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Urban Forest
San Jose Home
Household Cleaners
The Issue
Most bathrooms contain a wide variety of cleaning products, disposable wipes, and first aid kits. These may contain harsh chemicals, which when washed down the drain, can mix with other chemicals present in the sanitary sewer. There they form toxic gases and compounds that can flow to the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (Facility) and negatively impact the Facility’s treatment processes. Chemicals from cleaning products can also pass through the Facility and negatively affect organisms and vegetation in the South San Francisco Bay.

What You Can Do
Do not flush disposable wipes, mops, or cloths down the toilet. Box of disposable wipes.Throw them in the garbage, instead. You can create your own cleaning solutions from common household items that are effective, economical, and less toxic. To get you started, here are some recipes:
  • All Purpose Cleaner - Mix 2 cups hot water with 1 tsp. liquid soap or borax. To cut grease, add 1 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice and shake gently to dissolve minerals.
  • Shower Cleaner - Mix 2 cups hot water, 1 tsp. borax, and 3 tbsp. white vinegar. Use after each shower to prevent mold, mildew, and hard water from developing.
  • Glass Cleaner - Mix 1 cup water and 1/8 cup white vinegar.
  • Clogged Drains - Keep a strainer in the drain at all times and clean frequently. Once a week, put a hand full of baking soda down the drain followed by hot water. If you get a clog, use a plunger or snake.

If you have unwanted household cleaners, contact the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Program to dispose of them properly – for free! House cleaning supplies.