Everybody wants to have a clean home, and the shelves of grocery stores are overflowing with attractively packaged options to keep your living space “sparkling!” and “anti-bacterial!” – but at what cost? Most commercial cleaning products contain extremely high levels of cancer-causing chemicals that could be harmful to your entire family, but especially your pet.
Household cleaning products present myriad dangers to your pet. Because animals, especially those with anxiety, are apt to chew on just about anything, it’s all too easy for your dog or cat to ingest harmful chemical compounds. Kansas State University veterinarian Dr. Susan Nelson notes, “Commonly used products like bleach, all-purpose cleaners and other disinfectants can cause chemical burns on pets’ skin and can be toxic if ingested … Dogs or cats that walk on these types of surfaces can get burns on their paws. Also, when they lick their paws or fur it can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus”
In addition to the surface-dangers presented by cleaning products, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are released when used, seriously damaging the air quality in your home. According to the EPA, VOC levels can be anywhere from 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors, meaning that you and your pet are coming into contact with harmful chemicals every time you breathe.
While the effects of these compounds are certainly harmful to humans, they can be deadly for companion animals. In order to reduce your pet’s risk of contracting cancer from household cleaning products, follow these tips:
- Use organic, fragrance-free cleaning products whenever possible – there are many brands of household cleaners formulated specifically for homes with animals.
- If you can’t find a pet-specific or organic substitute, stick to fragrance-free products, as phthalates found in fragrances can be especially dangerous. If you can’t live without a scent, try adding a few drops of an all-natural essential oil or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to make your house smell yummy!
- Look for products that are plant-based rather than ones that use petroleum as a primary ingredient.
- It’s easy and cost-effective to make your own all-natural cleaning products at home using items you already have. You don’t need expensive labels or harmful chemicals and additives to achieve a good, safe clean!
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray-bottle for a great all-purpose cleaner.
- Make a paste out of baking soda, liquid castile soap, and vegetable glycerin for a gentle but effective tile scrub.
- Polish furniture with ¼ cup olive oil mixed with a few teaspoons of vinegar and either lemon essence or lemon juice.
- Use vinegar and a hot water rinse to unclog drains without harsh chemicals.