Sustainable living ideas

A comprehensive range of resources is available online at

A comprehensive range of resources is available online at

Great ideas for living sustainably can be also be found on the composting and eco-design pages.

Safe alternatives for household chemicals

Please don't pour waste household and garden chemicals into stormwater drains, onto sealed surfaces or into the roof downpipe drains. To help you manage your household's impact on our waterways here are a few alternatives to household chemicals to try.

Safe alternatives
For this... try this...
Air freshener Use herbal bouquets, pure vanilla on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves
Ants (in the house) Red chilli powder at the entrance
Car battery corrosion removal Baking soda and water
Chrome polish Apple cider vinegar
Copper cleaner Rub with a lemon, then rinse and dry
Drain cleaner Plunger followed by ½ cup baking soda + ½ cup vinegar; wait a few minutes, then follow with 2 litres boiling water. Repeat if needed. If this fails, rent or buy a drain snake
Fertiliser compost Yard clippings or use organic fertilisers
Fleas (on your pet) Gradually add brewers yeast to pet's diet (consult your veterinarian first!)
Flies Well watered bowl of basil
Inkspot remover Cold water + 1 tablespoon cream of tartar + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Insects on plants Soapy water on leaves, then rinse
Linoleum cleaner 1 cup white vinegar plus 7.8 litres water
Linoleum floor polish Skim milk (it doesn't smell, really!). As a test try a small area first
Mildew remover Equal parts of vinegar and salt. Scrub hard.
Mosquito repellant Burn citronella candles; citronella oil.
Moth repellant Cedar chips enclosed in cotton sachets.
Oil stain remover White chalk rubbed into stain before laundering
Oven cleaner 2 tablespoons liquid soap + 2 teaspoons borax + warm water. As a preventive measure, cover bottom with a sheet of aluminium foil. Clean up spills promptly.
Perspiration stain remover White vinegar + water.
Pet odour removal Cider vinegar.
Roach repellant Chopped bay leaves and cucumber skins.
Rug/carpet cleaner Baking soda.
Rusty bolt/nut removal Carbonated beverage (e.g. coke).
Silver polish In a bowl mix 1 litres warm water + 1 tablespoon baking soda + piece of aluminium foil + 1 tablespoon salt. There should be enough water to cover the silver once it is immersed. Immerse the silver in the bowl. The tarnish will collect on the aluminium foil. Be careful, as tarnish will also collect on any silver sticking out of the solution. Rinse in hot water then dry.
Slugs and snails Onion and marigold plants.
Stain removal Club soda, lemon juice, or salt.
Toilet bowl cleaner Baking soda and castile soap.
Tub and tile cleaner ¼ cup baking soda + ½ cup white vinegar + warm water.
Water softener ¼ cup vinegar.
Window cleaner 2 tablespoons vinegar in 1 litre warm water.
Substitutes for cleaning solvents Acetic acid - white vinegar straight from the bottle. Citric acid - lemon juice straight from the lemon. Mayonnaise or butter can be used to soften tar and oil.

For more information

For more information contact the Environmental Programmes  Advisor on 546 0200 or email