I love a clean house, but I don’t love all the harsh chemicals I find myself using to get the job done. I worry about the dangers these products pose to my cats. In this article I will share the harmful effects common household cleaners such as Windex, dish soap, laundry detergent, and other products may have on your pets. I’ll then explore safe alternatives to harsh household chemicals, alternatives that are safe for pets and the environment.
A chemical found in metal polishers, petroleum distillates, may cause short-term and long-term problems for your pet. In the short-term, your pet may experience cloudiness in the eyes while long-term he or she may suffer kidney, skin, eye, and/or nervous system damage. The chemicals found in disinfectants, phenol and cresol, may cause kidney or liver damage, fainting, dizziness, and/or diarrhea.
Toilet bowl cleaners, if splashed on your pet’s eye accidentally can cause blindness. If ingested toilet bowl cleaners can cause stomach burns, diarrhea, and vomiting. These products may also burn your pet’s skin.
Mothballs aren’t even safe. The chemical naphthalene may damage your pet’s nervous system, kidneys, skin, eyes, liver, and blood. Paradichlorobenzeme, another chemical in mothballs, is known to be harmful to your pet’s kidneys, liver, and nervous system.
These chemicals are only a few examples of the damage common household cleaners may cause your pet. For more information on other chemicals in household cleaners that are dangerous for pets, please visit Fact Sheet: Safe Solutions at Home written by Gary Davis and Em Turner.
Vinegar and borax make good alternatives for air freshening sprays to eliminate household odors. Davis and Turner suggest sprinkling some borax in the bottom of trashcans to help control odors. They also recommend putting bowls of vinegar around the kitchen to reduce unpleasant cooking smells.
A safe toilet bowl cleaner can be made by mixing lemon juice and borax. Alternatively try mixing baking soda, vinegar, or straight bleach with water. Remember that you should not mix bleach with any other chemicals!
Davis and Turner suggest cleaning linoleum and vinyl floors with vinegar and water mix. They claim that adding a capful of baby oil to this mixture will polish these floor surfaces.
The Consumer’s Union has declared Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner non-toxic to pets. Alternatively clean your oven by moistening the surface, putting baking soda on it, and scrubbing it with steel wool.
These suggestions are only a fraction of those offered by Davis and Turner. For many more non-toxic cleaning solutions, please visit the Fact Sheet.
Fact Sheet: Safe Solutions at Home written by Gary Davis and Em Turner: