Do's & Don'ts of Spring Cleaning with Pets

Do's & Don'ts of Spring Cleaning with Pets

We're the first to admit that pets can be gross 🥴. From cat litter tracking to your dog rolling in who-knows-what, pet owners are used to cleaning up after their pets often.

And as a pet owner, you may be aware that many household cleaning products can be dangerous for them. Let’s take a look at what to avoid, what’s safe, and the best practices when cleaning a home with pets.

Girl touching the nose of her dog. In the living room on the couch.

Cleaning Ingredients To Avoid

Household floor and carpet cleaners are a must-have for every pet owner. With pet hair, pet food, and the occasional kitty yak on the non-washable rug, having an array of all-purpose cleaners comes in handy. Yet, many common cleaners are not pet-safe. Even when they are labeled as "natural" or "non-toxic", look over the ingredients before use in your home.

Dog in clean living room looking up to camera

Harmful Chemicals

A big "don't" as a pet owner is to use cleansers with high concentrations of harsh chemicals. These toxic ingredients pose a real danger to our animal companions!

Toxic chemicals like alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and chemical compounds that contain the word “phenol,” etc. are commonly found in everyday commercial cleaners, such as: bathroom sprays, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and floor cleaners. These ingredients are effective at disinfecting. Yet they cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even kidney damage in pets.

Dilution may help decrease potency. But, avoiding the usage of these harmful chemicals is best.

Essential Oils & Fragrances

Always use cleaners with strong odors with increased care, if even used at all. Most scented cleaners use essential oils or high doses of fragrances to mask odors.

Unlike humans, dogs and cats lack the proper enzymes to break down and digest many essential oils. Especially cats, who are very susceptible to the dangers of toxicity. So, while many essential oil based household products and cleaners seem safe, they are not recommended for a pet-friendly home.

Undiluted or phenol oils pose the most danger. When distilled improperly, oils are absorbed by our pets and metabolized in the liver. This leads to airway irritation and can induce vomiting or respiratory distress. In rare cases, symptoms of poisoning can change from moderate (drooling) to severe (liver failure) quickly.

Skip the overly scented household cleaners, carpet fresheners, and air fresheners. In your home, opt for a pet-safe alternative.

Pet Safe Household Cleaning Products

Don't fret! There are still many pet-safe cleaning products available that yield the same result. We even have some of these natural alternatives in stock at your local Tomlinson's.

Woman and dog Hugging. Dog licking her chin.

Tough of Pet Stains at Tomlinson's:

Other pet-safe products we trust:

Inexpensive Alternative Cleaning products:

  • Soapnuts are natural detergents derived from a plant found in India and Nepal and are completely non-toxic for your pet.

  • Baking soda is a multi-use ingredient. Not only can is scrub counters but baking soda is a known ingredient in carpet fresheners. Deodorize upholstery by sprinkling it over the affected area then vacuum away!

  • Vinegar is also a great addition to natural household disinfectants. Make your own cleaning products by mixing equal parts vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Simply spray onto surfaces before wiping clean.

  • Lemon Juice is another non-toxic antibacterial that is perfect for your wooden cutting boards and kitchen items. It is both a cat and dog-safe cleaning product! No lemon juice? Lime juice works too!

Spring Cleaning Tips

Toxicity can be as severe as dizziness and vomiting or as mild as paw licking. Pets might even evacuate the room once the poisonous gas or chemicals start to bother them. Regardless of the symptom severity, exposure is not healthy for your pet long-term.

Orange Cat with blue collar lounging in the sun on a white bedspread.

You may be wondering, "I've never had an issue with our commercial cleaning agents." And, that could be because you've mastered a safe cleaning routine! Here is how to safely Spring clean your home with pet-safe household cleaners:

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate!

The odors from common household cleaning products are overpowering for dogs and cats. While a dog's snoot is the strongest out of the two, cats are more sensitive (to everything, amiright?) by nature.

Without proper ventilation, the build-up of toxic fumes can become poisonous. Always make sure to properly ventilate all areas with a fan or open window, especially in areas that are high-traffic for your pets.

Wipe it down

If you have a counter-surfing kitty, this might be the most important takeaway.

It's no shock that ingesting concentrated chemicals is dangerous and toxic to pets. Yet, the most common form of poisoning to pets is from left behind residue on counters, carpets, and floors. When pets walk across a newly cleaned area, their paws and fur become coated in chemicals. Leading them to ingest poison just by licking their fur or paws.

Make sure just cleaned areas are completely dry. Better yet, keep pets out of the room when you are cleaning.

Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Pick up and empty your pet's water bowl before you begin cleaning. Then, replenish it with clean water after you are done. This prevents small chemical particles from making their way into their water bowls.

Lock it up

If you already have products with harsh chemicals, keep them in a locked cabinet and out of your pet's reach. Child safety locks could be a good investment for curious cats and puppies.

Additionally, keep lids on cleaners and containers securely shut. Some animals may think they smell food inside!

Also, be aware of rodenticides (rat poison) and insecticides (insect sprays). Most of these products are very dangerous for cats and dogs alike. Consider using alternative, non-toxic methods of pest control. A great example of a Tomlinson's recommended product for insect control is Wondercide.

Dog and cat licking eachother

More where that came from!

Tomlinson's is your go-to pet supply store for natural, healthy pet products in Austin and the Central Texas region. Let us help prepare you and your home for your pet(s). 

Put these tips into action the next time you clean your home. Trust us, your pet will thank you. Happy spring cleaning!

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