28 Tips for Pet-Friendly Cleaning that Is Safe & Effective

There are so many toxins out there that your pet comes in contact with, and many are unavoidable. However, you can protect your pet from some common toxins simply by choosing safer products and changing your ways. Some of the most toxic chemicals that your pet will be exposed to are in common cleaning products - some of them you might use every day. There are plenty of quality, safe, and green ways to clean, you just have to be a little more creative. Check out these tips on how to limit your pet's chemical exposure and get a clean house at the same time. 

For Stain & Odour Removal

1. Be label savvy. Even so-called eco-friendly cleaners can contain ingredients that are harmful to pets. Phthalates, bleach (chlorine), glycol ethers, formaldehyde (formalin), ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, perchloroethylene, and phenols are just some of the very common and toxic ingredients in many standard household cleaners.

2. Use true eco-friendly cleaners, such as vinegar and water solutions, for simple messes, and enzyme-based solutions for the really tough pet messes. They work better at actually getting out smells and stains than just basic vinegar and baking soda.

3. Use an enzyme-based pet air freshener instead of conventional room deodorizers for tough pet smells. Baking soda works for mild carpet and furniture deodorizing. Common commercial air fresheners, such as Febreze, contain phthalates, which are disruptive for pets and you to inhale.

4. Teach your dog to wipe their paws at the front door, or keep a stash of pet-friendly wipes, or a microfiber cloth.
Cleaning up a pet mess? Always spray more than just the visible mess. Liquid messes can be absorbed by the carpet underneath, even though they aren’t fully visible on top. To get the whole mess, and prevent reoccurrences, clean a wider area.

5. Cleaning up a pet mess? Always spray more than just the visible mess. Liquid messes can be absorbed by the carpet underneath, even though they aren’t fully visible on top. To get the whole mess, and prevent reoccurrences, clean a wider area.

6. Use mechanical or abrasive cleaning materials, such as heavy sponges or steel wool (the kind without cleaning agents), instead of heavy chemicals when you can.

For Controlling Hair Shedding

Control Shed Hair

7. Use washable pet car covers or furniture covers to limit pet hair on fabrics. Even a blanket, sheet, or towel will work in a pinch.

8. Get a rubber brush or a set of rubber cleaning gloves for easy hair removal on furniture and other fabric surfaces. Squeegees also work well on furniture and carpets.

9. Lint rollers are a godsend. Use them amply for pet hair control that works and is completely safe for dogs and cats.

10. Brush your pet daily with a quality dog brush (or weekly with a more heavy-duty tool – always read the directions that come with your grooming tool).

11. Change your vacuum out after every few uses. It will work better, and be less likely to clog up.

12. Bathe your pet no more than once a month, unless you use a skin conditioner on your pet. Bathing more frequently is likely to cause your pet’s skin to flake from dryness and actually increase shed hair.

For Cleaning Floors

Dog on Floor - Cleaning Floors

13. Microfibre cloth brooms are ideal for cleaning hair, dander, and dirt particles off of hardwood, linoleum, tile, and laminate.

14. Place a bucket of water outside your door to rinse off muddy paws before they come inside. Complete it with a towel at the entryway and you’ll be (relatively) mess-free!

15. Use a placemat under your pet’s bowl and you’ll keep his eating area cleaner and safer (less bacteria!). Just remember to wipe it clean at least once a week.

For Reducing AllergensDog in Blanket - Reduce Allergies

16. Change your furnace filters regularly, at least once every two or three months. If you have multiple pets, you may want to change them out even more frequently – check it monthly and change if needed. You’d be surprised how much hair can get trapped by furnace filters. Furnace filters help reduce allergens in your home that could be affecting your pet or you, even without your knowledge. You and your pets will be breathing much easier.

17. Use a HEPA filter vacuum, and whenever possible, vacuum in a well-ventilated area. Open a window or two! It’s safer for you and your pet.

18. Choose pet-friendly laundry detergent, even if it’s just for laundering your pet’s items, or blankets and other materials that your pet will be in frequent contact with. Conventional detergents leave residues that can cause contact dermatitis or can be irritating to dogs and cats. Avoid using fabric softeners for pets, too.

19. If you have been using conventional cleaning products and your pet has displayed signs of allergy or irritation, you may need to use a hypoallergenic pet shampoo on him for a while to remove potential offenders from your pet’s skin & coat and to repair any damage that’s been done.

For General Toxin Safety

General Pet Toxin Safety

20. You can wash most pet toys in the dishwasher or washing machine, just make sure that you are using something that is pet-safe. Toys go right in your pet’s mouth, so it’s important that you use a non-toxic cleaner. The old stand-by, soap and water, also works just fine (although there’s a bit more work involved for you).

21. If you feel you must use bleach (or other toxic chemical products with fumes), make sure you air-dry thoroughly and ventilate well so that your pet isn’t inhaling any toxic fumes. And never use more than a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water.

22. Choose mechanical drain hair removal tools rather than toxic chemical-based drain cleaners that give off harmful fumes. For clogs, try a plunger or snake. You can also try adding simple baking soda, followed by equal parts vinegar, waiting 10 minutes, and then pouring two cups of boiling water down a drain to freshen it and remove residues.

23. If you choose to use automatic dishwasher pods or laundry pods, keep these highly toxic and tantalizing products secure and away from pets (and kids, too!).  

24. Choose a pet-friendly, natural toilet bowl cleaner and avoid multi-use tabs or cleaners that stay in your toilet. Cats and dogs both love toilet water (whether for drinking or playing with), so it’s best to be safe. Always keep the lid shut for added safety and to prevent this behaviour. If your pet loves running water, get them a pet fountain instead. It’s a much safer and cleaner option!

25. Use specially-desinged magnets in your washing machine and dishwasher to attract particles that cause hard water, reducing the amounts of detergent necessary for cleaning.

26. Clean windows effectively and safely with a dilute vinegar solution (or full-strength club soda or lemon juice) and newspaper. Seems crazy, but this cheap fix really works and is so much safer for your pets.

27. Whenever possible, choose fragrance-free options when choosing cleaners or other products. Fragrance is made up of many chemicals, including phthalates, which can disrupt hormones.

28. DIY cleaner recipes are so popular these days, and these alternatives can be safer than the products that line store shelves. However, some of these homemade recipes contain toxic, though natural substances such as ammonia, which can be dangerous for your pet’s health. Do your research before trying at home.