ASPCA reports that household chemicals are one of the top pet toxins and contribute to tens of thousands of poison cases each year. Common commercial cleaners can be loaded with toxic chemicals that are harmful to your pet.
Pets bring all sorts of things into your home like muddy paws, dirty toys and globs of fur. Most pet owners know that keeping a home with pets clean is a constant process. To avoid using products that could potentially hurt your furry friends, many people opt to use natural cleaning products.
We put together some of the best natural cleaning recipes for any sticky or hairy situation your pet might get in, as well as some safe replacements for common toxic chemical cleaners.
Cleaning Products That Are Harmful to Pets
Products like toilet bowl cleaners, floor cleaners, counter cleaners, air fresheners and fabric softeners can be especially harmful to pets as they are most likely to come into contact with these areas.
Some ingredients that are especially toxic to your pet include:
- Ammonia: This is often used in degreasers for ovens, glass and stainless steel. When mixed with bleach, ammonia creates a poisonous gas that can cause respiratory damage, throat burns and can even be fatal! Common brands include Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner, Windex Multi-Surface Cleaner and Mr. Clean.
- Chlorine: Chlorine is commonly used in disinfectants and toilet bowl cleaners. Exposure can damage pets’ skin, eyes or other membranes. Common brands include Clorox Clean-Up with Bleach and Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablets.
- Glycol ethers: Found in glass cleaners, spot removers and carpet cleaners, this chemical has been linked to anemia, lung damage and kidney damage in pets. Common brands include Lysol Disinfectant Foam, Tilex Soap Scum Remover and Spot Shot Professional Carpet Stain Remover.
- Quaternary ammonium compounds: This ingredient can be found in dryer sheets and household cleaners and can cause caustic burns, convulsions, low blood pressure and can even be fatal if ingested. Common brands include Gain Dryer Sheets, Pine-Sol Cleaner and Antibacterial and Fantastik All Purpose Cleaner.
If your pet has come into contact with any of the above items, it’s important to know what to look for. Signs of toxicity include blistering, raw skin, hair loss, rashes, pawing at the mouth or eyes, lack of appetite, fever or lethargy.
If your pet looks like they may be having a reaction to these products take them to the vet immediately!
Natural Cleaning Tips for Pets
Luckily, there are some safe alternatives to the above toxic products. Here are some harmless, natural alternatives to using toxic chemicals to clean your house.
For Spills and Accidents:
- Club Soda: Scrub the area with club soda quickly and let it dry.
- Baking Soda: Sprinkle a spill on the carpet with baking soda and let it sit for about an hour before vacuuming.
- Vinegar and water: After cleaning a rug or hard surface, deodorize the area with a 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 cups water solution.
- Salt, White Vinegar and Borax: For heavier carpet stains, mix 2 tablespoons of salt, ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of borax until the salt and the borax dissolve. Soak an old rag in the mixture and use it to rub out the stain. After the solution dries you can vacuum up any leftover residue.
- White Vinegar, Lemon Juice and Water: For soiled hard floors, combine 1/2 cup of white vinegar with a 1/4 of cup lemon juice and half of a bucket full of hot water to create a non-toxic floor cleaner.
For Bath Time:
- Baking Soda and Baby Powder: Sprinkle the mix onto your pet’s coat and rub it through with your hands. Gently brush to spread the mixture through the coat until it’s gone. The combination acts as a natural dry shampoo!
- Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda and Dishwashing Soap: Mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap in a bucket. Wash your dog with the mixture to rid the pet of skunk smell. Make sure to avoid your pet’s eyes, nose and mouth!
- Grooming Glove: You can purchase a grooming glove to preemptively remove loose hair from your dog or cat before it gets all over your floor. Simply pet your dog with the glove on in an outdoor area. You can also use the glove to naturally clean fur from furniture!
- Flea Comb: Use a flea comb to naturally rid your pet of fleas. You can buy flea combs that work on fleas, eggs and larvae. Do not brush your dog’s hair with narrow teeth if it is tangled or matted.
- Oatmeal, Baking Soda and Water: Oatmeal shampoo can be used for dry, itchy skin. Grind the oatmeal in a food processor until it forms a fine powder. Mix together 1 cup of oatmeal powder, ½ cup of baking soda and 1 quart of warm water until it’s well incorporated. When it’s time to bathe, lather up your pet, wait for 5 minutes and then rinse and dry!
For Everyday Cleanups:
- Baking Soda for Pet Beds: Sprinkle it on your dog or cat’s bed. Let it stand for 15 minutes and then vacuum thoroughly to get rid of pet bed smell.
- Baking Soda for Kitty Litter: Sprinkle baking soda in your cat’s litter tray before adding kitty litter to help control smells in between litter changes.
- Dishwashing Soap, Tea Tree Oil and Water: Mix 2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and approximately 25 drops of tea tree oil. This will form a non-toxic kitchen and bathroom cleaner—or for the inside of your toilet! Tea tree oil which has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Baking Soda, Distilled Water and Essential Oil: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cups of distilled water and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Put the solution in a small spray bottle for a non-toxic pet odor neutralizer.
- Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide, Dishwashing Soap and Water: Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup vinegar, ¼ cup peroxide and 1 teaspoon dish-washing liquid and water. Spray for a bathroom and toilet bowl cleaner.
If you follow these tips it will be easy to keep your pets and the house that they live in clean and safe from toxins. Many of the ingredients can be kept on hand and mixed in small batches as needed.