Pet-Safe Household Cleaning Products: How to Clean When You Have Pets
A number of common household cleaning products are toxic to pets, or at the very least, can irritate their skin and respiratory system. Luckily, most pet stores and online pet retailers are savvy about carrying pet-safe cleaning products. Keeping pet-safe cleaning products on hand is great for those quick cleanups, but there are also some very common household items that are effective and great for pet-safe cleaning. Keep in mind, too much of anything can be bad for Fido and Fluffy, so do not let your pet near containers of any cleaning product. Here are some cleaning tips you can try at home:
Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is a great disinfectant and nontoxic once it dries. Dilute alcohol to remove dirt and stains from surfaces like countertops or the floor. A full concentration of rubbing alcohol may hurt your pet when not dry, so as a rule of thumb, dilute ¼ cup rubbing alcohol with 1 gallon hot water.
Baking soda: This inexpensive product is a great substitute for scouring cleansers. Use it to scrub the tub, sink, and even the kitchen floors. As an added bonus, it deodorizes as it cleans. Sprinkle it into your carpets to remove pet odors; it’s even safe to use on upholstery! It can also replace your toxic metal polishes or be used to scrub out the litter box.
Borax: This product is found in the laundry aisle. Use as directed with your usual laundry detergent to get your clothes and pet bedding really clean in the washing machine. It can also be used to scrub the tub and tiles in your bathroom, and even kills fleas! Borax is a naturally-occurring mineral made of very sharp granules. Sprinkle some into your carpet, rub it in with a broom and then just vacuum it up.
Drain cleaner: Commercial drain cleaners are incredibly toxic. For a natural alternative, pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar down the drain, and then cover it with a dinner plate. After half an hour, run hot water to see if the clog has dispersed. If not, try again, and then use a plunger. If that still doesn’t work, use a commercial drain cleaner or call a plumber. Do not, under any circumstances, try the natural method after using a commercial cleaner. The resulting fumes can be toxic.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch does a great job of cleaning rugs, windows, and even polishing some metals.
Mineral oil: Replace your toxic wood polish with mineral oil. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice for a fresh smell. Mineral oil is flammable, so keep it away from open flames.
Potpourri: Some store-bought potpourris contain chemicals that are harmful to pets, as do all scented candles and air-freshener sprays and plug-ins. Instead, put cinnamon sticks and cloves or cinnamon tea (don’t forget to add water!) on the stove over low heat for about half an hour. Only do this while you’re home – don’t forget and leave the house with the stove on.
Salt: Use coarse salt as a scouring powder.
Steam: There are quite a few handheld steam cleaners on the market today, and since they use only heat and water to clean and disinfect, the result is completely pet-safe.
Steel wool: Plain steel wool and a little elbow grease will clean food that’s stuck on pots and pans.
Vinegar: A vinegar/water solution is great for cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, and windows. It will also clean rust stains.
March 21, 2012