How to Keep Your House Clean, without Poisoning Your Dog
Most people with pets feel they need to clean their home more often because of their dogs. This is especially true when your friends do not own any pets, are not pet lovers, and are particularly sensitive to pet smells. However, you may not be taking into consideration that some of those cleaning products are as harmful for your dog as they are for you. Even mild cleaners such as dishwashing soap and laundry detergent can be detrimental to you pet’s health. Even if you do not have children, you need to ensure that all cleaning products are kept out of reach of your pet as well. If you have a particularly talented pet, you may even have to install cabinet locks like those used in homes with small children. A better way to keep both you and your dog safe when cleaning, is to make or buy, pet-friendly cleaning products that only contain natural ingredients that are safe for both of you.
The following is a list of household cleaning products and chemicals that are harmful to both pets and humans:
Household bleach can contain any of the following chemicals, which can be harmful to dogs: sodium hypochlorite, hypochlorite salts, sodium peroxide, sodium perborate, or enzymatic detergents. Bleach on the skin will cause rashes and open areas that can lead to infection. If bleach gets splashed in the eyes and is not properly treated, it can cause blindness. Fumes from bleach can also be harmful to both you and your pets, so it is always a good idea to use it in a well-ventilated area. Should your dog ingest bleach he will most likely show the following symptoms: excessive drooling, vomiting, and signs of abdominal pain.
There are items that are found in the pantry of most homes that can be used as a dog-safe alternative to chlorine bleach. By adding approximately ¼ cup of lemon juice to the wash water before you put your clothes in will do a great job of whitening. If you have a front-load washer, put the lemon juice in the bleach cup instead of bleach. If you do not have lemon juice on hand, you can use approximately ½ cup of vinegar, and it will produce nearly the same results.
Ammonia fumes are very harmful to the respiratory system, and consequently this needs to be used in a well-ventilated area to avoid causing your pet harm. Never mix ammonia with bleach, as this can be a particularly lethal concoction as far as small pets are concerned.
White vinegar can be used in place of many cleaners, including ammonia, and window cleaners that contain ammonia. Diluting 1 cup of vinegar into one cup of water can be used for any items you normally would use bleach or ammonia to clean. Use it in a spray bottle for windows, and wipe with newspaper to get your windows clean and streak free.
Diethanolamine and Triethanalomine (Foaming Agents)
These two chemicals are found in dishwashing soap, foaming cleaners, and any other cleaning product that is designed to create foam or suds. They bind with other chemicals either on the surface to be cleaned or in the product itself when it goes through a sprayer to create foam. Both are known carcinogens, and can be absorbed into the body via the skin.
Baking soda and lemon juice provides a great natural alternative to foaming bathroom and kitchen cleaners. You can also use the mixture in addition to a small amount of dishwashing soap for your dishes. Combine baking soda and lemon juice until it is the consistency of dishwashing soap and add 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap. This can be used in your kitchen, bathroom or anywhere else you use foaming cleaners. Adding a few tablespoons of baking soda to your dishwasher can also help get them cleaner. Borax can be substituted for baking soda in any one of these cleaning products as a safe alternative as well.
Many commercial household cleaning products contain glycol ethers, including products that are used to remove spots and stains, clean carpets, and to clean glass. This toxic chemical can damage the lungs and kidneys, and can also cause anemia in pets and humans.
General Household Cleaning
For your general house cleaning, if the product you are using has a long, unpronounceable chemical name that you do not understand it is probably harmful. For almost every cleaning product, you can make an alternative pet-friendly cleaning product out of common household items. Check the products that you use around the house; if they are laced with toxic chemicals get rid of them and replace them with pet-friendly cleaning products to keep your pets safe.
Pet-friendly Cleaning Products
You can easily make your own general cleaning products out of lemon juice, vinegar, borax and baking soda. They can be used separately, or mixed, depending on what you are cleaning. In recent years, there has also been an influx of products designed to be safer for not only your dog, but yourself as well. If making your own cleaning products does not appeal to you, do some research online to see what is commercially available in the way of pet-friendly cleaning products.
Clean Up Your Act
Keeping your home clean and chemical free is not only good for you and your dog; it is good for the environment tool. Any chemicals you use to clean your bathroom or kitchen, or that you use in your washer or dishwasher, are sent directly into the water supply. If you must use toxic chemical cleaning products, ensure that they are safely stored in a dog-proof area to prevent your pooch from gaining access to them. The rule of thumb for household cleaners – if you see a label that warns that it is harmful to you, it is likely to be as harmful, if not even more so, to your dog. Natural pet-friendly cleaning products can not only save you money, but will ensure the safety of everyone and everything in your house too.