After the hazardous effects of xylene became indisputable in the 1970s, many potential substitutes became available, some with as many if not more hazards. This article discusses the inadequacy of 5 vegetable oils as substitutes, as well as the characteristics of 22 D-limonene-based substitutes, all less effective in their chemical role, some capable of inducing health problems, and costing more than twice as much as xylene. Some of the 35 alkane-based substitutes discussed are effective for tissue processing, less toxic, with a cost about the same as xylene, but are not very effective for dewaxing and other staining tasks. Isopropanol (2-propanol) alone or mixed with molten paraffin is a technically acceptable and cost-effective substitute for xylene for tissue processing, but in this study, we demonstrate that the best clearing agents from the sectioning quality and diagnostic value point of view, with automated or manual protocols, are mixtures of 5:1 and 2:1 isopropanol and mineral oil, followed by undiluted mineral oil, all at 50 degrees C, making them a safer and cheaper substitute than xylene. Using a 1.7% dishwasher soap aqueous solution at 90 degrees C to dewax before staining and oven drying the stained sections before coverslipping will eliminate xylene from the staining tasks. Tissue processors retorts and conduits can be dewaxed with a 2% solution of a strong glassware laboratory detergent. These 4 methodologies will make the histology laboratory xylene-free but, due to the natural resistance to change, many histotechs will be reluctant to adopt them if they think that their technical expertise could be jeopardized, and the only way these changes will succeed is if the pathologists, as stewards of the histology laboratory, commit to their implementation.