Photo: Pixabay

 

Cleaning is a round-the-clock job for many pet owners. Our furry friends have the habit of shedding, drooling, and tracking in dirt and grime after potty breaks and playtime, requiring their human companions to be on constant clean-up duty. Keeping your home germ-free is important for every member of your family, including your pet, but it’s a task that needs to be proceeded with caution. After all, there are a lot of ingredients in cleaning products that can poison your pet, which can cause irritation, illness, or even death.

 

Pet parents needn’t worry, though — there are a lot of ways to keep your home clean without threatening the health of your pet! Our guide shows you how to find cleaning products that are free of pet poisons for every part of your home.

 

Avoid Dangerous Ingredients in Household Cleaning Products

 

The most important action you can take to prevent your pet from ingesting potentially-poisonous chemicals is to keep them out of your home as much as possible. These substances are especially dangerous to pets (and even humans, in some cases), and keep in mind they may be found in both indoor and outdoor cleaning products:

 

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 2,4-D herbicide
  • Alkaline
  • Ammonia (sometimes called “ammonium hydroxide”) – Warning: never mix ammonia and bleach products together — this combination produces a noxious gas that can be fatal to humans and animals.
  • Bleach
  • Carbofuran
  • Chlorine
  • Coumaphos
  • Cyothioate
  • d’Limonene
  • Diazinon
  • Essential oils
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Famphur
  • Fention
  • Formaldehyde (sometimes called “formalin”)
  • Glycol ethers
  • Metaldehyde
  • Methomyl
  • Naphthalene
  • Organophosphate
  • Paradichlorobenzene
  • Phosmet
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol
  • Pyrethrin
  • Pyrethroids
  • Sodium chloride (sometimes called “de-icing salt” or “rock salt”)
  • Tetrachlorvinphos

 

Of course, it may not be possible to keep every one of these items out of your arsenal of cleaning supplies. Most people have a bottle of bleach in their laundry room, and it’s nearly impossible to keep a pool clean without chlorine. Be sure that your pet can’t access these products when they’re stored, in use, and immediately after using them by following these tips:

 

  • Keep harmful products out of reach by storing them on high shelving or baby-proofing low cabinets where they’re kept.
  • Secure trash can lids to ensure curious critters can’t swipe used cleaning products and containers, including bottles and wipes.
  • Store outdoor cleaning products outside of your main living area, such as a shed or the garage, and don’t allow your pet inside.
  • Baby-proof your toilet’s lid, or keep the bathroom door closed after cleaning the commode. If you use a continuous cleanser, like toilet tank tablets, you need to ensure your pet never has access to the toilet’s water.

 

Photo: Pixabay

 

Be Mindful of Pest Control

 

Keeping bugs, rodents, and other pests out of your home is important for the health and safety of every family member. Not only are they unsightly, they can carry and spread germs in and outside your home. However, it’s important to be extremely careful when choosing pest-control products, especially because they tend to be put in low places where pets can easily find them. Because of the potentially-fatal hazards they pose to pets, do not use these products or any pest-control materials containing ingredients from the list above:

 

  • Ant poison
  • Fly bait
  • Glue traps
  • Moth balls
  • Rat poison
  • Slug and snail bait

 

You should also be mindful of your pet’s flea- and tick-prevention treatments. Be sure to read product directions carefully (many topical solutions for dogs are fatal to cats within the first few hours of application, for example), and keep them out of your pet’s reach.

 

Don’t Forget Your Vehicle

 

If your pet spends any time in the car with you, it’s important to ensure you don’t use cleaning products containing potentially-poisonous materials the same way you do in your home. If you use any chemical solutions to clean your vehicle’s interior, keep the windows open for a few hours to get rid of any fumes, and don’t put your pet inside until all liquids are dry. Even then, it’s best to discourage your pet from licking any parts of the car — not only could there be dangerous chemicals still lingering, but your cleaning efforts will be for naught!

 

Photo: Pixabay

 

Look for Pet-friendly Cleaning Brands and DIY Alternatives

 

While many products are perfectly safe to use around critters, you can go the extra mile in protecting them by choosing products designed especially for pet parents. These cleaners are free from substances that can be even mildly irritating to pets, and many are organic, making them an all-natural pet- and environmentally-friendly solution. These brands are consistently rated as favorites by pet owners (but always read their ingredient labels, just to be extra safe!):

 

  • Angry Orange
  • Attitude
  • Aunt Fannie’s
  • Bean & Lily
  • Better Life
  • Biokleen
  • Clean + Green
  • Common Good
  • Dr. Bronner’s
  • Dropps
  • Eco-Me
  • Ecos
  • Method
  • Mrs. Meyer’s
  • Nature’s Miracle
  • Pet Stain & Odor Miracle
  • PetSimplicity
  • PL360
  • Puracy
  • Rocco & Roxie
  • SaniDate
  • Seventh Generation
  • Shibui
  • Simply Green
  • SpotAway
  • Zevo

 

It’s also easy to make your own effective, animal-safe solutions with products like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Take a look at our Essential Guide to Green Cleaning for Pet Owners, which features easy-to-make, eco-friendly recipes for cleaning your home, dishes, laundry, and more.

It may feel impossible some days to keep a clean home when you have pets, and even more so without using harsh chemicals that pose serious health risks to our furry, feathered, and scaled friends. The truth is that there are plenty of ready-made and DIY options that can come to your rescue without risking poisoning your beloved pet. Know which ingredients to avoid using as much as possible, keep all of your cleaning materials out of paw’s reach, and opt for green, animal-friendly formulas whenever you can.

 

Photo: Pixabay

 

No one wants to live in a dirty home. After all, viruses, bacteria, and other germs lurk in spaces that haven’t been properly cleaned, which threatens the health of your entire family. However, using the wrong products can cause more harm than good — especially if you use cleaning ingredients that have been linked to cancer.

 

Unfortunately, there are several additives used in common household cleaners that may cause cancer, including those advertised as green- or natural-cleaning solutions. Some, such as sprays and aerosols, release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air when used, which can lead to mild issues, like headaches and skin irritation, or serious health complications, including cancer. Others are dangerous if they’re ingested, either as you clean with them or after they’ve lingered on your home’s surfaces. 

 

It’s important to carefully read ingredient lists when choosing cleaning products to use in your home. When you’re shopping for cleaning essentials, be on the lookout for these ingredients:

 

Ingredient Carcinogen Classification* Types of Cleaning Products with Ingredient
Aerosol propellant May contain carcinogens, per the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • Air fresheners
  • Disinfectants
  • Foam cleansers
  • Pesticides
Benzene Human carcinogen
  • Bleach powders
  • Furniture wax
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Powder laundry detergent
  • Varnish removers
Dichlorobenzene (also listed as paradichlorobenzene and p-dichlorobenzene) Possible human carcinogen, per the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Air fresheners
  • Moth balls
Formaldehyde (also listed as formalin) Human carcinogen
  • Clothing detergent
  • Hand soap
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Powder dishwashing soap
Methylene chloride (also listed as methylene dichloride and dichloromethane) Probable human carcinogen
  • Metal tarnish removers
  • Paint removers
  • Rust removers
  • Varnish removers
  • Wood cleaners
Naphthalene Possible human carcinogen
  • Carpet cleaners
  • Mothballs
  • Upholstery cleaners
Nitrobenzene Possible human carcinogen
  • Floor polish
  • Furniture polish
  • Hand soap
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
Perchloroethylene (also listed as PERC) Probable human carcinogen
  • Carpet cleaners
  • Dry-cleaning products
  • Stain removers
  • Upholstery cleaners
Petroleum distillate May contain carcinogens, per findings from research conducted by the European Union
  • Air fresheners
  • Hand soap
Thiourea Carcinogenic classification unknown (more research needs to be done)
  • Metal polish
  • Metal tarnish removers
Triclosan Under review by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Air filters
  • Hand soap
  • Liquid dishwashing soap

*Carcinogen classifications are assigned by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), unless otherwise noted.

 

Green Cleaning Solutions

 

If you’re having trouble finding products that don’t contain ingredients that are linked to cancer, it’s easy to make your own natural solutions. Whether you want to make green cleaning products to keep your children, senior loved ones, or pets safe and healthy, grab a few of these essentials, and use our guides  to make your own all-natural DIY cleaners and other cleaning and safety products:

 

Baking soda Coarse salt Rubbing alcohol
Castile soap Cornstarch Soap nuts
Citronella Essential oils Vinegar
Citrus juice and rinds Grain alcohol Witch hazel

 

It’s important to note that there is one solution you should never make: never mix bleach (or any product containing bleach) with ammonia. This combination produces a gas that can be fatal when inhaled.

 

When you clean your home, your goal is to make it a safer and healthier place to live for every member of your family. Keeping an eye out for truly green cleaning products — or making your own — that don’t have potentially-harmful ingredients will help you create an environment that’s as sanitary as it is safe.

Eco-friendly cleaning is all the rage right now, and for good reason. People want to be environmentally responsible, reduce their carbon footprint, and save the planet — all good things. Saving the planet can also save you money. All it takes is a few basic products to clean your home naturally. Grab some baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice to get started.

Cleaning in the kitchen and laundry

Cleaning the garbage disposal and sink drain is an easy task: Sprinkle baking soda in the drain, pour vinegar in, and let it bubble up. Let it sit for a while, and then flush with hot water. Add a couple drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent. Lemon and orange oils are great for this.

You can make a paste from baking soda and vinegar to clean stains on most kitchen counters. Again, add some lemon or orange essential oil for a pleasing scent, or use fresh lemon juice. 

Use that same paste to spot clean clothing; scrub stains with a cloth or brush and launder as usual. You can add fresh lemon juice to this scrub, but test the scrub on an inconspicuous place on the fabric first. Lemon juice can bleach color from some fabrics.

Cutting clutter to minimize anxiety

When you look around your house, do you see lots of clutter? Many people feel anxious when surrounded by clutter and it can increase stress and anxiety. Consider these quick ways to reduce clutter in your home:

  • Keep a recycle bin by your trash can; toss unwanted mail and papers every day. Don’t let them build up. Try to touch each piece of mail or paper just once, so you’re immediately dealing with that clutter. Have a separate place for items to shred. (Many banks and businesses will periodically offer free shredding in your community.)
  • If you bring a new item into your home, get rid of an equal item. That free bookcase from your neighbor might seem like a great acquisition, but letting go of something in return keeps clutter to a minimum. As you start to move furniture around to make room for the bookcase, think about what you can do without and who might need it. 
  • Where does your clutter build up the fastest? Bathroom? Closet? Try looking at those spaces with fresh eyes. Imagine how your neighbor would see that space. Spend 15 minutes hanging up items that have fallen to the floor of the closet or separating winter shoes from summer sandals, and then use a basket to corral what stays. Throw out expired products from your bathroom, as most products that are two years old can probably be tossed. 

Staying healthy year-round

There are also plenty of small things you can do to your home to stay healthy throughout the year. In fall and spring, make sure to change your air filters, as well as the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, stay on top of mold-prone areas — bathtubs and showers, basements, and window tracks. If you live in an area where mold is a constant issue, keep a spray bottle filled with a hydrogen peroxide solution; spray daily after showers and weekly in other damp areas.

The FDA has announced that commercial antibacterial soaps aren’t good for us as they promote antibiotic resistance. You can make your own antibacterial soap from natural ingredients. Honey, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint oil have natural antibacterial properties.

Look for ways to reduce your footprint with green cleaning supplies, preferably ones you make yourself. Also, to keep your home balanced and peaceful, stay on top of clutter. By taking this approach, you can have a cleaner, more eco-friendly home environment that is the haven you need it to be. 

Photo credit: Pixabay

keep coronavirus and germs out of your home

Photo: Pexels

You want your home safe and clean, but that doesn’t mean you have to coat your home with chemicals or toxins. Many cleaning products are filled with ingredients that, despite tackling grease and dirt, actually increase the health risks in your home. Why add that extra layer of fear and concern about your family’s health and safety?

Thanks to recent events, more people now realize that we need to be attuned with nature, while also prioritizing cleanliness. What better way to explore that unique relationship with Mother Earth than by using homemade, all-natural DIY cleaning products?

Continue reading “Keep Germs (and Bugs!) Out of Your Home With These All-Natural DIY Cleaners”

natural essential cleaning products for every home

Photo: Unsplash

While most messes can get by with your basic household cleaners, there are always some that require a bit more elbow grease. Have you ever pulled back a picture from the wall to see speckles of mildew? Or walked into your child’s bedroom right after they finished putting an entire book of stickers on the wall?

There are unexpected scenarios when you need or want a different cleaning product to help fix your problem or clean up a household mess. Here are 5 products you should keep on hand in your home in case of emergency.

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

Crayon on the wall won’t stand a chance. Stubborn stains on the kitchen floor are no match. Whatever the accident, spill, or mess might be, Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser can help you clean it up. Activated by water, the tiny fibers and filaments in the sponge will draw out even the toughest dirt. You can get several uses out of one sponge, but just keep in mind that it loses its potency after each use. Since it is an abrasive sponge, be sure to avoid using it on surfaces that are glossy or shiny. When using the sponge on wood, test a small portion to see how it reacts by using it on the rest of the surface.

Surface Scrubs

For caked on grime and grease, surface scrubs can transform any bathroom or kitchen with built-up dirt. These non-scratching powders help lift and remove set-in stains and age-old mold. You can get results from a tried-and-true brand like Comet with Bleach Scrubbing Cleanser, or lean into an effective all-natural surface scrub like Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender Surface Scrub. Both of these products dissolve soap scum and kill germs. Let them sit for 15 to 60 seconds before scrubbing them with a sponge or a cloth.

Microfiber Cloths

Did you accidentally spill the entire pot of spaghetti sauce on the floor? Paper towels not only rip and tear on these kinds of messes, but most brands have a pretty hefty carbon footprint. If you want to really clean up heavy messes, especially the liquid ones that seem to go on and on, microfiber cloths are the way to go. Not only do you help the environment by going reusable, but you also get a better, deeper and more sanitary clean with the positively-charged fibers. Best of all, you’ll never have to stress if your local grocery store is out of paper towels!

Distilled White Vinegar

Can’t get the stains and smells out of your child’s soccer uniform? If you’ve tried everything to no avail, consider soaking them in water with a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar.

Does your dog keep tracking mud through your kitchen? Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to your mopping solution.

From lifting stains to cleaning laundry to shining windows, distilled white vinegar is an essential ingredient to keep in your household cleaning tool belt. Vinegar is inexpensive, all-natural, and you probably already have some in your kitchen pantry.

Keep in mind that because it’s acidic, distilled white vinegar is not a good idea for granite or marble. For other surfaces, however, it can work wonders!

Goo Gone

Some messes can be a little hard to identify, especially if you have kids. Goo Gone is a must-have for any sticky, tricky mess. From candle wax to sticker tape, from latex paint to grease, this power adhesive remover also comes as an all-purpose cleaner. Stubborn, tough messes are often no match for this mighty cleaner. People who work frequently with tools often report Goo Gone as an ideal cleaners for their saws, wood glue, small hand tools and more.  

When it comes to keeping your house clean — especially during flu seasons, pandemics, or other crises when every surface could be a health risk — it’s crucial to be thorough. Any one of the cleaning products listed here can be a huge help in keeping your home safe and sanitary. Enlist these products to help to clean up after your kids and pets. Be sure to keep some of these ingredients on hand in your home for those unexpected messes. You can thank us later!

hand sanitizer and masks can be made at home

Photo: Pexels

 

Grocery store shelves that once held cleaning supplies, toiletries and personal hygiene products now stand bare. We’ve all experienced the frustration of needing something that is now out of stock because of the COVID-19 crisis. People are stockpiling products that they fear might run out—and that has caused the very thing they are afraid of.

If you can’t find your favorite detergent, disinfectant or hand sanitizer, don’t worry. Here are five easy recipes for your favorite products that you can make yourself at home.

Continue reading “The Essential COVID-19 Guide to Making Your Own Cleaning, Hygiene and Safety Products”

  • Seventh Generation
    • The Clean:This toilet cleaner is tough on toilet stains without harsh fumes. It’s also septic safe.
    • The Green: It’s biodegradable, kosher, and gluten free. It’s scented only with essential oils and botanical extracts. The product is USDA Certified Biobased Product 97%, and all Seventh Generation products are cruelty free.
    • About the Company: Seventh Generation is B Corps certified. The company is spearheading a campaign to pass laws to require ingredient disclosure on cleaning products and a foundation to positively impact communities
  • Woolzies Dryer Balls
    • The Clean: As it turns out, the best dryer sheets aren’t sheets at all! Unscented, environmentally-friendly dryer balls are made of wool. The gentle friction during tumbling removes static and wrinkles in your clothes.
    • The Green: Reusable dryer balls eliminate the need for disposable sheets. Plus, they create space between clothes to promote better air circulation. This saves energy by reducing drying time by 25%.
    • About the Company: Woolzies products combine essential oils with natural ingredients to create household cleaning products.
  • Attitude
    • The Clean: Grapefruit extract leaves your clothes smelling and feeling great. Formulated for cold water.
    • The Green: Ingredients are natural, hypoallergenic, and free of irritating enzymes. Attitude products contain no cancer-causing chemicals, mutagens, or endocrine disruptors.
    • About the Company: Products are made with 100% renewable energy, and Attitude offsets greenhouse gas emissions. Attitude is a member of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program and surpasses EcoLogo’s standards in every step of the sourcing and manufacturing process.
  • Ecos
    • The Clean: Safe to use on all washable fabrics and in all water temperatures, this detergent can be used in both high-efficiency (he) and standard washing machines. Concentrated formula removes soils and stains.
    • The Green: This hypoallergenic detergent boasts a neutral pH and integrated coconut-based fabric softener. It’s also 100% biodegradable and free of 4-Dioxane, petrochemicals, and formaldehyde. It’s gluten free and carries the EPA Safer Choice designation.

About the Company: ECOS products are manufactured in one of four carbon-neutral plants using zero-waste guidelines.