Leslie May of Raise a Green Dog shared a bit about how to safely clean without needlessly exposing your dog to harmful chemicals that could have a lasting effect on health. Leslie regularly blogs about creating a healthy and natural environment for your dog to thrive in and finding more natural alternatives to the standard products that are marketed to dog owners.
What are the biggest dangers or risks with using many cleaning products?
“Many of the chemical based cleaners that are used in homes, such as furniture polish, floor cleaners, and drain cleaners…Many of these are really dangerous for dogs. The chemicals enter the air and also leave a residue on surfaces, such as on the floor where your dog could lick up a crumb.
The Organic Consumer Association has said that ‘cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazards they post.’ They talk about people but it’s the same with dogs, only more so because they are smaller. They go on to say that ‘some cause acute or immediate hazards, such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic or long term effects such as cancer.’”
Do they explain which products are associated with these risks?
“What I do to find out if they are toxic or not is I go to the Environmental Working Group’s website, which is ewg.org. They have what they call a guide to healthy cleaning. They rate cleaners from A to F based on their toxicity and danger.
Also, people may think they are buying a certain cleaner but you really can’t trust the marketing hype. Do your research and be your dog’s advocate.”
So, what can you do in place of using these cleaners?
“There are super easy things you can do with just a handful of ingredients to clean your whole house.
In my spring cleaning kit I have white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and some kind of soap, like castile or certain brands like Seventh Generation. I also use old towels, a squeegee, a good vacuum and I just got a good floor steam cleaner. The steam cleaner kills 99% of germs and bacteria.
So, we start at the top and work down. Start with the ceiling fans, corners and work down.
You can use different things for different services. Some things are harder than others to get clean… Windows are easy but toilets are harder.
For carpet, I always start with water for a spot and if that doesn’t do it, I will move to something stronger like a solution of 50/50 water and white vinegar. Sometimes I will use something else, like dish soap or castile soap solution if needed.
I will do a 2 oz of white vinegar to 30 oz of water solution or 1 to 15 for cleaning wood floors. I also bought a Swiffer wiper and instead of taking the treated cloths, I use a cloth and dip it in the vinegar solution and attach it to the dry Swiffer.
For windows, I use half water half vinegar…I keep water and vinegar in a bottle for everything!
Also, if you take a half cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda, it’s a great drain cleaner.
Toilet bowls are tougher so I use a lot of baking soda for these tough things. Pans, stainless steel sinks, and that ring around your toilet bowl, mix ¾ cup baking soda and ¾ cup vinegar and even some lavender oil to add some antibacterial to the mix and then scrub.
A lot of spray products have tons of chemicals, so just avoid them. Even my friends had no idea that air freshener can be bad…It’s just something you don’t even think about. But air fresheners are one of the most toxic things in your home! Fragrances are one of the most dangerous things in these products.
Basically, when you’re cleaning, think about your dog’s life and it will improve yours as well.”