From Spiders to Sinks: Safe Alternatives for Every Cleaning Need

Reducing chemical exposures in the home by removing toxic cleaners and changing to non-toxic cleaning products takes a load off the body’s detoxification system. Removing this immune stress increases the body’s capacity for handling unexpected exposures to chemicals, increases the body’s ability to handle natural pollens, dust and mold, increases the body’s resistance to viruses and bacterial infection, and frees the body to use its energy to heal if there is illness. For example, if you use a conventional toxic laundry detergent plus a neurotoxic fabric softener, then you are sleeping on sheets and wearing pajamas that expose you to chemicals that your body has to process and detoxify all night long at a time it should be resting and repairing. In addition, many of these chemicals are neurological stressors and endocrine disruptors, which can have devastating and pervasive repercussions on men, women, and children.

Note to the Chemically Sensitive and Chronically Ill – When recovering from chemical sensitivity or chronic illness, it is always best to use a fragrance-free, non-toxic product.

(CS) – Chemically-sensitive approved*
(HS) – Human-safe
(NT) – Non-toxic
(LT) – Less-toxic
*Always test if you are chemically sensitive



Simplify your life! Reduce the number of cleaning products in your home by using Branch Basics.  Some people end up using primarily just two cleaners for their household needs: Branch Basics and Bon Ami.

Branch Basics – (HS)(CS)*  Replace as many of your toxic household cleaners as possible with just one versatile non-toxic and human-safe product – Branch Basics! There are many non-toxic products that are biodegradable and environmentally safe, but they are not human safe. Human safe means that if ingested accidentally, it will not harm you. This is especially important when there are young children in the home as there is no danger to them even if they accidentally swallow some.

Branch Basics is a tool that can be used to aid in the prevention of illness as well as to increase support in regaining health. By replacing toxic cleaners with Branch Basics, the immune system is relieved of the stress and the energy the body would have had to use to detoxify those chemicals. The energy that was tied up with detoxification is now released for maintaining the integrity of the immune system and the healing/repair of the body. As pressure is taken off the immune system, chronic symptoms, chemical sensitivities and allergies to natural pollens and grasses may be reduced and may even disappear.

Bon Ami (NT)(LT)* –  available at your grocery store, is a substitute for Comet and other abrasive cleaners.

Bon Ami – Original Formula from Living Source (1-800-662-8787)

AFM’s Safe Choice Super Clean (NT)(LT)* available from NEEDS (Needs 800-634-1380)



Laundry Detergents   

Branch Basics(HS) (CS)* Use 2-4 oz. of 7:1 dilution (7 parts water to 1 part concentrate) or 2 T. of pure Branch Basics concentrate per load. Pre-spray stains and spots with 7:1 dilution and rub or agitate. Heavily soiled or old stains may be removed by soaking overnight in the 7:1 dilution, then launder the next day as usual. Branch Basics kills strep, staph, salmonella, and e-coli at a 15/1 dilution. Also kills dust mites. Use Branch Basics to detoxify clothing that has been washed in conventional laundry detergents and fabric softeners. See “Detoxifying Clothes and Bedding”.

Note: For additional freshness and brightness many people like to add 1 scoop of a deodorizing oxygen stain remover to their wash load with Branch Basics such as

  • OXOBRITE by Earth Friendly Products – (NT)(CS)* Like the original OxiClean. Made from sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. Available at Whole Foods. Wonderful stain remover.
  • OxiClean – (NT) (CS)* Harnesses the cleaning and deodorizing power of oxygen to attack tough dirt, stains and odors. Available in many stores. Only use the original formula that is made from sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.
  • Oxygen Power Bravo – (NT) (CS) HEB brand – Made from Sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.

Seventh Generation – (NT) (CS)* Unscented, Free and Clear Laundry Powder, Free and Clear Laundry Liquid; available at Whole Foods. There are some extremely chemically sensitive people that are able to use this product, but it should be tested.  Free and Clear products are non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, biodegradable, use no dyes, no fragrances or masking agents, no phosphates, safe for septic and greywater system, no petroleum-based cleaners, no optical brighteners, have stain-removing enzymes, not tested on animals, and kosher certified.

White Vinegar – (HS) (CS)* ½-2 cups per load, depending on the size of the load.  Vinegar has several advantages: natural, nontoxic (although should ventilate when using because of acetic acid that is produced), biodegradable, relatively inexpensive, removes many odors, and helps fabrics retain their original color. The vinegar odor will completely disappear when dried. DO NOT SOAK your clothes overnight in vinegar if the clothing has any metal buttons or zippers as this can cause metal parts to rust. Buy gallon-sized generic brands to save money.  Extremely chemically sensitive people may not be able to use vinegar because of the acetic acid that is released. Acetic acid is what gives vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell.  Always ventilate when using vinegar until all residual odors are cleared.

Unscented Borax – (NT) (CS)* ¼-½ cup per load. Use alone or as a laundry booster.  Borax softens the wash water so that soaps and detergents work better. Borax helps remove odors in laundry and also (take note) has a mild bleaching action.  Buy in bulk from a local chemical supply company.

Baking Soda (HS) (CS)* ½ cup per load. If use baking soda consider, purchasing it in bulk from a chemical-supply company to save money.

Sodium Sesquicarbonate – (NT) (CS)* ¼-½ cup per load. This is old-fashioned washing soda. (vs. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, a brand of washing soda with a synthetic scent.) Order sodium sesquicarbonate from Dr. Stig Erlander (Nature’s Department Store; 626-797-7004) Dr. Erlander’s Jubilee Washing Compound or more economically order from a local chemical supply company.

Miracle Cleaner (Sodium Hexametaphosphate) – (CS) (NT)* Available from (1-800 -634-1380) Can be used as a water softener, used in laundry in conjunction with other cleaners, gives whiter whites, dissolves mineral buildup, dishwashing powder, hair rinse, window cleaner

Laundry Disinfectant and Odor Remover      

Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract – (HS) (CS)* 20 – 30 drops per load in the laundry to control mold and odors. Available at Whole Foods and Nutribiotic (1-800-225-4345)

Branch Basics (HS)(CS)* Note: Branch Basics kills strep, staph, salmonella, and e-coli at a 15/1 dilution. Also kills dust mites.

Bi-O-Kleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator – (LT)(CS)* Works very well. Test this product and rinse well. Natural enzyme cultures, lime extract, vegetable-based surfactant. Contains no glycol ethers, alcohol, chlorine, petrochemical solvents, phosphate, MEA, EDTA, Nonyl phenol, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, artificial fragrance, colors or preservatives.

Washing Machine Deodorizer

Affresh ** – Odor remover (mold, mildew, fragrance) made especially for HE Washers (front loaders) but also can be used in top loading washers. Affresh will even remove fabric softener and detergent odors, BUT this will possibly require many repeated treatments; be patient and keep after it. Affresh has enabled previously-contaminated machines to become useable when used in conjunction with other decontamination procedures (See “Detoxifying Your Washer and Dryer“). Contains sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. Available from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Krogers, Sears, Best Buy. Has an odor itself, but will help remove fragrances very well. If you are chemically sensitive, have someone else treat the washer when you are away from the home.

Fabric Softeners         

Baking Soda – (HS)(CS)*  Add 1 cup or more to each wash to soften fabrics and reduce static cling.

White Vinegar – (HS) (CS)** ½ cup; not as effective as typical fabric softeners, but can help make clothes less stiff. Some people who are mold sensitive react to vinegar.  Always ventilate when using vinegar to clear the acetic acid that is released. Acetic acid is what gives vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell.

Bleaches, Disinfectants and Stain Removers

OXOBRITE by Earth Friendly Products(NT)(CS)* Like the original OxiClean. Made from sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. Available at Whole Foods. Wonderful stain remover.

OxiClean(NT) (CS)* Harnesses the cleaning and deodorizing power of oxygen to attack tough dirt, stains and odors.  Available in many stores. ONLY USE THE ORIGINAL FORMULA as they are in process of MAKING CHANGES IN the formula.

Oxygen Power Bravo – (NT) (CS) HEB brand – Made from Sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.

Common Liquid Hydrogen Peroxide – (HS) (CS)* The 3% dilution sold in drugstores. Fill washer first and then pour in 1/3-1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide. Add clothes.

Baking Soda –  (HS)(CS)* ¼ cup

Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract – (HS) (CS) *Can be used in place of bleach or ammonia as a surface disinfectant. Available at Whole Foods and Nutribiotic.

Note: To remove the “new” clothes scents and detergent odors, soak bedding or clothing in hot water (overnight) with one or more of the following: 1 small box of baking soda, or ½ cup Borax, or ¼ cup Sodium Sesquicarbonate, or 4 oz. Branch Basics solution (7:1 dilution.) In the a.m., wash and double rinse. Repeat, if necessary.  Also see “Detoxifying Clothes and Bedding



Automatic Dishwasher Cleaner        

Branch Basics (HS) (CS)* Pre-spray heavily soiled or greasy dishes with the 7:1 dilution of Branch Basics first. Rinse excess food off.    Use 1-2 oz. of the Branch Basics 7:1 solution in the dishwasher.. Note: Branch Basics kills strep, staph, salmonella, and e-coli at a 15:1 dilution

Allen’s Naturally Automatic Dishwashing Cleaner – (LT)   Less toxic cleaner, but will not be suitable if you are extremely chemically sensitive.

Handwashing Dish Soaps   

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Spray pots and pans after use with a 7:1 dilution and let sit during meal. If food is burned into the bottom of pan, pour in some of the solution. Let sit and use 3M pad sprayed with the solution to scrub. Note: This does not lather up like most soaps.

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Dishwashing Liquid(LT) (CS)*  Available from Whole Foods. There are some extremely chemically sensitive people that are able to use this product, but it should be tested.

Oven Cleaners           

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Mist liberatlly the inside of the slightly-warm oven (not over 100 degrees) with 7:1 dilution. Let sit for 15 minutes.  Scrub the racks with a stiff brush. After the racks are clean, wipe the inside of the oven. Wipe with a wet cloth. Apply a second time if needed. Does not require the use of rubber gloves.  Always ventilate when cleaning.

Baking Soda – (HS) (CS)* Sprinkle water and a couple of squirts of liquid soap generously over the bottom of the oven and then cover grime with baking soda and then water again. Let sit overnight and wipe up the next morning.

Scouring Powders

Bon Ami – (LT) (CS)* Used instead of toxic scouring powders such as Comet. Bon Ami is unscented. At grocery stores.

Bon Ami (LT) (CS)*- Original formula – available from The Living Source (1-800-662-8787)

Borax – (NT) (CS)*

Baking Soda – (HS) (CS)*


Pure Cellulose SpongesHardware stores sell pure cellulose sponges. Look for sponges that have no fungicide or biocide added.  Most sponges in the U.S. are impregnated with a synthetic disinfectant, usually Tricolasan, a harmful pesticide registered with the EPA.



Tub/Tile Cleaners       

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Spray 7/1 dilution on all surfaces. Let sit 30-60 seconds. Scrub with a brush or terry cloth. Rinse. Wipe faucets with dry cloth for a sparkle.

Bon Ami – (LT) (CS)* Available at grocery stores.

Bon Ami  – Original formula – (LT) (CS)*  From Living Source (1-800-662-8787)

Borax and Hot Water – (NT) (CS)* Available at grocery stores.  Borax scrub – use ratio of 1 cup Borax to a gallon of warm water (warm water helps the Borax to dissolve fully). This solution has been found to kill mold through laboratory testing.

White Vinegar – (HS) (CS)*  Vinegar removes mildew, cuts oily residues and is a favorite inexpensive non toxic cleaner. Always ventilate well when using vinegar because of the acetic acid which is released.  Acetic acid is responsible for the sour taste and pungent smell of vinegar.  Note:  Mold sensitive individuals many times can’t tolerate vinegar.

Toilet Bowl/Sink Cleaners

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Add 2 oz. concentrated solution to toilet bowl. Spray seat, bowl and sides, including the floor around the toilet area with the 7:1 dilution. Let sit for 30-60 seconds. Scrub with a brush. Wipe seat, sides and floor with damp cloth.

Bon Ami – (NT) (CS)* Available at grocery stores. Original formula from Living Source (1-800-662-8787)

Baking Soda – (HS) (CS)*

Bathroom Stone – (NT) (CS)  Earth Stone Technology (1-888-994-6327) 100% non-toxic wonderful product that save time and energy. This is for heavy duty cleaning and scrubbing. Not a powder, but most powerful scouring product available. It’s a stone that easily cleans even the toughest hard water, soap scum and mildew on porcelain, tile or grout. It will not absorb odor-causing bacteria. Not for use on marble, fiberglass, Formica, Corian, or other plastic materials



Window/Glass Cleaners         

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Dilute ¼ – ½ oz. concentrate into ½-1 gallon water. (100 parts water to 1 part Branch Basics) Rub on window. Buff with dry soft cloth. If there is streaking, then conventional window cleaners in the past such as Windex have been used.  Add a drop or two of liquid soap

Miracle Cleaner (Sodium Hexametaphosphate)(CS) (NT)*  Available from NEEDS (1-800 -634-1380) Can be used as a water softener, used in laundry in conjunction with other cleaners, gives whiter whites, dissolves mineral buildup, dishwashing powder, hair rinse, window cleaner.

Vinegar and water – (HS) (CS)* Mix ¼ cup white vinegar with 1 pint of water and pour into a spray bottle.  If you have used conventional window cleaners in the past such as Windex, then add a drop or two of dishwashing soap to help dissolve the residue left from toxic cleaners and to prevent streaking.  After the residue is removed, then vinegar and water will work without streaking. Note: Many chemically sensitive people that react to molds cannot tolerate vinegar.

Borax – (LT) (NT) (CS)* 2 Tbsp Borax dissolved in 3 cups warm water. Dip sponge/rag and wipe windows.

Baking Soda – (HS) (CS)* Wet a cloth and sprinkle baking soda on it. Rub the window. Follow by wiping the window with another wet cloth (this time hot).

Miracle Cloth – Available at Miracle Cloth, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Wal-Mart, etc. Use with only water – works great!

Carpet/Upholstery Cleaners

Baking Soda – (HS) (CS)* Sprinkle on, vacuum. For grease spots, cover spot with baking soda, let sit and vacuum. Only do this if have a very good HEPA vacuum otherwise the particulate (powder) will spread through the air.

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Lightly mist upholstery with the 7:1 dilution. Scrub with a dampened brush or terry cloth. Wipe with a damp cloth. On carpet spray 7:1 dilution on spot and use a terry cloth or brush to work into spot. Let sit for 60 seconds, then wipe. More than one application may be needed for harder stains. On light colored carpets, use a lighter dilution (20/1 to 40/1) and remove with plenty of water. When using a carpet cleaning machine use 1-4 ounces concentrate per gallon of water.

Karpet Klean – (NT)* by Granny’s. Unscented. At health food stores or NEEDS (800) 634-1380.

AFM Carpet Cleaner – (NT) (CS)*  Unscented. Order through NEEDS (800) 634-1380.  See “Carpet Cleaning, Encapsulation, and Sealing”.

Furniture Polish         

Howard Naturals Wood Cleaner and Polish Fragrance Free – (LT)*  1-800-266-9545 Available at Whole Foods and TJ Maxx

Howard Naturals Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner and Polish Fragrance Free – (LT)* 1-800-266-9545 Available at Whole Foods and TJ Maxx

Daddy Van’s All Natural Beeswax Furniture Polish – Unscented – (LT)* 1-303-679-0096

Virgin Olive Oil and Pure Lemon Oil – (HS) (CS)* Use food grade lemon oil found in grocery store. Solution containing equal parts of lemon juice and virgin olive oil. Dab a soft cloth into the mixture and rub the wood’s surface in the direction of the grain.

Scratches can be concealed on medium or dark furniture by rubbing the nicked area with a piece of walnut or pecan. Then, buff the area lightly with a soft flannel cloth. On lighter wood, dip a cotton swab in virgin olive oil and apply the oil just to scratches and lightly buff area with soft cotton flannel cloth.

Natural Beeswax(NT) (CS)* Building for Health Materials Center (1-800-292-4838) Get the pure beeswax. Call for instructions.

Mold Inhibitors/Disinfectants 

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Spray 7:1 dilution on mold, let sit for 30-60 seconds. Scrub with a brush. Rinse. May take repeated effort if old stains.

Grapefruit Seed Extract – (HS) (CS)* Odorless, safe way to get rid of mold. Twenty drops grapefruit seed extract in 2 cups water. Combine in spray bottle, shake to blend. Spray on problem area and do not rinse.  Nutribiotic

Borax – (NT) (CS)* Dissolve 1 cup in 1 gallon HOT water to create a natural bleach and anti-mold agent. This solution has been shown to kill mold by laboratory testing. Apply and scrub.

Mold Mix – (HS) (CS)* In 22 oz. spray bottle, add one or all of the following for a cleaner killer of mold: 1/8 cup Epsom salts, ¼ cup white vinegar, ½ cup peroxide, 20 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract plus hot water to fill – shake well.

AFM X158 Mildew Control – (LT)** NEEDS  (1-800-634-1380)

Straight Vodka – (HS) (CS)* The only safe alcohol is vodka. As a disinfectant, before and after using toothbrush, massage vodka into toothbrush. Can also clean countertops, etc.

Clean, Polish and Lubricate & Floor Wax                            

All Natural Beeswax Polish and Feeder – Finisher’s Formula Finishers (1-866-296-1017)

Basic Polishing Cream Waxing Formula4 ounces oil (2 ½ ounces olive oil or jojoba oil plus 1 1/2 ounce coconut oil), 1 ounce beeswax, 1 ounce Carnuba wax, 4 ounces distilled water. Mix oil and waxes in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the water, and mix with a hand mixer until thick and creamy. Dab some cream onto a soft cloth and rub into furniture. Buff and polish until the oils are well worked into the wood. Shelf life 6 months.  Thanks to Anne B. Bond                                                  

Hobacare Jojoba(HS) (CS)* Boston Jojoba (1-800-256-5622) Jojoba seeds were a source of food to Native Americans – but this is not intended as a food. Pesticide free. (Never goes rancid)

Homemade Floor Wax


1 ½ ounces coconut oil

1 ounce beeswax

1 ounce carnauba wax

4 ounces distilled water

5-10 drops essential oil of lemon (optional)

(Waxes available from Building for Health 1-800-292-4838)


Melt the oils and waxes in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from the heat, pour in the water, and mix with a hand mixer until thick and creamy. (If you are using a blender, first add the water, then drizzle in the oils and melted waxes while the blender is on so that they emulsify.) Add essential oil if desired, then blend. Dab some cream onto a soft cotton rag and rub into the floor. Buff and polish the floor until the oils have been well worked in. Makes 1 1/8 cups.

Preparation Time: About 25 minutes

Shelf Life: 6 months or more

Storage: Glass jar with a screw top

Basic Waterless Wax Floor Salve


4 ounces olive oil and jojoba

½ ounce beeswax

½ ounce carnauba wax

(Waxes available from Building for Health 1-800-292-4838)


Melt the oil and waxes in a double boiler over low heat about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with hand mixer until creamy. Makes 1/8 cup.

Preparation Time: About 25 minutes

Shelf life: indefinitely with jojoba – 1 year with olive oil

Store in glass jar with screw on top

Wax Stripper                          

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)* Spray 5:1 dilution (may need more concentrate). Let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a brush. Rinse.


Pure Cellulose SpongesHardware stores sell pure cellulose sponges. Most sponges in the U.S> are impregnated with a synthetic disinfectant, usually Tricolasan, a harmful pesticide registered with the EPA.

Lubricating Gel

Coconut Oil

Organic Olive Oil

Lubricating Gel Made from methylcellulose and water. 2 ounces at $20.39. Available from Abram’s Royal Pharmacy (214-349-8000) but need a doctor’s prescription. Fax prescription to Abram’s at 214-341-7966.



Roach BaitMix equal parts of powdered sugar, yellow corn meal and Boric Acid (available at pharmacies). Place in caps around the house: under refrigerator, in cabinets, etc. If have pets, place where they do not have access. This will rid the house of roaches in about two weeks. Works up to a year – much more effective than pesticides.

Branch Basics – (HS) (CS)*  Spray 7:1 dilution directly on insects. This product kills by a mechanical (not a chemical action) as it breaks down (emulsifies) the exoskeleton of the insect. Set up a monthly schedule of exterior and interior baseboard treatment of the home to prevent entry of insects. Mix 30:1, place in garden sprayer and spray perimeter of home and eaves and baseboards once a month. The first month spray weekly or weekly until you are no longer seeing pests.

Uncle Albert’s AntBaitUncle Alber’ts Antbait and Kmant Pro for fire ants and white-footed ants. Use Uncle Albert’s Super Smart Ant Bait with KN Ant Pro liquid bait gravity feed dispenser. Wonderful products; gets to the queen.

An indoor natural spider spray formula – Dr. Bronners Peppermint or Lavender Soap and 1 ounce of Neem Oil. You can also add 1 to 5 drops of any of Lavender Oil or Peppermint Oil (depending on your preference) to 1 quart of water. Add 5 T. of the soap per quart water. Add one ounce of the Neem oil to the water which you have added the soap and label it. Shake well and spray inside house where spiders are seen. Test for strength. May be done as often as needed. This is not a long-term solution but will provide you immediate help. Oils may stain some fabrics or light colored furnishings, so test first.

To spray outside the house: Use the same formula  to spray the foundation, eaves and soffits, areas around doors, windows and crawls space, attic vents, or any area where you see spiders congregating.



The links below will give you more information on endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals:

Women To Women
Science Daily
Natural News – Teen Cosmetics
Natural News – Popular Shampoos
Six Wise
Tiny Choices


To get started with the Branch Basics and to learn more about all natural, non-toxic, human safe cleaning products, start here.

For more healthy living and nontoxic cleaning tips, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, “Like” our Pinterest page, and follow us on Twitter!

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