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Chemicals in the Household


Toilet Cleaners Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid
Oxalic acid
Calcium hypochlorite
Toilet brush and baking soda; mild detergent; vinegar soak for tub and sink fixtures; avoid skin and breathing fumes.
Drain Cleaners Sodium or potassium
Sodium hypochloride
Plunger; flush drain with 1/4 cup baking soda and vinegar; avoid skin contact and breathing fumes.
Bleach Cleaners Sodium or potassium hydroxide Hydrogen peroxide Sodium or calcium hypochlorite ½ cup white vinegar or baking soda for laundry; avoid skin contact and breathing fumes.
Dishwashing detergent Chlorine Surfactants 1 part borax to 1 part baking soda; handle all cleaning solutions with care.
Ammonia-based cleaners (all purpose Ethanol cleaners) Ammonia Vinegar and salt water mix for surfaces; baking soda and water.
Glass cleaners Ammonia Naphthalene Wash windows with ¼ to ½ cup white vinegar to 1 quart warm water, rub dry with newspaper.
Fabric softener Ammonia 1 cup white vinegar or 1/4 cup baking soda in final rinse water.
Air fresheners Cresol Phenol Formaldehyde Open box of baking soda or dish of vanilla; simmer cloves; open windows or use exhaust fans.
Laundry detergent Surfactants Avoid breathing powder.
Mothballs Naphthalene Paradichlorobenzene Cedar chips; newspapers; lavender, flowers, or other aromatic herbs and spices.
Rug and upholstery cleaners Naphthalene Paradichlorobenzene Oxalic acid Diethylene glycol Baking soda on rug, then vacuum.
Floor and furniture polish Diethylene glycol Petroleum distillates Nitrobenzene Mineral Spirits 1 part lemon oil, 2 parts olive/ vegetable oil; vegetable oil soap.
Furniture strippers Acetone Methyl ethyl Ketone Alcohols Xylene Toluene Methylene chloride Equal portions of boiled linseed oil, turpentine, and vinegar with steel wool; sandpaper or heatgun; use in well-ventilated areas or outdoors; handle all solvents with care.
Stains/finishes Mineral spirits Glycol ethers Ketones Halogenated hydrocarbons Naphtha Xylene Toluene Natural earth pigment finishes; use in well ventilated areas or outdoors; handle all dyes and paints with care.
Enamel or oil-based paints Pigments Aliphatic hydrocarbons Water-based paints if appropriate; always use in well-ventilated areas.
Latex paint Mercury Handle all paints with care.
Antifreeze Ethylene glycol Clean up all spills.
Automobile batteries Sulfuric acid Lead Bring old batteries to recycling center; avoid skin contact; wash spills with plenty of water.
Automobile lubricants (transmission and brake fluids, used oils) Hydrocarbons (benzene) Mineral Oils Glycol ethers Heavy metals Seal used oil in plastic container and bring to recycling service station.


Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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