cleaning products that are dangerous to pets

Even cleaning products labeled “green” and “natural” may not be as safe for pets as you may think. Many everyday house cleaning products, even those advertised to be eco-friendly, can contain toxic chemicals that can cause illness in animals. From high-powered cleaning agents to synthetic fragrances, the ingredients that make commercial cleaning products so popular also make those cleaning products toxic to dogs, cats, and other pets.

You can protect your pets’ health by knowing the ingredients in the cleaning products you buy. While it would be challenging to keep all toxic chemicals away from dogs and cats, understanding a few precautions and opting for safe, natural cleaners when possible can make a big difference.

What Cleaning Products Are Toxic for Pets?

When most of us have a heightened awareness of viruses and other germs, it’s no wonder so many of us use some pretty intense stuff to clean, degrease, and disinfect. But killing bacteria and stripping away dirt and grime using harsh, commercial cleaners could end up being a case of the cure being worse than the problem—especially for pets.

The ingredients that make disinfectants and cleaners effective also make them toxic for pets. Here’s which cleaning products aren’t safe for dogs and other pets:

  • Ammonia-based cleaners
  • Bleach-based cleaners
  • Many carpet and floor cleaners

Read on to find out which cleaning products are the most dangerous for pets and alternatives you can choose to keep them safe.

Which Cleaning Products Contain Ammonia?

Most of us know what ammonia-based products can do to us. The strong chemical can make our eyes water, irritate our throat, and even damage our skin. But is ammonia dangerous to dogs and other pets? Ammonia can create gases that can make pets sick and even kill smaller pets if they have enough exposure.

You’ll find ammonia in many commercial products, so it’s essential to read the labels before you use them. Here are a few ammonia-based cleaning products toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals:

  • Tile cleaners
  • Glass cleaners
  • Carpet cleaners
  • Wood cleaners
  • Vinyl cleaners
  • Disinfectants
  • Multi-purpose cleaners

Don’t do more harm than good when you’re cleaning and disinfecting around pets. Read the label, avoid ammonia, and keep your pets healthy.

Which Cleaning Products Contain Bleach?

You might be wondering, “Is bleach pet safe?” If you have to ask this or, “Is bleach safe for dogs?” consider the effect bleach has on us. It can make our eyes water, hinder our breathing, and burn our skin. And it can do all that and worse to cats, dogs, and other pets. Bleach is dangerous when it’s not used exactly as it should be, so consider switching to a safer, more natural bleach alternative.

But bleach isn’t found only in the laundry room—it’s also found in many over-the-counter cleaning and disinfecting products you don’t want to use around pets. Here are a few bleach-based products you need to know about:

  • Disinfectants
  • Toilet bowl cleaners
  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Grout whiteners
  • Deodorizers
  • Mold and mildew removers

Skip the bleach and choose a safe and effective alternative whenever possible. From using hydrogen peroxide to baking soda, there are plenty of ways to protect your pets from the harsh effects of bleach.

How Can Carpet and Floor Cleaners Be Harmful to Pets?

Clean carpet and hardwood floors should be a good thing for pets, right? Vacuuming, cleaning, and disinfecting flooring and carpeting can help minimize the number of airborne pollutants and the spread of germs—but only if you take a healthy cleaning approach.

The often harsh chemicals in floor cleaners and carpet cleaning products are toxic to dogs and other pets. While floor cleaner is harmful to dogs while it’s wet, a carpet cleaning solution can be detrimental to pets damp or dry.

Whether you call in a professional carpet cleaning service or do it yourself, it’s important to be aware of how harsh some carpet cleaning solutions can be. Anyone who cleans carpets knows all about the powerful odor and watery eyes, but is carpet cleaner harmful to dogs and other pets?

Carpet cleaning products, especially stain removers, can contain chemical agents similar to those used in dry cleaning. These solutions dissolve dirt and grime quickly, but they also contain chemicals that are dangerous for pets and people, including:

  • Perchloroethylene: A common drycleaning solvent that can cause illness if ingested or inhaled
  • Butoxy Ethanol: A solvent used in resins, varnishes, and paint
  • Naphthalene: A compound made from crude oil or coal tar commonly found in pesticides and mothballs

Because carpet shampoos and stain removers can contain harmful ingredients, it’s important to know these products can leave a sticky residue on your carpet fibers. The harsh ingredients in carpet cleaners can also create toxic fumes during cleaning that contaminate the air. The result is dangerous residues that can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin and cause skin rashes and respiratory problems in pets.

Carpet cleaning methods that use powder, foam, or dry shampoos, sometimes called encapsulation cleaning, are of particular concern. The cleaning products used in these methods can leave dangerous residues that can linger long after your carpet dries. Even when the carpet is vacuumed regularly, pets are still in danger of becoming ill if they contact the chemical residue.

The good news is, according to the ASPCA, most carpet cleaning products are safe to use in homes with pets. If you have your carpets cleaned professionally, the organization recommends making the carpet cleaning company aware of your pets and finding out what kind of cleaners they will use.

Now that you know which cleaning products are toxic to dogs and other pets, check out our other green cleaning guides to keep your home clean and healthy. Whether you tackle the dirt and germs yourself or try one of our popular house cleaning services, we want your home to be the perfect environment for your family. When you’re ready to enjoy a cleaner home more often, get your free online estimate and find out how The Maids can help.

Infographic:  Cleaning Products You Should Never Use Around Your Pets


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