The Essential Guide to Green Cleaning for Pet Owners

As we learn more about the hazards associated with traditional household cleaners, we need to remembe

r they pose dangers to our animals, too. According to Pet Health Network, some cleaning products are especially dangerous for cats and dogs, including drain cleaners, pool chemicals, concentrated dishwashing chemicals, lime-removal products, oven cleaners, and concentrated toilet cleaners.

Pet owners also need to be aware, however, that common household chemicals and cleaning products can harm your pets. Any product containing bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, or formaldehyde puts your pet at risk of cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage, and death. That’s why the best rule of thumb is to adopt green cleaning methods that will protect your entire family.

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What You’ll Find in This Guide:

Green Options for House Cleaning

This section includes alternatives to house-cleaning products that are safe for pets.

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The majority of your house-cleaning chores can be accomplished without using chemical cleaners that are toxic to pets. You can make many of these products at home, or you can purchase green house-cleaning products. In fact, many of the best green cleaning solutions involve using items that you likely have in your pantry and refrigerator.

  • Diluted White Vinegar: When you own pets, you need a cleaning solution that is powerful enough to clean and deodorize at the same time. The answer is diluted white vinegar. You’ll be able to dissolve dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits with this solution. You’ll also be able to clean hardwood flooring, grout, countertops, and the exterior of your toilet with diluted white vinegar. Put the solution into a spray bottle and use a cotton cloth to clean. Best of all, white vinegar is a natural deodorizer that will absorb smells instead of covering them, and its smell disappears when it dries. If you have tough surfaces to clean, HGTV recommends heating the solution in the microwave, spraying the area with the warm solution, letting it stand for 10-15 minutes, and then scrubbing and rinsing.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is an effective cleaner and a natural deodorizer, so it’s another perfect house-cleaning solution for pet owners. Simply combine baking soda with water to clean your countertops, stainless steel sinks and appliances, and cooking utensils. You also can revive smelly upholstery, mattresses, and pet beds with baking soda. Sprinkle it on, let it sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum it to get rid of odors. Baking soda also is one of the best products for cleaning your pets’ toys. Wipe them with a sponge dipped in a baking soda and water solution to clean them.
  • Lemon: Lemon is an effective cleaning ingredient that’s also a mild disinfectant, which is helpful for pet owners. You can use a lemon to clean wooden cutting boards, your microwave, stinky pet food containers, and more. You also can make an all-purpose kitchen cleaner using white vinegar and lemon peels. Fill a jar halfway with lemon peels, fill the jar with white vinegar, and cover it. Place it in a dark place for at least two weeks to let the citrus infuse the vinegar. Then, strain the cleaner. Discard the peels and add the cleaner to a spray bottle to use it as an all-purpose solution.

The Top Green Option for Cleaning Dishes

This section includes an alternative to dish soap that is safe for pets.

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Cleaning your pet dishes with traditional dish soap can leave a residue that is harmful to pets. Unfortunately, there also are some supposedly safe alternatives that are harmful to pets, including those containing Borax and moisturizing oils. According to Wellness Mama, one of the best ways to get your dishes clean is to combine 2/3 cup Sal Suds, 1 1/3 cups distilled water, 40 drops of lemon essential oil, 1 tbsp. washing soda, 1 tbsp. table salt, and 3 tbsp. hot water. You can use this dish soap to hand wash your family’s dishes and your pet’s dishes and rest easily knowing that all of your ingredients are non-toxic.

Green Options for Laundry

This section contains alternatives to laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets that are safe for pets.

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Pet parents who know the toxicity of traditional laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets often aren’t sure exactly how to wash their furry friends’ blankets, soft toys, and bed covers. Fortunately, there are natural, Borax-free ways to get your pets’ laundry clean.


  • Natural, Borax-Free Laundry Detergent: To make non-toxic laundry detergent, combine 6 cups of washing soda with three bars of 4.5-5 ounce coconut oil soap, finely grated, and lemon essential oil. When washing whites, you can add 1/2 cup peroxide to the bleach compartment. To soften laundry, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the fabric softener compartment.
  • Natural Fabric Softener: You can make natural fabric softener that won’t leave a chemical residue on your pets’ bedding, toys, and blankets. You will need 2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, and 1/8 cup vegetable glycerin.
  • Dryer Sheet Alternatives: Dryer balls are a green alternative to toxic dryer sheets. The most popular dryer balls are made of wool; they reduce static and improve airflow. Other popular dryer balls are made of plastic; these are especially useful for loads of tough fabrics like denim or heavy, wet towels.

Additional Reading on Green Cleaning for Pet Owners

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The following are resources for more information about green cleaning for pet owners. You will find tips and advice for green cleaning in addition to green cleaning products, which will make your home safer for everyone. Please note, they are listed in alphabetical order by source.


Compact Appliance’s 7 Essential Cleaning Tips Every Pet Owner Should Know

LoveToKnow’s Green Cleaning Tips for Dog Owners

Nourishing Joy’s Green Cleaning for the Health of Your Pets

PawCulture’s 4 All Natural DIY Cleaning Products that are Safe for Pets


Rover’s 16 Pet-Safe Non-Toxic Cleaners We Love

You can prevent accidental poisoning of your pet and provide a healthier, non-toxic environment for him by adopting green cleaning methods. You can make alternatives to traditional, toxic products, or you can buy pet-friendly cleaning products. The goal is to eliminate cleaning products containing especially harmful chemicals and ingredients, such as bleach, ammonia, and chlorine, from your home.