DIY Pet-Safe Cleaners + Cleaning Tips for Dog Parents

by Sundays

Want to cut the harsh chemicals from your cleaning routine? Here's how to make your own pet-safe cleaning solutions.

Stories about harmful chemicals being discovered in your favorite products seem to pop up in your feed daily. And not only are these substances harmful to humans, but they’re usually dangerous for your pets, too. 

In fact, most general household cleaners warn that you need to keep them away from pets, but how are you supposed to do that? Dogs lick everything, drink out of toilet bowls, and walk around on floors that were just cleaned.

One solution is to make your own DIY pet-safe cleaners. That way, you know exactly what’s in them and that they’re safe for your pup. Here are some go-to recipes for making different types of pet-safe cleaning solutions.

Multipurpose Cleaner 

Why make a bunch of different cleaners when you can make one that takes care of most messes? You may think an all-in-one cleaner must need a bunch of different ingredients, but it’s actually super simple to make. You just need three ingredients, and you probably already have them around the house.

What you’ll need:

  • - White vinegar
  • - Distilled water
  • - Lemon or lime juice (can also use the rind)
  • - Spray bottle

Mix one part vinegar to two parts distilled water, and then add juice from a fresh lemon or lime, or you can also use bottled juice. If you want to add even more citrus scent, add some rinds to the spray bottle, too. Now you’re ready to clean almost any surface in your home, and this solution is completely safe for your pets.

Floor Cleaner

We don’t really think about it when we’re cleaning, but floor cleaners with strong chemicals in them can affect pets the most. Their paws and bellies and feet all touch the floor at some point, and their skin could react to whatever is in harsh cleaners. And on top of that, they tend to lick their fur and paws and end up ingesting the chemicals. 

But instead of going down that route, you can make your own pet-safe floor cleaner. You know those orange cleaners that smell so good? There’s an easy way to create a DIY version, but you will have to be patient. Here’s how.

What you’ll need:

  • - White vinegar
  • - Orange peels
  • - Large mason jar with lid

Tear the orange peels into smaller pieces so you can fit a bunch in your mason jar. Once you have the jar about three-quarters of the way full, pour in the white vinegar and until the jar is filled to the top. Put the lid on and store it in a cool spot in your house. 

Now comes the hard part–you have to leave it there for one to two weeks. If you’re patient enough to wait, you’ll have an amazing-smelling pet-safe floor cleaner ready to go. You can put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the floor as you clean.

Pet Bowl Cleaner

When you’re cleaning your pets’ dishes and bowls, you want to be extra-careful not to use anything toxic to them. Here’s a super-easy way to keep them clean while keeping your pets safe. 

What you’ll need:

  • - Baking soda
  • - Water
  • - Dish scrub brush

Sprinkle some baking soda in the bowl until the bottom is covered. Then add a little water to form a kind of paste. Use your dish scrubber to clean, then rinse, and you’re done!

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

This is a three-in-one cleaner. First, it will clean your toilet bowl. Second, it’s safe for pets that like to use the toilet as their water cooler. And as an added bonus, plumbers swear by using these ingredients to clear clogged toilets, too. 
Oh, we forgot one–it’s also fun to watch the chemical reaction that reminds you of the classic volcano science project with “lava” that shoots out. Don’t worry, nothing will shoot out of your toilet (unless you use way too much?)

What you’ll need:

  • - Vinegar
  • - Baking soda
  • - Toilet brush

The key is to use one part baking soda to two parts vinegar. Try half a cup of baking soda to start, with one cup of vinegar. Wait for the reaction to do its foaming, fizzing thing and settle down. Then come back and scrub. If you also need to clear a clog, or you haven’t cleaned your toilet in a while, go for one cup baking soda and two cups of vinegar. 

Pet-Safe Cleaning Tips

Here are some tips to follow when you’re looking for pet-safe ways to clean your home:

1. Skip the essential oils
Tons of DIY natural cleaners have essential oils of one kind or another. Yes, they smell great, and some even have antibacterial properties, but they are just too risky to use around pets. According to Pet Poison Helpline, as little as seven drops of pure tea tree oil has caused severe cases of poisoning. Other oils can also cause a range of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and stumbling around.

2. Don’t use products with bleach or ammonia around pets. 
These chemicals are also toxic for humans. Ammonia can cause irritation to your dog’s skin, eyes, nose, and throat and can cause breathing issues. Bleach fumes can cause respiratory issues, and if your dog ingests any, it can burn their mouth, make them throw up or have diarrhea or even seizures.

3.If making your own cleaners sounds like too much of a hassle, shop smart when it comes to natural cleaning products. 
Just because a cleaner is labeled as natural doesn’t mean it’s safe for pets. Find products that have only a few ingredients that you recognize, and double-check that each is safe for pets. Never use anything with the word “fragrance” in it, because there could be tons of harmful chemicals in this vague ingredient. Cleaners made with vegetable soaps, coconut oil, and glycerin, like Meliora’s all-purpose home cleaner spray, are safe for pets.

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