Home Topics Cleaning
Sunny FitzgeraldUpdated: Apr. 11, 2023
Pet owners: Do you know what cleaning ingredients to avoid? We rounded up top-rated pet safe cleaning products, plus some DIY options to try.
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What Cleaning Products Are Unsafe for Dogs and Cats?
From floor andcarpet cleanersto sink scrubs and all-purpose sprays, keeping the house clean requires a full quiver of products. But many of the most common ones may contain ingredients that are dangerous for your pets to ingest, inhale or even absorb through the skin while moving about and licking their paws.
“There are a number of common household cleaning products that contain harmful and potentially life-threatening ingredients,” saysAnthea Schick, a veterinary dermatologist.
Toilet bowl cleaners, especially with the kind that stick inside the bowl, often contain bleach and can be a risk for dogs who like to sneak sips from the toilet. Other problematic products include laundry detergent containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), 1,4-dioxane and NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate). These can cause skin irritation, as well as severe vomiting and diarrhea if swallowed in the concentrated pod form that can look like a toy or treat.
Schick says even products labeled as “natural” aren’t always a safe bet, either, including essential oils, which can irritate airways and even exacerbate asthma. A good rule of thumb: “Don’t let your pets ingest anything you wouldn’t eat!” she says. “Carefully read the labels of everything you use in your home to ensure no harmful ingredients are present.”
Tonya Harris, an award-winning environmental toxin expert and the founder ofSlightly Greener, recommends scanning labels and avoiding products with the following ingredients:
Ammonia:Can damage the respiratory system.
Chlorine bleach:Skin, eye, and throat irritant, corrosive to mucous membranes.
Glycol ethers:Propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol.
Benzalkonium chloride:Often found in disinfectants.
Fragrances:Individual ingredients are not required to be listed because fragrance is considered to be a trade secret. “Fragrances” may contain ingredients that are allergenic, hormone-disrupting, toxic to the brain and nervous system, or carcinogenic.
Phenol:Common in Lysol and PineSol.It can cause liver and kidney damage;
Hydrogen peroxide:It causes irritation to the esophagus and stomach lining, induces vomiting and can also cause severe gastritis and ulceration and bleeding.
Formaldehyde:Known to cause cancer. Some preservatives, known as formaldehyde-releasers, release formaldehyde slowly into a product over time to extend the shelf life. Look for formaldehyde-releasing ingredients such as DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea and Imidazolidinyl urea.
Even products with none of the above listed on their ingredients can pose some risk to your pets, as labels can be deceiving.
“It’s sometimes hard to know exactly what ingredients are in cleaning products,” Harris says. “That’s because the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] requires companies to only disclose active disinfecting ingredients and ‘chemicals of known concern’ on their labels.
“The problem here is that there aren’t any testing requirements for most of the chemicals in cleaning products — by the companies or the EPA. And companies aren’t required to disclose their ingredients, because formulations are considered to be proprietary.”
In addition, pets are often curious by nature and may be tempted to sniff, lick or swallow cleaning products they find around the house.
Harris recommends thatdog and cat owners follow these cleaning tipsto minimize risk, even when using products that appear safe:
Keeping pets away from the room or area you are cleaning;
Ensuring the area is well-ventilated;
Allowing the surfaces to dry completely before allowing pets back in the room;
Storing disinfectants out of pets’ reach.
If your pets do ingest cleaning products, call theASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Centerat (888) 426-4435 and bring them to a vet immediately.
Here are our recommendations for some pet-friendly cleaning products, including DIY suggestions.
Best Pet Safe Stain and Odor Eliminator
When our beloved pets are the ones creating the mess, a cleaning product that’s tough on stains and stink (even that dreaded cat urine) yet gentle on the pets creating them a must.
Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminatoris Certified Safe by the Carpet and Rug Institute. It’s guaranteed to remove pet stains and odors from carpets and upholstery as well as pet carriers, kennels, concrete and tile — or this family-run business of 15 humans, five dogs and one cat will refund your money. We tried it — it works! That’s why it’s our top pick on our list of thebest products for getting pee out of carpet, too.
Best Pet Safe Floor Cleaner
Made for animal lovers by animal lovers, plant-basedBean & Lilly Floor Cleanercan be used safely on all flooring surfaces. Inspired by and named for the founders’ family dogs, thispet safe floor cleaneris gentle for people, pets and the planet. It’s biodegradable and Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free.
Asone Amazon reviewer writes, “I am very sensitive to artificial strong fragrances and my dog is allergic to everything. I tried this product and found the fragrance very subtle and the product does not bother my dog at all. I have hardwood and marble and have had no issues with it leaving streaks or film — just a nice clean.”
Best Pet Safe Glass Cleaner
Although you can make your own (Harris recommends 50/50 distilled water and white vinegar), sometimes streaks are an issue with DIY glass cleaners. EnterAunt Fannie’s Glass & Window Vinegar Wash.
This plant-based solution cleans safely, gently and sans streaks. It also works on chrome, light fixtures and stainless steel. It was awarded the highest health and safety rating by theEnvironmental Working Group.
Best Pet Safe Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Skip the potent, hanging toilet cleaners that pets may be tempted to lick or paw. Opt instead for a brush-and-flush product likeBetter Life’s Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner.
Plant-based ingredients and aLeaping Bunny certificationmean this product is safer, and cruelty-free. Be sure to keep the bathroom door closed whilecleaning a toilet.Although the ingredients in Better Life’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner are all-natural, they are not intended for ingestion. Pets should be kept away until the cleaning is complete and the solution has been flushed.
Best Pet Safe All-Purpose Cleaner
Better Life also makes anAll-Purpose Cleanerthat can tackle soiled surfaces, including countertops, tables, showers, toys and even boats, cars and sporting equipment. The unscented cleaner contains no synthetic fragrances, dyes or harsh ingredients, so it’s safe around children and pets.
Asone Amazon reviewer writes: “I was looking for a safe, natural product that didn’t have any ingredients requiring a hazardous waste disposal label. A lot of so-called ‘natural’ cleaners have ingredients that need an EPA use and disposal label. This doesn’t. It is strong enough to really go through grease and grime like a clear, organic tornado.
“I haven’t found anything that can’t be cleaned with it yet. Plus it’s odor-free, unlike Simple Green which has a heavy scent. And, I feel comfortable spraying it in places where pets, children or myself in bare feet might absorb it by stepping in the residue.”
Best Pet Safe All-In-One Cleaner
Harris recommends keepingDr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure Castile Soapon hand. A little bit of this concentrated, organic and biodegradable soap goes a long way. Dilute it for use all around the house, from the shower to the laundry, floors to sinks, and even dishes, humans and pets.
You can feel good about your clean house and your purchase. Dr. Bronner’s aims to support people and planet — “farm to shelf to shower” — paying fair wages and using recycled bottles and healthy ingredients.
Best Pet Safe Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo
Pets and children seem to spend a fair amount of time sprawled out on floors and furniture, so a product that willremove pet stains on furnitureand carpet is essential.
Developed by a team of chemists, evaluated by medical doctors and tested by parents,Puracy’s Professional Carpet Cleaneris guaranteed to remove stains and odors from washable surfaces while keeping the human and fur children (and your wallet — no professional cleaning bill!) safe.
Eskay Lim/getty images
DIY Pet Safe Cleaners
The best way to know what’s in your cleaning products is to make them yourself. Schick recommends these DIY options to get you started:
Use baking soda(AKA sodium bicarbonate)instead of bleach when cleaning your home. This milder form of salt works well to absorb and neutralize odors.
The acetic acid content ofwhite vinegarmakes it a powerful cleanser without being outright harmful to your pets. To create your own cleanser, dilute white vinegar with club soda (1:1), which has been shown effective in reducing household bacteria. It can help get peturine smells out of clothes, too.
If you’d like to make your home smell cleaner without using air fresheners, try steepinglemon peel in vinegarfor at least a full day, then spray the natural freshener throughout the house.
Originally Published: October 29, 2021
Sunny Fitzgerald is a Hawaii-based writer covering travel, sustainability, culture, home, health, wellness, and more. You can find her work in National Geographic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, BBC, Lonely Planet, Forbes Travel Guide, and elsewhere. Find out more at https://www.thisissunny.com/
- Puracy Pet Stain & Odor Remover. ...
- Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent. ...
- Common Good Pet-Safe Laundry Detergent. ...
- Nature's Miracle Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo. ...
- Clean + Green Fabric Refresher. ...
- Mrs. ...
- METHOD Dog House Friendly Mint Glass Cleaner.
- Vinegar. The acetic acid content of vinegar makes it a powerful cleanser. ...
- Baking Soda. ...
- Lemon Juice. ...
- Hydrogen Peroxide. ...
- All-Purpose Cleaner. ...
- Toilet Bowl and Drain Cleaner. ...
- Glass Cleaner. ...
- Carpet Stain & Odor Remover.
Phenol can cause liver damage to pets, and Lysol gives off potentially volatile organic compound in its vapor. Additionally, if your dog licks or ingests Lysol, it can cause serious chemical burns in the tongue of upper esophagus.Is Pine-Sol safe to use around pets? ›
Pine-Sol® Cleaner Safety. Q: Is it safe to use Pine-Sol® cleaners around pets? A: Yes, all Pine-Sol® products are recommended for use in pet areas.Is Dawn dish soap safe for dogs? ›
We do not recommend using Dawn to wash your dog. It's better to use soap that doesn't contain harsh chemicals and won't strip the dog's skin of its natural oils.What is safe to mop floors with pets? ›
Best Pet-Safe Floor Cleaners
Aunt Fannies Vinegar Floor Cleaner* Better Life Floor Cleaner* Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner* Aunt Fannies Vinegar Wash Floor Cleaner Eucalyptus*
Are Clorox wipes safe for pets? Bleach, one of the main ingredients in Clorox wipes, is particularly hazardous for pets, says Dr. Gaffud, and should be avoided. Bleach isn't good for a pet's skin, and it's even more dangerous if ingested, which, if we're honest, is likely.How do you disinfect floors with pets? ›
Combine 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water in a mop bucket. Dunk the mop in the bucket and wring it out. Be mindful that too much water can cause some floors, like wood, to warp. Mop the floors.How do you disinfect floors when you have pets? ›
- Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol);
- Bleach (chlorine);
- Hydrogen peroxide;
- Formaldehyde (AKA formalin, methanol, methylene oxide);
Ammonium, commonly listed as ammonium hydroxide is a common ingredient in floor cleaners as it is an effective cleaning agent. Unfortunately, ammonium is also highly toxic when inhaled or ingested and can be corrosive to the skin, eyes and respiratory systems of humans and pets.
However, you should be aware that some Fabuloso products could contain active ingredients that could cause harm to your dog. These active ingredients include bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Fabuloso should not be used for dogs.What is a homemade pet cleaner solution? ›
Mix vinegar with warm water in a clean spray bottle. Spray generously over stain. Over top of the sprayed stain, spread a thin layer of baking soda. Within an hour (or longer for set-in stains), the baking soda will absorb the urine or fecal residue and remove the stain.Are cleaning products safe for pets? ›
Cleaners with powerful odors that promise results should alert pet owners, particularly cat owners, to danger, experts say. The ingredients that make disinfectants effective make them toxic for companion animals: alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, chemical compounds that contain the word “phenol,” etc.Is Glade safe for pets? ›
No, plug-in air fresheners are not safe for pets. If you use them, make sure to ventilate the area.Is Clorox safe for dogs? ›
However, it is not a safe choice to use around dogs and other pets. Bleach contains chlorine, which is considered toxic to many animals and, at the very least, will damage a dog's fur and at the other end of the spectrum is life-threatening when swallowed.Is Simple Green safe for pets? ›
Simple Green products are also safe for both the environment and pets because they are non-toxic and biodegradable. Clean Conscience, Dog Friendly Magazine, and Green Cleaning Magazine endorsed Simple Green as an environmentally friendly product.What animals hate the smell of Pine-Sol? ›
If there is an important reason to evict the skunks, here is a simple way to do it—skunks hate the smell of original scent Pine-Sol. A rag or block of wood soaked in the cleanser and placed as close as possible to a den entrance will often be enough to persuade a skunk to move her family to an alternate den site.Is cleaning floors with vinegar safe for pets? ›
Yes. Vinegar used for cleaning is typically diluted and can be used in households with dogs. It is considered a natural cleaning product, and it may help to neutralize odors and remove pet stains.Is mopping with Pine-Sol safe for cats? ›
Pine Sol is a common all-purpose cleaner made by Clorox, meant for cleaning and disinfecting non-porous surfaces like counters, sinks, and floors. Pine-Sol is not safe for pets.What soaps are safe for dogs? ›
Human baby shampoo is probably the most popular dog shampoo substitute. It is gentle enough to use on dogs and will not strip their coat of natural oils. Just make sure to use a very small amount and rinse thoroughly. Dish soap is a common dog shampoo substitute.
Generally speaking, a healthy dog with a short, smooth coat and no skin problems doesn't need to be bathed often. In most cases, dog baths are more for the benefit of their pet parents than for the dogs themselves. Even so, it's a good idea to bathe your pooch at least once every two to three months.Is Febreze safe for pets? ›
"This safety data was reviewed by more than 100 scientists, doctors, safety experts, and veterinarians, and all have come to the same conclusion: Febreze is safe."What can I mop my floor with to stop my dog from peeing on it? ›
Vinegar. Just like citrus, dogs cannot stand the smell of vinegar. It seems that a dog's heightened sense of smell is not keen on acidic smells, vinegar being another very acidic substance. It is worth noting that dogs are more repelled by the smell of vinegar than they are by lemons and oranges.What floor cleaner do vets use? ›
Anigene can be used in numerous areas for veterinary practice cleaning, to include hard floors in reception and consult rooms, walls and animal habitats when unoccupied, to include surfaces and sinks.Is Windex safe for dogs? ›
Household cleaners: Most general purpose cleaners (e.g., Windex, Formula 409) are fairly safe, but concentrated products like toilet bowl or drain cleaners can cause chemical burns. Flea and tick spot-on products for dogs: Those that are pyrethroid based (e.g., Zodiac, K9 Advantix, Sergeant's, etc.)Can I wipe my dog's paws with Clorox wipes? ›
It's probably not a good idea to use a disinfecting wipe, like a Clorox Wipe or a Lysol Wipe, on your dog's paws. The same chemicals that do the disinfecting are harmful if ingested…Is Lysol wipes safe for pets? ›
One of the active ingredients in Lysol is Phenol. Phenol is especially dangerous for cats- but can also be problematic for dogs. Cats can absorb phenol through the air, through their mouth by licking or through their skin. Cats cannot process phenol, and can lead to many problems, including liver failure.What do hospitals use to disinfect floors? ›
It's used in products such as Spartan CDC-10 and is compatible with most hard surfaces. Quaternary ammonium products are best used on non-critical surfaces such as floors, bed-rails, tray tables, blood pressure cuffs, walls, and partitions.
Most hard surfaces recommend a bleach solution for disinfecting, but often you'll want to keep bleach and other harsh chemicals away from your flooring. Instead, you can disinfect vinyl and laminate flooring by mopping with a mix of one gallon of warm water and one cup of white vinegar.How often should you mop floors with pets? ›
Generally, you should mop 2-3 times a week to ensure maximum cleanliness of your floors, or whenever your furry friend brings in a little more dirt or mud. A little trick that you can do is to add a bit of a cleaning agent with fragrance, just to give your home a nice smell after you're done mopping.
But as a rule of thumb, you should mop your floors at least once a week—especially in areas that are more likely to get stains from drips and spills, like the kitchen and bathroom. “Of course, you need to vacuum or sweep the floor before mopping,” explains Leiva.Is toilet bowl cleaner toxic to dogs? ›
Toilet bowl cleaners are among the most toxic for pets, especially the kind that clip to the edge of the toilet or sit in the tank, because their purpose is to deliver a constant level of chemicals to the toilet water. These caustic agents can burn your dog's mouth and throat, at a minimum.Can dogs drink milk? ›
Milk is a safe treat in small quantities. A few tablespoons of cow's milk or goat's milk on an occasional basis can be a nice reward for your dog. But, you should probably hold off on offering your dog an entire bowl in one sitting, as it can cause unpleasant reactions, including diarrhea, vomiting, and loose stools.Is Mr clean safe to use around pets? ›
Safe to use around cats and dogs. Safe on tile, linoleum, finished wood (Finished Wood: Use diluted only. Not recommended for carpets, copper or aluminum surfaces. If applied to stainless steel wipe dry immediately.What is pet Fabulosa? ›
For pet owners, Fabulosa's Pet Disinfectant is specifically designed to eliminate animal odours and replace it with a fresh scent as your clean. Dilute this concentrated formula in water and it will kill 99.9% bacteria over your surfaces, cleaning and shining.What is a natural pet deodorizer for home? ›
Vinegar. Vinegar is also an amazing natural cleaning option for more serious pet odors. Try using vinegar (diluted with a bit of water) in a spray bottle and spray on carpets or floors. Or use in combination with baking soda on cushions or bedding for an extra powerful, odor-eliminating punch.What does vinegar do to pet urine? ›
Because the vinegar is acidic, it will neutralize the bacteria in the dog pee, offsetting its odor. Vinegar is pet safe, effective, cheap, and eco friendly. Let the vinegar solution sit for 3-5 minutes or carefully follow the instructions on the cleaning product's label.Is sugar soap pet safe? ›
When used as directed SUGAR SOAP™ is safe for all healthy dogs, cats, and horses over six weeks of age. Consult a veterinarian if you plan on bathing unweaned infant pets.Is Meyers cleaner safe for pets? ›
Meyer's cleaning products safe for pets? Actually, yes, Mrs. Meyer's offers pet safe cleaning products just like method does. They're made with plant-based ingredients and essential oils that are safe to use around pets of all kinds.Are household cleaners safe for pets? ›
The ingredients that make disinfectants effective make them toxic for companion animals: alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, chemical compounds that contain the word “phenol,” etc.
Top 10 Toxins For Cats
2) Household cleaners: Most general-purpose cleaners (Windex, 409) are fairly safe, but concentrated products such as toilet bowl or drain cleaners can cause chemical burns.
However, you should be aware that some Fabuloso products could contain active ingredients that could cause harm to your dog. These active ingredients include bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Fabuloso should not be used for dogs.What wipes are pet friendly? ›
- Best Overall. Pogi's Fragrance-Free Grooming Wipes. ...
- Best for Ears. Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes. ...
- Best for Eyes. Miracle Care Eye Clear Sterile Eye Wash Pads. ...
- Best for Paws. TrueBlue Pet Products Super Fresh Body & Paw Wipes. ...
- Best Dental. ...
- Best for Grooming. ...
- Best for Anal Glands. ...
- Best Hypoallergenic.
Best Pet Safe Glass Cleaner
Although you can make your own (Harris recommends 50/50 distilled water and white vinegar), sometimes streaks are an issue with DIY glass cleaners. Enter Aunt Fannie's Glass & Window Vinegar Wash. This plant-based solution cleans safely, gently and sans streaks.
Household cleaners: Most general purpose cleaners (e.g., Windex, Formula 409) are fairly safe, but concentrated products like toilet bowl or drain cleaners can cause chemical burns.Can you clean dog pee with Windex? ›
Window cleaner is a surprisingly effective pet urine cleaner
By using an ammonia based cleaning spray, such as Windex, we are able to disinfect the impacted area and neutralize much of the ammonia and urea salts.
Vacuum, dust or wipe with a lightly dampened mop – never use soap-based detergents, as they can leave a dull film on the floor, and avoid over-wetting. Don't use wax polish either, as this will make the floor slippery. To remove marks and stains, use a dilute solution of water and vinegar.