Keeping the house clean is not always easy, especially when we have pets. Our pets are part of the family and just like everyone else, they can make a mess. But with the current situation concerning the coronavirus, it is imperative to keep the home clean. Did you know that some of the commonly used chemicals in cleaning products are actually highly toxic to dogs and cats? In fact, cleansers that contain bleach, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, and phenols are especially dangerous if ingested by pets. The month of March is Pet Poison Awareness Month, and keeping with our blog theme this month we discuss safe and effective ways to clean and disinfect the home while keeping our furry companions healthy.
Cleaning products containing ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers or formaldehyde can cause health problems in adults and children. Young children and pets are particularly at risk for conditions such as cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage. Many of these ingredients are also carcinogenic. Generally, but not all cleansers that contain “sol” in the brand name contain harmful phenols. Check the product ingredients carefully. Also, and cleaner with a strong fragrance or containing pine oil can be an irritant. Be sure to check the label of any product you are using carefully. Also, be sure to follow label instructions for any cleaners and no pets should come in contact with treated areas after use until dry.
The goal of cleaning and disinfecting is to remove as much organic materials, bacteria and to kill viruses in order to keep everyone healthy. The last thing we want is to get our pets sick in this process. So what are effective methods to clean household surfaces?
Soap and Water
It may not seem very high-tech, but good old soap and water work. Soap removes viral particles that attach themselves to surfaces. The same that is true for your face and hands is true for countertops and other surfaces. The particles are suspended in water and can be rinsed away. Most of the cleaning products that are labeled as soap are detergents that remove and kill germs on surfaces. This is the most economical and safest way to clean without endangering your pets and skin.
Bleach is extremely effective at killing the coronavirus. It will also kill virtually all other germs out there. The problem is it smells bad, is toxic, and can damage your skin as well as many of the surfaces you are trying to clean. You should always wear gloves when handling bleach and it should be diluted with water. Mix a quarter cup of bleach with a gallon of water to dilute. If you are going to use diluted bleach to clean, make sure the room is well ventilated and do not let your pets roam in the area until the surfaces are completely dry.
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective way to disinfect a surface, and it is not as strong as bleach. Therefore it is less likely to cause damage. It can discolor some fabrics. It should not be diluted because it decomposes when mixed with water and oxygen. While hydrogen peroxide is safe to use around dogs, it is toxic to cats.
Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol products that are at least 70% alcohol will kill the coronavirus with less potential damage to surfaces and skin than bleach. It should not be diluted. According to Consumer Reports, rubbing alcohol is safe to use on any surface, but it can discolor some plastics. In large amounts rubbing alcohol is toxic to pets. It can cause vomiting, dehydration, coma and even death.
Many people use vinegar to clean surfaces, however, vinegar does not kill the coronavirus. Vinegar is safe to use around pets, and it can be diluted. It cleans surfaces but does not disinfect.
Vodka or Grain Alcohol
Using spirits to clean is another unreliable method. There is no evidence that consumable alcohol will kill the coronavirus, and it is also toxic to pets. Alcohol is highly dangerous for dogs and cats, even in limited amounts. Hard liquor is especially harsh on your pet’s system. Just like humans, dogs can experience alcohol poisoning, and their smaller size makes them all the more susceptible.
Now more than ever it is important to keep a clean home environment to stay healthy. There are plenty of pet-friendly cleaning products available with a little bit of research. Here is a list of these provided by Business Insider. And for the latest information on the coronavirus visit the CDC’s website.
At Flexpet, we care about animals and keeping them as healthy as possible. We have a fantastic and knowledgeable customer care team available to answer any of your questions about our products and how they may help your four-legged friend. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or by phone at 1-800-505-0575.