The Dirt on Clean

I came across this article on and wanted to share it. We lost our Pug, Oscar, to cancer that started in his mouth. Even though we were always careful about the cleaning products we used in the house, we had a cleaning service come in once a month. They also cleaned office buildings, and we never thought to check what they were cleaning with. Oscar was always licking his paws after the floors were cleaned. Once we put two and two together it was too late. It was a heart breaking experience and since then I am a bit of a fanatic about using nothing but non toxic, green products in the house. If you have pets, I encourage you to double-check everything in your home. If you have any doubts, get rid of it!

Six Household Products That Are Not Dog Safe

Many dog owners keep cleaners in their homes that are not exactly pet safe out of habit or ignorance of the bad effects they have on the household. Cleaning products with ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, gycol ethers or formaldehyde can cause many problems in adults and children, but young children and pets are particularly at risk for things such as cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage. Many toxic cleaners are also carcinogenic.

Several studies have been done on the dangerous effects of some common cleaning products. Many of these included data on pets which showed that Fido and Fluffy are not immune to chemicals and that many cleaning products are not pet safe. One study concentrated on measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products. In it, the vapor pressure of various chemical compounds in cleaners was measured. Three cleaners, Pledge, Clorox Wipes and Lysol Disinfecting Spray, registered close to a thousand times more vapor pressure than a natural cleaner. This means that even when the toxic cleaners are put away and closed, the vapors left behind can continue to harm both us and our pets.

Some Toxic Ingredients and Their Effects on People and Pets:

Ammonia – Used in many de-greasers for ovens, glass and stainless steel, ammonia has a very high VOC, burns mucous membranes and contributes to asthma. If it is mixed with bleach, it creates a poisonous gas which can be deadly to small pets.

Chlorine – Used in disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners and automatic dish detergent to name a few, chlorine is also used to bleach coffee filters. It can cause everything from dizziness to vomiting to laryngeal edema. Avoid this ingredient and be careful about letting your pet swim in the pool.

Glycol Ethers – Glycol ethers are found in many cleaning products that are not pet safe including glass cleaners, carpet cleaners and spot removers. It has been linked to anemia, lung damage and kidney damage in people and pets.

Formaldehyde –  The thought of a funeral home comes to mind when formaldehyde is mentioned and everyone can recognize the strong, nauseating smell. But it’s also used in products such as soaps and even some pet shampoos. It can contribute to asthma and is carcinogenic.

Some Cleaning Products That are Not Dog Safe

There are many, many cleaning products that are not safe for dogs on the market. Here are a few popular cleaners that contain some of the ingredients mentioned above as well as others:

Floor Cleaners – These include Pine Sol and Mr. Clean. Even if you manage to get all of the residue off the floor, the vapors linger and are dangerous to your pet. Try a non-toxic, pet safe cleaner instead.

Bathroom Cleaners – These include Clorox Bathroom Cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles. Never use a continuous toilet bowl cleaner such as Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It is very dangerous and the temptation to drink out of the toilet is a quirk in many of our pups.

All Purpose Cleaners – For use in the kitchen and around the house, the most common toxic all-purpose cleaners that scream “Danger!” are Mr. Clean Multi-Purpose Spray and Formula 409.

Drain Openers – You may think that since this product is poured down the drain, it can’t be harmful to your pet. But the toxic drain openers give off dangerous fumes long after you’ve emptied them.

Glass Cleaner – It may seem that toxic glass cleaners are simpler products and are, therefore, safe but they are not. Instead of something like Windex, try a product such as Shaklee Basic H2

Laundry Detergent – It’s easy to assume that choosing a laundry detergent isn’t that important because the rinse cycle rinses it away. But there is residue left behind on clothes and pet blankets that can be harmful to your pet, especially those that chew on their bedding. Avoid detergents with toxic ingredients such as Tide and Cheer and try something like Get Clean Laundry.

Instead of using toxic cleaning products around the house, try one of the non-toxic and pet safe lines of cleaners. If you do decide to keep toxic cleaners, make absolutely sure they are put away. Put child safety locks on cabinet doors and put cleaners up as high as possible. Never use them when your pet is in the same room and air out the house after cleaning with them. Never leave any residue behind. But the warning signs are clear and you and your dog will be healthier and safer if you use cleaning products that are pet safe.

4 responses to “The Dirt on Clean

  1. Pingback: The Dirt on Clean –What you need to know! « epicpoocher

  2. Reblogged this on Live Healthier and Wealthier and commented:
    If you think your pets are safe from toxins in your home, THINK AGAIN! My dogs are always licking their paws, especially after I mop the floors. They also love to drink the water our of the toilet (I know, gross…but what can you do!). I no longer use common household cleaners because I know they contain harsh chemicals that I don’t want to expose myself OR my pets to. The post below describes some of the most common and dangerous toxins for pets.

  3. This is great information! My dogs love to drink out of the toilet, but I can’t seem to get them to quit! Yes, in addition to toxins in the cleaners I used to use to clean the toilet, I know there are other gross things! But, I now use more natural cleaning products that contain no toxins so at least I can protect them from the harmful side effects associated with most household cleaners.

  4. Pingback: How Cheap Synthetics Are Harmful To Your Health | THE NATURAL HOME

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