Cat safe cleaning tips


Cats are self-cleaning, as Allegra demonstrates in this photo. Unfortunately, our houses aren’t, so we have to use cleaning products to get the job done. Many commercial cleaning products are not safe to use around cats.  The chemicals in these products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly. Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur.

Thankfully, there are many options for cat-safe, chemical-free and green cleaning products available. I particularly like the Method and Seventh Generation lines of products.

Some of my favorite cleaners, and also the safest and least expensive, are baking soda and white distilled vinegar.  Some suggestions for use are:

Baking Soda:

  • Pour a layer in the litterbox before adding fresh litter to quell odors.
  • Add 1/2 cup to the laundry to freshen pet bedding.
  • Use as an abrasive cleaner for sinks, bowls, and non-porous surfaces.

White Distilled Vinegar:

  • Use to disinfect feeding dishes, the litterbox, and non-porous toys.
  • Add 1 cup to the wash cycle to freshen and soften pet bedding.
  • Apply a diluted solution (one part vinegar and one part water) to help remove the appearance and odor of urine stains from carpets.
  • Baking soda and white vinegar combined make a great non-toxic drain cleaner – pour some baking soda down the drain, follow with a cup or so of vinegar.  The mixture will foam, and the foaming action will clear your drain.  Repeat if necessary.  For tough drains, follow with hot water.

Do you have a favorite green cleaning product? Share it in a comment.

16 Comments on Cat safe cleaning tips

  1. Sharyl
    August 3, 2016 at 9:31 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid,
    I was wondering about castile soap for cleaning. Is that safe to use. I am particularly talking about he almond one from Dr. Bronner

  2. Donna
    June 13, 2016 at 10:24 am (5 years ago)

    ALL essential oils are toxic to cats, dogs and horses according to Aspca

    • Sharyl
      August 3, 2016 at 9:32 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Donna,

      Do you have a link that I could check out?

  3. Tammy
    March 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm (8 years ago)

    I use baking soda and vinegar all the time. In fact, a solution of baking soda, vinegar and water is perfect to wash the litter box.

  4. Linda
    January 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm (9 years ago)

    I remember reading on box of Borax that it was safe to add to the cats litter to decrease odor. I used it for a few years then one day I read an article in Cat Fancy (I think it was) that discouraged it’s use. Apparently it can be inhaled while the kitty is digging either before he uses the box or as he’s covering it. According to the article it isn’t good for cats or people if it becomes airborn. My cats never showed and serious illnesses, but I stopped immediately. Years later though 3 of my 5 cats died from cancer (one was lung cancer but I have never had smokers in my home) in the same year. It does make you wonder.

    • Ingrid
      January 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm (9 years ago)

      I’m so sorry to hear about your 3 cats, Linda. You’re right, it does make you wonder.

  5. Rumpy Drummond
    December 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm (9 years ago)

    Jen cleans with vinegar too. It’s healthier for us and the environment AND less expensive than chemicals!

    • Ingrid
      December 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm (9 years ago)

      I know you’re trained and well versed with essential oils, Layla, but not everyone understands them. I’m always the voice of caution when it comes to hydrosols. Even though many manufacturers of essential oils claim that their products are completely safe to use with cats, nothing will change the unique physiology of a cat. Unless you know your manufacturer and trust them, I believe that it’s not worth taking chances when there are plenty of other, safer, options.

      • Sharyl
        August 3, 2016 at 9:28 pm (5 years ago)

        Hi Ingrid,

        Is it safe for me to use essential oils on myself and in cleaning diy natural cleaning products. The oils I use are 100% certified therapeutic grade

        • Ingrid
          August 4, 2016 at 6:41 am (5 years ago)

          I do not recommend using any essential oils around cats if there’s a chance that they can come into contact with them, Sharyl. I’m not sure about using castile soap – what are the ingredients?

  6. Chris Davis
    December 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for the tips, Ingrid. I’m going to try the non-toxic drain cleaner.

    • Ingrid
      December 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm (9 years ago)

      I think you’ll like it, Chris. Ruby likes to sit at the edge of the sink and watch the bubbling action when I use it!

  7. Esme
    December 28, 2011 at 11:24 am (9 years ago)

    Ingrid, these are great tips-for cats with ashtma these are crucial and chemicals can trigger a reaction. I have also been told to use peroxide instead of vinegar as can leave a scent in the air.

    • Ingrid
      December 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm (9 years ago)

      That’s a good point about the vinegar. I’m not crazy about the smell of it myself, even when used in dilution, but I do love the way it cleans.

      • Esme
        December 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm (9 years ago)

        It cleans great-however your house does smell like vinegar afterwards. Being Canadian we put vinegar on our fries, so it always has me thinking of fries.


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