There are a lot of natural, nontoxic items that are green, thrifty, multipurpose, and perfectly safe to use around the house! Here are some of my favorites:
Tea tree oil
There are so many ways to use these fabulous products but here are a few of my favorites.
Vinegar: Add it to the laundry wash water, use less detergent and softer clothes. Use it in a spray cleaner. Mop the floor.
Baking soda: So many beauty uses for skin and hair. Great scrubbing agent for cleaning up around the house.
Borax and washing soda: Make laundry detergent with it. Make dishwashing detergent and bathroom cleaner.
Tea tree oil: Wonderful on the skin. Very good as a household disinfectant.
Castile soap: Also wonderful on the skin and hair. Use it to make household cleaning spray. Use it in the laundry.
To make laundry detergent, use two cups borax, two cups washing soda, and a grated up bar of Ivory soap. Mix together well, store in an airtight container, and use a tablespoon or so per load. Add some vinegar in with the wash water for very fresh, clean, and soft clothes.
You can mix half borax and half baking soda and use that in the dishwasher (about tablespoon or less per load) and even wash dishes in the sink in a pinch. It's also good for scrubbing!
Since the borax box is bigger than the washing soda box I always end up with more borax, so I make a jar of a little washing soda and mostly borax (maybe 1/3 washing soda to 2/3 borax, it doesn't really matter) for scrubbing the bathroom sink, toilet, and bathtub.
For a wonderful household cleaner and disinfectant, get a spray bottle and fill it about 1/4 full of vinegar. Fill the rest with water and then add a squirt of castile soap and a few (as in three or four) drops of tea tree oil. Shake and spray on anything to clean and disinfect!
A couple of sort-of failures here -- a mix of borax and washing soda does not make the greatest thing for washing dishes in the sink, but it does work. Castile soap is not good to mop the floor with. It leaves a filmy residue. And if you mix straight vinegar with straight castile soap you get this odd reaction where oily globs are formed. Just make sure the water is in there first before you mix those two.
TTO and castile soap are available at the health food store; I've bought TTO at Wal-Mart and I hear that castile soap is at Target (I hope so, Target is closer to me than the health food store.) Baking soda and vinegar are sold at all stores. Borax and washing soda are usually in the laundry aisle of the grocery store.
The truly wonderful thing about these natural products is that they are far superior to commercially made synthetic cleaners because they are safe, clean better, are usually cheaper, and do not pollute your house and body. Some people seem to believe that their home is not clean unless they have used toxic chemicals but if you'll stop and think a minute ... who's smarter, God or man? Nature trumps science EVERY TIME.
Enjoy being green and thrifty!