Connect with Metro
503-797-1804 TDD
503-797-1797 fax

Green cleaners

Tools for living    Healthy home    Green cleaners

Save money, protect your family and the environment by using safe, simple ingredients to clean your home.

Many of the products we buy to care for our homes include ingredients that can be harmful to people and the environment. What can you do? You can choose less-toxic products to clean your home. Doing that can protect your family and the environment. You’ll also save money by using some simple, safe ingredients to make your own cleaners

Green cleaning options

Check out these cleaning recipes and tips to help you create a safer home:

  • Ingredients to use in making less-toxic cleaners.
  • General cleaners: recipes for all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaner, disinfectants and hand cleaners.
  • Laundry: soap, fabric softeners, deodorizers, bleaches, stain removers and moth repellants.
  • Bathroom: tub, tile and toilet cleaners.
  • Floor and carpets: carpet cleaners and deodorizers, stain removers, floor cleaners and heel mark remover.
  • Kitchen: dish cleaners, drain and disposal cleaners, deodorizers, oven cleaners and polishes.
  • Living room: furniture polish, wood and leather cleaners.
  • Other less-toxic household tips: control indoor pests, clean driveways and sidewalks, light charcoal, remove rust, dry out damp areas and clean walls. Less toxic glues, paint and paint strippers.
  • Shopping tips: purchasing less toxic products at the store.
  • Learn more about safer products: additional resource materials for safer household and gardening products.

Why clean green?

The Environmental Protection Agency identifies six reasons to clean green.

Skin irritation

Some ready-to-use cleaning products may contain chemicals that will cause redness or swelling of skin.

Air pollution

Products may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, cause asthma attacks, and contribute to smog. Many state and local authorities restrict the use of VOCs.


Stick to natural odors in cleaning agents, as in a citrus-based cleaner. Fragrances added to improve odor or to mask an offensive odor have little cleaning value. Many may be harmful to your health and create indoor air pollution.


Like fragrances, avoid unnecessary dyes. Consider the basic principle of pollution prevention: avoid unnecessary additives.

Reduced/recyclable packaging

Packaging makes up 17 percent of the garbage stream. When purchasing your cleaning products, choose products that are minimally packaged or packaged in recyclable materials.

Exposure to concentrates

Take care with concentrated products. While concentration can reduce the use of packaging and other resources, concentrated products can pose a greater health and pollution risk than a ready-to-use product.

Related Documents

To view PDF files, download free Adobe Reader. To translate PDF files into text to assist visually-impaired users, visit

To view MOV files, download free QuickTime.

Need assistance?

Metro Recycling Information
Send a message

Related Internet links

Consejos para reducir el uso de químicos dañinos en su hogar

Usted puede evitar un viaje de regreso a la instalación de químicos dañinos y también proteger la salud y la seguridad de su familia haciendo sus compras con cuidado en el futuro.

Información en español

new tools

children at day care

Toxics-free child care

Discover ways to make your child care center safer by using chemicals carefully and choosing less-toxic products.Go

Managing moss

Mossy roof

Lawn and roof moss

Choose less-toxic ways to handle the moss in your yard or on your roof or patio. Go

Metro pick

hazardless home brochure

Hazardless home handbook

Find information on common hazardous ingredients, potential hazards, responsible use and storage, and alternatives for common hazardous household products. Download

© 2014 Metro. All rights reserved.

Send questions, comments and suggestions about the website to

600 NE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97232-2736
503-797-1804 TDD
503-797-1797 fax