Keeping your home clean can take a little extra elbow grease when you have pets, and they rarely take responsibility for their own messes. One thing to keep in mind as you’re gearing up for spring cleaning is that lots of popular cleaning products contain harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals.
You don’t want Fido drinking from the toilet bowl anyway, but if he does get the opportunity you’ll want peace of mind that your favorite household cleaners won’t be harmful to your pup or purring princess.
Spring Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners:
- Deodorize soft surfaces like cushions and furniture with baking soda.
- Run food bowls, water bowls, and plastic toys through the dishwasher to disinfect.
- Wash or replace your pet’s bed, blankets, and soft toys.
- Clean when you can vent the area well with open doors or windows to avoid concentrated vapors.
- Give your dog or cat a bath themselves before getting the house clean.
- Check the ingredients of even the most common cleaning products like Pine-Sol, Clorox, Lysol, and Windex before using them around your precious fur family.
What is Pine Sol? Is Pine Sol Safe for Pets?
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.
Original Pine-Sol became popular in the 1950s and used pine oil as a base. Though the company has changed its formula and stopped using it as the main ingredient in recent years, lots of products still contain some amount of the essential oil today.
What Makes Pine-Sol Toxic to Pets?
You probably think of that clean, fresh scent of pine trees when you think of Pine-Sol. Unfortunately, the source of that scent, usually longleaf pine oil, is one of the ingredients that can be dangerous to pets.
Aside from pine oil, other ingredients in the formulation of Pine-Sol that can be harmful include benzoic acid, isopropyl alcohol, and sulfonic acids like phenol. Cats and dogs don’t have the enzymes necessary to process these chemicals.
Pine oil and other essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint can cause irritation and discomfort to your cat or dog’s skin, and bigger problems if they ingest it. If absorbed or ingested, pine oil is toxic and can cause liver damage, kidney damage, and lead to issues with your pet’s central nervous system and GI tract. Pine oil has also been linked to seizures in dogs which can lead to death.
Other Chemicals Toxic to Pets Found in Household Cleaners:
- Ammonia – Ammonia can cause external damage to your pet’s eyes and skin, and if ingested can cause serious stomach problems as well as liver and kidney damage. When mixed with bleach it creates a toxic gas, dangerous to both pets and people.
- Formaldehyde – According to a study on its effects, formaldehyde can be a cause of cancer in animals. It’s a gas dangerous to pets and toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It can irritate the eyes and nasal membranes causing respiratory issues. If ingested orally, it can cause severe damage to a cat or dog’s GI tissue.
- Chlorine – Common in toilet bowl cleaners and other disinfectants, chlorine can irritate the skin and eyes of pets who swim in treated pools. If inhaled or ingested it can cause dizziness and vomiting, and if concentrated can burn the lining of the esophagus in dogs and cats.
- Glycol Ethers – These chemicals are commonly found in glass cleaners, carpet cleaners, and spot removers. If ingested or absorbed, they can cause lung damage and kidney damage in people, and the same as well as reproductive and developmental issues in pets.
Is It Safe To Use Pine-Sol When Pets Aren’t Around?
While it’s true that Pine-Sol currently uses much less pine oil than in the past, it is still included in the formula along with other harmful chemicals we mentioned like isopropyl alcohol and phenol.
Walking across a dry floor that’s been cleaned with Pine-Sol may not cause any problems for your pet, but there’s always a chance they could ingest some of the cleaner accidentally by licking their paws later.
What If My Pet Ingested Pine Sol?
Signs that your pet is having a toxic reaction include:
- severe vomiting
- abdominal pain
- ataxia — the appearance of being “drunk” when the central nervous system is experiencing issues.
If you suspect ingestion of Pine-Sol or observe any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian right away. They’ll likely treat your cat or dog with IV fluids to flush out toxins, and activated charcoal to absorb the chemicals and help them pass through the liver and kidneys.
What’s A Safe Floor Cleaner For Pets?
Be careful what you mop with! Pet safe floor cleaners are an easy cleaning switch since our furry friends like cats and dogs tend to spend so much time on the floor. White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that gets floors clean without leaving any chemical residue behind.
Distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar are both safe, non-toxic cleaning solutions. In fact, they’re both edible! The smell may be a bit strong at first, but once dry it fades almost completely.
To use white vinegar as a floor cleaner, mix half a cup of vinegar with one gallon of water for mopping. Ring out your mop extra well for hardwood floors.
What’s a Safe Odor Remover?
Baking soda is a completely safe alternative to harsh household cleaners used to remove odors on upholstery, cushions, and carpets. It’s non-toxic and safe for the whole family — just don’t let anyone ingest it in large amounts.
To use baking soda as an odor remover, sprinkle it lightly over the area that you want to get clean. For really smelly stains like pee or poop, don’t be afraid to sprinkle with a heavy hand. Wait at least 15 minutes before vacuuming as you normally would. The longer you can let the baking soda sit, the more thorough clean you’ll get.
Pet Safe Cleaning Products We Love:
- Common Good Pet-Safe Laundry Detergent
- Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo
- Clean + Green Fabric Refresher
- Spotaway Pet-Safe Glass Cleaner
- Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent, disinfecting wipes, and dish soap
Choosing your household cleaners carefully is important to keep pets safe, healthy, and happy as ever. Most products are harmless when used as directed, and you may think your spray bottle is safe under the kitchen sink. Pets are curious creatures though, and there’s always a risk if cleaning products aren’t secured.