While you may be careful about keeping potentially toxic chemicals away from your pets, you may be surprised by the number of common household cleaners that could harm your pets. According to the EPA, a large percentage of indoor pollution can be attributed to the use of household cleaners.This week’s blog post will list some of the toxic ingredients to watch out for and which household cleaners to avoid.
What if I Put the Cleaners in a Safe Place?
While safely storing potential toxins may be good practice in general, simply using certain cleaners can still harm your pets after you are done cleaning. On the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) website, you can find a short discussion of the source of poor indoor air quality and its relative importance: “The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. In some cases, factors such as how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant…Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently.”
Solvents in those cleaners are included in that list, so even when the cleaners are put away safely, the vapors could continue to be released intermittently. That’s why it is important to know which ingredients are toxic and which products contain them.
- Ammonia is found in a lot of oven cleaners, window and glass cleaners, as well as stainless steel cleaners. Ammonia burns mucous membranes and when mixed with bleach, it creates a poisonous gas that can be deadly to small pets.
- Chlorine is a common ingredient found in all-purpose cleaners, automatic dish washing detergents, tile scrubs, disinfecting wipes, toilet-bowl cleaners, laundry detergents and mildew removers. It is a toxic respiratory irritant that can damage your pets’ skin, eyes or other membranes. Because pets are smaller than humans, they are more vulnerable to toxic exposure.
- Glycol Ethers are found in many specialty cleaning products, such as carpet cleaners and spot removers. This ingredient has been linked to anemia, lung damage, and kidney damage in people and pets.
- Formaldehyde, believe it or not, is sometimes used soaps and even some pet shampoos. It can contribute to asthma and other health complications.
Products to Avoid
But you have to clean your home, so what do you do? Find a natural alternative to the following products:
- All Purpose Cleaners
- Floor Cleaners
- Glass Cleaners
- Bathroom Cleaners
- Drain Openers
- Laundry Detergent
- Any products with the ingredients listed above.
Look for cleaning products that say “non-toxic” and “pet friendly,” but always check the label. In the next post we will list some popular, inexpensive, and safe cleaners, as well as some tips on how to make your own natural cleaners with non-toxic ingredients.
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