Do’s and Don’ts of Household Cleaners

Dog Safety

July 09, 2018

Do’s and Don’ts of Household Cleaners

Cleaning your home as a dog owner is a no-brainer. But, are your cleaning methods helping or hurting? Harsh chemicals in household cleaners can affect our senses as humans, and can have an even larger effect on our pets. Keep your pets safe by knowing what products are safe and how they can impact your furry friends.

Cleaners can be toxic

  1. Dogs are closer to the floor. They sniff and sometimes even lick the floor, and spend all day walking and sleeping very close to it. Even if a human thinks that a small has dissipated, it may not have.
  2. Dogs have smaller bodies. Most dogs are many times smaller than the average human. A smaller body size means that toxins may have an especially severe effect.
  3. Dogs spend more time at home. Many of us leave for work for the day, but our dogs spend much of their time at home; either in a crate, a pen or another confinement.

Keeping your dog’s environment safe and toxin free can help them to lead a longer and healthier life. You can also take note at how many cleaners can negatively affect your senses and health. Be sure to do research and avoid household cleaners that can cause serious issues.

If you must use some of the following chemicals, make sure you’re using them properly and airing out your home.

Household Cleaners to Avoid

  1. Drain cleaners. Though these products go right down the drain, they can continue to emit vapors long after they’re used. Before resorting to a drain cleaner, try pouring a few pots of hot water down the sink as a nontoxic alternative.
  2. Cheap laundry detergent. Washing dog blankets and beds in detergents with heavy fragrances can cause an allergic reaction, especially for older dogs or canines with sensitive skin.
  3. Continuous toilet bowl cleaners. A clip-on toilet cleaner may be tempting for its convenience, but it can cause a major problem for a dog who wants to drink out of the toilet and accidentally ingests bleach and other chemicals.
  4. Floor cleaners. Your dog breathes so close to the ground. It’s really important to be mindful of what kinds of soaps you use for the floors of your home. Some of the regular chemical cleaners can cause major breathing problems, so make sure you use a product that’s non-toxic.
  5. Bleach. You may want to use bleach to clean your pet’s crate and toys, but make sure that you have adequately diluted the solution and aired out the items afterwards.
  6. Tea tree oil. It smells great, but tea tree is toxic to pets. Be mindful about what kinds of essential oils you use when using a diffuser.
  7. Dryer sheets. New dryer sheets cause ulcers when dogs eat them. Consider whether you even need this product at all; a bit of research unearths a variety of detrimental health effects for both humans and dogs.
  8. Vinegar. While this product is far less toxic than many commercial cleaners, dogs can get vomiting and oral irritation after ingesting it. Make sure that when you use vinegar, it is diluted and rinsed from surfaces afterwards.
  9. All-purpose cleaners. Many all-purpose cleaners contain glycol ethers, which have been linked to liver and kidney damage in both humans and pets. Even worse, these substances may linger after the cleaner’s smell is gone.
  10. Ammonia. Ammonia must be used with care and proper ventilation. If mixed with bleach, ammonia can create deadly fumes that could kill small pets and humans.
  11. Carpet shampoo. If wet, a pet may try to lick carpet shampoo. These shampoos often contain formaldehyde, which can be deadly if ingested. It’s important to use a gate and block the room until the shampoo is dry.
  12. Carpet cleaning powers. Similar to shampoos, your dog may try to lick up these cleaners, especially because they are on the floor. Make sure you vacuum thoroughly before your dog enters the room. That being said, you may want to avoid carpet deodorizors altogether. They contain chemicals like perfluoro-octant sulfonate (PFOS) that were previously thought to be inert, but have been shown to be lingering pollutants.

You may be thinking, “wow that’s pretty much ever cleaner I have in my home!” But remember, these can be okay if used properly.

We also have a great list of alternative products that you can use that will be much safer for your pets, and for YOU!


Pet-Friendly Alternatives

  1. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent. Free of fragrances, this detergent is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction with your furry friend.
  2. Common Good Laundry Detergent.  Figure out which non-toxic detergent is right for you; here is another alternative.
  3. Better Life Natural Dryer Sheets. If you do need to use dryer sheets, this product contains far fewer of the regular toxic dryer sheet chemicals like benzyl acetate and benzyl alcohol.
  4. Spotaway Pet-Safe Glass Cleaner. Glass cleaners can contain toxic fumes for pets, but this alternative consists of a dog-friendly formula.
  5. Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover. With pets, stains and odors are sometimes inevitable. This cleaner can help you remove these pesky problems without adverse effects on your dog.
  6. Baking Soda. This tried-and-true cleaner has been used for generations to scrub and eliminate stains and spots.
  7. Honest Floor Cleaner. With a dog, you can’t afford to clean your floors with toxic chemicals. Honest Floor Cleaner features an all-natural formula geared toward homes with pets.
  8. Simple Green Dog Bio Stain and Odor Remover. If your dog’s quarters have acquired an unsavory scent, this cleaner can eliminate the problem without creating a toxic environment. Here’s another tip: feeding your dog higher quality food may help them smell better.
  9. Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-surface Everyday Cleaner. With plant-derived ingredients, this cleaner is geared for everyday, nontoxic use.
  10. Method Wood for Good Polish. For those with wood furniture and indoor pets, this ammonia-free natural wood polish is a good and healthy choice.