Last Updated on: March 4, 2020 by Ingrid King
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.
Additionally, the chemicals in and fumes resulting from cleaning products can cause allergic reactions in cats (and humans, for that matter). Many chemical cleaning products pollute the air inside your home by off-gassing toxic fumes, or they contain antibacterial substances that are not only unnecessary, but can actually contribute to bacteria becoming more resistant to killing agents.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to these chemical products that are not only safer for your cats, but also gentler to the planet. And they’re inexpensive! Allegra was kind enough to pose with two of my go to cleaning products for this post. You’d be surprised what you can do with vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and lemon juice.
Use a vinegar and warm water solution on wood, ceramic tile, linoleum or vinyl flooring. Since cats are so low to the ground, using a non-toxic cleaner on floors is especially important. If you’re using a carpet steam cleaner, use a water and vinegar solution (one part water to one part vinegar) in the reservoir.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Dust surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens with baking soda and wipe with a moist cloth or sponge. Vinegar and warm water work well, too. If you need to get rid of mildew or grease stains, spray them with lemon juice, wait a few minutes, and then use a stiff brush to scrub away the residue.
Unclogging a Drain
Have you ever read the warning label on a bottle of drain cleaner? It’s enough to make you afraid to even open the bottle. Use baking soda and vinegar instead. Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda down the drain, and follow with a cup of vinegar. The foaming action of the two products will work away at the clog. Rinse with hot water.
Olive oil, or olive oil and lemon juice (two parts olive oil, one part lemon juice) makes a wonerful furniture polish.
I do not recommend using the self-cleaning feature on ovens. I find myself reacting to the fumes released during the cleaning process, so I can only imagine how more sensitive cat noses will react. Use a paste of baking soda and water instead: coat the inside of your oven, let it sit overnight, and then scrub away the grime the next day.
The chemicals contained in dryer sheets (as well as fabric softeners and laundry detergents) get absorbed by your skin as well as your cats’ skin. Chemicals contained in these products are known carcinogens and neurotoxins.
Sometimes it’s inevitable to expose our cats to toxic fumes (although I have been known to nix remodeling and painting projects because of the impact they might have on my cats). It goes without saying that the area that is being painted should be well-ventilated. If you don’t have an ionic air purifier, set small bowls of vinegar around the room, and change daily. The vinegar will absorb the smell. Leave these bowls out until all paint odor is gone.
While these safe and inexpensive cleaning products may require a little more elbow grease than their chemical cousins, isn’t the peace of mind of knowing that they’re safer for your cats worth the extra effort?
Do you have a natural cleaning product or a green cleaning trick you like? Please share in a comment!
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.