clean and deodorize: kitchen surfaces, bathroom surfaces, chromium plated fixtures and faucets, refrigerator and freezer.  Strength can be increased by adding more baking soda to the solution.

Floor Cleaner

                                                                   Cup White Vinegar
                                                                   Cup Baking Soda
                                                                   1 Gallon Warm Water

                                                                   Mop, rinse and dry.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Sprinkle baking soda into bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush.

Glass Cleaner

Combine 1 quart water with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Spray on and wipe off with newspaper.

Drain Opener

Add cup baking soda and cup vinegar to the drain. Cover tightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Pour 2 quarts boiling water down the drain. If severe clog, follow with a plunger.

More Uses for Baking Soda

Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is a mild crystal that gently lifts dirt off many surfaces.  Baking soda does not harm septic tanks, drainage systems or ground water. Its unique pH makes it effective at neutralizing household odors. Create the right mix for the proper use.

Paste - Mix equal parts baking soda and warm water.

Polish silverware

Webbing of lawn furniture

Fiberglass tubs

Car trim, bumpers, hub caps

Sprinkling - apply directly onto damp sponge or surface.

Stainless steel sinks

Scuff marks on floors

Crayon marks on walls

Clothes hamper

More Ideas

Furniture Polish:  Other Mix It Yourself ideas include mixing 3 tablespoons of mineral oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a drop of lemon juice.

Remove Lime and Mineral Deposits:  Soak a cloth in vinegar.  Apply cloth to lime deposits.  Leave for about 1 hour.  The deposits will soften and can be removed easily.

Metal Polish:  Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 1/2 cup vinegar.  Add enough flour to make a paste.  Apply the paste and let set for 15-30 minutes.  Rinse well and dry.

Sanitizer:  1 part bleach mixed with 100 parts water.

This web site is maintained by Master Gardener Laura Bellmore, under the direction of William M. Johnson, Ph.D., County Extension Agent-Horticulture & Master Gardener Program Coordinator.

All digital photographs are the property of  the Galveston County Master Gardener Association, Inc. (GCMGA) 2002-2006 GCMGA - All Rights Reserved.