Weekly Top 10

About PETA Prime Are you ready to make a big difference for yourself, animals, and the Earth through simple day-to-day choices? PETA Prime has all the information you need to live a healthy, humane, and rewarding life.

PETA Business Friends


  • Nov
  • 3

Simple, Safe, and Cruelty-Free House Cleaners

Posted by at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Farm1 / CC

These days, whether we’re dealing with a spot on the rug or fumes in the oven, many of us tend to reach for a chemical solution (literally and figuratively). It doesn’t have to be that way. This may surprise you, but vinegar is one of the most powerful cleaning agents there is—and not only for hardware and fabric. Vinegar may even help give the human body a little more sparkle.

I first heard of vinegar as a “folk remedy” from an old lady who lived next-door to my grandmother in Kingston, England. She used to swear that swallowing a teaspoon of vinegar every day was the antidote to illness. She is not alone in singing vinegar’s praises. Search the Internet, and you will find hundreds of uses for vinegar, and some of them are quite surprising.

For example, you can remove skunk odor from a dog by rubbing full-strength vinegar into the animal’s coat. Vinegar polishes car chrome, relieves symptoms of colds if poured into a vaporizer, unclogs steam irons, and freshens fresh-cut flowers.

Once, in Cancun, I overdid my first day at the beach. By the time I got off the bus, people were staring at me. That’s because I looked like hell or, at least, as if I had spent my day roasting in hell’s fires. The housekeeper disappeared into the kitchen and returned with squashed tomatoes floating in vinegar. She indicated that I should smear the stuff all over my sizzling skin. To this day, I think she threw in the tomatoes as a joke, but that concoction took the sting out and allowed me to touch my flesh without screaming!

People still stared, but this time it was because I smelled like salad dressing.

There are many cheaper and more ecologically sound ways to clean things and take care of your person and possessions than to buy commercial products that contain harsh compounds and chemical toxins. If you are interested in a more natural approach to housekeeping, here are a few ideas.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Mix vinegar and salt together for a good surface cleaner.
  • Pour some baking soda and vinegar on a damp sponge. It will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Place partially filled saucers of vinegar around the room.
  • Boil 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors.
  • Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors.

Removing Grease Spots

  • Immediately pour salt on grease spots to absorb and prevent staining.

Removing Scratches

  • Mix equal parts lemon juice and vegetable oil, and rub against scratches with a soft cloth until they disappear.

Oven Cleaner

  • While the oven is still warm, pour some salt on grimy areas. If the areas are dry, dampen with water before applying the salt. When the oven cools down, scrape the grime off and wash clean.
  • Spray grimy areas with water or vinegar-water, and apply a layer of baking soda. Rub gently with fine steel wool and wipe off. Rinse with water and wipe dry.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. This combination both cleans and deodorizes. Note: Do NOT mix this combination with store-bought toilet cleaners. The combination will create toxic fumes.

Glass Cleaner

  • Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Wipe the glass with newspaper for a streak-free shine.

Drain Cleaner

  • For a clogged drain, pour a handful of baking soda down the drain, add ½ cup of vinegar, and close with a plug for 20 seconds. Rinse with hot water.

Excerpted from Newkirk’s book, Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Sherif says:

    Hi Molly,

    Please see this post about The Good Home Co. which makes cruelty-free laundry products.

    PETA Prime

  • Jacob Dijkstra, M.D. says:

    We have a brick drive way. Getting the weeds from between the bricks took me several weekends until a neighbor informed us about vinegar. It is amazing. Just filling a bucket with vinegar and scrubbing/spreading it over the bricks eliminates unwanted weeds within 12 hours and keeps the driveway free of weeds for up to 2 months. The neighborhood knows we are vegan, so they expect the smell of salad dressing coming from our place.

  • Molly says:

    Does anyone have any ideas for laundry and dish detergent? Thanks!

  • Barbara says:

    These cleaning tips are wonderful, thank you.

    One of my kitties urinated on my sofa — does anyone have a natural solution for getting out the stain?

    Thank you. And thank you for this wonderful information.


  • kiran says:

    a few years ago we moved to california from singapore with our three adopted cats. the cats seemed to settle in really well, until about a year ago when my male cat developed a nasty cough. it turned out to be allergies. after spending a small fortune trying to help him resolve his ills, i tried changing our home environment -and started using vinegar and bicarb soda. i am happy to report that my cats allergies have almost disappeared.

  • Laura says:

    I had no idea you could get rid of skunk odor from a dog with vinegar. I have a dog that just doesn’t get it when it comes to skunks, and I hate the tomato bath – makes it look like I slaughtered my dog in the tub. Not good for the vegan soul! Thanks for the super tip!

  • SuperK says:

    Thanks so much for these cleaner recipes and tips! I’ve been wanting to convert my cleaning regimin to just a few basic, cruelty-free ingredients and this is exactly what I have been looking for. I’ve been using dilute vinegar for a couple of months and while I was nervous about the smell at first, it does go away very quickly.

About Home & Garden

Create a wonderful, cruelty-free home and garden.

Recent Comments


The information and views provided here are intended for informational and preliminary educational purposes only. From time to time, content may be posted on the site regarding various financial planning and human and animal health issues. Such content is never intended to be and should never be taken as a substitute for the advice of readers' own financial planners, veterinarians, or other licensed professionals. You should not use any information contained on this site to diagnose yourself or your companion animals' health or fitness. Readers in need of applicable professional advice are strongly encouraged to seek it. Except where third-party ownership or copyright is indicated or credited regarding materials contained in this blog, reproduction or redistribution of any of the content for personal, noncommercial use is enthusiastically encouraged.