About 19.6% of veterinary emergencies are caused by household chemicals.

Clean environments are good for our mental health and self-esteem, but toxic cleaning products, insecticides, and rodenticides present a serious risk to our furry and feathered companions.

Not all cleaning products are created equal, and it’s our responsibility to keep our pets safe and healthy. Everyone loves having a clean home, but you don’t want to put your pet’s health at risk.

Check out this guide to pet-safe cleaning products!

Dangers of Traditional Cleaning Products

Many products available on shelves actually contain harmful cleaning chemicals. Toxic cleaning products aren’t ideal for humans, but they’re especially dangerous to your sensitive pets.

Pets have a smaller lung capacity than humans, which means they inhale and absorb chemicals into their lungs much more quickly. Many cleaning products also leave a residue that pets can absorb into their fur and skin. For cats, this is especially dangerous because they could ingest chemicals when they groom themselves.

If you have birds, you must be extremely cautious with cooking and cleaning products. Birds’ lungs are very efficient at absorbing gases, including oxygen and harmful chemicals. Aerosols, insecticides, air fresheners, and more can prove fatal to your feathered friend.

Beware of These Chemicals

Traditional cleaning products use many of the same strong ingredients. This makes them highly effective at removing stains, build-up, and grime, but at a hefty price. Check your ingredient labels; harsh chemicals like these could be damaging your and your pet’s health.


Ammonia is commonly found in glass cleaners, floor cleaners, and carpet stain removers. Many toilet bowl and multi-surface cleaners also contain ammonia. Strong fumes from ammonia can irritate your pet’s nose and lungs, and prolonged exposure can cause the lung sacs to fill with fluid, leading to coughing and even death.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is also highly irritating to pets. Bleach burns the eyes, nose, and throat and is corrosive to soft mucus tissues, like the lungs. Bleach can also be very dangerous if your pet accidentally ingests it by licking surfaces, their paws, or their fur.

Benzalkonium Chloride

Many disinfectant sprays and wipes contain benzalkonium chloride. Benzalkonium chloride kills microorganisms, including cells. This chemical is highly toxic to cats and can cause vomiting, salivation, muscle weakness, and tissue damage in other pets.

Glycol Ethers

Propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, and diethylene glycol are some of the most toxic household chemicals available, often found in grease-cutting products. In humans and pets, they can cause miscarriage, infertility, and birth defects. Exposure to glycol ethers can also damage the nerves, liver, and digestive system and lead to developmental delays in young animals.


Yes, you read that right; many household products contain formaldehyde, a chemical that is also used to preserve bodies before burial. Plug-in fragrances, multi-purpose cleaners, and even liquid soaps can have formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is highly carcinogenic and can cause respiratory and nervous system distress in you and your pet.


Products like Lysol, Pinesol, and other disinfectants usually contain phenol. Phenol is extremely toxic to cats. Phenol can also cause lung and liver damage in humans and other pets.

Mysterious Fragrances

Plenty of cleaning products have ingredients simply listed as “fragrances.” Many other countries have banned some fragrant chemicals for their harmful effects, but the majority remain legal in the United States. The name “fragrances” can hide a multitude of harmful chemicals, including those that cause reproductive harm and hormone disruption.

Paraffin Wax

Do you enjoy lighting a candle after cleaning your home? Cheap scented candles and wax melts often contain paraffin wax. When burned, paraffin wax releases carcinogens and pollutants into the air, and the strong scents can irritate your pet’s lungs.

To freshen up your home with fragrances, look for natural solutions like essential oil diffusers and simmer pots. If you must have a candle, look for 100% soy wax candles with natural fragrances. Never use candles around birds, and make sure pets can escape to another room for fresh air.

Pet-Safe Cleaning Products

Now that you know which chemicals to avoid or use sparingly, what household cleaners are safe for pets? In general, you’ll want to opt for natural products that have a short list of ingredients. You can often make your own pet-safe cleaners at home without using any harsh chemicals.

In addition to using pet-safe products, it’s best to keep your pet out of the room you’re cleaning and store your cleaning supplies out of reach.

Versatile Vinegar

White vinegar can be used almost anywhere in your home. Vinegar has grease-fighting, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Although it can have a strong smell at first, the odor will disappear completely once the vinegar dries.

You can use vinegar straight, but you may want to dilute with a 50/50 water mix in a spray bottle or bucket. You can even add a few drops of lemon juice for extra cleaning power. Use vinegar to clean your floors, stovetops, kitchen counters, and more.

Lovely Lemon Juice

Who doesn’t love the fresh, clean scent of lemon? Like vinegar, lemon juice can clean and sanitize surfaces. It’s best to dilute your lemon juice with water to avoid creating a sticky surface.

Use lemon juice to clean countertops, bathrooms, kitchen drains, and more. If you have cats in your home, you may want to use lemon sparingly, as cats dislike the smell of citrus fruits.

All-Purpose Apple Cider

Like white vinegar, apple cider vinegar can be used on a variety of surfaces. Apple cider vinegar generally has a weaker, more pleasant scent than white vinegar. Mix apple cider vinegar with water and add a few drops of lemon juice, essential oil, or hydrogen peroxide to create the perfect all-purpose cleaner.

Safe and Sanitary Scrub

Need something more powerful for grimy areas? Mix baking soda, salt, and warm water until you have a paste-like consistency. Rub the abrasive paste onto bathtubs, bathroom counters, sticky pots and pans, and more to scrub and sanitize them.

Green Cleaning Products

You don’t have to sacrifice the convenience of traditional cleaning products to keep your pets safe. Many companies offer “green” products with more natural, safe ingredients. It’s easy to find pet-safe sprays, bathroom cleaners, and more at your local supply store, and spending a few cents more is worth it to keep your furry family members safe.

Make sure you check the ingredients before purchasing any cleaning product. Even “green” products can contain some of the harmful chemicals listed above.

Enjoy a Pristine and Pet-Friendly Clean

Cleaning a pet-loving home can be tricky, but you don’t need to use toxic chemicals to get the job done. There are plenty of natural and homemade pet-safe cleaning products available. Of course, all homes benefit from regular, routine cleaning.

Don’t waste valuable fetching and cuddling time on cleaning your house. Discover your free online quote from Buckets & Bows!