While cleaning may not be everyone's favorite activity, there is something
satisfying about throwing the windows wide open to let in the spring air.
Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning is a great way to
welcome the change of seasons.
Dangers of Chemical-based Household Cleaners
But did you know that many commercial cleaning products can be extremely
toxic, even deadly, to your pets? Cats are especially susceptible to chemicals
since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes
in contact with their feet or fur.
Many household cleaners contain contain hazardous ingredients such as
organic solvents and petroleum based chemicals which can release volatile
organic compounds into your indoor air. Some ingredients in household cleaners
are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected human carcinogens.
Inappropriate use, storage and disposal of these hazardous household substances
may impact your personal health and the health of our environment. Lysol, Pine-sol
and other products containing phenols are deadly to cats as they can cause serious
liver damage. Chlorox bleach, especially when concentrated, can cause chemical
burns when it comes in contact with sensitive pet paws.
Non-toxic Cleaning Products
With the wide variety of naturally based and non-toxic cleaners available, there
is no need to continue to use unsafe, toxic products. Brands such as Seventh
Generation and Method offer every type of cleaner imaginable and are available
in all major grocery stores. If you have cats, try to steer clear of natural products containing essential oils. Even though many manufacturers of essential oils claim
that they are safe to use around cats, this is not always the case. Tea tree oil in
particular can be deadly to cats.
Some of the safest and least expensive cleaners are baking soda and white
distilled vinegar. Some suggestions for their use are:
White Distilled Vinegar
- Pour a layer in the litterbox before adding fresh litter to quell odors
- Add 1/2 cup to the laundry to freshen pet bedding
- Use as an abrasive cleaner for sinks, bowls, and non-porous surfaces
- Use to disinfect feeding dishes, the litterbox, and non-porous toys
- Add 1 cup to the wash cycle to freshen and soften pet bedding
- Apply a diluted solution (one part vinegar and one part water) to help
remove the appearance and odor of urine stains from carpets
Baking soda and white vinegar combined make a great non-toxic drain cleaner
- pour some baking soda down the drain, follow with a cup or so of vinegar.
The mixture will foam, and the foaming action will clear your drain. Repeat if
necessary. For tough drains, follow with hot water.
If your pet does come into contact with toxic chemicals, contact the
ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for help.