Spring is almost here, and with that comes Spring Cleaning. Whether you're freshening up your space or taking on the KonMari Method, keeping your home clean can be really tricky when you add pets to the mix. Tracking in extra dirt or pet hair on every surface can certainly give the process that next-level challenge. It is important to remember, too, that in keeping your home clean, that we also need to keep in mind what is safe for our furry loved ones. Danger from toxic cleaning supplies comes when our pets lick it off their fur or floor and inhale it with their sensitive noses. Keeping a watchful eye on what cleansers you use and avoiding any chemicals that can have toxic consequences is key.
- Ammonia - Found in many glass and floor cleaners
- Chlorine - Found in bleach products and pool chemicals
- Alcohols - Found often in glass cleaners, surface cleaners, aerosols, antifreeze, and more
- Alkalis - Found in many toilet bowl cleansers, drain openers, dish washing detergent
- Formaldehyde - Found in many general cleaners, glues, and adhesives
- Phenols - Found in many air fresheners and products with “sol” in the name
- Perchlorethylene - Found often in carpet cleaners and dry cleaning solutions
- Phthalates - Often present in scented products including air fresheners, plug-ins, and perfumes, as well as many pesticides
- Acids - Found in many “heavy duty” cleaners, sanitizers, and batteries
The first step in finding pet-friendly cleaning products is to check the label! There are many products on the market that are labeled specifically as pet safe, or you can make gentle pet-friendly cleansers yourself.
Baking soda is a safe, household cleanser that is an unsung hero many people already have in their home. The gentle abrasive and odor neutralizing properties make it a featured active ingredient in many of the pet-safe products you would buy, whether you are cleaning carpets, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, toilets and showers, or washing stinky pet laundry. It's also a master in removing odors and brightening whites.
Distilled white vinegar is a very effective, inexpensive multipurpose workhorse in your safe-cleaning arsenal. It is great for cleaning glass, non-granite counter tops, wood floors, and tough stains in carpet or on clothing. The scent of vinegar evaporates quickly, but if you still find it’s pungent aroma offensive while cleaning, you can add to the disinfectant property and improve the scent by adding lemon juice or lavender essential oil with it in a spray bottle.
Borax is an effective laundry and carpet cleaning solution. It fights tricky stains, like the ones we combat when we have pets, and can even be used as a safe alternative to some pest control concerns.
Never underestimate the cleansing power of your degreasing, disinfecting dish soap and a little bit of elbow grease. There are some brands of dish soap that are very gentle and pet safe that can be diluted in water and used to clean many surfaces. Extra products become an unnecessary “convenience” that can be expensive and sometimes harmful. Good old fashioned soap and water can go a long way.
Whatever type of cleaning products you decide on, store them in a safe place that pets can not get to. Remember that even if you are cleaning surfaces that your pet can not reach, their sensitive noses can be affected with the products in the air, or some of the hazardous chemicals could mist away from where you are spraying to land on places you don’t always realize. Keep in mind that cleaning your home with pet safe products is not only safer for your pet, but also healthier for you and your family.If your furry friend shows signs of poisoning, the ASPCA has an excellent Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) available 24/7/365. Call them immediately at (888) 426-4435.